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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

What pandemic? Holiday films stick with escapism

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What pandemic? Holiday films stick with escapism
What pandemic? Holiday films stick with escapism

"Grey's Anatomy"'s fictional surgeon Meredith Grey was stricken with COVID-19, while the "Superstore" staff hoarded toilet paper.

But Christmas - complete with carol singers, family gatherings and romance - will be a largely coronavirus-free zone on television.

Lisa Bernhard produced this report.

(UPSOUND “GREY’S ANATOMY”): “Look, hospitals are losing too many of their own so no one goes through these doors without full PPE, which is in short supply….” Medical shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” are tackling the public health crisis head on, with fictional surgeon Meredith Grey having contracted COVID-19 herself … (UPSOUND “GREY’S ANATOMY”): “It’s the fourth patient I’ve lost today, and they’re all dying alone….” while trying to save others.

But while many TV series have embraced the pandemic – even NBC comedy “Superstore”, starring America Ferrera, showed its characters hoarding toilet paper – when it comes to holiday movies escapism still rules, says Robert Thompson, professor of pop culture at Syracuse University.

"If you turn on an episode of 'Grey's Anatomy', which is about a big hospital, or if you turn on an episode of one of these Chicago-based police fire rescue shows, and there's no evidence that there was a pandemic, that would seem ridiculous.

If you turn on a Christmas movie and it's not realistic, that's not ridiculous.

You don't want them to be realistic.” The Hallmark Channel and sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, for instance, are putting out some 39 holiday movies this year - all of them made since the pandemic and yet none of them mentioning the virus.