TV Shows That Won’t Rot Your Brain

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When I first went away to college, I was missing one element I had for the first 18 years of my life: cable. I just never had a television. Now that I live off campus and it’s not free in my room, I have a television but not an extra $150 a month to spend.

Since it’s summer, I have all the time in the world with nothing to do (aside from work), so I’ve turned to television to take up most of my time. Things like Netflix and Hulu make it possible to watch virtually any television show whenever I have the time. I do watch more television now than I probably ever have, but I don’t watch things that are going to rot my brain. Believe it or not, television can be educational AND stimulating.

Here are some shows that you might actually learn something from:

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Here’s a show for you if you can deal with watching some pretty dark subjects (murder, child abuse and rape) and a group of detectives (one of them being Ice-T) trying to solve them. This show is addicting and has taught me so much about the American justice system that I actually considered going to law school (ha).

Twin Peaks

A cult favorite from David Lynch, this two-season show is a quick watch but it’s still exceptionally well written. It starts off with one small town’s homecoming queen found dead in a river but ends with so much more than that.

Arrested Development

Funniest show that has ever been on television, hands down. And not like stupid comedy. Like funny comedy. So if you ever felt yourself wanting to watch something like Two and a Half Men, just watch this instead. Especially if you think you have a weird family, the Bluths have yours beat, trust me.

Pawn Stars

If you really love reality television, try watching some educational reality TV. The History Channel has some really good ones, like Pawn Stars, which is about a man (“The Spotter”) who runs a pawn shop with his really old dad (“The Old Man”) and his son ("Big Hoss"). Someone brings in an old cannon from the civil war. Hilarity ensues. But really, you can learn a lot from this show as far as history goes! Plus you can learn how much all that old stuff sitting around your grandparents’ garage might be worth.


The best show that has ever been on MTV. It’s an animated show—if you’re into that—about a socially awkward high schooler who hated everyone and wore combat boots every day. I can relate.

Most importantly, stop watching Jersey Shore. Sorry.

Junior > Journalism > New York University

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