I’ve often been asked why I don’t go back to addressing the more serious matters affecting the country. My answer is that there are already plenty of serious people doing just that.

I identify with Rafael Sabatini’s quote from “Scaramouche”: “He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world is mad.”

Now let’s get on with today’s satire.

Despite the occasional bursts of sunlight and warmth, the darkness at the top of our emotional and spiritual lives is still discomforting.

With that in mind, I feel I should offer some comedic protection against the fog of despair.

Entertainment is key. Night will fall, as it must each evening, and we sit down to scan the offerings.

This is perilous. I’ve never seen a season with so much madness, gunplay, bloodshed and havoc. So let me give you a list of viewings, both of network shows and films you should avoid.

The terrors are too many to name, but let’s start with everyone’s obsession, Showtime’s “Homeland.” Turn it off. It will haunt your dreams. Yes, Carrie is wonderful; but yes, she is crazy. If your son brought her home, you’d hide all your lithium and make the kids stay at a hotel. Face it, Peter Quinn is dead, and he’s not coming back, and there is no one to save her.

For restful evenings, also avoid these films:

CONTAGION (2011)

When a bird-like flu-like MEV-1 first appears, people ignore warnings, stop simple procedures like washing hands. CDC experts, working dads, school custodians and paranoid journalists (for example, Amy Calder, Travis Lazarczyk) are affected. Gwyneth Paltrow-Matt Damon.

OUTBREAK (1995)

Break out the surgical masks.

Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman (two stars that have enough on their hands with #Metoo) are chasing an Ebola virus that has spread from Zaire to small-town America. OMG. Maine is a collection of small towns, is it not? And you’re living in one right now.

This small town is isolated and is about to be nuked to save America. Think Albion or even Lewiston or even China. Tape your windows.

ON THE BEACH (1959)

After a nuclear war, radiation goes viral and proceeds to cover the entire planet, including most of central Maine, except for the Liberal Cup in Hallowell. I draw the line there.

Imagine, if you will, POTUS locking himself in the closet with the nuclear codes and he won’t come out. Kim Jong Un goes mad and retaliates, completely spoiling the Olympics.

In the film, Australia is the last survivor, and everyone perishes, until no one is left.

Gregory Peck is an American naval officer with no choice but to take his sub crew home to die, leaving Ava Gardner in Melbourne with scientist Fred Astaire. To make matters worse, Fred has no evening clothes, and Ava is no Ginger Rogers and can’t dance. Famous Astaire quote: “We’re doomed, you know. All of us in this room are doomed.” Tape that to your fridge.

Relax. Here I am, here to the rescue, providing some happier, upbeat, albeit silly, but heartwarming films you can download.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987)

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

“Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”

With dialogue like that, what more do you need to know? Pour some more wine.

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1950)

#METOO Alert: Howard Keel and his slovenly cowboy brothers kidnap young women for brides. They’re all snowed in for the winter, and despite clearly unwarranted touching and fondling (one gets pregnant), they fall in love.

Featured is a cowboy dance number with the seven brothers in cute color-coordinated cowboy shirts and neckerchiefs that match the girls’ dresses.

FRANCIS IN THE NAVY (1955)

Remember television’s “The Adventures of Francis the Talking Mule”? Donald O’Connor and Martha Hyer are on board for a silly Navy release.

A talking mule? At least he doesn’t tweet.

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1953)

The dumbest but most popular comedy duo of the ’50s play American cops in London and meet Boris Karloff as Dr. Jekyll.

There it is. Send the kids to bed with their laptops and iPhones, make some popcorn, open some beer or wine, and get ready to chase the blues away. You’re welcome.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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