Emily in Paris Joins List of Shows That Just Ignore COVID
COVID might still be an ever-present (and seemingly never-ending) part of our reality, but that doesn’t mean our onscreen lives need to reflect that. Netflix’s strange cult hit Emily in Paris joins a growing number of shows that take place in “the real world” while also ignoring the pandemic.
Lily Collins, who plays Emily, told Variety that the decision was based on the desire to continue the “escapism” that was part of season one.
“Season 1 allowed us an escapism when it came out that it felt it was something that needed to continue — not addressing it because it brings a sense of escapism and joy and laughter in a time that we need it the most,” Collins said.
Succession, Insecure, And Just Like That…, Sex Education, Gossip Girl, and many others have decided to exist in a sort of post-COVID (or outright no-COVID) alternate universe in which maskless existence is the norm.
One of the few shows I saw addressing the pandemic was Law and Order: SVU, at least in the episodes from season 21. Characters were wearing masks, and COVID felt like a constant part of the conversation. Even if mask-wearing was inconvenient, it at least gave lip service to everything.
While the shows may not want to exist in a COVID world … they are. As Collins mentioned, there are still people wearing masks in real life (as there should be), so they need to make sure that doesn’t break the “illusion.”
“Shooting a show in a city that is highly populated where people are wearing masks, yet we’re shooting in a world that doesn’t exist with COVID — so it’s making sure that when we’re rolling the masks are off and when we stop rolling they come back on,” Collins said. “There were a couple of times when they started shooting and I was like, ‘Wait, half the people in the scene are still wearing masks.’”
While I certainly don’t think we need shows that revolve around the pandemic, I must admit as I sit in my apartment constantly worried about whether the cold I have is just a cold or COVID, I do wish we had more shows that actually cared about the pandemic in real, tangible ways.
BoJack Horseman would have good episodes about the pandemic, and sadly, I think sometimes fiction is the best way to get across to people what needs to be done. It matters that the people who watch network television and maybe have doubts see some facts about COVID even in a fictionalized setting.
I’d like to think it shouldn’t be at that point and we should be able to have escapist television, but as COVID cases rise yet again, more variants emerge, and some places have given up trying to be proactive in the fight against it, I think we need to look the dystopia in the face before we can truly escape from it.
(via Variety, image: Netflix)
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