How COVID is Affecting our Favorite Shows: Binge or Cringe

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This season Grey’s Anatomy is incorporating the pandemic into its plot.

The day begins with waking up, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, then attending school. In school, we grow more and more drained throughout the day. The school day seems to be never-ending. At last, the clock hits 4oclock, finally, the school day has come to an end. Arriving home, with words and numbers in our head, mentally exhausted. After completing the homework, we get to alleviate ourselves from stress. After a long day, we watch tv, we watch to escape from the stress of words and numbers floating in our heads.

Amidst all the chaos of the pandemic, we turned to comfort, we found solace in binging movies and series, to be more specific shows such as NBC’s Superstore, and Grey’s Anatomy. Eventually, everything comes to an end and we finish those shows. We are all left with the thought that everyone has– when is the next season coming out. However, we also had another thought come to mind– will the pandemic affect the production of shows?

Prior to Grey’s Anatomy season 17 premiere, season 16 was cut short due to the virus. However, that did not stop Writer Shonda Rhimes as she has incorporated the missing gaps of season 16 into season 17 along with the integration of the virus outbreak into the plot the entire season. However, for Superstore, it is a different story. The show’s executive producer, Justin Spitzer, had announced prior to season 6 premiere that the 6th season would be the last. However, COVID-19 had interrupted the filming of season 6. Because of that, Spitzer made the decision of airing 11 episodes. Spitzer wanted to address the pandemic. He, therefore, adjusted the plot of season 6 with incorporating what it is like to be an essential worker during the pandemic.

The all-time running show, Grey’s Anatomy displays the courage and bravery the medical community has in these unprecedented times. As COVID took many by surprise in real life, it similarly impacted the characters of the show. In season 17, Grey Sloan Memorial is filled to the brim with incoming cases, many patients are dying, mental stress arises, families are being held apart, and close friends are catching the deadly virus. The actress Chandra Wilson, plays Dr. Miranda Bailey. Her character exhibits the anxiety many people are currently filled with. Wilson keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats with the power she portrays through her character. Actors, Kelly McCreary, and Caterina Scorsone manage to keep the essence of their characters. They express the feelings of not being able to be with families. They are concerned sisters just wanting to be with family. Many of the characters this season all represent feelings- isolation, anxiety, helplessness- that are very common now due to the virus. They incorporate it into their characters flawlessly.

NBC’s hit series, Superstore, premiered its 6th season with a twist of the pandemic narrative woven in. Actor Mark McKinney, who plays the character, Glenn continued to bring that positive energy and compassion for others. The voice of Glenn never fails to lighten the mood, even when all goes wrong in the store. In the new season, Glenn has to quarantine from work, and he tries to help from afar. Glenn is disappointed that he can’t be there which resembles a lot of their viewers’ feelings today. McKinney plays out Glenn to be hopeful and brings comfort to the show. Actor Nickhole Sakura, who plays the character Cheyenne, brought a sense of maturity in the character. Cheyenne has grown since the beginning of the show, but that doesn’t mean her spark isn’t still there. In the 6th season, they incorporated the whole toilet paper debacle, it was running out. Cheyenne got the idea to hide some items so she could have some supplies as well. Word gets around and then all the employees start to hide them as well. Of course, Superstore isn’t superstore without comedy incorporated. Cheyenne decided to hide the items in the ceiling of the store, and eventually the ceiling caves in, giving the show its classic humor. Overall, Superstore did an excellent job at incorporating the pandemic into their show. It was an excellent blend of reality, and comedy. It was special and important that the writers acknowledged the pandemic. 

We use TV as a distraction, a getaway from reality. Reality followed into all-time favorite TV shows. Ultimately it comes down to, was it a good idea? We give it a yes. Superstore’s insight on what it’s like to be an essential worker did a fantastic job of making it realistic to those who are. Superstore allowed the viewers to have a breather and enjoy good old comedy without the stress of the world. We want television to be an escape from the stress and fears of reality. For Grey’s anatomy, writers and actors never fail to disappoint. Even though COVID was written into the entire season. It gives comfort to the viewers that they are not alone. They acknowledge the downsides of the pandemic and how they are dealing with it without losing that special essence the show has had for many years. It may not be a distraction, but it provides comfort, which is the purpose of television.

Overall, we give a big thumbs up to the entertainment industry for the incorporation of COVID into the shows we all know to love.