It's Friday! We made it through another week. Whether you are working from home or homeschooling (or both!), I know it hasn't been easy.
Each week of quarantine I have been sharing recommendations for what to watch. In case you missed any of the previous lists, you can revisit them here:
- 6 Shows to Watch this Weekend (Volume 1)
- 6 Shows to Watch this Weekend (Volume 2)
- 6 Shows to Watch this Weekend (Volume 3)
- 6 Shows to Watch this Weekend (Volume 4)
This week's shortlist is a mix of documentaries, drag queens and Joan Didion.
1. How to Fix a Drug Scandal (Netflix) - The best thing I streamed this week was a four-part documentary on Netflix produced and directed by Erin Lee Carr called How to Fix a Drug Scandal. If you aren't familiar with her, listen to Carr's interview with Dax Shepard on the Armchair Expert podcast.
The series tells the real life stories of two chemists who worked in drug testing labs in the state of Massachusetts. Annie Dookhan in Boston, MA and Sonja Farak in Amherst, MA. To fully understand the two women and the severity of their crimes, the series interviews their family members, superiors, defense attorneys impacted by their evidence tampering, Attorney General Maura Healey and reporters who covered the news for The Boston Globe, WBUR and Rolling Stone.
It's absolutely fascinating and you won't be able to stop watching.
2. One of Us (Netflix) - After I watched Unorthodox last week, Netflix started recommending to me other shows about Judaism. One of those recommendations was a 2017 documentary called One of Us about three members of the Hasidic community in New York who were trying to leave and start new lives.
The 90-minute film follows Ari, Etty and Luzer. Ari is coming out of a drug rehab, desperately trying to make sense of a past that includes sexual abuse at the hands of a leader in the community. Etty, a mother of seven, is attempting to leave her abusive husband. Luzer has left New York for Los Angeles, hoping to find a career as an actor.
What was so powerful to me about watching right after Unorthodox was how it reconfirmed every element of that scripted show. It puts real faces to these deeply painful struggles.
This one won't lift your spirits, but it will really make you think.
3. Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (Netflix) - If you are a fan of writer Joan Didion, this 90-minute documentary will shed light on her personal life and what inspired her work over the years. The film covers her marriage to John Gregory Dunne, the adoption of her daughter Quintana, her entry into Hollywood writing and producing and how loss and grief sparked two of her most acclaimed books.
The documentary is produced by Didion's nephew, Griffin Dunne. If he looks and sounds familiar as you're watching, it's because he's currently playing Uncle Nicky on This is Us on NBC.
Of all the fun facts I learned, the most surprising was that Harrison Ford was the contractor in charge of the renovation of Joan and John's house in Malibu, CA before he became a famous actor!
4. RuPaul's Drag Race (Hulu) - After watching so many heavy things, I desperately needed something light. I had never seen RuPaul's Drag Race and thought it might be a fun palate cleanser.
It turns out, the entire format of the show is a complete rip off of America's Next Top Model, the show made famous by Tyra Banks. If I were Tyra, when I saw this, I would sue!
Copy catting aside, each episode is full of over the top looks (some of the hair and makeup is truly amazing), incredible costumes and of course, loads of backstage drama.
There are six seasons available on Hulu. Sashay, shantay!
5. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (Netflix) - If you haven't had a chance to watch this food series hosted by chef and author Samin Nosrat, definitely plan on it this weekend. The show explores the four elements of great cooking, inspired by Nosrat's cookbook of the same title.
Nosrat's love of food and beautiful ingredients is so pure. Her joy radiates off the screen. She has the most infectious laugh.
I had the pleasure of hearing her speak in San Francisco last year and I was truly inspired. I know you will feel the same after watching this. You will also want to bake focaccia immediately.
6. Gilmore Girls (Netflix) - I am ending this week's list with a classic re-watch. The relationship between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore is one of the best to ever hit the small screen. They are mother and daughter, but also best friends and each other's biggest cheerleaders.
In addition to the central relationship, the quirky characters that inhabit the town of Stars Hollow bring constant amusement.
Watching this show during quarantine is like making yourself a big, warm bowl of mac and cheese. Pure comfort!
There you have it, this week's recommendations. I'll be back next Friday with another round!