Nobody ever anticipated having to make TV in a global pandemic.
To be fair, nobody ever anticipated having to do most things during a global pandemic, because of all the disasters most people plan for, pandemics are towards the bottom of the list. Pandemics are for dystopian dramas and horror movies. Pandemics are practically fictional, until they suddenly aren’t.
There was no guidebook for how we were supposed to handle the past year and a half, or for how TV shows and movies were supposed to function. Sure, there were CDC-recommended guidelines for how to keep things safe off screen, but there was no screenwriting book about how to accurately portray a pandemic on screen, no film studies about whether or not that’s even a good idea. There was also no earthly way of knowing how much the world might change between production and air date, so a lot of creative teams were really rolling the dice this past year.
But now, as we cautiously approach a world that looks a lot more like normal, we have the benefit of hindsight. We now know what it feels like to be in a pandemic, watching a fictional version of that pandemic on our favorite TV shows. We know what it’s like to watch at least one of our favorite characters almost die from COVID-19. We now know what it’s like to watch dialogue through masks. And we now know that we don’t love it.