Hello everyone! I thought I’d do another post of these TV shows I’ve watched recently! This time I’m chatting about Madam Secretary, Designated Survivor, and Marriage or Mortgage.
I always talk about what I’m watching on my Lively posts, but when I finish a show I want to talk about them more overall instead of talking about just the episodes or season I recently finished. Of course, these aren’t going to be spoiler free but I’ll give an intro that is so you can decide if you want to watch it yourself too.
TV Shows I’ve Watched Recently – Madam Secretary
So I have been watching this show for awhile now. It’s 6 seasons long and I’ve taken a ton of breaks so you might think that would indicate that I didn’t enjoy the show, but I actually think it’s the opposite. This show centers around a character named Elizabeth McCord and her journey as she becomes the US Secretary of State following the death of her predecessor. The show opens with her getting offered the job and tasked with also subtlety investigating what happened to the previous secretary.
We’re getting into spoiler territory here. Since I took so many breaks, I actually don’t fully remember how I felt about the show at the start. Of course, I did enjoy it since I kept watching it but I think the “mystery” of the previous secretary’s death was probably the least interesting story from what I remember. The actual State Department work in the show was always more interesting to me and I liked learning more about it all, even if it might not be entirely accurate. Plus the characters were super interesting! I love the character of Elizabeth and her family was absolutely lovely. I do remember I didn’t like Stevie at first but she grew on me as her character grew too (although I could have done without her dating history on the show). Allison was always my favorite, to be honest. And I don’t think I ever really liked Jason too much and he was never a very pivotal character anyway, but he was an important anti-hero of the family too. Oh, and I adored her husband Henry! He was a great support to Elizabeth through the show and they were so cute. The staff at State were great too. I really liked all of her staff members, and I can’t possibly pick a favorite. As for the White House people, President Dalton was great and I hated Russell at first but he grew on me too.
Full spoilers now. I was so happy with how the show ended. Again, it’s what’s freshest in my mind so I might be biased but I think the final season was the best for sure. It was so satisfying seeing Elizabeth’s hard work pay off and seeing how her campaign and presidency were going simultaneously. I remember dreading it season five because if she was no longer the Secretary, the show would, naturally, end. But it was such a lovely end anyway and I loved seeing Stevie’s White House wedding. So cute! I also really liked it because Stevie was such a rebel early in the show, insisting that she be left out of the media and trying to keep her connections to her mom as Secretary of State separate from her, but then she ended up working at the White House, defending her mom before Congress, and then insisting that her White House wedding be used as a political move for her mom’s agenda. She became one of Elizabeth’s biggest supporters and I loved that! Allison becoming her mom’s unofficial stylist was so cute too, and I always enjoyed when she got more screen time. Oh, and Elizabeth “breaking” the White House practicing her baseball throw with Henry and Jason was adorable! Additionally, the character of Mike B. and the State staff all going with Elizabeth on the campaign trail was great too. I was sad to see so many of them leave but it was nice seeing them all back for Stevie’s wedding!
I also think that Elizabeth’s relationships with other diplomats around the world was amazing to see. They often were relationships that started out with a ton of difficulty, particularly with countries like Russia and China. And eventually it seemed like the diplomats were almost becoming very reluctantly warm to each other after years of work. So much so that they even ended up invited to Stevie’s wedding (which was also kind of a political thing but let’s just not focus on that for now). I really liked that the show took that opportunity and even showed more personal things about those diplomats too instead of only having them on the video calls with Elizabeth and showing them all fighting each other.
To be honest, I almost restarted this show immediately after finishing it. I didn’t because I have so many other shows I’m currently watching, having started them without realizing that I was going to want to rewatch this one. It was very inspiring and I loved, loved, LOVED Elizabeth’s character throughout the show. I do intend to rewatch it at some point and this show is definitely one of the sows that I’ve most appreciated in my life.
TV Shows I’ve Watched Recently – Designated Survivor
This is another show I took a lot of breaks from but not for necessarily good reasons. This show follows the character Tom Kirkman, who is the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development at the start of the series. Kirkman is named the “designated survivor”, a cabinet member who does not attend a major event as a “just in case” something happens. The idea is that the presidential line of succession would have at least one person who would survive. The show opens with an attack at the State of the Union at the US Capitol, which makes Kirkman the new President.
As the series continues, the attack on the US is revealed to be much bigger and more complex than just the Capitol attack. On top of the crazy investigation, Kirkman has to deal with being an unelected president trying to lead and heal the country with a brand new government. We’re getting into spoilers now! I liked the start of this series much more than the end. I felt like the story didn’t change quick enough in the sense that the Capitol attackers storyline was way too long. It seemed like the writers were intending it to be a constant threat, which made sense at first that it would be a very complex storyline but then there were such wild “gotcha” moments like with the VP and such that it got pretty old pretty fast. I felt like it would have been better to wrap up that storyline faster and then bring in another big issue earlier. Of course, this show was only three seasons, but still.
Also, I never really liked the characters as much as I wanted to, or at least not consistently. I think the only characters I really liked on a regular basis were Alex, Emily, and Seth, but everyone else was hit or miss most of the time. I do think that Kirkman early in the series, when he was a very reluctant president, was much more likable than the later Kirkman that did want to be president and was almost rude about it. Also, Hannah was a main character of the series and honestly, I hated her character. It wasn’t completely the character itself because Hannah didn’t get support and was trying to just do the right thing the entire time but it was so annoying that she had to basically be the “rouge” agent most of the time and could barely get any other “rouge” agents on her side either because of her personality. (Side note, I think it’s why I also wasn’t really vibing with Alex of Quantico that I mentioned in a previous lively.)
Anyway, it just felt like this show was way too “gloom and doom” with very few good moments in it and there just wasn’t a good balance to make it really enjoyable for me. Even the final season with the campaign was like that! There were still conspiracies woven into the campaign and by that point I was just over it. Honestly, I think I could have stopped watching this show probably after season one.
TV Shows I’ve Recently Watched – Marriage or Mortgage
I figured at least one of these should be non-political! This show features different couples around Nashville who are trying to pick between a lavish dream wedding or putting a down payment on a house. One host will plan their lavish wedding and show them several options of venues, dresses, food, or whatever else they want. The other host will show them multiple homes, similar to House Hunters. The couples then have to pick which they prefer, working with a budget of around $30,000-$40,000 for one or the other.
I wasn’t going to watch this show because of two main reasons. One, was that I assumed most people would pick mortgage because that’s obviously the best choice. Two, I was eventually spoiled – WARNING – that most couples picked the wedding. WHAT?
After watching a few episodes I could more easily tell which couples were going to pick which option by the end, even though they tried hard to make it 50/50 with the editing. I don’t want to say that the less serious or superficial couples were picking wedding, because that’s not really it. Or even the more self-obsessed couples because that’s not really it either. There also wasn’t a steadfast age-limit or anything that determined their choice. But there was more of a maturity and self-awareness sort of air to the couples that picked mortgage.
Even so, I could see how the wedding couples were swayed though. I think that seeing their dream wedding displayed in front of them so plainly and the planning having been done for them was a really big sell, and more gratifying than a house probably was, even though the house was staged. I think that if the house was fully furnished according to the couple’s tastes so that it was “move-in ready”, or even if the couple’s things were fully moved in for them already when they saw the house so that they could really feel like it was home, then it would have leveled the playing field a bit. Seeing a mostly empty house with just one or two staged areas just didn’t have the same effect as the wedding table settings and venues.
Even with that all though, mortgage was obviously the better choice. And it was even worse when the wedding couples ended up with modified weddings due to the pandemic as the show was filmed right before the lockdowns started. After a year of staying home, I can’t imagine that a wedding could ever possibly be more important than a home more than ever. It was just really poor timing for those couples honestly! The wedding couples tried to say at the end that they were happy with their choice and everything but I just can’t imagine anything worse than having made such a decision and then going through a pandemic without a house. Of course, I have to add the disclaimer that I’m looking at it as an almost 30 year old who has spent a year in the pandemic and is no where near marriage. I think even five years ago I would have been more understanding to the wedding couples, to be honest.
So those are the three shows that I’ve recently watched! Overall I think that it’s amazing I managed to get through three more shows already considering how slowly I watch shows. I’m really glad I had a reality show in there to lighten up this post from the political shows. Phew!
Thanks for reading!
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