Thanks, Obama. For real.
Recently, President Obama sat down with the New York Times’ chief book critic Michiko Kakutani to discuss his reading list. Because of course he still found time to read, despite being the leader of the free world and the father of two teenagers. What I’m more concerned about, obviously, is his TV viewing list. While President Obama has talked about his favorite shows in the past, the Wire being one (he would have lost the hipster TV vote otherwise), Sportscenter another (same), he is clearly very behind the cultural zeitgeist.
Given the range and depth of stories being told today, I think this is a excellent time to broaden Barry’s TV habits. So, President Obama, here is a list of shows for you to watch after your watch has ended. Thank you for serving this country with grace, humility, and tireless dedication. We start with….
Please Like Me, an Australian comedy that’s awkward in all the best ways. It’s charming, it’s short, and it has literally nothing to do with race relations in America. Please Like Me tells the story of Josh Thomas, am adorable 20-something who’s recently come out to his friends and family. The cast of characters who needle, irritate, and love him include his recently divorced parents, his slovenly and supportive roommate, his best friend who is a dog and his ex-girlfriend turned new friend. While Tony Abbott, Australia’s version of our current president, has done his best to spread discord and hatred in what’s already quite a racist country, it’s reassuring to know there’s still shows like this being made. Quietly, slowly, surely. Please Like Me won’t change your life, but it’ll make you laugh and cringe and connect with people across the globe who do respect you and the work you’ve done these past 8 years.
Next up, Atlanta. Your Spotify playlist and your White House concert guest list indicate a deep appreciation for all types of music, but definitely for contemporary rap and hip hop. This beautifully shot and incredibly scored show about struggling rappers in Atlanta was created by Golden Globe winner Donald Glover. The show captures a sense of place with authenticity and nuance much like The Wire did, and it would be a good way to get you back in touch with people outside of the beltway. Maybe you could cameo in Season 2? We’re finally starting to see more black stories being told by and for black people enter the mainstream in a robust way. And they're finally getting recognition for their artistry. Get in on that.
You’ve been a champion of science. You started the tradition of White House Science Fairs, and you’ve spoken time and time again about restoring science to it’s rightful place as well as how much protecting the planet means to you. Bravo, Mr. President. I think you might like Planet Earth 2. While the people you served let you down in November, the planet still thanks you. Gorgeous shots of sweeping deserts in Namibia or majestic views of mountains in Yellowstone will remind you how you successfully worked to preserve our oceans, take action on climate change, and protect our national monuments. Cuddle up with Michelle, grab a hot toddy, and enjoy some breathtaking cinematography in ultra high definition and a score by Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer.
Black Mirror, Charlie Booker's modern day Twilight Zone. I know you love technology, but there’s an episode in Season 2 about a boorish, out of control cartoon who runs for political office by saying awful things. Please for the love of your mental health, do not watch that episode.
I hope you take a break from the colossal threats to our democracy. You deserve some time to relax.
What else should President Obama watch? Let me know in the comments!
And stay tuned next week for recommendations to one Donald Junior as he gets ready to become commander in chief. Sigh.