Lifestyle, Movies & TV

How COVID-19 ruined my screen time

COVID-19 officially damaged my ability to escape reality with TV shows and movies.

Whenever I see a scene of a party, a street, an office, a gym, the indoors or of someone breathing, my brain immediately runs through a series of questions and concerns because of COVID-19.

Where are their masks? They must be vaccinated, right? Why are they standing so close? Six-feet rule! One of them is definitely going to get COVID. They should take that outside. That’s a lot of germs right there. They should wash their hands.

Smaran Ramidi / DFP Staff

Anxiety ensues from a simple clip no matter when it was made or where it was set.

Even with the less strict rules on masking, I’m still worried about COVID-19 and each fictional character after more than two years in a pandemic-filled world. There’s no escape from COVID-19 or the thoughts it ensues.

For example, I was watching Bridgerton season two with my roommates and along with the love story and gossip, there are extravagant parties seemingly every week. And the next thing I know, the internal monologue kicks in, and I’m worried about COVID-19 in a fictional world for fictional characters. Not to mention, the show is set in the 1800s.

I rewatched Harry Potter and got concerned about everyone sitting in the dining hall, right next to each other, with no masks. And those kids are wizards. I’m sure they’d have some magical remedy to fix everything.

But I can’t get over the weirdness of seeing people or strangers, in such large groups, with no regulations and face coverings.

Transportations scenes may be the worst, though. The confined, non-vented area is extremely strange to see when characters don’t wear masks. Their biggest concern is losing love or just running late.

I may just be extremely cautious and concerned of COVID-19, and it’s made my mind race too quickly, but nothing seems to remedy the intrusive thoughts while trying to enjoy a piece of escapism.

The settings, characters or time period the show was set in do not seem to remedy it, nor does the type of content or when it was made. So what does that leave to help?

There’s obviously no real escape from the infamous COVID-19 pandemic, even when regulations get slightly looser like recently, which is disheartening, since staying inside and binge watching content was a way people coped with the original COVID-19 wave.

However, even though there’s some uncomfortable aspect of seeing characters not following any CDC guidelines after it’s been a part of reality for so long, it would be even more sad to see them follow it.

There are shows set in present day and time on Earth that have COVID-19 episodes or have interwoven the pandemic into their scripts. These types of programs are interesting because they resonate with reality and personal experiences, but, for me, there’s something sad about movie or TV show characters having to deal with my problems too.

Personally, I like escapism and a step back from real life, especially when reality is not what I want it to be, which makes it difficult even when fictional characters have to deal with COVID-19.

There is no end.

COVID-19 ruins the show or movie experience for me because there’s no longer an escape or acceptance of what the piece is. There is no immersive experience because you can’t stop real life from seeping in.

I’ve heard of my friends having this problem too, which is some comfort since I’m not alone, but I wish we could both just watch the extravagance and drama of a TV show without thinking about COVID-19.

You just have to accept it has infiltrated everything most days.

But when you get those instances when you can forget about the pandemic, it almost reminds you of a time before it. Before masking was a thing worldwide or people washed their hands religiously. Admittedly, the pandemic has forced me to take on beneficial habits as well as following annoying but necessary rules. But it’d be nice if I didn’t have to think about any of it while trying to escape from this world.

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