The unexpected catharsis of watching COVID-19 TV episodes

In April 2020, when it became abundantly clear that the threat posed by COVID-19 wasn’t going away any time soon I remember thinking to myself, “God, I hope television shows don’t tackle this virus.”

In the early months of the pandemic, people were stress-watching Contagion, imagining how beloved characters from shows like The Office would handle COVID-19, and asking writers like Tina Fey and Mike Schur how their coronavirus episode scripts would look. That was all well and good, because although there are parallels between Contagion and our coronavirus reality, the movie is ultimately a fictional account of a deadly outbreak. And while pandemic episodes of 30 Rock, Lost, Friday Night Lights, and other off-air TV favorites were being pondered, I was confident that they’d never make their way to screens. Read more…

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