While shooting Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming film Elvis in Australia, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson contracted COVID-19, and both are currently hunkering down in a state of quarantine. As a result, Rita created a playlist for all who are self-isolating or quarantining due to the highly contagious novel coronavirus. The singer, actress, producer’s @Spotify program includes 32 songs and runs for more than two hours: themes of isolation, loneliness, separation, anxiety, and ultimately hope figure heavily in the rotation. Songs like Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol, I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, I’m so Tired by the Beatles, Eric Carmen’s All By Myself, MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This, and Miley Cyrus’ The Climb are meant to bring some levity and optimism to a difficult and challenging situation. 

So, in a similar light, we offer a list of guilty-pleasure shows to see you through the solitude and loneliness you might be feeling at this particular time. And what better time to enjoy a little guilty pleasure than in the midst of contagion?

GIRLBOSS

Judging from the hype and promotion of the Netflix series Girlboss, it’s safe to say Netflix had a good feeling about this sassy, female-powered, millennial dramedy. But alas, it was not to be. Girlboss was castigated for its overly zealous, even obnoxious characters and its formulaic plot structure. The reviews were pretty darn brutal, and Netflix declined to renew the little engine that could for a second season; that’s pretty bad considering Glee ran for a seemingly interminable six years. But come on, let’s be real—folks generally like Girlboss a lot more than they would admit in public. Hey, just fess up, the show’s not that bad! In fact, if you don’t take it too seriously, it’s fun and entertaining—if in a cringey, mortifying kinda way.

Based on the true story, sorta, of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amuroso, Girlboss stars the force-of-nature and former child star Britt Robertson as the ultimate, indomitable girl-against-the-world. Britt gives a credible performance here, and at times she’s downright heart-wrenching in her portrayal of Sophia Marlowe, a vulnerable yet fierce young woman struggling mightily with the challenges of creating a small business despite having no experience, financial backing, or discernible skills. Not to mention, the girl stands about five-feet nothing, she’s dead broke, and the male-dominated business world would rather she simply look cute and leave the prospect of industry to grownups. 

The whole idea of a guilty pleasure movie or TV show is that you would be embarrassed or even ashamed if anyone knew you were watching or even hooked on said show. But that’s the great thing about the quarantine! No one’s gonna know! So go ahead, sit back and relish the massive blunders and heartbreaking woes of a spunky heroine with the weight-of-the-world on her shoulders in the comfort of your sequestered home or apartment. And if the show is really that bad, no worries, it’s only one season!

YOU

Based on the novel by debut author Caroline Kepnes, You tells the story of Joe Goldberg, an affable, caring, compassionate, book-loving lover who happens to be a very dark and dangerous man. Joe cares so deeply for the woman in his life, one Guinevere Beck known as “Beck” to her friends, that he stalks her, spies on her through tech prowess and unyielding initiative, and he obsessively controls just about every aspect of her life. This all sounds a bit cheesy and conventional but make no mistake, You is very frightening. Joe is so convincing as a caring boyfriend and faithful companion, anyone might fall for his beguiling charms. It’s no wonder Stephen King called the novel hypnotic and scary, and the Netflix series follows suit quite nicely. Now, there is the Single White Female, Fatal Attraction, Obsessed element of You that might give one pause, but the series is very adept at creating tension, building suspense, and following through with Joe’s treachery in a unique and compelling way—in a way that is germane to the story, plot, and to the colorful cast of characters. 

Oh, and watch out for Shay Mitchell as the ultimate dramatic foil Peach Salinger in season one. She’s a clear-cut problem for any man—even a dye- in-the-wool sociopath!

Please keep in mind, You is a rated-R kinda show, and it can be very brutal and racy at times. But if you’re up for an eerie, modern gothic romance TV series, then You is definitely your hurdy-gurdy.

GRAVITY FALLS

Yes, Gravity Falls is an elementary-school-level network TV show—but it’s awesome! And it is the perfect show for you and the ghosts of your quarantined domicile. 

Twin siblings Dipper and Mabel Pines spend the summer in Gravity Falls, Oregon encountering and indeed battling all manner of horrific beasts, zombies, Gobblewonkers, Big Foots, Headhunters, minotaurs, evil clones, video-game demons, and much, much more. The plot of this Twilight Zone for kids is so strange, dark, and mesmerizing, it’s a wonder Disney gave it the go-ahead back in 2012. 

Gravity Falls is a singular gem in that it features a brother-sister team the likes of which we haven’t seen on network TV, or even in the movies, before or since. Dipper is a would-be detective obsessed with the strange happenings and mysterious organizations which haunt the shadowy woods of Gravity Falls, and Mabel is just as obsessed with garish sweaters, eighties rock tunes, boy bands, and the looming thrills and frills of her teenage years. And the two of them together just might win you over with their wit, courage, humor, and wisdom. Their guardian, the outrageous con man Grunkle Stan is hilarious, and Soos the handyman will just melt your heart. 

The show spans two glorious seasons, and fans have been begging for a third season or a feature film since 2016. There are a number of online petitions to keep Gravity Falls alive; after you watch the show, you might want to sign up!

It’s rare that a show is just as entertaining for kids as it is for adults, but Gravity Falls delivers on that particular front. Yes, it’s goofy and ridiculous, but it’s also soulful, bittersweet, weird, dark, and amazing. Gravity Falls is now showing on Hulu.

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