Taking a Break: The Shows I Loved Over Thanksgiving Break

Experiencing Fall at Kenyon after going abroad during the Fall of my Junior year feels very strange. This is not only because I am a senior finally accepting that this is most likely my last autumn in Gambier for a while, but this is also the first time in two years that I get both Fall and Thanksgiving breaks.

I think everyone on campus can agree that this week of break was much needed—whether you went home for Thanksgiving or spent the break elsewhere. Leading up to my return home, I worried that I would not have the time for a real break. Like many seniors, this year has provided far more work than I would have ever expected, even without comps and frantically applying for jobs and internships. (Though that will come very soon.) I kept telling those who wished me a good break upon my departure that it would not truly be a break for me with all there is to be done.

When I returned home, I found myself completely exhausted. In addition to jet lag, I needed more sleep in my own bed, to sit on my computer and enjoy my time at home. The first days of break saw little, if any work. I watched a lot of Netflix. That’s okay. Taking some time away helps you to be more productive in the long run, which I know is important for the amount of work I have to do.

In honor of a time of much procrastination, here are some of my favorite shows that I enjoyed over Thanksgiving:

 

The Crown

I had been eagerly anticipating The Crown on Netflix for several weeks leading up to its release in early November. The series follows the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, beginning with her ascension in this first series. The aim is to cover the last seventy years of her reign in a total of six series, and the second series has already been commissioned. The show has garnered generally positive reviews, which is good news given the hefty price tag to produce it. I would agree that it was worth it. It might seem slow and dull for some, but I enjoy the slow pace that develops the characters of the iconic figures involved. The score is breath-taking and fitting, quiet but dramatic. I am no musician, but I would call it positively regal. The acting is spectacular. The cinematography is out of this world beautiful, and cinematography is a word I never thought I would be able to use in a statement. Goodness, the show is visually stunning. Plus, if you are as fascinated by the monarchy as I am, it is a fascinating watch.  

 

Call the Midwife

My friend Emily recommended this show to me after we sat obsessing over Downton Abbey our sophomore year. Call the Midwife follows a group of nuns and young nurses in Poplar, an impoverished region of London, working to care for its residents. Their main work is as midwives, delivering babies and giving pre-natal and post-natal care. It is a fascinating watch to see how much has changed and developed in medical care, gender stereotypes, and views of womanhood. While I know it is television, it also shows a lot more about pregnancy and giving birth than (it pains me to say) some public schools will even discuss. I do get queasy a bit easily, so this is not for the faint of heart. There are times when I have muted the screen or looked away, but this is rarely necessary. I think it is easy to tell if something is going to be a bit much and to prepare accordingly. Beyond the labor and medical aspects of the show, the characters are kind and well-developed. No character is given priority over the others. They manage to give every character attention without it seeming a loss to the others. The show can be serious and dramatic but also funny. The stories it tells also gives me hope.  

 

Downton Abbey

If you hadn’t already noticed, I am a little bit obsessed with period dramas. Maybe that makes me a stereotype. Maybe it is simply evidence of my love and interest in history and learning about other times. Do with it what you will. Downton Abbey is the only show I watched that 1. I have seen all of before and 2. Has come to its end. The final series aired this past year, much to my sadness, but it is better to end on a high note and on your own terms. The show follows not just a single family but a household in early twentieth century England, from the aristocratic family members to their servants and the relationships between them all. The characters are lovable and  It is a period drama that exploded in the States, and I saw it to the very end. I love Downton Abbey. I love its drama. I kept watching even after some of my faves left in season 3 (no spoilers!). It is a show that I watch and it feels like coming home to an old friend. It makes me feel calm and contented in all its silliness, its pomp, and its drama. It makes me laugh. It makes me cry. It gives me a hug and gives me comfort.

 

I hope everyone got a chance to take a deep breath and eat far more food than you normally would. Relaxing is as important as our duties as students. Self-care is the best way to be the best that we can be, including taking a break in whatever way is best for you.

 

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4