Comfort watching


Yesterday was the most beautiful day we’ve had this year–66 and sunny–and I was laid up on the couch, sleeping off some nasty virus.

(It feels horribly cruel to avoid the worst of the winter illnesses through January and February, only to get sucker-punched in March.)

Thankfully, Sarah could take care of Silas’s needs (and honestly, quite a bit of mine, too), Lucy could fend for herself, and Jack was likewise sleeping it off in his room, making the whole ordeal a little less miserable for Mama than it would have been otherwise. I didn’t have to change diapers or make lunch; I didn’t even have to make my own tea.

Instead, I slept for hours and did what I suspect most of us prefer to do when we’re too sick to function but not so sick we’re comatose: indulged in some Comfort Watching.

Yesterday, I pulled out (or more like loaded up, on Amazon Prime) a few old favorites. I’ve been dying to re-watch Emma–the 2009 BBC version with Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller, which is far and away the best–and I watched all four hours of it yesterday before my afternoon nap.

My daughters were flitting through the room and watched quite a bit of both with me. Sarah’s assessment of Emma looked like this:

Sarah on Emma

When I woke up, it was time for another old favorite I’ve seen a dozen times: You’ve Got Mail. A modern Pride and Prejudice, plunked into the book industry of the Upper West Side: is it any wonder I’m smitten?

(Sarah liked that one, too, deeming Joe Fox her favorite character. (Because, she says, he’s way funnier than Kathleen Kelly.) She also wants to visit The Shop Around the Corner next time we’re in New York. When I explained they went out of business: Then let’s go to Fox Books, Mom.)Β 

After dinner (or dinner time, since dinner was Gatorade) I started an old BBC series I’ve been meaning to watch forever, or at least since this post.

I’ll probably make some progress on the series today (the jury’s still out on this one …), but I’m hoping to see more sunshine (73 and sunny!) and a lot less of my couch today. Wish me luck, and send me digital chicken soup?

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what YOUR favorite comfort watching is.

PS. Fox Books files bankruptcy, and 5 favorite Jane Austen-inspired rom coms.

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  1. Alison says:

    So crazy that you posted also posted about “sick watching”–’tis the season, I suppose! I posted yesterday about my penchant for binge watching when sick. Sometimes a book is just not the answer! Hope you’re feeling better!

  2. Lucy says:

    You can visit Cafe Lalo on the Upper West Side, the scene of Kathleen and Joe’s disastrous “first date.” It’s just as lovely as in the movie, with twinkly lights, big windows, and an amazing dessert case.

  3. Louise says:

    I love, love, love Wives & Daughters. The first time I watched it after I was married, I noticed my husband’s trips through the room kept happening with suspiciously increasing frequency; I finally asked him if he wanted me to start it from the beginning, and he sheepishly sat down and watched the entire thing with me. And loved it just as much as I did. (This is the man who fell asleep while watching Emma, and gritted his teeth to endure “6 hours of Mr Darcy!” while we were dating.)

    Poirot is one of my other comfort watches; the theme music takes me back to Sunday evenings when I was a kid and we would all watch it as a family, and despite the fact that they’re murder mysteries, they make me feel very safe and secure. Ditto All Creatures Great and Small, another holdover from my childhood (except without murders).

  4. Anna says:

    Agreed. The Romola Garai version of Emma is the best one ever. I love it so much. And the jury will not be out for long on Wives and Daughters. It is one of my all time favorites and I’m pretty sure you will love it too. I re-watch it more than the Jane Austen ones. That and North and South which is by the same author. They are both fabulous and great sick-on-the-couch movies. I’m still in the stage of motherhood where I have to parent, get my own tea and food, and only dream about extra sleep when I’m sick (like last week), but I still usually manage to slip in some comfort TV. I think most recently I watched The Young Victoria which is another favorite re-watch. That or Bright Star.

  5. Amy Caroline says:

    Yup, Jane Austen flicks, North and South with Richard Armitage, The Duggars, lol. Also, apparently a lot of Frozen, since we were able to get it early on Amazon Prime! That is all the kids have been watching while we fight this virus.

      • Kim says:

        On your list to watch, or on your list of loves? North and South may just be my favorite, along with both of the most recent versions of P & P, the Sally Hawkins version of Persuasion, the Toby Stephens version of Jane Eyre and the recent version of Poldark on PBS ????❀ Not really a fan of Bright Star or Wives and Daughters … I know I’m in the minority here.

  6. Melodee says:

    I’m sorry you’re sick! Your comfort viewing is the same as mine! Emma/i> 2009 is my favorite Jane Austen adaptation, period. And You’ve Got Mail</i is a perennial favorite. But the crown jewel is Wives And Daughters, which is my favorite film. My family bought it on DVD before we had a DVD player…and then had to buy a DVD player in order to have a W&D viewing party. πŸ™‚ I do hope you will stick with it and enjoy it! (In case you’re interested, a few years ago I wrote a blog post entitled “Why Wives and Daughters is My Favorite Movie:”“)

  7. Anne says:

    I’m sorry you’re so sick! Hooray for lovely children helping you. I enjoy Keira Knightley’s P&P for comfort. It is so beautifully shot and acted. Love the soundtrack. Feel better!!

  8. jill hoke says:

    We just binge watched Lark Rise to Candleford. It was lovely. It kind of reminds me of Anne of Green Gables. I love watching BBC shows and trying to place where I have seen all the actors.

  9. Jeannie says:

    I know exactly what you mean about comfort-watching! For me it’s Jane Austen movies or Downton Abbey (over and over if necessary). I enjoyed the Romola Garai version of Emma as well: it’s maybe a bit long, but really well characterized. Have you ever seen the version with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong, though? That one’s my personal favourite; I think it is truer to the book than either the Romola G or Gwyneth P versions.

    BTW another wonderful period-piece movie is Daniel Deronda, also with Romola Garai (in a part that is PERFECT for her), the adorable Hugh Dancy, and Hugh Bonneville (aka Lord Grantham) as the slimiest of villains. You’ve gotta see it!

    Hope you’re feeling better very soon!

    • Anne says:

      I wanted to watch Kate Beckinsale’s version but it wasn’t on Amazon Prime! But the library has it, so my request is in. I’m a little disappointed for personal reasons, but happy with humanity, that there’s a wait on it. πŸ™‚

      I read something about Daniel Deronda somewhere recently and now here it is again! Must be a sign. πŸ™‚ Definitely adding it to the list.

    • Anne says:

      I love that Mary Tyler Moore is on this list. I haven’t seen an episode in ages and should probably fix that. And I’ve only seen one episode of Lark Rise to Candleford, but I intend to see more and soon.

  10. Whitney says:

    Oh man, I recently researched Anne of Green Gables and I was reminded of how funny it is! However, my all-time favorite comfort movies are the Harry Potter series. I love the characters so much and how they have so much details on the screen.

  11. Jennifer says:

    The Shop Around The Corner may be closed, but the film styled the store after Books of Wonder, which is very much still open (18 W. 18th Street) and an NYC must visit, specifically for you and your family! If you watch the film closely, you’ll see the shop’s bookcases and open/closed sign, among other props, but moreover, the store really is like the film – filled with booksellers who love the genre. Full disclosure: Yes, I worked there. Happy Memories and two shelves of YA/Pictures Books and the complete Betsy-Tacy to prove it.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  12. I agree with you on that version of Emma. The best. And You’ve Got Mail is on my favorites too, not the least because I love Meg Ryan’s apartment so much. I’m curious to know how you like Wives and Daughters. I’ve eyed it more than once but never watched it.

    • Anne says:

      Okay, so I spent more time on the couch today than I was hoping for: Wives and Daughters was good. It was slow to get started, but definitely good. I want to re-watch the last episode–always a good sign. πŸ™‚

  13. Amy G. says:

    Started Larkrise to Candleford yesterday when I came down with an intestinal virus. I have loved the series so far!

  14. I just pulled out Price and Prejudice on Sunday evening just because and I was reminded of why it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. My chest got tight during a couple of the scenes b/c the love was so intense….LOVE that movie!

  15. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    I “comfort watched” a version of “Pride and Prejudice” last week when I was sick! My four year old daughter watched a little when she got up from her rest time and decided she thinks it needs more singing and dancing. πŸ™‚
    Thank you for teaching me the phrase “comfort watching”…it really is just right for what you do when you’re really sick!

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