What to watch at the gym
July 18, 2018 7:18 PM   Subscribe

What should I watch while doing moronic exercise machines at the gym? I am kind of snobby and social justice-y but... potentially open.

I discovered that watching shows or music videos is good and distracting for me on the stupid elliptical or whatever at the gym. But the regular stuff on the TV: news, reality shows, I guess most mainstream episodic television, is probably too irritating or boring for me to engage with.

So far I watched a bunch of Coup videos and MIA videos and this webseries The T (which partially worked because there's a lot of dance music scenes). So I think the golden combo is music + some kind of progressive message or at least not offensive message + creative/artistic enough that I won't be irritated and bored. But hey, if you tell me the Fast and Furious movies are engaging, exciting, not misogynist, and full of music enough that it might work, I'll give them a try! Pretty open to your creative ideas of what I can watch at the gym that will keep me moving fast and forget 40 minutes are going by.
posted by latkes to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
To me, the Fast and Furious movies are engaging, exciting, not misogynist, and full of music. (They are somewhat sexist, but not misogynist IMHO)

If you have YouTube Red/whatever the YouTube subscription is, they did a Step Up version called High Water that is full of dance, some social justice-y plotlines and like a zillion episodes long (seriously... why so many episodes...).

The other thing I like to do at the gym is re-watch old teen shows. Like One Tree Hill, etc. that I haven't seen in years but have seen before so they're pretty mindless.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 7:40 PM on July 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Battlestar Galactica!
posted by sacrifix at 7:52 PM on July 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I just watched GLOW on Netflix and I think you would like that.
posted by bleep at 8:30 PM on July 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

Glow! Also Battlestar. Also Buffy. Listen to Buffering the Vampire Slayer as companion media. Game of Thrones and Boars Gore Swords is a good workout combo too.
posted by chuke at 8:59 PM on July 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really like Steven Universe on the treadmill. Bob's Burgers, also, for some reason.

Also, one of my treadmill indulgences is what my husband and I call ghostie shows: Ghost Adventures, TAPS, etc. The editing is tight and fast-paced, there's a lot of tension, but you don't have to be deeply invested.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:46 PM on July 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I watched all the Marvel movies last year when I hurt my knee and had to ride the bike at the gym all winter. You might think that is not enough for all winter but there are like 20 movies plus another 8 or 10 shows. Even skipping the darker and harder to follow shows like Jessica Jones (why is the sound so crap on that show and that show only?) still gave me ample brightly colored watching material for 4 x 45 minutes sessions per week. Agents of Shield alone could probably get you through half a year of gym time. I don't find it misogynist, I actually really liked some of the female characters everyone loves to moan about like Pepper Potts and Darcy. And the fact everyone wears a costume makes it easy to follow which is key.

I find anything like Battlesta Galactica impossible to follow when working out. NCIS is about as complicated as it can get before I start missing bits during high intensity intervals or recovery.

I downloaded everything onto a little cheap table I have and it was really motivating. I'm sure I wouldn't have done so much rehab without them.
posted by fshgrl at 9:46 PM on July 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

It doesn't cover music, but if you like heisty things, I'd recommend Leverage.
A crew of criminals (conwoman, hacker, muscle, cat burglaress, mastermind) use their talents to do good.
Tagline: the rich and powerful take what they want; we steal it back for you.
If you know the classic Mission Impossible TV series, it's like that, but instead of grimly destabilizing a junta each week, they're having a ball saving the orphanage from a developer.
Engagingly suspenseful and twisty for 45 minutes, but the adorkable cast keeps it light; and there's 5 seasons of it to burn through.
posted by bartleby at 10:48 PM on July 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

Oh drat, Leverage doesn't seem to be streaming on Netflix or Hulu anymore. Nevermind.
posted by bartleby at 11:19 PM on July 18, 2018

Brooklyn-Nine-Nine is fantastic, an easy watch and generally accepted as an incredibly thoughtful show in terms of social justicey issues. PLUS you can use Terry Crews as inspiration for all those strength gains.
posted by xiasanlan at 12:00 AM on July 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was coming in here to recommend Steven Universe too!
posted by buttonedup at 1:02 AM on July 19, 2018

Season 1 of Legion is smart and engaging with a few good dance numbers.

Classics:. Flight of the Conchords
posted by benzenedream at 1:46 AM on July 19, 2018

Have you watched Beyoncé's full visual album for Lemonade? Now might be the time.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 7:18 AM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

For music and progressiveness, forgive the title, but Crazy Ex-girlfriend is pretty good. At least 2 music scenes per episode.

I'd asked this earlier. Sorry, no music/dance scenes, but perhaps you might find light action and banter works? From my question; iZombie and Better off Ted were the best for me. Brightly coloured and episodic enough to be interesting.

From the answers supplied I'll immediately warn you that the pilot for Stargate SG 1 had full frontal female nudity, and seemed like the main bad guy was going to be constantly on a search for a woman to kidnap (I never went past that point in the pilot, so don't know how the rest went). I was super unhappy to run into that with women on the stair treadmills right behind me.

I found Burn Notice to be the most engaging - slow story line build; episodes mostly well contained, bright, some action. Downside is since it's "Miami" a lot of the 5 second filler scenes that were used for scene changes were bikini-clad women walking around for a male-gaze oriented camera doing 0.5-1 second clips to show the new physical location. Again,

Leverage: I liked seasons 1 and 2 of, and they didn't have the male gaze scenes that Burn Notice had. However as the season aged, characters seemed to grow in weird/artificial ways to my mind that didn't mesh as well with the pilot / season 1. At least I didn't run into the typical "Woman character has been in more than 2 seasons, so she must get pregnant" character "growth" device, but I haven't watched the last season yet.

Psych I couldn't get past the audio noises of the main character faking visions. Monk felt "off" to me and didn't make it past the pilot.

I found the "family" sitcoms not engaging enough while working out. Lost and White Collar had passed my initial preview, but I ran out of indoor winter time before I got to them.
posted by nobeagle at 8:26 AM on July 19, 2018

There is a TON of Pop Up Video on YouTube.
posted by RhysPenbras at 10:16 AM on July 19, 2018

One Day At A Time (Netflix) is fantastic. It's about the family dynamics of a multi-generational immigrant family, including the teen daughter figuring out her various identities. It's a multi-cam sitcom with a laugh track, but I was laughing at the same time as the laugh track, so I didn't really notice it.
posted by itesser at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2018

American Ninja Warrior?
posted by bastionofsanity at 12:25 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Good Place? This is on Netfilx, in the UK at least. It's strangely compelling and there is some good moral philosophy in there.
posted by lizabeth at 2:29 AM on July 20, 2018

Response by poster: Hey quick update: I've diversified my exercise so spending less time on the machines but when I've been there I really enjoyed Step Up: High Water and I am LOVING GLOW!!

I'll keep working my way through the other recommendations - just haven't finished GLOW yet, which I LOVE!!
posted by latkes at 8:23 PM on October 1, 2018

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