Among the few things in this world that are absolutely certain, I know for a fact that there is something on Netflix for everyone; you, your parents, your best friends, your crazy aunt, your cool uncle, and that one cute classmate that you’ve stalked on social media but haven’t yet approached. Now, I rarely consider myself an expert of any sort, but I’ve spent a fair share of time in my sweats, locked in my room, watching Netflix and experiencing a significant drop in body temperature from the massive amount of ice cream I consume. Thus, in an attempt to use my Netflixing expertise to contribute to the greater good, I’ve provided a list of Netflix shows for every type of UC Berkeley student. (Yes, even you, you special snowflake.)
The Homesick Freshie: Parenthood
The ambience of freshman year is perhaps best defined as the culmination of excitement and fear. For many, the first year of college marks a young adult’s first taste of independence — the freedom to stay out late, neglect house chores and eat as much junk food as one pleases (@TheFreshmanFifteen). But how will these bright-eyed youths fare without mom’s late night chats and homemade cooking?
Set in Berkeley, California, Parenthood follows the four grown-up Braverman siblings, Adam, Sarah, Crosby and Julia, in the joys and trials of parenthood, marriage and life. The show beautifully balances humor and drama to create a realistic depiction of modern family life that is both relatable and refreshing. For the homesick freshmen out there, the Bravermans will welcome you with open arms during your time at Berkeley — your home away from home.
The Dedicated Football Fan: Friday Night Lights
The vibrance of the stadium lights, the tension buzzing from the stands, the sea of Berkeley Blue and California Gold surrounding the field and the adrenaline rush when you see the Golden Bears score a touchdown is unlike any other feeling. In these moments, you feel infinite. You feel free, boundless. These are the moments that make life worth liv—okay, let’s take it down a few notches. It’s just football.
If your response to previous statement was some iteration of, “IT’S NOT JUST FOOTBALL, IT’S A WAY OF LIFE, IT’S MY ONLY SENSE OF BELONGING IN THIS DARK, DARK WORLD,” then I’ve got some great news for you, you’re going to looooove Friday Night Lights. Watch as the high school football team of Dillon, Texas handles the paralysis of their star quarterback Jason Street in the first game of the season. Through broken families, abusive relationships, and tough financial situations, there is only one thing that remains constant: football. Before you know it, you’ll be cheering for the Panthers and putting #TexasForever in your email signature.
The Social Justice Warrior: Dear White People
We get it. You’re the gal who uses words like “spectacle” and “liberation” and “modernity.” You’re the guy who muses over queer theory with a friend over coffee. You know your Wilderson and your Butler front-to-back, back-to-front. Sometimes you type up a passionate Tweet or two. You’re basically the entire UC Berkeley campus. Join the club; we’ve got jackets.
After your regular philosophical orations on the atrocities of racial injustice at your choice of coffee shop, feel free to liberally spread some avocado on a piece of toast, push up your oversized rectangular glasses and start binging Dear White People. The Netflix series is a comedy-drama based on a 2014 film of the same name. Each episode focuses on a single character, a student of color navigating student life at the fictional, predominantly-white Ivy League institution Winchester University. It’s just your cup of organic, loose-leaf, fair trade tea.
The CS Major: The Imitation Game
First of all, what are you doing on Netflix? Shouldn’t you be programming a robot who can simultaneously cure cancer, sing opera and perfect Gordon Ramsey’s creme brûlée or something? What kind of Berkeley CS student are you?
But on the off-chance that you managed to steal Hermione’s Time Turner, The Imitation Game is just for you. Chronicling the life of mathematician Alan Turing, the movie documents the successful construction of the genius’ decoding machine during World War II. The suspense is enough to keep the attention of even non-CS students. Plus, is it possible to get enough of Benedict Cumberbatch? Hint: The answer is no.
And yes, I do realize that The Imitation Game is a movie and not a TV show. But I don’t care how many Time Turners you have: there’s no way you’ll ever have enough time to binge-watch a full Netflix series — that is, until you change your major.
The Haas Student: The Office
Forget Fortune 500 companies. Who needs a stuffy, straight-laced corporate cubicle job when you’re just a click away from the good ol’ Scranton spirit of Dunder Mifflin? Surely, you won’t be able to resist the unfolding love story between Jim and Pam, the unwavering dedication of Dwight to his beet farming, and of course, the off-the-wall and endearing management techniques of Michael Scott. A couple episodes in, you’ll feel as if you are a Dunder Mifflin employee yourself.
And in ten, twenty, thirty years when you’ve worked your way up the ranks to become the CEO of a a wildly successful start-up based in Silicon Valley, don’t be afraid to get a little teary-eyed with nostalgia: the smiles, the laughter, the jello-covered staplers. Don’t worry, it’s okay to let your inner paper salesman come out from time to time.
The Stylish Sorority Sister: Gossip Girl
The drama, the glamour, and *sigh* the boys! Gossip Girl is your one and only source for the inside-scoop on the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite. The perfect binge-watch material for a night in with the girls. After just a few episodes, you’ll undoubtedly start feeling the emotional turmoil of steamy love affairs, friendships on the rocks, familial betrayal and some major fashion inspo. Before you know it, you’ll be adding all of your favorite leathered Louis Vuitton goods into a shopping cart, looking at the total price, shedding a few (thousand) tears when you realize that you are still a broke college student, and clicking out of your shopping browser in despair.
But no matter how frivolous the lives of the most spoiled teenagers in New York City may be, you’ll definitely agree that we all should take a page from Serena and Blair: nothing says sisterhood better than stealing your mother’s designer clothes for an impromptu modeling sesh around the city.
The Slightly Socially Awkward And Needy Friend Who Goes To Parties To Find A Soulmate: How I Met Your Mother
Have you deemed yourself to be the personification of the Forever Alone meme? Does the sight of architecture make you feel like you finally know what it’s like to be in love? Do you (think you) look great in bright red cowboy shoes? Great news! You’re going to identify super well with the main character of How I Met Your Mother. Watch as the beloved Ted Mosby tells his children the series of events that led him to meet their mother: bars & strip clubs, the best hamburger in New York City, a master playbook to pick up girls, the Crazy-Hot Scale, the unexplained appearance of a pineapple… this show has it all.
As for your own romantic pursuits, you gotta take it down a few notches. Like seriously, just chill down. Odds are, he/she/they are just around the corner. Maybe your current SO’s roommate?
The Future Politician: The West Wing
Losing faith in the American electorate, the two-party system and the pursuit of happiness? Fret not! If you need a dose of political optimism, The West Wing is your ideal candidate. This American serial political drama provides an inside look into the day-to-day activities of the fictitious Democratic administration of POTUS Josiah Bartlet. This show offers viewers to see government officials not as black suits riddled with corruption, but as passionate citizens working to make a difference. Fun fact: The Writers Guild of America ranked The West Wing #10 in its “101 Best-Written TV Series” list. If that doesn’t appeal to you TV show snobs, I don’t know what will.
The Future Politician Who Likes To Have Fun: Parks and Recreation
You’re a lover of the law. You know Robert’s Rules of Order by heart, you read Supreme Court decisions for fun and your night routine includes the recitation of your favorite parts of the United States Constitution. But you’re not ashamed of the fact that you know aaaaaall the lyrics to the Schoolhouse Rock! classic “I’m Just a Bill.”
In the face of all these serious shows about the U.S. government, some nights feel lonely. Will anyone ever be able to comprehend your romance with comedy and legal affairs? Surely, tonight was one of those nights when, lo and behold, you stumbled upon this article and found the answer to all your worries. Now, Dear Reader, I urge you to pause the Schoolhouse Rock! and start binging Parks and Recreation ASAP. The mockumentary follows bright-eyed Leslie Knope as she charms the fictitious small town of Pawnee, Indiana with her passion for parks and recreation. Every character is original, lovable and will make you fall in love with the local government all over again.
The Tree-Hugger: Planet Earth
A passionate UC Berkeley student once said: “I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues! And I am asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs, oh please do not cut down another one”. If you stand with Dr. Lorax, UC Berkeley Class of 1971, you two would have a fantastic time networking over a vegan burger and some casual viewings of Planet Earth. In 11 high-definition episodes, you two will marvel in the beauty of our Mother Earth. From the depths her jungles to the majesty of her mountains you will enjoy the smooth narration of Britain’s national treasure, David Attenborough.
The Pastry Connoisseur: The Great British Baking Show
Do you read cookbooks in your free time? Have you successfully turned your apartment kitchen into a mad evil scientist lab? Are you the most beloved roomie in your complex because you invite your neighbors over to rate your homemade flan? If yes, The Great British Baking Show will definitely be your bread and butter. Watch as twelve amateur bakers face a series of challenges cakes to obtain the coveted title of “Best Baker in the U.K.”
Oh, you were expecting something more Gordon-Ramsey-screaming-bloody-murder-every-five-seconds? TOO BAD. Consider this a blessing: Do you realize how stress-inducing it is to listen to an angry British man point out your inadequacies? We don’t need that, our plummeting GPAs get the job done.
The Stressed Out College Student Who Spontaneously Bursts Into Tears Upwards Of 5 Times Per Day: Bob Ross: Beautiful is Everywhere
Just take care of yourself today, love. In the words of the legend himself: “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
What’s your favorite Netflix show to binge watch while at UC Berkeley!? Share in the comments below!
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