It was certain to occur. Earlier this week, Gray’s Anatomy govt producer Krista Vernoff was on a (digital) panel for the Tv Academy and revealed that, sure, her present could be tackling Covid-19. “There’s no means,” she stated, “to be a long-running medical present and never do the medical story of our lifetimes.”
Vernoff is correct, after all. For Gray’s, a present a couple of hospital in Seattle, one of many coronavirus’ early targets, ignoring the pandemic would really feel like an egregious oversight. The present has tackled almost each different concern of its time, from mass shootings to white supremacists, why not Covid-19? The reply might be that it ought to—nevertheless it may be too quickly.
A part of this stems from the actual fact Gray’s Anatomy incorporating Covid-19 is not simply one other try at a Ripped From the Headlines plot, it is a plot that is nonetheless dominating headlines—and certain will likely be when the present returns. For months now, folks around the globe have been watching a pandemic play out in actual time on their TV units. Take out the fights and hookups and the present doesn’t look that a lot totally different than what’s on CNN at any given level. Life is a medical drama for a lot of People, Season 17 of ABC’s Thursday evening juggernaut might not have an excessive amount of so as to add. It’s at all times been a present about dealing with trauma, however maybe this one may be just a little too new. Even when the brand new season doesn’t come for a yr or extra, the pandemic will nonetheless be contemporary on viewers’ minds and so they will not be prepared but to relive it.
Presumably, it will or might be true for any tv present (or film, or tune, or YouTube collection) that seeks to handle the pandemic. Undoubtedly, inventive works at all times touch upon the occasions during which they exist, however there typically is, or ought to be, a interval of reflection earlier than they do. United 93 got here out in 2006, 5 years after the 9/11 occasions it depicts; Philadelphia got here out in 1993, nearly a full decade after the start of the AIDS disaster. The query then turns into not if films and TV reveals ought to handle Covid-19, however when. Social media and the web writ massive have already accelerated the speed at which individuals eat occasions to ranges a lot better than these 20 or 30 years in the past—and 24-hour information has already turned coronavirus into must-see TV—however will anybody wish to see the illness on Gray’s Anatomy even a yr from now? It appears unlikely, particularly if the virus isn’t totally eradicated by then.
However simply because folks might not wish to watch it doesn’t imply there will not be some advantages. Throughout her panel, Vernoff famous that Gray’s writers have been assembly with real-life docs about their experiences with the coronavirus and “they’re actually shaking and attempting to not cry. They’re speaking about it as a battle—a battle that they weren’t skilled for.” If TV and films can do something, it’s make the trials of drugs and science just a little extra understandable. Within the final season or so of Gray’s, the titular physician, Meredith Gray, has been campaigning to show the monetary flaws in America’s well being care system. Maybe she might do the identical in terms of explaining the significance of masks, vaccines, and herd immunity.