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As we find ourselves bogged down with depressing amounts of homework, the comforting glow of our Netflix queue sometimes provides more mental stabilization than any Kerouac novel ever could. While finding a new show is a delight, even more rewarding is returning to a series that has been kept in the television cellar for a few years, waiting to be uncorked and scoured for hidden jokes too slight for first-time viewers. However, scrolling through the instant watch options can be a buzz kill if you don’t know what to look for. This is why we here at the CU Independent have forged the ultimate guide to the most re-watchable shows on Netflix.
10) “Hey Arnold!” – Nickelodeon’s original slice of urban pie has proven even more concise as the years have passed. Taking on an almost “Louis C.K.” level of day-to-day philosophizing, the themes of each episode are more readily apparent with adult eyes. The insanity of everything else is all the more amusing for it.
9) “The Twilight Zone” – Rod Serling’s classic sci-fi mystery anthology remains as captivating today as it was during its original 1959 run. The best episodes still pack the mind-twisting punch the show built its name on. Even the more predictable episodes are charmingly hilarious in all their 1960s retro goodness.
8) “Home Movies” – The crude, improvisational hilarity of Brendon Small’s original Adult Swim contribution conjures up the absurd and mundane dialogue of a Christopher Guest movie but with the focus on a group of eight-year-olds. The show’s Coach McGuirk is proof alone that everything that comes out of H. Jon Benjamin’s mouth is comic gold.
7) “Workaholics” – Although it’s a relatively new addition to the TV comedy category, the drug-fueled antics of Adam, Blake and Ders prove to be even funnier upon a third viewing. For such a mindlessly gleeful show, there is an increasing amount of buildups and payoffs in each episode, with punch lines being hinted at 20 minutes before they arrive. That’s the sign of a group of writers who, while still young, are beginning to hone their craft.
6) “SpongeBob SquarePants” – Upon later visits to the sexually questionable sponge we all grew up with, the warm heart of this series is apparent now more than ever. The ludicrous nature of the humor is ever-present, but the eternal bond between Spongebob and Patrick is the glue that ties the nautical madness together.
5) “Breaking Bad” – One of the greatest aspects of Vince Gilligan’s nightmare western is how thorough it is in its execution of theme. The first time around, the show’s draw comes from how addictive its plot is. Subsequent viewings reveal hints through the dialogue, visuals and even sounds that foreshadow ominous events to come.
4) “The Office” – Almost every episode from seasons one through four of “The Office” are just as tense and absurd as they were during the original American run-through. Jim’s pranks on Dwight and Michael’s stabs at Toby are timed perfectly for maximum starkness and nervous laughter.
3) “Archer” – Likely the meanest show on the list, the style of Archer is intimidating to many at first glance. However, the genius of the show comes from the complexity of the writing. The dialogue runs by at the speed of any savvy spy drama, but the cultural references and emasculating insults function on a “take-five-seconds-to-realize” pace.
2) “South Park” – Part of the brilliance of “South Park” is how little the basic format of the show has progressed. Episodes still revolve around some recent pop culture development. Entire scenes still hinge on an “mm’kay” punch line from Mr. Mackey. However, the formula still miraculously works, even if most of the characters are still obviously voiced by two guys. The conflict between over-thought moral dilemmas and stoned half-assery is what drives “South Park’s” onslaught. Scrolling through the show’s online library reveals dozens of episodes that are still classic.
1) “Arrested Development” – What other show could earn this spot? The fabric of the series is built upon the fractured familial relationships of the characters. Though the wackiness of the setups is what brings you in at first, the subtle hints at the characters’ doomed habits is what makes re-watching every episode just as laughable. Each viewing makes you laugh for an entirely different reason.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sam Goldner at Samuel.firstname.lastname@example.org.