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Ask Matt: Did ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Go too Deep Into COVID?

Are COVID Storylines Now Dated?
Question: As we progress into our second year with COVID-19, I’m wondering if the producers that decided to bring the pandemic into their storylines weren’t prepared for the vaccines to come along so quickly. Last week, 9-1-1aired an episode where they went to a hospital in Los Angeles that was still overwhelmed with patients. And in Grey’s Anatomy, they seem to still be in the early days of COVID. These storylines don’t seem as current as they would have been two months ago. I also have to say that the COVID story line with Meredith is getting boring and too drawn out. Do you think Hollywood overestimated the length of the pandemic and didn’t see the optimism that is now growing in our country? Did a show like Grey’s go too far in on Covid? — Steve
Matt Roush: When the pandemic is truly behind us — I pray soon (just got my first shot, so empathetic with the more optimistic mindset) — it will be interesting to look back at how shows did and didn’t address the pandemic. For those who decided to go all in, like Grey’s, the thing to remember is that we’re not watching their world in real time, and production and scheduling hiatuses further impeded the show’s ability to accelerate the storytelling. That said, I’m weary as well of Meredith in her Banana Republic “safe space” in Malibu limbo and hope she comes out of it soon. I get that many of us are experiencing an extreme case of COVID exhaustion in life and in the media, but of all genres, a medical drama should be allowed to explore the impact of COVID on its staff thoroughly and at as much length as they deem necessary. However we choose to react to that is up to the viewer, but I can’t criticize them for the effort. (I’m still amazed that The Good Doctor jumped into a post-COVID world after two episodes, but again, that’s their prerogative.)
It seems to me that the producers of these shows had to be aware of the development and imminent distribution of the vaccine while these episodes were being produced. But as we know (or should know), it’s not the end of the story quite yet, and I imagine we’ll see the vaccine play into some of these narratives at some point.

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