TV Therapy: 10 Shows That Boost Our Mental Health



new-girl-therapyPhoto: Courtesy of Fox.
Your alarm never went off. Your boss is crabby. You're going through a breakup. The problems just feel too overwhelming to even deal with, and you're too emotionally exhausted to even talk about it with a therapist. We so feel you. Which is why sometimes we'd rather skip the therapy appointment and turn on our trusted televisions instead.

Our current go-to show? The New Girl. Maybe it's Zooey Deschanel's awesome hair, or the band of adorable roommates who never seem to have anybody else to hang out with, but The New Girl never fails to cheer us up. It's not earth-shatteirngly good, or even fall-on-the-floor funny, but it's the perfect 22-minute escape. Watching an episode or three gets us out of our heads and into a fluffy fake Los Angeles where everyone's attractive and the apartments are ridiculously huge. We know it's not real— and we probably wouldn't want to live with three messy dude roommates (you know the show is fantasy because there are never any dirty dishes in the sink) — but it does offer a nice respite from our stressful day-to-day.

After the jump, nine more shows we've sought out to soothe our emotions.
louie-therapyPhoto: Courtesy of FX.
We think of Louie as something of a philosopher-comedian — TV's red-headed Buddha king. Nothing's perfect in Louie's world, which makes us feel a little bit better about all the things that go wrong in ours. Still, we think he's got plenty to teach us.

Use for the treatment of: General existential dilemmas, life crises, questioning what the "point of it all" is. Louie will remind you that there really isn't one.

Prescription: Watch his self-titled series on Netflix, or check out his stand-up performance, Live at the Beacon Theater, also available on Netflix's streaming service.

fnl-therapyPhoto: Courtesy of NBC.
It's been off the air for a few years now, but we're still not over the end of Friday Night Lights. A show about football, but so much more, FNL made us wish we lived in Dillon, TX, and that Coach and Tami Taylor would consider adopting us.

Use for the treatment of: Depression. Aimlessness. Coach and Tami always know the right thing to do. And they know that doing what's right isn't always what's easy. Ugh, love those two.

Prescription: Start from the beginning, but save some episodes for when you're feeling really, really desperate. Oh, and force yourself to get through the first half of the second season. It does get better.
satc---therapy-Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Sex and the City is a ridiculous show in so many ways — how a woman who wrote one sex column a week could afford a one-bedroom apartment and an endless selection of Manolo Blahnik's is beyond us. But that's precisely why it's such a great show to watch when we're feeling distressed. It's not based in reality — at all — so it's an easy escape.

Use for the treatment of: Depression, anxiety, shoe envy. Sometimes the best way to deal with your problems is to put them aside for a little while and to fall into a deep brunch-and-tutu-filled K-hole. We wholly support you on that.

Prescription: You can find all six seasons on HBO Go, HBO's streaming video service. But please, do not go off in search of a Mr. Big of your own.
homeland---therapyPhoto: Courtesy of Showtime.
Homeland is all about high-intensity drama, so it seems counterintuitive that it would help you deal with yours. But hey, we figure that when you're having a bad day and your boss is being annoying, at least you can take solace in the fact that your boyfriend (probably, maybe) isn't a wanted terrorist.

Use for the treatment of: Anxiety, because whatever you're going through probably isn't nearly as bad as Carrie's last 24 hours.

Prescription: At least three episodes and a glass or two of wine, followed by some jazz. It's the way Carrie would want it.

gilmore-girls-therapyPhoto: Courtesy of the WB.
Sure, to some, Rory and Lorelai Gilmore's mother-daughter relationship may have bordered on too-close-for-comfort. But for the rest of us, The Gilmore Girls shared an enviable closeness that we wished we could have experienced with our moms. Plus, Stars Hollow seemed like a rather idyllic, stress-free place to grow up, right?

Use for the treatment of: Family drama. We're not saying you and your mom need to be as close as Rory and Lorelai, but sharing mutual respect and admiration is something every family could benefit from.

Prescription: Weekly episodes (the WB streams them), preferably while Skyping with your mom.
family-ties-therapyPhoto: Courtesy of NBC.
Family Ties was the ideal nuclear family of the '80s. Loving, warm, and super charming, we totally wanted Elyse and Steven Keaton to be our parents.

Use for the treatment of: Homesickness. We associate Family Ties with watching TV with our folks when we were kids. Who didn't have a crush on young Republican Alex P. Keaton? This show totally brings us back to those days.

Prescription: Binge watch all seven seasons on Netflix.

rhooc-therapyPhoto: Courtesy of Bravo.
The Real Housewives — any of the franchises — can work wonders if you're down in the dumps. No matter the season or cast, you can on some high velocity drama, and a complete failure to grasp reality.

Use for the treatment of: Loneliness. The Housewives remind us it could be worse. At least we don't have to go to a bizarre strawberry-flavored tequila tasting party with a bunch of our frenemies tonight, right?

Prescription: Apply sparingly. Too many episodes can definitely be toxic.
sister-wives-therapyPhoto: Courtesy of TLC.
Sister Wives is a reality show following the lives of Mormon polygamist Kody Brown, his four wives Meri, Robyn, Christine and Janelle, and their 17 children.

Use for the treatment of: Relationship issues. Feeling stressed out about your own romantic situation? Odds are it's not nearly as complicated as the many machinations of the Brown clan. Your relationship woes will seem easy-breezy in comparison.

Prescription: Watch on Netflix, but don't wallow too long.
golden-girls---therapyPhoto: Courtesy of NBC.
What's not to love about The Golden Girls? A wickedly funny show about four sassy friends living it up in a retirement community in Florida? We'll take it.

Use for the treatment of: Whatever ails you. Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia distilled good living down to a science. The key to happiness is having great friends to share it with. End of story.

Prescription: Sadly, Golden Girls isn't available on Netflix, but you can catch quite a few of the episodes on YouTube. It also airs regularly on the Hallmark Channel. Now it's your turn. Tell us what you watch when you're feeling down.