List: My summer shows

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espn-OJ-TopImage-web-004.jpgSome people rejoice over summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. I am soaking up the season's finest television offerings. Here are my favorites right now:

For a show that is so dark, I have warm and fuzzy feelings towards it because I watched it last summer while on maternity leave (along with "Ballers," which I abandoned because I didn't think enough happened to move it along.) Maybe it's the subject matter (a Bachelor-type show) or the fact that it's on Lifetime but for awhile I told myself it was bad-good, but I've come to realize that it's good-good. I'm on the second season now and am re-watching the first with Steve, after convincing him he'd like it. I enjoy that it's about bad people and that it doesn't try to convince you that being bad is sexy or funny. I think of it, a little bit, as being a sister show to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which does sort of dress up mental illness as cute, albeit in an ironic, self-aware way.

O.J.: Made in America
I have yet to convince Steve to watch this with me but I have told him numerous times that I will gladly re-watch it. I didn't think I'd want anything else to do with O.J. after "The People vs. O.J. Simpson" but this 30 for 30 was so thoughtful and thorough and complex and really filled in a lot of educational gaps for me, including more detail about race relations in L.A. as well as exactly what kind of icon O.J. was prior to the trial (back then I mostly knew him from The Naked Gun). I truly felt sad for O.J. even though he is most probably a murderer and definitely a domestic abuser. There are a lot of moments like that in the series, where you feel sad and angry all at once and don't know what to do with your feelings. I wonder what is the event we're living through now that will be cause for such a thorough investigation in the future.

Call the Midwife
I have never tried to get Steve to watch this, which he calls "The Screaming Show" (because with  at least a birth per episode, there is an awful lot of screaming in it.) Some parts of it are a little cloying, like the music (the songs at the beginning and the end of each episode are a little much) and the sometimes-fuzzy  filters, but I find it, as Emily Nussbaum described, both comforting but also transgressive. It can be intensely sad, or gross, and doesn't flinch away from being a show about its time (I appreciate that it's never done jokingly when you see a pregnant lady light a cigarette.) One of my favorite things about it is how Chummy calls her son "Young Sir" which I think would be a cute nickname to give one of my kids if I didn't feel like the train had left the station in terms of nicknames.

Orange is the New Black
I'm only partway through this new season and I don't think I've gotten to any of the big shocking parts. I am starting to come to terms with the fact that I might be a little attracted to Joe Caputo--he's just ambitious and confident and angry enough to rescue him from being a full on sad sack. Incidentally, as I finished up this post, a friend of mine linked to this article "Orange is the New Black is Trauma Porn Written for White People" which I didn't read d/t spoilers but now of course it makes me wonder if I'm a jerk for watching this show. (Newsflash: the Internet will let you know that everything you do and like makes you a jerk.)