The Messy, Intriguing World of Entertainment in the Covid Era


Madeline Gray, Staff Writer

The Emmy Awards took place on September 20th and there were a few remarkable circumstances surrounding it. This didn’t have anything to do with the Emmys themselves. Some things out of the ordinary occurred such as a Schitts Creek sweep and Zendaya becoming the youngest person to win the Best Lead Actress in a Drama award, but the most curious thing about the Emmys this year was its existence. No one expected one of the biggest award shows of the year to actually have a full televised presentation. However, that was exactly what we got. 

Cast members either stayed in their houses with their families or gathered with the rest of their crew to view the awards together, and people in hazmat suits arrived to present the awards in person. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and surprisingly entertaining. This seems to be the common theme among all entertainment, especially television, during these new unprecedented times. 

One of the most interesting sagas to watch right now is the progression of sports leagues as they try to toe the line between competing and keeping their players safe. There have been multiple attempts by different leagues to create a safe and effective way for players to participate while not risking their lives and health; it’s safe to say that some have worked out better than others.

 One of the most successful leagues in terms of dealing with Covid has undoubtedly been the NBA. The NBA league ended on October 11th with LeBron James leading the Lakers to a victory over the Miami Heat; however, throughout the season, there were no outbreaks and no interruptions for games. This was due to the NBA’s strict bubble set up in Disney World in Orlando, Florida. No guests were allowed in the rooms, players weren’t allowed to spit on or lick their hands, there was constant testing, masks were required in common rooms, and players weren’t allowed to leave the bubble for any unexcused reasons. All of this was monitored through an anonymous hotline that players could call to report other players. The NBA was very strict with these rules as they even kicked out Houston Rockets player Daniel House for bringing guests into his room, however, it all paid off as there were no outbreaks and the season went smoothly as planned.

It can be noted that this was an especially great win for the NBA because they were the subject of embarrassment during the beginning of the pandemic due to Rudy Gobert, a Utah Jazz player. He shut down the entire league because he didn’t take proper precautions, even seeming to somewhat mock the idea of getting Covid and then ironically immediately testing positive for Covid.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the NFL’s response to the pandemic. The NFL had frequent testing just as the NBA did, but they decided not to put their players in a bubble. This proved to be detrimental to the league and its players as there have been multiple outbreaks and interruptions in the season due to Covid. As of the time of writing, the Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, and Kansas City Chiefs have all experienced outbreaks; a few players from other teams have also tested positive.

An interesting new theme that has shown itself during the pandemic has been cast reunions, whether televised or on YouTube. The casts of shows or movies such as Parks and Recreation, The Office, 30 Rock, Community, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Lord of the Rings, Victorious, and more have reunited one way or another either for entertainment or a good cause. For example, the Parks and Recreation special that was broadcast on NBC raised $2.8 million for Covid relief. 

Almost undoubtedly, one of the largest industries that have taken a hit during the pandemic has been the movie industry. Big blockbusters such as Black Widow, Free Guy, Wonder Woman 1984, and No Time to Die have all been postponed, and other movies such as Mulan and Greyhound have gone straight to streaming services. 

With all that is happening, it’s important to look at how the pandemic has truly permeated all aspects of our lives. The accommodations that have been made have somewhat helped to deliver entertainment to us, but they haven’t distracted us from what is going on in the world today. What happens when our form of escapism is just as impacted by the world as we are? What happens when there is no escape anymore from the world that we’re living in?

It’s hard to imagine an end to the world we’re living in today, especially because it’s inescapable in entertainment and any other aspect of life. We feel trapped because of the monotony and even the media we watch represents that. A familiar tone of doom has settled across the country and everything we see and it’s hard to feel any differently. 

It will be interesting to see how American culture changes once the pandemic is over. It’ll be hard to forget what has happened, but it certainly won’t be anything that people will want to reminisce about. When the pandemic is over, it will leave an indelible mark on society. It already has. Our response will be an interesting factor to watch, and it will depend heavily on how the entertainment industry does. Until then, we’ll just have to watch and see.