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What to Watch On Netflix When You Love America So Much it Hurts

By Mike Roorda | Lists | July 5, 2013 |

By Mike Roorda | Lists | July 5, 2013 |

The grill is still warm to the touch. There’s tiny bits of paper and fuse littering a backyard that vaguely smells of sulphur and poor decision making. Aluminum cans colored with flags lay strewn about, here and there in piles. The smell of charred meats and mayonnaise based salads cling to your shorts and tank top. The small pool out back, once an oasis of relief from the heat, now sits tepid and dirty. Your skin stings with sunburn and smells vaguely like dried bugspray. The sun is too bright and the noises are too loud and there’s a mess in the kitchen that needs attention. But this is America! Do no cleaning. Sort no recyclables. Close your shades, turn the AC on full, pour yourself an ice water and spend your day on the couch. Try not to think too hard. Just let the entertainment happen. Netflix knows what you need.

Stephen Fry In America

This is a case of “exactly what it says in the title.” There are six episodes, and each of them follows Stephen Fry being Stephen Fry while he travels around our great 50 states and provides a running commentary on the people and places that he visits. I remember watching this a while back and having it instill in me a sense of needing to get out more. To see more of this amazing land and the generous people who inhabit it. I travel quite a bit as it is, but watching this made me want to go out and start checking things off my list I knew I’d missed. It’s pacing is deliberate and it’s tone is fairly subdued. Funny enough to hold your interest, but quiet enough to let you nap.

Wet Hot American Summer

There’s a wealth of information on how this movie was made, what went on behind the scenes and the difficulties that presented themselves during shooting. Also, it’s an amazingly funny movie with an ensemble cast that will keep you entertained even if you stop paying attention halfway through so you can go make a sandwich out of leftovers. I suspect most of you have seen this already, but if you haven’t you should right that wrong this afternoon. Made in the early aughts it has all the late nineties cool and jean shorts you would expect, and possibly more sex than you’re prepared for.

Captain America

This is, in my opinion, the second best of the origin stories that went into setting up The Avengers. (The best being Ironman. One not two. Two was sad and stupid.) I don’t know why, but I love nostalgic trips to WWII era Americana. I also like seeing cartoonish Nazi super villains get their comeuppance. Add to that mix a clearly gleeful performance by Chris Evans, eager to wash away any lingering Fantastic Four stink, and you get an entertaining and worthwhile comic book movie that is both lighthearted and enjoyable. You won’t have to think too hard during this one, and the whole thing is a visual spectacle, so you could probably watch this and scrub your 6-patriotic-cans-to-the-wind Facebook updates from yesterday at the same time.

American Dad

Yes, this is another Seth McFarlane animated show from the annoyingly titled Fox Network’s “Animation Domination.” (Motto: “These cartoons will hold you down and have their way with your face.”) Here’s the thing though, once the characters find their groves and the writing evens out a bit, it actually is a pretty decent show. A lot less reliant on non sequiturs and gross out humor than the rest of McFarlane’s fare, the stories here are actually pretty well put together. Roger, who I initially hated, ended up being one of the characters that got the most laughs out of me. I haven’t seen all of the episodes or watched them all in order, and I still have enjoyed what I’ve managed to catch. There’s something like seven seasons, so there shouldn’t be any shortage of stuff to watch. Skip the first season and just jump in during the second. If you get bored, go spray the back deck down with the hose and then pop back in. Nobody here will judge you.

American Horror Story

Did your uncle show up in his American Flag speedo again? He did didn’t he. Talk about desecration. Maybe it was your aunt’s femullet, the neighbor’s freedom cake or the patriotic eagle on the t-shirt you were given but at some point during the festivities there’s a good chance you were visually traumatized. Sure, watching this show to solve that issue is a little like breaking your own thumb do distract from the hangnail, but this is America. We go big or we go home. Also, it isn’t stated in the rules that we have to make sense so don’t count on this show revealing any new truths or laying out an intelligent thesis. This is watching crazy shit go down for the sake of watching crazy shit go down. Watch a few episodes and immediately feel better about yourself and your family. At least (probably) nobody owns a (full) gimp suit.

See Also: The Best Movies on Netflix Released Since 2012