Meredith C. Carroll: The TV characters informing my 2021 |

Meredith C. Carroll: The TV characters informing my 2021

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off

If I experienced any personal growth in 2020, it was in waistline only. My biggest accomplishment was scrolling through other people’s accomplishments. (I don’t want to brag but someone I follow on Instagram had a goal of reading 75 books last year yet ended up reading 93.)

I didn’t just stare at my phone all day, every day, though. I passed the time inventing ways to hide in plain sight from my children. Also, I watched so much TV—new and old—that it ended up inspiring my resolutions for 2021.

The Queen’s Gambit

In 2021, I resolve to take up neither chess nor a prescription pill habit.

The Undoing

In 2021, I resolve to not: marry Nicole Kidman. It never seems to end well for her husband. (See also: “Big Little Lies”)

Little Fires Everywhere

In 2021, I resolve to not: be a child of Reese Witherspoon’s. (See also: “Big Little Lies”)

Fargo (Seasons 1 & 2)

In 2021, I resolve to not: live in Minnesota. (See also: “Little House on the Prairie”)


Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back” is disguised at the outset as a simple sidewalk shoveling job that quickly escalates into a tense mission to remedy a stain that’s spreading like gonorrhea. The plot of “Ozark” is basically the same: Financial adviser-turned-Mexican drug cartel freelancer Marty Byrde ropes his wife and kids into aiding and abetting in a dangerous money-laundering enterprise that starts small and then spreads to a church boat, strip club, funeral home and the Kansas City mob. Unlike the garrulous Cat in the Hat, though, Marty Byrde survives by being good with numbers and even smarter about keeping his mouth shut. 2021 goal: talk less. Also, no gonorrhea.

The Handmaid’s Tale

2021 goal: Work “blessed be the fruit” into conversation more often. Also, always keep a kiwi in my pocket, just so it’s not weird.

Friday Night Lights

My hair may suffer embarrassingly in a side-by-side comparison to Tami Taylor’s, although I learned from Buddy Garrity that that’s OK because high school football is the only thing that matters. Really, the only thing. 2021 goal: Find a Texas league for middle-aged women.

The Morning Show

The only job I’m waking up for at 3 a.m. in 2021 is the one where I’m legally required to fetch water or clean up vomit per the basic terms of my parenting contract. Unless the gig comes with Jennifer Aniston’s (or Connie Britton’s) hair stylist

Stranger Things

2021 goal: Don’t lie to friends. Also: Avoid alternate dimensions, people with psychokinesis, secret Soviet laboratories and Will Byers because, if we’re being honest, nothing good ever happens when he’s around.

Smartless (podcast)

Seizing on the abundance of time in 2020, actors Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes launched a weekly podcast for the purpose of needling each other and interviewing their famous friends over Zoom. In 2021, I, too, vow to keep my guests A-List-only.


In 2021 I’d like to come back as a 20-something, but this time Issa Rae instead of me.


2021 goal: same as “Insecure,” but this time I’m Aidy Bryant.

The Crown

If you are diligent about making your children bow their heads, curtsy and call you “Ma’am” every single time you enter a room, will you eventually feel, act or be more regal? Since we’re only six days in, check back here for the answer in 359 days.

Arrested Development

2021 goal: More Liza Minnelli. Also, if Maeby Fünke can become a movie studio executive while still in high school, what, exactly, are my 9- and 12-year-old daughters doing with their lives?


This will be the year I finally figure out the plot.

Watch What Happens Live

While I’ve watched the Bravo TV staple for years, my goal this year is to start playing along with the nightly drinking game. Because apparently I didn’t consume enough (all the) alcohol in 2020.

Expecting Amy

2021 goal: Become Amy Schumer’s other sister, or her husband. They just make it look so fun.

Tiger King

2021 goal: No cat people. You really can’t live with them (this year, or ever).

More at and on Twitter @MCCarroll