'Water or champagne?" When you visit a friend's house, the offer is normally limited to a cup of Barry's, but in Selling Sunset (Netflix) normality is outshone by opulence. Homing in on the lives of glamazonian property realtors in Los Angeles, season three of the reality show features open houses with spreads of burgers 'n' Botox, bludgeoning digs at co-workers for not selling a $75m home and a constant air of "DRA-MAHHHHHH".
Amid all the rehearsed lines laced with theatrical venom, unscripted plot twists come crashing in when Chrishell Stause, a soap star turned star realtor, receives a shock divorce filing from her actor husband Justin Hartley. As delicious as the familiar framework of this show is, the juice really arrives when cast members have to contend with real-life events.
The LA lifestyle must always be taken with a pinch of salt. As three of the realtors order just fries, water and a peanut butter smoothie for lunch, it's clear their bedazzling lives come with muddy compensations.
In the age of Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Lab, it's hard to be shocked by the lengths people will go to in an attempt to look and feel good, and (Un)Well is the latest Netflix docu-drama series to put wellness under the microscope. It's always a good sign when a health show comes with the warning that "the following film is designed to entertain and not inform", particularly when we meet adults who consume breast milk in one episode and bee-sting therapy is explored in another. Both episodes can be summed up in one word: don't.
While (Un)Well's excavation of the essential oils industry is slow, the episode that dives into tantric sex delivers the grit. One intimacy coach directs people over a group video call to not just experience an orgasm but to become one. Wellness, as the show's tagline goes, is "turning us into victims of false promises" but the show's supersized fearmongering and ridicule shouldn't stop you adding a drop of lavender to your pillow at night.
While the follies of America can entertain from afar, historian Lucy Worsley is here to fill you in on American History's Biggest Fibs (BBC Two). Crushing the starry dream of the 1950s and 1960s, she chirps that it wasn't all milkshakes with whipped cream and cherries on top. Driving in a corrugated US army 4x4 through Levittown, Pennsylvania, a suburban housing development created for returning war veterans, she may as well have crashed through the perfectly lined white picket fences with her facts about racial and financial divides.
With her voice booming in cold war bunkers, she informs that, between communists and the nuclear button that President Eisenhower threatened to push, red was the colour to fear in the 1950s. The need to "rule supreme" still ripples through America, except there's the newly added red fear of the MAGA hat.
The underbelly of the American Dream continues to be dissected, albeit surreally, in The Umbrella Academy (Netflix) as the structurally chaotic fringe favourite picks up its second season in 1960s Dallas. Having failed to save the world in 2019, each of the bickering seven superhero siblings, named by the number of their arrival in the family, is transported to a different year, where they must reunite in the same timeline to prevent the assassination of John F Kennedy and a Soviet invasion. With three time-travelling assassins on their tail, Seven/Vanya (Ellen Page) suffering memory loss and the flamboyant Four/Klaus (Robert Sheehan) escaping the cult leader status of his own fabrication, what could possibly go wrong? Lots, it turns out.
Based on the comic series created by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way and starring the ever-chic Kate Walsh, some of the show's off-the-wall outsiders are even more out of place in their retro surroundings, while others finally feel at home. Knowing that they could bat off their responsibilities and restart their lives, their duty as superheroes is nearly outweighed by the need to be human.
As the debate rages over the correct meaning of staycation - it's where you actually stay in your home and have wine at lunchtime - Kathryn Thomas is campervanning around Ireland with her two-year-old daughter Ellie in RTÉ One's No Place Like Home. Thomas's drive to Wexford is accompanied by lustful shots of the Irish countryside to make us forget about holliers abroad.
Out west, Dancing with the Stars dancer Karen Byrne and Liverpudlian country singer Jake Carter go boating through Killary Fjord. Like a true Dub, Byrne admits that she's never been to Galway or Connemara. Perhaps we should have been staycationing before now. Occasionally veering into Father Ted territory - did you know that the serving tunnels in Johnstown Castle are the longest in Ireland, measuring 86 metres? - the sentiment is that summer is not lost just because we're stuck at home. Just try to knock more craic out of it than Thomas and Co.
John Boland is away