Written by teamCARPE’s Shiori
I have a confession to make. I originally started writing this article in the early stages of the circuit breaker, when it was still just four weeks of house arrest or self care or whatever you viewed it to be. Truthfully, I kind of tossed the article to the back of my mind around the second week, while making the excuse for myself that I was still trying to find new shows that would cater to a wider audience (as opposed to just me, a hopeless romantic with a love for fluff and occasionally brainless shows). Around the start of the third week, I was finally reminded of this article, and I remembered thinking, “Damn, if this circuit breaker wasn’t ending in two weeks, maybe I could still get it out. Oh well. ” Lo and behold, the next day, it was announced that the circuit breaker was extended till 1st June. So, I begin this list by apologising profusely. I realised in recent times that I haven’t fully mastered the law of attraction, but that’s another story for another day.
Without further ado, here’s my list of shows that I’ve discovered in my humble first three weeks of the circuit breaker – let’s hope I didn’t indirectly wish for it to be re-extended – and I hope you enjoy these shows as much as I did.
Legally Blonde Who?: Ella Enchanted
I love Legally Blonde. It’s your classic early 2000s chick flick with the retro-chic aesthetic and over-the-top outfits, but above all, it has heart: it teaches us about the importance of self worth and owning our uniqueness. However, before I discovered Legally Blonde, I grew up on Ella Enchanted, another early 2000s chick flick, albeit not as iconic.
The movie follows Ella of Frell, played by the (gorgeous, smoking hot, hotter than you) Anne Hathaway, who is cursed to be obedient and to do anything anyone tells her to do. It’s basically your Cinderella story reimagined, in a semi-fantasy, semi-modern setting where humans share our world with fairies, elves and giants, but with a message of female empowerment and owning one’s destiny. Like movies with a quirky, fairy-tale feel — while still getting your charming, musical fix? Try Ella Enchanted!
CB Season? More like UWU Season: Whisper of the Heart
Ever wondered where the ‘Lofi-HipHop-Study Music’ girl is from? Meet Shizuku, the main character from one of my new favourite Studio Ghibli films, Whisper of the Heart. With all its Studio Ghibli charm, this movie explores teenage adolescence — growing up, searching for and pursuing our passions, as well as first love. This love story is sappy, adorable — and everything I love as a hopeless romantic.
Yet, there’s something else about the film, maybe it is the animation, music, or just it’s StudioGhibli-ness, that brings out this sense of nostalgia. No matter how predictable or corny the film got, perhaps, in some way or another, the story’s themes just find a way to speak to you. As cliche as it sounds, we all have felt that rush of just being a teenager at one point in our lives, whether it be from falling in love for the first time, experiencing unrequited love, or even finding that person you feel most at peace with. Uwu, baby, uwu. (Also, if I don’t end up with a guy like Seiji, I’m not ending up with anyone, and that’s on period. ) [Actually, no, I might take this back, and you’ll know why once you watched the film and find out how Seiji gets to know Shizuku. Yikes.]
Is it really just for fun?: Good Omens
For a solid four days, The Earth’s a Libra remained as my Instagram bio –because it was easily one of the best things I’ve ever heard as that astrology hoe. The moment this line came out in the first few minutes of this show, I was hooked. Good Omens is satirical, doesn’t really take itself too seriously, and just so stupidfunny at times, but it raises serious questions on the nature of good and evil, and the nature of humanity itself. Michael Sheen and David Tennant are just so good in this, you kind of forget that Sheen was that weird Volturi guy from the Twilight series, and that Tennant was the 10th doctor, at one point.
All in all, Neil Gailman and Terry Pratchett (R.I.P) were so bold to create a story so ahead of its time, (the original novel was released in 1990), even if it was seen as ‘mocking God’s wisdom’, as cited by the thousands of Christians who petitioned for this show to be taken down. If you ask me though, I think they’re missing the point of the show and its message.
She’s Different: Netflix’s Switched
While I still prefer watching Chinese or Korean dramas over Japanese dramas, there are some exceptions to this, and Switched is one of them. While out (and for a while, advertised everywhere) since 2018, I only watched it recently, and I regretted not getting into it sooner. While it may seem like that generic coming-of-age story disguised in another body-swap show, Switched gets real deep, and dark. It was definitely one of the more realistic reiterations on the body-swap narrative, exploring the real implications of having to live through someone else’s struggles.
Most importantly, it provided a gritty, painful take on the hard lesson many still struggle with: that inner beauty truly transcends outer beauty, while fleshing out the main characters well, with a flawless performance by all actors involved.
And if she’s different, then what about if she’s unorthodox…
Into a New World: Netflix’s Unorthodox
Loosely based off the biographical book Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Fieldman, Unorthodox follows 19 year old Esty who runs away from her ultra-unorthodox (a term referring to followers of Haredi Judaism) community and suffocating arranged marriage to Berlin. By no means is this series meant to shame or criticise Esty’s community or the Jewish faith. In fact, the production and sheer detail gone into this show to properly represent said community shows that.
There are individuals who find peace and belonging in this faith, and that does not necessarily make them ‘bad’ people. If anything, Esty’s narrative and the show itself is more so centered on her search to become at peace with her individuality and to find her own inner strength. Shira Haas does a phenomenal job as Esty, and her performance is so integral in seeing how far Esty grows throughout the story. If you have been hesitant about watching this, don’t be, because it’s really another out-of-this-world experience of its own!
Movie You Probably Forgot About: Saving Mr Banks
If you know me personally, I am that sucker for Disney animated movies, mainly because of how much they shaped my childhood and made it so enjoyable. Saving Mr Banks is loosely based on the events leading to the production of Disney’s original Mary Poppins (1964) movie, and about the author of the Mary Poppins books, P.L Travers. While under the guise of a semi-autobiographical film, at its core, the movie explores themes of forgiveness, loneliness, alcohol addiction and even dysfunctional families, more ‘adult’ or mature themes that one may not expect from the House of Mouse themselves.
In the same vein, it is definitely one of those films that anyone can enjoy, even if you’re not a fan of Disney and their animated films. With star studded performances by Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, and Colin Farrell, I just wish more people knew about this movie, because it’s truly heartwarming, thought provoking and just devastating, all at once.
Tell us your top picks anytime! We’re here for you — let’s get through this together.