TV

TV Shows You Can Give, Like, 30% Of Your Attention While You Work From Home

So. You’ve found yourself in the midst of a global pandemic. You’re working from home. Here's all the TV to watch while you're "working".

working from home quarantine tv

So. You’ve found yourself in the midst of a global pandemic. You’re working from home. You’ve read all sorts of advice about maintaining productivity in these strange circumstances.

You’ve decided to disregard it all. 

To which I say: good for you!

Do what you need to survive and thrive in this strange new world. If that means getting up and putting your work clothes on just to sit five metres from your bed and pretend everything is fine, hey, do you.

But if you’d rather work from your couch, in your pyjamas, like the garbage slug you’ve always been, now is your time to shine. 

Let’s not kid ourselves that we’re all going to be totally focused on work in the next few weeks. We all know we’re going to be eating our way through quarantine snacks at 11am with Netflix on in the background.

As someone who has been living this garbage slug (aka working from home) lifestyle for over a year, let me be your guide in this new era with a list of tried-and-tested TV shows you can have on in the background while also getting something done. 

Is it good for your brain to multi-task? Absolutely not. But whatever portion of your brain that is taken up with Jessica’s baby voice on Love is Blind is also not being consumed by coronavirus anxiety. And that, my friends, is what I call a win.

So on to the shows…


Love is Blind

Love Is Blind

If you haven’t already jumped on board this disastrous bandwagon, get on it.

Netflix’s entry into the dating show genre is quite something. Contestants get to know one another through a wall, without seeing each other (very appropriate for our social distancing times), and within a week have to find someone to propose to before going on to get married a month later.

It’s a RIDE.


The Circle

The Circle Netflix Good Show

Another pandemic-appropriate reality show in which contestants are completely isolated in their own rooms and don’t even speak to each other except via instant messages.

Some people catfish, others are totally themselves, and they have to figure out who is genuine and who isn’t as they compete to be the last person standing.

Gripping in a way that doesn’t require much attention at all.


Say Yes to the Dress

There are soooo many seasons and different iterations of this out there, but the formula is always the same: bride tries on pretty and/or hideous dresses. Bride doesn’t like pretty and/or hideous dresses. Bride tries on one last pretty and/or hideous dress and it is THE one.

Bride says yes to the dress.

There’s something soothing in its repetitiveness, and you only need to glance at the screen every so often to check just how fugly the gowns are.


The Great British Bake-Off

This is the ultimate warm blanket of a comfort show.

Everyone is nice and charmingly British as they bake nice and charming treats in a nice and charming tent with nice and charming hosts and nice and charming judges. You don’t need to follow along with all the ups and downs to enjoy the experience.

It might make you burn through your snack stash quicker than you would otherwise, though. 


Nailed It

This is one baking show that probably won’t have you craving sweets. Mostly because the contestants’ creations are overwhelming always disasters.

Which is kind of the point. The amateur bakers on this show put the emphasis on amateur, as they try to replicate extravagant concoctions that should take hours in a matter of minutes. It’s very funny, and needs, like, 10% of your attention at most.


Riverdale

Riverdale

Look, I honestly don’t recommend watching this show at all. It’s a mess.

At this point I feel like it’s holding me hostage. I want to escape but I just can’t. (Yes, this is a cry for help.) But if you’re like me and for whatever reason you feel compelled to watch this hellfire show, doing it while working is the only way to endure it.

You’ll get a vague idea of what’s happening, and that’s all you need. Of course, you might find yourself questioning if you don’t understand the plot because you weren’t paying enough attention or because it’s just that damn incomprehensible.

The answer will almost always be the latter.


Skins

Skins is pretty grim overall, so it’s best not to give it your undivided attention.

With different episodes focusing on individual characters, you can save the ones you care about (Chris, Jal, Freddie, Cook, Grace, Rich) for when you’re procrastinating and leave the rest for when you need to focus more on work. 


The Office and Parks and Recreation

Admit it, you’ve seen these shows 1001 times already. You can probably quote them by heart. You don’t particularly need to follow the plots. Just bathe in the background noise of the characters you know and love. 


Catfish

The only truly interesting part of Catfish is the big confrontation in each episode.

And the occasional glimpse of Nev’s problematic chest hair. If you time it right, you can reach it (the confrontation, not the chest hair) just as your attention begins to wane from work and you’re ready for a solid five-minute distraction.


The Golden Girls

The Golden Girls Review Stan

If you’re not a fan of The Golden Girls by now, frankly you’ve been wasting your life.

What better time than a global pandemic to remedy that (or just revisit it for the millionth time, if you’re a smart person who loves it already).

The Golden Girls continuity is a MESS, but the jokes are always excellent, meaning it’s the perfect show to dip in and out of it at will. 


The Nanny

The Nanny

Rewatching The Nanny is like going back to a simpler time: the ‘90s.

When all you cared about was whether your mum would take you through the Macca’s drive thru on the way home from Netball training. It’s the exact kind of vibe we all need in our lives right now.

The candy-coloured costumes and killer one-liners are the perfect antidote to *gestures vaguely at the world*.


Jenna Guillaume is a Sydney-based writer who loves all things TV and pop culture. She tweets @JennaGuillaume, and her new book, ‘What I Like About Me’ is available now.