Little Things: Bring in the Small Joys

I’ve struggled emotionally over the past few weeks. I think it has to do with both the election and the end of the year seeming closer than ever with only the vaguest of pandemic resolutions in sight. So I’ve embraced the eff-it attitude, soaking in joy-inducing entertainment that reminds me that this might be a temporary normal but, God willing, it doesn’t have to be our new forever. Think of my new 2020 mentality as Emily in the Gilmore Girls reunion when she’s happy to toss anything that doesn’t bring her joy.

I’ve never had any particular feelings for or against Drew Barrymore, probably because E.T. just freaked me out as a child and none of her other work was formative for me. But her earth mother-esque quality intertwined with brutal honesty is what won me over about her new talk show’s YouTube channel. While her actual interviews become a little too earnest for me, I recommend her pre-premiere “The Art of the Interview” videos with Andy Cohen, Whoopi Goldberg, and Gayle King, followed by Chloe Fineman’s SNL parody of the show.

Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish) was the most heartwarming, unexpected delight I’ve had in weeks. Florence Pugh and Ben Platt! Florence and Zach Braff’s dog getting credited! The major surprise guest and the oh-so subtle Parent Trap nod! Steve Martin fitting back into character perfectly! Consider this a win in the realm of Zoom cast reunions.

Michelle Buteau’s Netflix special, Welcome to Buteaupia, had me cackling out loud while completely alone. Watching pre-pandemic things from live shows has a mixed effect on me lately, but during this, I was able to forget that a large group of strangers can’t congregate to laugh together right now. If you need an hour of unbridled joy, queue this up immediately.

Why did no one tell me that David Tennant’s podcast was back for a second season?! Seeing as the first season wrapped in May 2019 and there were no new episodes this past spring, I thought this was a one-and-done deal, so I was thrilled when a stumble upon the podcast’s Spotify page about a month ago proved me wrong. Tennant is such a warm presence on these episodes, and he’s a very gentle but thorough interviewer in a way I haven’t noticed on other celebrity-interviews-celebrity podcasts.

Speaking of those podcasts, I’ve also dipped into Kate and Oliver Hudson’s Sibling Revelry, which is them interviewing a pair of either famous siblings (seen in their Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner episode) or a famous person and their semi-public sibling (like the Amy Schumer and Kim Caramele episode). Some of my favorite conversations were with Willie and Libby Geist (I have a thing for broadcast news guys, so Willie is a bit of a weird crush for me) and Maddie and Zoey Deutch. The Hudsons most recently spoke to the Fanning sisters, so that’s my next listen!

I normally keep up with the Teen Mom franchise haphazardly. I’ll always be a little invested in the women because I’ve watched them since the 16 and Pregnant days, but before the past few months, my exposure was limited to random episode clips that popped up on YouTube. After discovering the Teen Mom Trash Talk podcast, I’ve actually made watching new Teen Mom OG and Teen Mom 2 episodes a habit so I can enjoy the hosts’ commentary to the fullest. They’re longtime best friends from the Queens area, so I feel very familiar with their sense of humor and points of reference, and their episodes always brighten up my Monday mornings.

Also, the return of 16 and Pregnant was the only dumpster fire I actually needed in 2020, but Madisen’s premiere episode and her beautiful relationship with her single dad were a happy surprise.

My seasonal rewatch of Hocus Pocus was so enjoyable. Again, maybe blame it on the pandemic, but I found the movie so much lovelier than I remember. I’m not one for horror and gore around Halloween, so just fitting in a watch of Halloweentown will then top off spooky season for me.

As if I wasn’t already, I’m 100 percent here for Aaron Tveit and Laura Osnes’s Hallmark Christmas movie after its trailer release. Small joys, remember?

Mindy Kaling’s new essay collection, Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes), was another unexpected joy that kind of snuck up on me. I was aware of its release, but the past week’s realization that Amazon Prime members could download it for free was brand new information for me. I zoomed through these essays in about two hours, and each one was like a warm, hilarious hug from Kaling. I only wish this was a full book (and cheers to our girl for secretly being pregnant and having a baby during the pandemic!).

Want to know a secret? I’ve tried and failed to get into The West Wing multiple times. I totally recognize its high quality, but something has always stopped me from fully embracing it. However, the trailer for the HBO Max special is so moving and poignant that I’m tempted to try again. Also, Sterling K. Brown as Leo is such a powerful move, although I agree with TVLine’s point that the choice makes Leo look more like a contemporary of the younger characters’ than of Jed’s.

What with so many renewed shows getting canceled because of COVID, I couldn’t help but feel relieved when Season 2 production of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist officially kicked off.

How are you doing? What are your small joys now?

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