Relentlessly positive shows and comics?
May 17, 2020 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I just finished She-Ra (2018), Steven Universe, and Princess Jellyfish. Can you recommend some other stuff?

Other shows that scratched the same itch: The Good Place, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (except for the handful of othering "look, our client is a person from a minority group!!!!!" episodes), Call the Midwife (which had some similar issues with writing about diverse East Enders), and the Great British Baking Show.

I read The Prince and the Dressmaker recently, and I've already read Noelle Stevenson's comics.

People keep telling me to watch Parks and Rec, and I've tried very hard, but I guess I just don't get it. I also tried Revolutionary Girl Utena since Steven Universe and She-Ra referenced it pretty hard, but it didn't really speak to me.

Other recommendations are welcome!
posted by marfa, texas to Media & Arts (42 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Bob's Burgers and King of the Hill.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 3:28 PM on May 17, 2020 [7 favorites]

Ponyo, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Mushishi
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:35 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

A lot of the series listed on the TV Tropes Iyashikei page might be of interest.

My go to series when I need something positive in my life:

- ARIA (anime and manga - my favorite series of all time)
- Yotsuba (manga only, no anime - this is the greatest manga of all time)
- Flying Witch (anime and manga - very chill and relaxing)
- Non Non Biyori (anime and manga - very relaxing and fun)
- K-ON! (anime and manga - probably the greatest slice of life anime ever)
- Laid-back Camp/Yuru Camp (anime and manga - camping and chilling out)
posted by ralan at 3:37 PM on May 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

If you skip the first season of Parks and Rec, that might help. The show changes significantly in tone.
posted by saturdaymornings at 3:38 PM on May 17, 2020 [15 favorites]

The recent One Day at a Time (first three seasons on Netflix, the last is unfinished and airing on Pop!). It deals with some heavy issues (and you'll cry a lot) but it's about a family (and chosen family!) who love and support each other very much.

The Bold Type (the first four seasons should all be on Hulu now -- it's a Freefrom show) is ridiculous but the three lead characters are really sweet and caring and mean well and all adore each other. It's just oddly cuddly in a lot of ways.

If "reality" shows are OK, Nailed It! and Queer Eye (both Netflix) are sweet and kind. (There are some international versions of Nailed It! but I have not watched them.)

I'm trying to think of some comics so I may have to come back to this.
posted by darksong at 3:39 PM on May 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the first season of Parks and Rec is mediocre-to-bad and the second season is only a little better; you can safely start at the beginning of season 3.

Try Silver Spoon, which is a cute, relaxing slice-of-life anime about going to agricultural school and also learning to accept and recover from failure.
posted by waffleriot at 3:40 PM on May 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Detectorists is not as in-yer-face jolly but overall is delightful, and about friendship and pursuing your passion and had lots of lovely scenery.
Nthing skipping the early Parks & Rec.
posted by penguin pie at 3:46 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Gravity Falls?
posted by ReluctantViking at 3:46 PM on May 17, 2020 [8 favorites]

on Netflix try, 'Somebody Feed Phil.'
on Amazon Prime 'Leverage' might scratch your itch.
posted by Caravantea at 3:47 PM on May 17, 2020

The Repair Shop
Making It
posted by Glinn at 3:50 PM on May 17, 2020 [6 favorites]

Brooklyn 99. Gravity Falls.
posted by gnutron at 3:52 PM on May 17, 2020

Try Hilda on Netflix! I also second Gravity Falls, with the caveat that towards the end there are some genuinely alarming horror moments.
posted by yasaman at 3:56 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Bee and Puppycat
Over the Garden Wall

(And I am echoing the sentiment for trying Parks and Rec again - start at season 3. Parks got me through some really tough times and always made me feel better after watching it)
posted by littlesq at 4:02 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Gal & Dino - it helps if you're into absurdist humor. I was struck by its affectionate treatment of the characters - the characters may be strange, or silly, but there is no meanness.
posted by needled at 4:05 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Resoundingly enthusiastic +1 to:

Gravity Falls - It does get scary/emotional toward the very end, but everything turns out okay!
Bee and Puppycat - So sweet and fun, with a surprisingly engaging narrative
Over the Garden Wall - With the caveat that it's slower and weirder than the rest, and as much as I love it I can have moods where it's not so engaging--but it's very gentle and sweet, so it's good for when you need that
Leverage - Found family robin hood revenge against all the evil corporations and politicians do in the world. Everyone is very good at what they do in a way that's very satisfying to watch (see: competence porn), and while each episode always delves into the bad guys' bad deeds, the good guys always win in the end

Also, Adventure Time, which shares a creative family with Steven Universe (you'll hear plenty of Rebecca Sugar songs!). It can veer into the mildly gross occasionally (butt jokes, some grotesque animation), and there is a pretty dark emotional storyline that picks up in season 5, similar in tragedy and emotional impact to the one in Steven Universe. But it's one of those shows where everyone genuinely loves each other and does the right thing by their friends/family/neighbors. There are villains, but they're either ultimately empathetic or triumphed over.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:16 PM on May 17, 2020

Oh, also Travel Man (which is on Hulu now) starring Richard Ayoade and various guests (mostly but not exclusively British celebrities) going for a destination weekend. Your enjoyment may depend on how much you like Ayoade, but I find him very entertaining.

Guy's Grocery Games has also been a great comfort during this time (bunch of seasons on Hulu & you know, cable). Guy Fieri is exhausting, sure, but there's just such a pure, giddy sweetness to this show.

(I know most of my recc's have not really been in line with your original ask, but they were all shows I liked & I know people with similar tastes who have also enjoyed these, so, I think it's worth recommending them too.)
posted by darksong at 4:20 PM on May 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. If you liked She-Ra, you'll like this.
posted by Gneisskate at 4:41 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Avatar! The anime, not the movies. Definitely not those.
posted by Stacey at 5:07 PM on May 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken is a really nice 12-episode anime about 3 dorky teenage girls who start an animation club at their high school. There is no serious conflict, they just like anime and make it very well and are friends. It is beautifully animated and has lots of little mini-lessons about animation techniques. Here's the opening sequence (warning for photosensitivity + very catchy song).
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:10 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Svengoolie every Saturday night.
posted by vrakatar at 5:15 PM on May 17, 2020

If you can make it past the first season, then Schitt's Creek is a complete joy.
posted by Mchelly at 5:32 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

"Relentlessly positive" is the exact wording I used to describe Queer Eye on Netflix.
posted by Corduroy at 5:54 PM on May 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Cells At Work is on Netflix.
posted by luckynerd at 5:57 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Second vote for Hilda on Netflix. That is a charming little show that should be more widely appreciated.
posted by Horkus at 6:03 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seconding both Gal and Dino and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken.

Gal and Dino manga is available digitally from Kodansha as My Roomie is a Dino, and is just hilarious.

Eizouken...this is probably anime of the year for me. Absolutely incredible. The manga will be coming out from Dark Horse later this year, and I'm hoping the anime gets an official English (subbed) release. And yeah, the OP is a banger.
posted by ralan at 7:00 PM on May 17, 2020

Anything by Katie O’Neill! Tea Dragon Society is my favorite. So sweet!
posted by wsquared at 7:31 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you like The Great British Bake Off, you'll probably also enjoy Big Dreams, Small Spaces, a delightful British gardening show hosted by Monty Don.
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 7:44 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Kim’s Convenience!
posted by brand-gnu at 7:59 PM on May 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

The Worst Witch is fun, would definitely recommend it if you liked She-Ra.
posted by asperity at 8:04 PM on May 17, 2020

Schitt's Creek is great!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:23 PM on May 17, 2020

Avatar the last airbender may be up your alley and is on Netflix now!
posted by azalea_chant at 10:02 PM on May 17, 2020

Two iyashikei that don't come up much, probably because they have an odd premise and weird name...

Uma Musume Pretty Derby: Horse girls are a third type of human beings that really like to run fast and are world-wide popular for their races (just like would be nice for women's soccer/football). It's a sports anime at heart and aside from a couple of weird things in the first few episodes turns out to be very nice and uplifting. All of the girls are always nice and supportive of each other and every time you think there's going to be so rival-drama, there isn't.

Girls und Panzer: Is the same sort of thing except with girls and tank combat. Tank combat is now a world-popular sport.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:52 AM on May 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

> Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

It's worth warning that, while the show is positive in tone, it is set against an horrific background story, and I could never get past that. I know the point of the show is that Kimmy doesn't want to be seen as a victim, but I found the tone glib to the point of being unwatchable.
posted by parm at 3:26 AM on May 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Hollow (2 seasons on Netflix)

Infinity train (2 seasons Cartoon Network/Hulu)
posted by anansi at 3:43 AM on May 18, 2020

Pushing Daisies has a lot of positive energy.
posted by childofTethys at 4:05 AM on May 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Fruits Basket. There's a new anime, now in season 2, currently running on Crunchyroll. The old series was excellent, but it only covered a part of the story from the manga.

I love Revolutionary Girl Utena desperately, but yeah, it's not what you're looking for right now!
posted by tomboko at 6:05 AM on May 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I meant to link to Fruits Basket!
posted by tomboko at 6:33 AM on May 18, 2020

Hilda, and animated series on Netflix, is about a girl who grows up in the woods (fulls of trolls and elves) and moves to the city (also full of trolls and elves) Super charming with soft colors and strong female leads.
posted by ananci at 7:44 AM on May 18, 2020

Los Espookys is a quirky and delightful show about a group of friends who turn their passion for horror movies and effects into a business. Note: I hate horror/gore, the show just uses at a plot device and it's never realistic. It's mostly in Spanish with subtitles, and it's truly weird in the best sort of way. Fantastic cast.
posted by kimdog at 8:12 AM on May 18, 2020

Yeah, I can definitely see the problem with Utena--it's all about deconstructing the character's emotional damage. For similar reasons, do NOT watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica no matter how cute and pink it looks!

Honestly, I'm a little on the fence about the new Fruits Basket too. It's sweet and charming, and it makes me cry about every other episode because something emotionally devastating has happened.

We've been watching Haikyu!! (exclamation points are part of the title), which is about a high school volleyball team learning to come together. I'm not normally a sports anime person, but it has the right combo of earnest hardwork and overcoming challenges for right now. The first two seasons are on Netflix. (A little older, but you also might enjoy Hikaru no Go, which is about a boy bonding with a Go-playing ghost and working toward becoming a pro go player.)

Also, if you have access to it, Ascendance of a Bookworm is about a book-loving woman who is reborn into the body of a sickly small child in a fantasy setting. The plot is about her trying to figure out how to access books, which aren't something regular people have in this context, but it's also about family and close friends. It moves very, very slowly in the best possible way, so you get to know the world. It's on Crunchyroll.

In more of the vein of a 90s anime, Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun is relentlessly positive. The premise is that this teenager's parents sell him to a demon, but rather than wanting to eat him, the demon just wants to have a grandson to dote on. So, Iruma goes to demon high school, and it's all about him making friends while not letting anyone find out he's human. Hijinks ensue. All conflicts end with some kind of cheery positive result (SPOILER: An example is the student council president is on to him, but ends up just wanting him to read her forbidden human texts, aka a shoujo manga). Also on Crunchyroll.

You may also enjoy Kaguya-sama: Love is War, which is about the vice-president and president of a high school student council in an epic war of mindgames to make the other confess their romantic feelings first. There are a couple of spots where gets more emotional (in a heart-felt way), but mostly the stakes are things like will one of them get the other to admit they did bring an umbrella to school when they claimed they didn't so as to share an umbrella?? *gasp* Also on Crunchyroll.

Seconding: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Brooklyn 99, Eizoken, Gravity Falls, and Queer Eye
posted by past unusual at 8:30 AM on May 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

We stumbled across Space Brothers on Crunchyroll. It was a delight! Two brothers make a childhood promise to go to space . . . and the journey to succeed as adults. It’s positive and kind.

Seconding Great British Baking Show, Great British Sewing Bee, Girls und Panzer, The Repair Shop.

The second season of Lego Masters Australia just dropped here in NZ. Everybody is really kind and nice and it’s a competition about being your best, not trash talking. I don’t know if it’s available in your country.
posted by lemon_icing at 12:15 PM on May 18, 2020

I have to highly recommend Schitt's Creek and Grace and Frankie. They have been keeping me sane during lockdown. Both are full of laughs, lovable characters, and heartwarming moments.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:15 AM on May 19, 2020

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