I recently suffered a horrendous, never-ending cold—during a week of gorgeous weather, no less—and had no choice but to camp out on the couch with a box of Kleenex in one hand and my remote control in the other. My only joy over those few days was TV—which made me realize that, when it's done right, television can be chicken soup for the ailing viewer's cold. Here are the top ten things I'm excited to find on TV when I'm sick. Feel free to add your own in the comments section, below.
Especially if there's clothing for sale. There’s nothing like listening to the drone of QVC’s always-bubbly pitchwomen as they try to move loose-fitting tunics with “just the right amount of sparkle” to soothe you into a healing slumber.
9. SyFy original movies
From Ice Spiders to Bone Eater to Rise of the Gargoyles (featuring the tagline, “When mythic monsters awaken, Paris is history”), the SyFy network works hard to bring us the most consistently odd-looking and poorly acted science fiction movies around. Nice and distracting, plus there's almost always one on.
8. The Food Network
Simply close your eyes and pretend that your mom is making you that chicken soup, but with Tasty Tarragon Clusters and a Side of Asparagus Bread!
7. America’s Next Top Model marathons
Frequently aired over the weekend (when you’re especially bummed to be stuck home sick), you can follow 14 girls from makeovers to Smizing 101 to eliminations all in one fell swoop. Just be careful: ANTM is just as easy to get sucked into when you are completely well.
6. The Golden Girls
An old standby. As comfy as a pair of old pajamas, with laughs that are gentle and sweet. Especially effective when you have a fever.
5. VH1 shows that involve New York, Flava Flav, or Tila Tequila
You can sometimes catch these in reruns, and they’re great for those suffering from stomach ailments: Watching the horrors on your screen will either make you forget your pain or help you to rid yourself of it.
4. The Today Show
A rare treat for a full-time employee out sick. Catch up on all the awkward interviews, the many attempts at pop culture relevance, and the train wreck that is the fourth hour. Pairs well with hot tea.
3. Anything related to The Soup
Joel McHale consistently dishes out the best weekly television commentary in bite-sized, easy-to-swallow chunks. Extra points if you catch a “Soup Presents” special that highlights amazing talk show or reality TV moments.
2. Law & Order
You know there will be a murder in the first 30 seconds, you know that the detectives will be cracking wise as they investigate, you know the most obvious suspect won’t be the culprit, you know they’ll find the murderer, and you know there will be a witty one-liner at the end. Just relax—the NYPD has got this. (Bonus: It doesn't matter if you doze off, because you've either already seen the episode or can catch it again next week.)
The crazy-doctor drama edges out Law & Order only because when you’re sick, medical issues are more relevant to you. Puzzle over the cases, cheer on the surly Dr. House, and compare the patients' symptoms to your own to make sure you don’t have Adult-Onset Stills Disease.
What shows do you like to watch when you're home sick?