If, like me, you enjoy watching TV that emotionally wrecks you and leaves you curled up in a ball staring blankly into space then I have good news for you! The first two episodes of season two of The Handmaid’s Tale are available on Hulu. Season one ended last year leaving all of us devastated and desperate to know the fate of Offred (or June), who is now pregnant and just led a small rebellion by refusing to stone another Handmaid to death. I wish I could tell you that season two starts off on a more positive note, but it’s just as emotionally devastating. In fact the opening scene of the first episode is one of the bleakest and most terrifying sequences I’ve ever seen on television. I can’t imagine the show will change its tone anytime soon so I’ve compiled a list of simple rules to help us all survive the emotional turmoil this show puts us through. Follow my suggestions, and I promise you’ll feel slightly less depressed.
Rule #1: Do not binge!
This show is not made for binge watching. Hulu clearly agrees with me on this point since they only release two episodes every week, but trust me no one should watch more than a single episode in a sitting. The subject matter is too heavy, the circumstances too dark, and the images too chilling. If you watch multiple episodes without a break in between I promise that you will dissolve into a puddle of your own tears and fear sweat. Take a break, and return to the show when you’ve put yourself back together and are ready for your heart to be torn open again.
Rule #2: Pick a happy show to watch immediately after
Before you even sit down in front of your television (or computer or phone or however you kids watch TV nowadays) pick out a TV show that makes you happy and queue it up to start right after you finish that episode of Handmaid’s Tale. Once the episode ends, you’re going to be overcome with feelings of despair and darkness. It’ll seem like there’s nothing good left in the world, but your happy show will remind you that goodness does still exist, at least in the universe of that show. I recommend a good 30-minute sitcom, something that’s lighthearted and full of optimism, like The Good Place or Parks and Recreation. Who knows you might even be able to muster up a giggle. (I doubt it though. The Handmaid’s Tale is real frickin’ dark.)
Rule #3: No eating during the episode
I learned this the hard way. One of two things will happen if you eat while watching The Handmaid’s Tale. You’ll either become so upset that food will begin to disgust you and turn to ash in your mouth. Or you’ll start to stress eat and then the entire bag of Doritos is gone and now you feel sad and gross. Either eat before you watch and try to keep that food down or eat afterwards and hope that the food will bring you a small bit of joy in this world full of evil.
I know earlier I promised you that these rules would help ease your despair but that was a lie. Maybe my rules won’t work for you. Or maybe this show doesn’t cause you to fall into a deep depression that you’ll never escape from, in which case you’re a monster and I don’t want you reading my blog anyway. All I know is that following these rules is the only way I’m going to make it through this season of The Handmaid’s Tale without losing my already loose grip on sanity, and I hope that maybe they’ll help you too. Happy watching!