Netflix/Hulu Holiday Rom-Com Roundup: An Exhaustive Ranked List (of the Ones I Happen to Have Watched)

It is probably not surprising to readers of this blog, given that I have spent a large portion of my adult life writing about Dawson’s Creek twenty years after it ended, but I also really, really love holiday romantic comedies—despite the fact that the vast majority of them end up as disappointments. The pinnacle of the genre (which is While You Were Sleeping, and yes I will fight you on this) is so good that I’ve been left forever chasing the dragon, looking for other movies that are perfect to curl up on the couch with in December with a box of chocolates or an obliging husband, even though it often ends up with me watching some garbled mess of offensive stereotypes, barely-funny “jokes” and (worst of all) no chemistry between the leads.

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Ted Lasso: Season 2, Episode 12 “Inverting the Pyramid of Success”

So, this is the end of season 2. I know that a lot of people have felt that this season was a letdown after last season, which was a sort of perfectly formed pearl of excellent TV that came at the exact right moment to be maximally appreciated by everyone. As countless people have written, last year our lives were taken over by tragedy and darkness, and we had suffered through years of TV producers apparently believing that tragedy and darkness and antiheroes were the only signifiers of auteur TV. Ted Lasso provided an unexpected and badly-needed antidote: a high-quality TV show that was actually sweet and uplifting.

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BuffyWatch: Season 5, Episodes 10-12

Janes (a True Stan) and Nerdy Spice (a New Fan) are watching all of Buffy together and comparing notes.

Warning: May contain spoilers for later episodes.

Season 5, Episode 10 “Into the Woods”

For once, a little good news. After anxiously waiting for Buffy’s mom to get out of surgery, the doctor-with-no-bedside manner tells them that the procedure was a “complete success.” They’ve removed the tumor, and Joyce should make a full recovery. Yay! 

But of course, this is a Joss Whedon show, so good news must be counterbalanced with bad news. Now that the crisis is over, Buffy and Riley get time and energy to focus on their relationship, and it’s in trouble–in Riley’s mind, at least. They have a well-deserved romantic night together, complete with slow-dancing and sex–and for the record, Buffy seems super into it! She matches him gaze for gaze and tells him everything is “perfect.” But then he expresses admiration that she “never even cried” during the whole ordeal with her mother, and she admits that she “cried so hard she thought she’d never be able to stop.” So she’s opening up about her feelings, but he’s all upset because… she didn’t cry right in front of him, I guess? Those are super specific parameters for what it means to be emotionally available in a relationship!

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Ted Lasso: 2×9 “Beard After Hours”

You guys, I’m not even going to pretend I’m putting a lot of effort into this recap. It’s a Beard-centric filler episode, which should strike boredom into the hearts of even more pro-Beard viewers than I. But as for me, I have already established that I am incapable of finding Beard compelling as a character, and this episode, in which Beard wanders around for a night getting into trouble, did nothing to change it. It just made me mad that I had waited all week for a continuation of plotlines I’d grown truly invested in–Jamie’s quest to become a worthwhile human being, Rebecca’s bizarre thing with Sam, Ted’s therapy with Dr. Sharon–but instead I had to spend forty-five minutes watching something completely unrelated. Gah.

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