Netflix and chill doesn’t have to mean what you dirty millennials slowly made it become. I’m fond of a good Netflix and Chili myself.
Although you might not want to actually mix significant amounts of onion and garlic (as any good chili requires) to your informal date, you ought to include at least some Netflix watching lest you be rightfully dubbed a scheming schmuck. If they can’t be bothered to laugh through a single episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or 30 Rock before attempting to turn the date R-rated, that’s a dealbreaker ladies.
Netflix boasts an exhaustive list of B-movies and Oscar-winners, but if you’re going with a proper Netflix and chill date, it’s a good idea to have a few good TV options. A two-hour film is a long commitment for a date that takes place in the dark, especially if, halfway into it, your date realizes your movie choice was terrible. Since a “Netflix and Chill” date is the only date where you won’t get chastised for showing up in your comfortable, sexy, undies, you want to make sure your programming choices are up to snuff. It may be tempting to try to show off your high-brow taste by introducing your date to critically acclaimed shows such as House of Cards or Black Mirror, just remember that this means having to watch Kevin Spacey snap a dog’s neck and the Prime Minister of the UK engage in sexual congress with a pig in each first episode, respectively. The rest of House of Cards, while amazing, does not get any less depressing, and the ultra high-quality Black Mirror also gets pretty depressing too, albeit it with less bestiality. Spoilers, I know, but you’re welcome in advance. Here are five shows you can watch a lot more comfortably.
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
With enough of an edge that there’s no 90s sitcom feel, this Netflix original created by Tina Fey is the perfect combination of feel-good humor that anyone can get behind. Having spent the last decade in a bomb shelter with her sister-wives and a preacher who lied that the apocalypse had occurred, Kimmy Schmidt must now face the world 10-years behind the rest of us, and with the stigma of being looked upon with as pity one of the infamous “Natesville Mole-women.” Seeking to escape her past, Kimmy moves to the Big Apple, and 30 Rock 2.0 happens in the best possible way. Even if your date hates the show (in which case, dump them), no one can hate the best intro song of all time. Even better, a second season has already been filmed for 2015 release and the show has already been greenlit for a third season!
If your date has ever listened to NPR at any time in their life, chances are they can appreciate Portlandia. A sketch comedy show unlike anything else, Portlandia can occasionally feel like cultural commentary or a “skewer” of the Austin/Portland “Keep it weird” mantra. However, more often, the show just feels like a delightfully quirky experiment from SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein that nobody ever got around to pulling the plug on. Portlandia is a solid Netflix and chill choice no matter what season you start with. Each has the same bite-sized vignettes of absurd awesomeness that manages to have enough heart at its core that this show is worth sharing with a partner, and definitely not at all an Adult Swim “weird-for-the-sake-of-weird” production. An IFC original, all but the last season of Portlandia is now available streaming on Netflix. May your date have more romance than Carrie and Fred’s.
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
While this is not the safest of choices if your date is of a highly religious or conservative persuasion, sometimes laughing at awful people behaving horribly is the perfect way to break the ice. If your date has never heard of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it’s worth introducing this show with the qualification that it is essentially Seinfeld if the cast were all psychopaths and sociopaths rather than merely self-absorbed narcissists. An FX original, all but the last season of this show is also available on Netflix’s growing catalogue.
- The Office
I know, The Office may seem like a bland choice, but I defy you to watch any episode start-to-finish and not at least chuckle. Even when Steve Carell leaves the show, there are plenty of gems in the Michael Scott-free episodes. Although the first few seasons may seem a little slow, The Office is full of plenty of humor to keep things light and fun, and the Jim and Pam romance is sure to melt even if the most cynical of hearts. Pam Beesly and Jim = PB&J.
5) Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel
For B-movie special effects and explosive amounts of nostalgia, episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel are perfect choices. The perfect mix of soap opera, silliness, and female-empowered action, the self-aware dialogue that is unmistakably Whedon-esque is a much more date-friendly option than encouraging your date to finally check out Firefly. Albeit a great show, don’t introduce Firefly to someone on a date. It doesn’t usually go well. Stick with the show that knew vampire drama was ridiculous even before Twilight and True Blood were a thing.
While Buffy fans might have a problem with the two being lumped together, it’s worth mentioning that if you work your way through the Angel catalogue, you’ll eventually get to see a young Mad Men’s Pete Campbell back when he was a moody, demon-slaying without an artificially-receding hairline.
“Wait, what!?” you ask. What about Nurse Jackie, Better Call Saul, Orange is the New Black and [insert my favorite show here]. While each of those are great, often hilarious shows, you can’t exactly just dive in to a random episode of many of these without a lot of context, nor can you pick up three episodes later having missed… a significant amount of the plot. This is a necessary quality of any proper Netflix and chill content, and something all five of these items have in spades.