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As we enter another year of the pandemic I’m having a hard time focusing on shows and movies. I get annoyed easily by minor plot details and my attention span is shot, but more than that I wonder how the shows were filmed. We only had about a few weeks window when it was safe to go maskless and even then so many shows were shut down due to outbreaks on set. What’s more is that fictional shows set in modern day have continuity issues with covid. Many are either ignoring the pandemic or referring to it as past, and of course it’s still very much with us. We’re back inside and social distancing for the most part and it’s frustrating to see characters acting like covid is over and in some cases barely referring to it.
Huffington Post’s Marina Fang wrote about what it’s like to watch shows assume we’re already post-pandemic when we’re still in the thick of it. She explained a lot of the feelings I have when I’m trying to just forget about reality. She mentioned And Just Like That, Grey’s Anatomy and This is Us, none of which I’ve seen. Greys and This is Us had major pandemic storylines, so this change is jarring.
I wince a little when a character refers to COVID-19 in the past tense, like in [And Just Like That’s] initial episodes, when we learned what some of the characters did during the pandemic. It feels especially discordant to watch Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte spend carefree days around the city, attending social events and going to restaurants and bars. Even prior to the omicron wave, when some of us were able to safely resume some of our pre-pandemic activities — albeit with much caution and ambivalence — it felt like watching a fantasy world.
That discomfort has only deepened as the omicron variant has led to a new surge in COVID-19 cases. Many service-oriented businesses are shuttering yet again because of the variant’s high transmissibility, and their workers have already suffered immensely throughout the pandemic. “AJLT” is not the show to tackle that story. But it’s jarring nonetheless, especially here in New York, where the trauma of the first wave of the pandemic has permanently shaken so many of us.
It’s also jarring to watch shows that previously did an admirable job of directly incorporating the pandemic, but have now fast-forwarded to a post-COVID world…
During the 2020-21 TV season, few shows confronted the pandemic as unflinchingly as ABC’s long-running “Grey’s Anatomy.” The burned-out surgeons of Grey Sloan Memorial watched patient after patient die of COVID-19. The season also explored meaningful storylines about racial inequities in health care, problems that the pandemic has only further underscored…
Yet in the current season, which began this fall, each episode contains a title card informing viewers that the season is set in a post-pandemic world. The card explains that the show aims to express some hope for the future (and also directs viewers to a website containing information on COVID-19 vaccines). Other than a few mentions in the dialogue, it’s almost as if the pandemic didn’t happen at all.
[From Huffington Post]
I watch 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star and these shows had maybe three to four episodes that addressed the pandemic. From what I remember it wasn’t even the central plotline. Considering that they’re emergency shows it seemed like a real missed opportunity. The plots are also over the top ridiculous and in no way close to reality. I didn’t mind how they handled it because the scenarios are so outrageous that I don’t think of them as real anyway. The shows that bothered me the most were the reality competition shows I watched that were filmed in 2020 before the vaccines. People weren’t wearing masks and you could tell they were taking risks to create content. Now I assume that they’re requiring participants be vaccinated, but I’m probably wrong in many cases. There are other reasons why I can’t focus on shows now, and that has more to do with the day to day reality of living in a pandemic than the way it’s being glossed over and ignored in entertainment.
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