Design

Help! What TV Shows Do You Watch as a Couple?

Will and Grace

The other day, Alex and I were at a dinner party, and we got into a rousing debate…

What TV shows do you watch with your partner? It’s the question that comes up most often with my married friends.

If it were up to Alex, he’d watch World War II documentaries on YouTube all night. If I got carte blanche, I’d watch dark comedies with a female lead. Of course, like everyone else, we also have idiosyncrasies: I get scared of super scary stuff (The Handmaid’s Tale gave me nightmares), and Alex doesn’t like things that feel too much like day-to-day life (“I spend my whole day in an office; I don’t want to watch The Office,” he says.)

So, what crowd-pleasing shows are out there? With universal storylines? That pass the Bechdel test?

Over the past ten years together, here’s what we’ve both liked:
Mad Men
Alias Grace
Insecure
High Maintenance
The Crown
Breaking Bad
Better Call Saul
Master of None
Homeland
Atlanta
Fargo
30 Rock
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Peaky Blinders

Or you can go old-school. Says my friend Gemma: “We put Jeopardy on and have a competition. It’s brutal, we’re both very competitive. I’m better than he is, but I’m extremely turned on when he knows stuff. Sometimes he’ll be like, these are not my genres, and I’m like, you can’t blame the genres!”

The only catch is when you have to wait to watch together. “My girlfriend and I watch the Great British Bake Off,” says our editorial assistant Franny. “Since we’re long-distance, I’ll see on my Hulu that she’s already watched something. She’s like, no, I didn’t. But I know.”

What about you? What shows do you watch as a couple? Please share any recommendations!

P.S. John Hamm photobombing people, Mindy Kaling on friendship and real actors reading Yelp reviews.

(Photos of Will & Grace, Mad Men, Fargo, Insecure and the Crown. Bottom cartoon by Zachary Kanin for the New Yorker.)

  1. is one of the most underrated comedies ever made, and it almost pains me that it doesn’t earn more praise. Right from the title sequence, which documents BoJack’s sad decline from network sitcom star to drunken has-been—set to the beautiful theme song written by the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney—this is one of the most thoughtful comedies ever made. Which doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious, of course. Will Arnett is the perfect voice for BoJack, and Paul F. Tompkins, who is in my mind the funniest man on planet Earth, could not be better suited to the child-like Mr. Peanut Butter. This is a show that isn’t above a visual gag or vicious banter or a wonderfully cheap laugh, but it also looks some very hard realities of life straight in the eye. There are times when you will hate BoJack—this is not a straight redemption story, and the minute you think he’s on the upswing, he will do something absolutely horrible to let you down. (There’s a special irony in the fact that a horse is one of the most human characters on TV, and the unblinking examination of his character makes “Escape from L.A.” one of the best episodes of TV this year.) So why isn’t it loved beyond a strong cult following? Maybe it’s the anthropomorphism that keeps people away, or maybe it’s the animation, but I implore you: Look beyond those elements, settle into the story, and let yourself be amazed by a comedy that straddles the line between hilarious and sad like no other. —

  2. Grace says...

    Dear Jo,
    Do you watch any TV shows as a family with the kids? Would love to hear what those are!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Good q! We watch movies as a family but not so much shows. But I do kind of like fuller house with Toby :)