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I realize that everyone is loving Dave Chappelle and his Netflix special right now. That’s all well and good, but when we get down to brass tacks, it’s a mere two hours of television. Plus, Dave Chappelle isn’t exactly “laid up in bed with a glass of ice water and a Woodwick” type of t.v. He’s too funny for that. You need to be on a couch watching Chappelle do what he does best.
Now I don’t know about you guys, but two hours of Netflix is child’s play for me. I piss two hours on Netflix. What I’m trying to say is that two hours – whether it be on Netflix, HBO GO, Amazon Prime, etc. – is basically nothing in the grand scheme of things. I ran through those two Chappelle stand-ups in a single night, and while I loved both of them it’s not like I’m going to keep re-watching those all of the time.
I need something to watch while I lay in bed at night. I know it’s frowned upon in the sleeping community to have a television in your bedroom but I simply can’t go without one. Sleep scientists also say that you shouldn’t have your phone on when you’re trying to get to sleep, but if I don’t have my phone how the fuck am I supposed to wake up in the morning? With an alarm clock? Give me a break.
For me to get to sleep, I’ve gotta be watching something. But not just anything. It’s got to be a television series, an incredibly long movie, or a spell-binding documentary. Here are a few that will keep your interest peaked, while somehow simultaneously lulling you to sleep. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but these are great choices for when you want to be mildly entertained but also want to get those peepers closed.
Anything made by Ken Burns
Ken Burns and PBS go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you want a history documentary, your first choice should always be Ken Burns. He is the greatest documentarian of all time. Kenny B and the Public Broadcasting Service cannot be beaten, and since all of his documentaries are split up into multiple episodes (running about an hour a piece) there isn’t a chance that you finish an entire story in a single night or even in a week. Topics range from The Civil War and prohibition to The American West (my personal favorite). They’re all incredibly interesting, but they’re a little dull at times which is perfect for when you just want to shut your eyes.
Frasier is an all-time classic. If you haven’t watched the entire series, I highly recommend sitting down on a couch in broad daylight and watching it all the way through. In it’s heyday, Frasier was just as popular as Seinfeld. It blends the incredibly pretentious with heartfelt moments, and if you’ve seen all of them like I have you can get to bed with your eyes shut while Frasier yells at his dad. Falling asleep to “tossed salads and scrambled eggs” is fantastic.
Here’s an opinion that I’m sure no one on this website will hate: I don’t find Friends to be that great of a television show. Pound for pound, it simply doesn’t stack up against Frasier or Seinfeld, but the reason it’s mentioned here is because it’s perfect to fall asleep to. You can listen to Ross bitch about Rachel and how jealous he is all of the time or you can hear Chandler Bing make some overly sarcastic comment that usually ends with a “Ya think?” Not the greatest show ever made, but certainly a hall-of-famer when it comes to sleeping television.
Planet Earth (or any other nature show of this ilk)
Anyone who went to college and experimented with the devil’s lettuce remembers when Planet Earth came out on Blu-Ray. People really lost their shit when that show came out, and a bevy of copy cats followed after it became it was such a success. Shows like Frozen Planet and Cosmos come to mind, and you can literally pick an episode from any of these without even looking at the screen and you won’t be disappointed. Choosing a show like this in bed is basically like turning on one of those machines that mimics the ocean except you get visuals as well.
I think it was Will who once tweeted that The Crown was a book in television form, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s just a very slow moving period drama that shuts your eyes for you. I’ve put it on probably five or six times now and I haven’t made it past the thirty minute mark of the first episode. I’m sure it’s very well done but the only thing I’ll ever use this series for is falling asleep.
Oliver Stone’s JFK
Three hours and twenty-one minutes. That’s the runtime on JFK, a movie that is loosely based on a true story about a lawyer who tries to figure out what really happened to JFK on that fateful day in Dallas. Just like The Crown, I’ve never actually watched JFK all the way through. I’ve seen various scenes when it comes on TNT, The History Channel, or when, you guessed it – I’m trying to get to bed. John Williams did the score for JFK, and it’s better than most of the acting in the movie. The soft trumpet and John Williams knack for making excellent movie scores makes this my go-to movie for getting rest.
Keep in mind that these are all just suggestions. But don’t knock any of them until you throw one on when you’re trying to go to bed because I guarantee you all of these are optimal picks for getting some shut eye. .