META: Shows' representation of COVID

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by Amnesia, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. Amnesia

    Amnesia The Question

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    What are your thoughts about how shows incorporate COVID into their storylines?

    Some shows (like NCIS: NOLA) have featured it as a significant storyline (at least so far).
    Others (like SWAT) seem to acknowledge its existence, while it hasn't been a major plot story (so far).
    Some other shows (like the first episode of NCIS:LA) ignore it completely.

    How do you think they should deal with the subject?

    Personally, I don't really like the NCIS: NOLA approach---I've lived with COVID for 8 months now---I don't need it to infect my TV shows as well..
     
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  2. Worf

    Worf Well-Known Member

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    Well, I think NCIS NOLA did it as an acknowledgement, NOLA being one of the places that took the biggest hits. So to not acknowledge it would be ignorant. And I doubt it would continue - it's more of a "it happened, let's not pretend and just tell a story" that was covering all the series. I suspect NCIS LA was simply airing the episodes that didn't air from last season (since most series ended rather abruptly). Ditto regular NCIS. I would expect NCIS NOLA to be the first to show "the new normal" and continue on as normal, while NCIS LA and NCIS play out the rest of last season first. NCIS is probably next as it was putting dates to the episode in a way that predate the pandemic.

    It's the same with the Chicagos - Med took the brunt of the pandemic stuff because it was a natural fit, leaving Fire and PD to barely acknowledge anything other than "things are different now". Chances are, if you watch one NCIS, you watch them all, and if you watch one Chicago, you watch all three.

    Bull acknowledged it in its own way, being in New York, courts shut down and trying to keep the lights on.

    All in all, I expect NCIS NOLA to have incorporated the unaired episodes into the new season episodes and using it as flashbacks, NCIS to have simply re-edited the episodes to say everything happened pre-pandemic and NCIS LA to figure out a third way.

    I also expect a show like New Amsterdam to tell a fascinating on the ground in New York multi-part story about the pandemic complete with reefer morgues. They did pull an episode with a hastily re-shot introduction to help move the story along to the season finale, after all.

    Yeah, re-living it is hard, but some shows have a really unique perspective they could do that make the reports during the early days more real.

    After all, the NCIS NOLA story was about the shortage of PPE and substandard PPE, which did dominate early reporting
     
  3. Worf

    Worf Well-Known Member

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    Another interesting aspect are the competition shows, especially on Food Network.

    Restaurant Impossible has went from rescuing restaurants to revisiting restaurants and helping them cope and adapt to new rules and safety, as well as adapt their formats to take out, or attracting business.

    Guy's Grocery Games seems to have switched to a commentary edition where old tournaments are commented upon.

    We all know how Jeopardy re-did their sets to space everyone apart and even have plexiglas.
     
  4. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    Blackish and Superstore are two comedies that have incorporated Covid into their plotlines. It will be interesting how those are syndicated down the road once this whole thing is over
     
  5. lambertman

    lambertman Chris Lambert, man

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    The five CBS sitcoms set in modern day have all ignored it (although The Neighborhood's first episode covered the BLM protests, so they might segue into covid discussion)?
    Even Bob Hearts Abishola, with its hospital setting, isn't touching it.

    On ABC, The Conners is incorporating it, American Housewife is not.
     
  6. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    So far the shows I've seen that incorporate it are really heavy handed about it. I'd love to see a sitcom have the annoyances surrounding it be a recurring theme. Forgetting your mask, people wearing them in various idiotic ways, dumbasses complaining about masks, etc.
     
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  7. MikeMar

    MikeMar Go Pats

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    Guy's Grocery Games (I'm a few eps behind) but he shipped boxes of food to contestants houses and did a competition over zoom (Worked surprisingly well)
     
  8. andyw715

    andyw715 Well-Known Member

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    I found Chicago Med's treatment annoying. I felt like it was filmed in the same manner as some of the those with product placement, very conspicuous. Brief pauses on signage, hand sanitizer auto-dispensers, cleaning methods (uv, fogger things), etc.

    The story lines were ok, patient isolation, etc.
     
  9. brwarning

    brwarning Member

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    It's all we hare about in the media every day, don't need to see it in fictional tv show.
     
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  10. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    Hah like the Mt. Dew on Walking Dead: World Beyond. I understood the first episode where they took great pains to show us how difficult working conditions were but let's move on. We know they're doing these things, we don't need it EVERY SINGLE TIME.
     
  11. lambertman

    lambertman Chris Lambert, man

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    Previously, he did something similar-yet-opposite on DDD where restaurant owners shipped ingredients to his home and he and Hunter made the dishes. It was fun.
     
  12. ThePhoenix

    ThePhoenix Brr. It's Chile here

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    I hate the COVID integrated plot lines but can tolerate it for an episode or two. I’m watching TV to escape obsessing over the virus.

    The Good Doctor integrated the pandemic into the plot for its first two episodes and then abandoned it for the most recent one. I thought it was interesting they felt it was necessary to add a disclaimer at the beginning explaining why they weren’t wearing masks during the episode, basically saying they are “imagining a time when life returns to normal”.
     
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  13. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I haven't watched AH yet, but I think it have been hilarious if they somehow made a side joke like "<the younger daughter> looks different? Yeah, she had COVID".
     
  14. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I though the FIRST episode Blackish did about it was pretty extreme (in a good way), with the older son being freaked out about the mom being sick, calling her a hero, etc.. Then IIRC they barely mentioned it for another episode.. then in this week's wedding episode, they made offhanded comments about distancing and such.. Yet they're all eating at the party sitting really close to each other, people are all next to each other on the folding chairs at the wedding.. no masks, nothing.. these are all tons of people who HAVEN'T been in the same separated group.

    So kind of hypocritical.
     
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  15. pkscout

    pkscout Well-Known Member

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    I haven't liked a single episode of a drama I've watched yet that did a COVID story line. But in almost every case they had to do it to explain why so much of the interaction was being done remotely (which I suspect has to do with rules regarding how many people you can have on set at a time when shotting was done). As others have said, I really need my TV to be escapism, not an hour long documentary on what I see on the news all day already.
     
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  16. zuko3984

    zuko3984 Well-Known Member

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    I hate hate hate and did I say hate shows incorporating Covid into the story. I watch TV to escape reality. I want to be entertained and not think about the current state of my life and the world. I actually will probably stop watching some of the shows I usually enjoy if they continue to use Covid as a plot point.
    The real world is not such a great place right now so why would I want to be reminded of it in my entertainment.
     
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  17. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    Depends on how it's handled. I like the way Superstore is doing it, admitting it exists, yet incorporating it into the show's style of humor.
     
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  18. zuko3984

    zuko3984 Well-Known Member

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    Superstore is doing it better then the other shows I watch but I still don't enjoy it being incorporated into the show. I just don't want reality in what's supposed to be an escape from reality.
     
  19. Worf

    Worf Well-Known Member

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    But those shows are about reality, present day reality. After all, NCIS premiered shortly after 9/11, and there were a TON of references to that through the first couple of seasons. It was just a reflection of the times. Any show that portrays itself as being set in contemporary times pretty much has to address the issue.

    For more, after SARS, Purell became a household word along with the ubiquitous hand sanitizer dispensers that have only multiplied since. Or how air travel is just way more complex since 9/11 with liquid restrictions and shoe removal, etc.

    There are plenty of other shows not set in contemporary times - either in the future, the past, or even in an alternate universe. For them to even make a passing reference might be inappropriate.

    Of course, you could also watch other shows from the beginning, then resume the other series when it's all over. Then there's nothing realistic anymore.

    Anyhow, the local news has multiple anchors, and they've been social distancing with each one sitting 6 feet apart at the desk. Shots featuring both are zoomed out and re-framed so both can be in the shot, but that means both are on the edge of the screen, while there's a big gap between them. It means both of them aren't in any safe area. Or when widescreen isn't wide enough.
     
  20. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    I'm of mixed emotion on this. But it needs to be acknowledged on any drama pretending to be real life. Quite frankly Grey's Anatomy and Chicago Med are handling it exactly the way it should be. They're acknowledging how tough this situation is for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. While this is depressing, people need to know how bad it is in these facilities. OTOH, the few other shows on network TV that my wife and I watch are handling it quite poorly in my mind. Thes include the Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and L&O:SVU, while all acknowledge Covid, people are constantly without masks, poor social distancing, etc. To my mind, that sends a wrong message. Of course I'm in the "Wear the damn mask" group.

    But if a drama wants to ignore it completely, and be set in a Covid free world, I can also live with that.

    Situation comedies, OTOH, don't need to be real, and their goal is to entertain. either using it, or ignoring the pandemic as a device is fine by me.
     

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