The reality of COVID-19 is being shown on the screen. Certain shows have been releasing their new seasons and have chosen whether or not if they want to incorporate the COVID-19 storyline. The argument is whether people should even be putting COVID-19 into shows. A depressing topic, removing us from immersing ourselves in a show. Is adding the virus beneficial to the story?
Millions of people have died from the pandemic. A discouraging statistic. A person may argue, the storylines make it seem like they had no effect on the shows. Most of their lives continued to be the same and everything went their way. In reality, a myriad amount of people have had unfortunate circumstances, such as, not being able to get their next meal or even being able to pay their mortgage or rent. The representation of the unpredictability during COVID-19 is not realistic.
A student from Grade 10 named Claire LaLonde says “When going to watch a TV show or movie, that is usually a time to escape reality. If another story involving covid is thrown our way in a large fan-based TV show, that defeats the purpose. Shameless has incorporated the coronavirus into their storyline. Which can definitely be beneficial and an interesting factor to the plot/character development. As well as a unique attempt to get on a personal level with viewers. Relating these fictional character’s problems to issues the audience may face. However, at the end of the day, no one wants to be reminded of our current stressful events and new lifestyle.”
COVID-19 in shows may be here to help people cope with the pandemic. This may be a way to represent people’s realities within the TV. This allows people to reflect and comment on what they see through their favourite characters during COVID.
Mr. Mensher, a teacher involved in technology and the arts at King has to say “I think certain people like my children, for example, can appreciate current storylines, something they can relate to. I think TV is often relatable and this is certainly one way TV can do that. On the other hand, I also think that TV is an escape from reality and people and always has been. Hollywood movies don’t create reality, they create a sort of fake world and so they don’t really think it’s necessary. Maybe TV shows have to do this for the nature of the set, maybe it’s just easier to have COVID exist in the fictional world. As far as helping the show, or hindering the show. I would say if anything, it might hinder the visuals a bit and certainly makes it harder for everyone involved. I’m not sure it’s necessary.”
Shows like This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy and Shameless have included COVID-19 as a part of their shows in their newest seasons. Watching a TV show with COVID-19 may trigger individuals because people are still experiencing a pandemic. When a person is watching a show these days, it makes it cruel to the viewers to add something that is a sorrowful topic. Many viewers see TV as an escape from the pandemic. Shows may be glorifying something that is a sensitive topic for people to talk about.
Adding reality to shows might actually entice people as well. Writers use COVID-19 to further develop the show for the characters and story. People might find it relatable, which probably why lots of shows are doing it. TV shows use real situations to grab the audience, and COVID might be the way to go for many movie and TV productions.
COVID-19 is such a repetitive statement people hear all the time. Maybe it is time to wipe off the bacteria on the screen. Or maybe it is time to represent realities on the screen, even if it agonizes some of the viewers. *