The beauty of finding comfort in uncomfortable TV shows and movies, from the safety of my couch [Unscripted] | entertainment

Some of the best kinds of TV shows and movies are the ones that make you sit there in an uncomfortable position, especially when you know you can’t control what happens next.

While I have a place in my heart for softer, more campy stories like The News or Frozen, my heart yearns for stories with more grit.

After putting off watching comedian Bill Hader’s Emmy-winning black comedy Barry for years, I finally decided to give it a shot. “Barry” follows the life of the title character, Barry Berkman, a veteran turned hitman when he realizes there is more to life than killing people.

While working in Los Angeles, Barry (Hader) accidentally joins an amateur acting class, eventually realizing that he’s desperate to get away from the life he’s led before. But of course it’s never that simple.

In its second and third seasons, it abandons much of its comedy to become a serious, gritty drama. Ultimately, Barry’s encounters, alliances, and enemies weave together in a way that makes it impossible for him to outrun his past.

It’s all tension that doesn’t let up, except for a few moments when you’re given permission to laugh at something grim or smile broadly at the antics of lovable Noho Hank (Anthony Kerrigan), a gang boss with a heart of gold and impeccable fashion sense.

I can’t help but think of a movie that evoked a similar feeling, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Here, which should really be called Let’s See If You Can Open Your Jaw in the Next 90 Minutes. (Spoiler: You can’t.)

It follows a similar premise as Barry. Joaquin Phoenix, best known for his roles as Commodus in Gladiator and the titular character in The Joker, plays a tough veteran turned mercenary hired to find a politician’s daughter caught in the middle of human trafficking.

This is a brutal, unrelenting film that demands your undivided attention. It forces you to look away, even though you lose almost every time.

Both “Barry” and “You Were Never Here” make viewers think about the people among us and how people can live seemingly normal lives on the surface, even when there’s something darker at play.

But of course, wondering if your friend is a serial killer isn’t the only way to feel uncomfortable from the comfort of your couch.

Recently, my partner and I started watching the survival reality show “One”. In the most recent season, 10 contestants were landed at Chilco Lake in British Columbia, Canada, an area known for its cold winter temperatures and abundant grizzly bear population.

Each participant, equipped with only a few tools, must figure out how to provide themselves with safe food, water, and shelter, and survive the other participants. The experience can last up to a year, though Seasons 6 and 7 saw contestants last around 60 days.

Participants are given several cameras as they have to film daily activities in the desert alone. Many of them worry about public opinion or how people will look at them if they give up the competition.

It’s amazing what people can do when left to their own devices. People who haven’t eaten for five days or more work endlessly to build functional, stable storage. One man even built a boat from scratch.

Every couple of minutes I am reminded that their skill sets are completely beyond my current capabilities. My partner and I constantly joke about common events in competitions that cause us to quit (eg seeing a bear, getting sick from berries, finding a hornet’s nest).

This is not a situation I would like to be in.

There’s such beauty in living this life through media that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter, and there are so many ways to step out of your comfort zone while staying in the comfort of your own home.

It’s much better to watch it while snuggled up in blankets where mercenaries and bears can’t get to you anyway.

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