In the midst of Game of Thrones drama and the high emotions of its finale coinciding with deadline and exam season, there is no better time to invest in a chill TV series. Of course, there’s always rewatching solid, feel-good comedies like Brooklynn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, The Office, or Friends, but sometimes you want a new show; something entertaining, but relaxed; something investing, but not stress-inducing.
Here are some wholesome, slice of life, and comedy TV show recommendations to help you de-stress during deadline and exam season.
Tuca & Bertie
Whilst it’s only May, this series is my show of the year. Tuca & Bertie is a ten-episode long series documenting the career aspirations, disputes, and relationships of two thirty-something year old, anthropomorphised bird best friends, Tuca and Bertie.
The show, whilst being a comedy, also covers issues of abandonment, sexual harassment, and the best representation of anxiety I have seen in media. Very easily, this show had me crying one minute and laughing the next. Every single episode made my heart happy upon seeing Tuca and Bertie navigate their life turbulences together with heartfelt encouragement and laughter when required. Tuca & Bertie epitomises truly masterful, contemporary storytelling with a heart-warming focus on female friendship.
Bee and PuppyCat
Bee and PuppyCat is a web series available on the Cartoon Hangover YouTube channel. The series focusses on Bee, an unemployed woman in her early twenties, and her pet cat-dog hybrid, PuppyCat, who has the surreal ability to source temp jobs via a supercomputer, TempBot, in a void dimension.
Most episodes follow different temp jobs the pair accept, such as working for a farmer on Jelly Cube Planet, working in a cat bathhouse, or completing videogame platformer-esque tasks in Cloud World. This is then dispersed with episodes set in Bee’s reality, where she’ll visit the beach or cook with her friend/love interest Deckard.
The show has a similar feel to other Frederator Studios show Adventure Time, or Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe and Over the Garden Wall. Bee and PuppyCat differs enough from reality with PuppyCat and Tempbot that it’s the perfect break from revision. Cute, funny, sweet, and undeniably wholesome.
When I’ve tried to explain Terrace House in the past, I’ve usually said “it’s like Big Brother, but in Japan, and better, and nothing like Big Brother”, which completely undersells how good the show is. Six strangers (three male, three female) live in a house together and their relationships are documented. Then, house footage is interspersed with analysis from a panel of Japanese television personalities and comedians.
Basically, nothing happens in Terrace House. And that’s why it’s so great (see ProZD’s video ‘terrace house fans’ for the perfect example of this)! It’s a people study, looking at tens of potential relationships and seeing how these strangers’ careers develop from being in the Terrace House franchise. This is punctuated by secrecy and ‘famous’ inter-house incidents.
Andrea Caprotti and Brendon Bigley, hosts of a Terrace House fan podcast titled No Script At All, have perfectly likened Terrace House to Animal Crossing, but as reality TV. So, if you love calming domesticity and Animal Crossing alike, Terrace House is for you. I recommend starting with Terrace House: Opening New Doors, since it is arguably the best season to date.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
A reboot of the 80s series She-Ra, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power covers the fight between the princess rebellion and the evil Horde, who are trying to destroy princesses and take over their land. The heroine Adora, who was raised in the Horde, finds a magic sword that transforms her into She-Ra. From this, Adora then joins the princess rebellion (the Resistance) to combat the Horde.
The characters in the series are diverse, and the animation is inclusive of different body types and ethnicities, unlike the original She-Ra cartoon. The series itself, again, has the wholesome-centric focus of friendship and familial relationships at heart, with the setting of a magical fight of good vs evil. Whilst a children and family programme, the series features beautiful animations, developed characters, quick humour, and well-timed puns. Another example of escapist, wholesome content.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
Earlier this year, the KonMari method was eagerly adopted and many went on deep cleans of their homes with the emergence of this Netflix series. Marie Kondo is an acclaimed organising consultant, who has written four successful books on decluttering. Marie’s success only increased with the release of this series, where Marie is invited to share her KonMari method with different American family households, intending to improve their lives with decluttering.
The feeling from watching Tidying Up is similar to that of Queer Eye, yet with the added satisfaction of speed cleaning. Marie’s presence in these homes is undeniably calming and heart-warming as she both applies her method and respects the emotional boundaries of her clients.
This series was created by and features some of the recognisable faces of CBBC’s beloved Horrible Histories, including: Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Ben Willbond, Laurence Rickard, and Jim Howick. That cast in itself sells the show, really.
These ex-Horrible Histories actors play ghosts from different eras who haunt a country house, only to be disturbed when a young married couple Mike and Alison (Kiell Smith-Bunoe, and Fresh Meat and Sibling’s Charlotte Ritchie respectively) inherit the house and move in. After an incident, Alison is able to communicate with the ghosts, and hilarity ensues.
This show creates so much nostalgia towards Horrible Histories and is laugh-out-loud funny at times so fully deserves to be a wholesome show recommendation.
Honourable Mentions: The Vicar of Dibley, Queer Eye, Steven Universe, Dragon Pilot, Kim’s Convenience, One Day At A Time, Fruits Basket remake, Disenchantment, Hilda