Shows (and one movie) that make you cringe
Sometimes I’ll settle in to watch 30 Rock and after 20 minutes, despite not getting any of To the Lighthouse read, I’ll be in a better mood because I spent the better part of that time laughing hysterically. But there are some TV shows that I watch and just feel uncomfortable the entire time.
Usually they’re incredibly funny, but they’re just so unbelievably awkward that sometimes I have to avert my eyes from the screen because I feel the shame that other characters lack—here are a few shows that make me feel incredibly awkward. Try not to cringe at some of the shows listed after the jump.
In case you haven’t seen Louis CK’s amazing FX show, you should drop what you’re doing and watch a few episodes right now. It’s on Netflix and it’s amazing. But it’s also horribly uncomfortable a lot of the time. The situations that CK puts his fictional alter-ego are cringe-worthy almost 99% of the time. There was the episode where he appears on a cable news show and argues against a religious twentysomething, which is pretty unpleasant to watch but isn’t exactly the worst. One of the most cringe-worthy scenes is one that follows a disastrous first date with Chelsea Peretti. This applies more to the latter example, but sometimes it makes you feel awkward because you know it could be you.
We’re not going to talk about what a disaster The Office has been since Steve Carrell left, because it has and it makes me sad. But when he was on the show, Carrell managed to perfectly portray Michael Scott, a man for who even the simplest human interactions were horribly awkward. For example, trying to sell a woman a printer ends in an awkward lean-in for a kiss. Or hugging someone. But he’s what made The Office good, so it must be a good thing that he made you feel shame for his character.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David is the brains behind Seinfeld, and therefore probably one of the best TV writers ever to live (this isn’t substantiated, of course). Curb Your Enthusiasm manages to be off-putting for the opposite reason that Louie does: you can’t imagine someone having such little shame that they would say or do the things Larry and other characters do on the show–for example, disputing whether Jeff Garlin’s character is poorly endowed or not… If you get through that linked video without cringing or being even mildly put off, you might need to get a psychological evaluation.
Bonus Movie: Superbad
I’ve watched Superbad more times than I think Seth Rogen has, and he wrote it. One scene that I still can’t get through without being a little horrified by what’s being said is the scene where Emma Stone gets Jonah Hill to buy her alcohol. From start to finish, it just leaves you wondering if there are actual people who say things like this to other people.
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