What is your favorite piece of feel good entertainment?

What is your favorite piece of feel good entertainment?

Clockwise from left: Kiki’s Delivery Service (Screenshot); Pushing Daisies (Screenshot); The Princess Bride (Screenshot)

Clockwise from left: Kiki’s Delivery Service (Screenshot); Pushing Daisies (Screenshot); The Princess Bride (Screenshot)
Graphic: Baraka Kaseko

This week’s AVQ&A, from web producer Baraka Kaseko, honors the return of comfort food sitcom Ted Lasso:

What is your favorite piece of feel good entertainment?

We kicked off this discussion by first posing it to readers on our Facebook page. Read on to find some of their picks along with The A.V. Club’s, and make your favorites known on that original post or in the comments below.

Pushing Daisies

In Pushing Daisies, Bryan Fuller creates a whimsical and vivid world where there’s murder, but also lots of pie. The ever so delightful Lee Pace stars as Ned, the pie maker with the uncanny ability to bring dead things back to life with the touch of a finger, with just a few caveats. After bringing his childhood sweetheart Charlotte “Chuck” Charles back to life, the two help local private investigator Emerson Cod. Though the two-bite series centers around Ned’s help with murder investigations, it’s brimming with optimism, reinforced by Jim Dale’s fairytale-like narration. With an ensemble cast made up of Kristin Chenoweth, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, and Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz as Chuck’s agoraphobic aunts, the only truly sad thing about Pushing Daisies is that there are only two seasons of it. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

Both seasons of Pushing Daisies are available to stream on HBO Max and CW Seed.

Parks And Recreation

On Facebook, Sandy Lee writes:

Parks and Recreation, especially the episodes “Leslie And Ron,” “Two Parties,” and “Eagleton.” I love the friendship that Ron and Leslie have.

Mark Bomberg adds:

Any time I’ve been in a funk, Parks & Recreation has always pulled me out of it, or at least soothed me.

You genuinely root for all the characters, and they all come out on top in the end.

All 7 seasons of Parks And Recreation are available to stream on Peacock.

4 / 15

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

This is going to feel weird, but hear me out: I’m going with Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. I’ve been a longtime viewer of the show—I even reviewed it for The A.V. Club when it first came out—and I fully understood when people claimed the Jersey crew was ruining humanity. What Family Vacation has consistently proven over its run, though, is that the crew authentically cares for each other, revels in all of its successes, and supports those who are struggling. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is now five years sober, and watching the Family Vacation crew see him off to jail and, months later, welcome him home honestly brought me to tears. The friendship that Pauly D and Vinny have is one of the most loving and charming bromances on television, and when they got friend-married a few seasons back, it was more than just a “ha ha let’s get joke married” riff. These guys are committed to being buddies for life, and their friendship lifts me up and makes me realize what friendships can be. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation reminds me that reality show stars might often seem like caricatures of the worst parts of humanity, but that the best of the bunch let you into their minds and souls and remind you what we’re all really capable of. [Marah Eakin]

The first two seasons of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation are available to stream on Hulu and Paramount+.

The Princess Bride

Sure, it has unusually sized rodents and malevolent albinos; sure, it has Prince Humperdink, and a bad man with an unusual number of fingers. But no movie, in my life, has ever made me feel warmer or safer than The Princess Bride. The perfect fairy tale, Rob Reiner’s classic remains funny and heartfelt for me in equal measure, whether I’m smiling along to Wallace Shawn and Andre The Giant’s peanut-based banter, or getting legitimately choked up listening to Mandy Patinkin assert “I will no fail” the next time he catches up to the six-fingered man. Buoyed up by Mark Knopfler’s gorgeous (and sometimes gorgeously cheesy) score, and a script that dances on the edges of self-awareness and mawkish sentimentality without ever tipping over into either, it’s the film I keep in the “In case of emergencies, break glass and pop popcorn” cabinet in my mind. [William Hughes]

The Princess Bride is available to stream on Disney+.

A League Of Their Own

On Facebook, Alex Gibbs writes:

A League Of Their Own. My entire state (I’m in Australia) is back in lockdown and I was really feeling it this time. Turns out this is the perfect movie to bring my mood back up. In fact, it might just be the perfect movie, period.

A League Of Their Own is available to stream on Starz.


Happy-Go-Lucky, director Mike Leigh’s enormously optimistic character study about a woman filled to the brim with, well, optimism, is a film like none other. Led by Sally Hawkins as Poppy, the movie smiles from ear to ear, greeting the world with kindness, openness, and understanding. This doesn’t mean it’s free of conflict, though. Instead, Leigh and Hawkins show a world where someone’s happiness is their strength, using it to resolve interpersonal problems without sacrificing self-respect. Poppy’s persistently cheerful disposition allows her to treat even the most distasteful and aggressive people with empathy, even it means rejecting them for her own safety. While the film’s opening scenes edge toward Manic Pixie Dream Girl status, Leigh slowly reveals Poppy to be an aspirational figure, one that can face even the most uncomfortable situations with a smile and come out on top. [Matt Schimkowitz]

Happy-Go-Lucky is available to stream on HBO Max.


Rom-coms are built around the sunny promise that, with rare exception, the protagonist will end up with the object of their affection. But even if the romantic plotlines were stripped from Clueless, you’d still have Cher Horowitz’s relentless desire, misguided as it may so often be, to improve not only her own life but those of everyone around her. While her best intentions are modest at first—performing makeovers and (sporadically) expanding her vocabulary—soon enough she’s captaining the Pismo Beach Disaster Relief and helping her friends find love. Beyond the oft-cited absurdist fashion and heightened mid-’90s slang in the teen classic is a film that feels downright radical for letting its characters try and succeed in becoming better people. [Laura Adamczyk]

Clueless is available to stream on HBO Max.

Bob’s Burgers

Bob’s Burgers is a television miracle, maintaining its wit, wonder, and sense of unconditional familial love across 11 seasons. Indeed, the animated sitcom is “TV’s best comfort food,” ideally consumed at the end of a long day, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost its ability to surprise and delight, even after more than a decade on the air. The Belchers are a spontaneous bunch, and the show’s best outings follow them on their flights of fancy—sometimes putting them at odds with one another—but always finding a way to have them rallying behind each other by episode’s end. Like a Kraft single on a toasted bun, the characters of Bob’s Burgers stick together, and that warm, gooey feeling will stick to you, too. [Cameron Scheetz]

All 11 seasons of Bob’s Burgers are available to stream on Hulu.

Your Name

I can’t argue that this is a go-to movie for me, since I just saw it for the first time, but Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name made me happy-cry harder than any other piece of pop culture has made me happy-cry before. Both Your Name and Shinkai’s follow-up, Weathering With You, hit on this idea of fantastically huge stakes as a metaphor for the difficulty of finding and keeping a connection to someone, and while I prefer Weathering With You’s rebellious refusal to flinch from darkness (it’s very much about climate change), Your Name’s sweeter and more hopeful take on the world is no less profound—and even more heartwarming. [Sam Barsanti]

Your Name is available on all major VOD platforms.

Home Town

So today’s the day I admit that I, an on-the-record HGTV hater, have seen every episode of Home Town, huh? In my defense, the things I like about the show are the things that make it different from the house-flipping series that fill me with despair: First of all, the budgets for the houses married couple Ben and Erin Napier renovate in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi are usually less than $250k. So it’s a relatively attainable dream. Second, these are vintage homes lovingly restored and designed specifically for the people who will live in them, which adds a lot of personality—and, dare I say, heart—to the process. Most of all, though, everyone’s just so sweet and earnest; even when there’s not a tearjerker storyline at play, the affection the show has for Laurel, and small towns like it, feels genuine. And coming from the similarly blighted Rust Belt, the idea of reclaiming what was once abandoned and creating the community you want to see fills me with warm and fuzzy feelings. [Katie Rife]

All 5 seasons of Home Town are available to stream on Discovery+.

12 / 15

Lee Hyori’s Bed And Breakfast

Lee Hyori’s Bed And Breakfast

Lee Hyori’s Bed And Breakfast (also called Lee Hyori’s Homestay) is a concentrated dose of soothing domesticity. In the reality series, K-pop legend Hyori is tasked with making sure her visitors have a lovely vacation on Jeju Island. She and husband Sang-soon spend each episode getting their eclectic home ready for their guests, and each season a celebrity joins the series to work with the couple. We get IU in season one, and Im Yoon-ah and South Korea’s sweetheart, Park Bo-gum, in season 2. Once the guests arrive, viewers are treated to B-roll of the stunning Jeju landscape and scenes of Hyori and her team bonding with the guests—usually over a home-cooked meal. And since traveling abroad is still out of the question for many people, the show is the perfect, warming balm for viewers desperate for some escapism. [Shanicka Anderson]

Lee Hyori’s Bed And Breakfast is no longer available on streaming or VOD platforms, but clips can be viewed on YouTube.


Several of our readers mentioned the MCU as their feel good entertainment of choice. On Facebook, Aaron Smith writes:

Make Mine Marvel! The MCU makes me feel like a kid watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. A safe place where I can escape from the day-to-day doldrums.

Most of the MCU is available to stream on Disney+.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

If you want feel good entertainment, look no further than the catalogue of beloved animation auteur Hayao Miyazaki, specifically Kiki’s Delivery Service. While there are other more conceptually ambitious films in Miyazaki’s filmography, Kiki’s charm is in its simplicity. The plot is minimal, following a 13-year-old witch who moves to a new town and opens a delivery service. But what Kiki’s lacks in complexity, it makes up for with sunny vibes, a ton of visual flair, and an abundance of compassion for its main character. [Baraka Kaseko]

Kiki’s Delivery Service is available to stream on HBO Max.

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