27 Pieces of Escapist Media You Can Turn to Since the World is a Dumpster Fire
The world is pretty bad, now. Every once in a while, for your sanity, you have to forget how bad it is. That’s where silly and fun books, movies, shows, podcasts, and more come in.
It’s not shameful to indulge in escapist media in a landscape like the one we’re in today. It’s necessary. So have some fun. To help you with this, I listed out my favorite escapist media, and asked friends to share theirs, too. There’s books to video games to movies and YouTube series.
- Anything by Tana French: It may seem counterintuitive to recommend dark, murder-y, psychological thrillers as escapism, but trust me, you will be gripped by these books and unable to think about anything else when you are reading them.
- The London Celebrities Series: Sexy London stage actors do sexy things and also act. Fun, formulaic, maybe a little bit problematic when it comes to relationships between hetero men and women… but who cares, everything is burning, let me have this.
- Startup: Wickedly fun observations about millennials working in tech reporting and startups.
- The Royal We: The Fug Girls, the Greatest Cultural Commenters of Our Time, wrote the most fun royal escapist book a few years ago and IT PREDICTED MEGHAN MARKLE!!! (Sort of)
- Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper: Thinly-veiled fictional version of a famous actress in what turns out to be basically a contract marriage with a thinly-veiled send-up of a Scientologist.
- The Wedding Date (and the forthcoming The Proposal by the same author): Such a fun romance novel about a courtship between a woman who brings along a fake date to a wedding.
- The Lady Julia Grey mysteries: These books are legit dumb as shit, and you’ll want to throttle the title character by like, the fourth book, but they are the definition of escapist. Rich woman solves mysteries in Victorian England and lusts after a moody private investigator.
- My friend Alicia recommends the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy: “When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.”
- My friend Courtney recommends, “Every single book by Elin Hildebrand. They are the perfect relax beach reads.”
- Set It Up (Netflix): I shouted this out in a previous issue of my newsletter, but it’s just legit adorable.
- Also apparently You’ve Got Mail is on HBO this month, so get to it.
- Pop Culture Happy Hour: Three or four really fun and charismatic NPR hosts dissect their favorite TV shows, movies, music, and more. And they end almost every episode with a beautiful segment called “What’s Making Us Happy This Week,” where they recommend the best things they are consuming that week.
- Forever35 podcast: Self care from two olds (by olds, I mean, two women who are like my age, late 30s/early 40s). They bring on fun guests who talk about everything from skin care to important routines to whatever is on their mind.
- My friend Becky recommends: “Not really escapist but I like Sam Jones’s interviews with actors on his Off Camera podcast…they very occasionally touch on politics but mostly you just get to hear about someone else’s awesome life.”
- Younger (TVLand, but you can buy on Amazon): Again, have shouted this out in my newsletter, but I haven’t binged a show like this in a while. A 40-year-old has to pretend to be a 26-year-old to get a job in publishing, with her biggest problems being should she date a hot 26-year-old tattoo artist, or her equally hot and age-appropriate boss.
- Lovesick (Netflix): Cute young British people are sad, funny, and in love with each other. Two seasons, the best.
- Veronica Mars (available to buy on Amazon): My favorite TV show of all time. Again, kind of dark (the first season has Veronica trying to figure out who murdered her best friend) but it’s so compelling you won’t be able to think about anything else while watching.
- My friend Rebecca recommends Claws, on TNT: “Claws is a midnight-dark, wickedly funny meditation on female badness set in a South Florida nail salon. It follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists working at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon.”
- My friend Kriston says: “I’m catching up on The Flash and the other CW super shows. They’re good. I’m glad I didn’t watch when they were on so I can binge them now.”
- My friend Adam recommends the animated Gravity Falls (Disney, Hulu): “Twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are sent to spend the summer with their great-uncle, Grunkle Stan, in the mysterious town of Gravity Falls, Ore. Grunkle Stan has the kids help him run The Mystery Shack, the tourist trap that he owns.”
- My friend Rachel recommends The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo (YouTube): “A fast paced, fringe-meets-mainstream comedy following a group of young friends desperate for love and thrills.”
- My friend Arlene says, “For TV, Big Dreams Small Spaces (Netflix) is so soothing. It’s a soft spoken British guy helping people fix up their gardens. It’s so lovely.”
- My friend James recommends How It’s Made: “A series that documents how various everyday products are made.”
- My friend Arlene recommends Binging with Babish: “Binging with Babish is a cooking show dedicated to discovering what the delectable (and occasionally horrible) foods from fiction actually taste like.”
- My friend Duncan recommends Firewatch: “ Firewatch is ~4–6 hours of walking around in a forest. Things happen, someone dies, you might recognize the actor’s voice who supplies yours, and maybe there’s even a fire — but the best thing about the game is how beautiful it is.”
- My friend Missy recommends Overcooked: “The kitchen video game has all the drama of ‘Chopped’ with the added rush of battling monsters.”
- My friend Arlene says, “For video games I have been playing a lot of Stardew Valley again. It’s a role playing sim farm game perfect for a Video Game Lite kind of person. There are tasks and just enough story line to keep you engaged but it’s not overly complicated or long like Skyrim.”
What else? Share your escapist media in the comments below.