While I was sick last week, I was watching two TV shows at the opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum.

First is I Know This Much is True, based on the book by Wally Lamb, which is one of my favorite books of all time. It stars Mark Ruffalo as twins, and he is amazing. Literally mesmerizing me in some scenes, breaking my heart, which I guess was not all that hard to do last week because my heart was pretty well broken by the state of the world already. But I’m still gonna give Mark his fair share of credit. This is a sad, true (not literally true, but true in the sense of a genuine human experiencing), wonderfully rendered story that I predict will win awards.

I also watched Sweet Magnolias, which feels like a cross between the Hallmark channel, an after-school special, and a daytime soap. It’s sappy and cliché and not particularly well-written or well-acted, but I can’t stop watching! It’s a town where mildly troubling things happen, but where you know for sure that nothing really terrible is going to befall anyone (unlike poor Mark Ruffalo!). Everyone is safe in this town, which is a comforting place to land right now. Nobody even curses in Serenity (yes, the name of the town is Serenity…need I say more?)!

What I’m saying is that if you want/need a break from the world, these are two ways to do it. The first show might give you that cathartic cry over something fictionally tragic, something you don’t have to worry about for your own life, but still gets emotions going. The second is pure guilty pleasure, junk food TV. Speaking of…if you haven’t tried Schitt’s Creek, that’s another feel-good joy. Oh, and Defending Jacob stars another Avenger (Chris Evans) as a dad whose son is accused of murder. This one is also based on a book I read several years ago and has lots of good food for thought and discussion. And I hope you didn’t miss Little Fires Everywhere.

Okay, so maybe I’m watching too much TV lately, but c’mon, there’s a pandemic! And I was sick! What are you watching? What’s been your escape? I’m accepting recommendations.