Waiting for results on Election Day can be an agonizing process–even before polls start closing. If you’re climbing up the walls waiting for news (your humble blogger is mainlining The Good Wife), here’s the definitive guide to how to distract yourself until the buzz about exit polls has died down and hard data starts coming in, depending on what flavor of Election Day Crazy is plaguing you.
If you’re: Getting burnt from your GOTV efforts.
Watch: You’re probably pretty busy, but grab S2E22 of Parks and Recreation
Why: If Leslie Knope can gut out the worst block of a diabetes telethon in Pawnee, all while Tom Haverford’s absconded with Detlef Schrempf, we can make it through a single day of turnout when the stakes are higher and where people only have to sacrifice their time, not their money.
If you’re: An atmospherically disillusioned Obama voter.
Watch: Definitely, Maybe
Why: I know, I know. Definitely, Maybe is my personal Swiss Army Knife of romantic comedies. But seriously. If you were swept up in the hope-y, change-y thing and are considering staying home today because you’re discouraged (rather than because you are, say, disappointed in Obama on an issue area and yet inexplicably see no daylight between him and Mitt Romney: I have no ideas for you), watch Definitely, Maybe as a reminder that the road of apathy runs through terrible Chinese food, jobs in the advertising industry, and ill-advised marriages. Save yourself. Watch this. Then hit the polls.
If you’re: The racialized run-up to Election Day drove you nuts
Watch: The Man (1972)
Why: James Earl Jones starred in this TV movie, available from Netflix that addresses the question of what it would take for a black man to convince America of his legitimacy as president. The movie’s more optimistic than reality, set in a world where a black president could intervene in apartheid, for example, as part of that legitimizing campaign. But post Jay-Z’s appearance on behalf of the Obama campaign yesterday, it’s a nice thought experiment in what this election would be like if we’d started this work forty years earlier.
If you’re: Sick of horserace coverage
Watch: Marathon the British miniseries of State of Play
Why: Actually, there are a lot of great wishful thinking reasons to want to watch State of Play. There are Britishly excellent lawmakers calling BS on climate scientists who’ve been bought by the energy industry, political flacks telling the lawmakers they represent how disgusted they are by them, and lots of parliamentary note-passing. But most importantly, it’s a look at what it might be like to cover a scandal that actually has implications for the character of the people involved. Also, it’s six hours.
If you’re: Wondering how Hillary Clinton would be doing if she were fighting for her second term.
Watch: Catch up on Political Animals
Why: I’m sorry we’re only getting one installment of the USA Network miniseries. But Sigourney Weaver is great as Elaine Barrish, a former First Lady who lost her shot at the Presidency to a younger, hipper flavor of candidate, then swallowed her pride, went to work in his administration, and dumped her husband’s cheating ass. Silly? Sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s not brain candy.
If you’re: More worried about Congress than the Presidential election
Watch: Wait until Friday and see Lincoln
Why: At its best, it’s an incredibly impressive, funny movie about what it takes to get ephochal legislation passed, with, among other amazing bits of casting, John Hawkes and Jame Spader as the first lobbyists. And as brilliant, hardline Republican Thaddeus Stevens, Tommy Lee Jones will make you wish that the House of Representatives was both less civil and much, much more articulate.