Current shows where characters are wearing masks

New shows are back on the air! The non-animated shows I watch that take place in the present (The Conners, Black-ish, Superstore) are writing plots around the pandemic.

Seems like Superstore is the only show I’ve seen where there are whole scenes with characters wearing masks while talking. I found it to be a bold move by the writers, to be honest. Even though we see masks every day and talk to people in masks every day, seeing it on TV was jarring.

Any others?

The Connors have mask wearing - specifically the two sisters work in the factory wear masks while on the job while the characters who work at the café also have masks and just do pick up and delivery.

I also watched American Housewife a couple weeks ago and they seemed to just ignore it. I’m OK with that, we can only talk about COVID so much. Goldbergs didn’t do anything, of course, because the show takes place in 1980-something. I haven’t seen much else live action though.

I find advertising kind of odd about it as well. After March when advertisers started reacting to it, the ads all seemed to have “Here at [Progressive Insurance, Carvana, Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems], we’re all in this together.” Current ads that I’m seeing for AT&T have a super that says that the ad itself was filmed safely and the characters are all noticeably apart from each other.

Ah, you’re right about The Connors! I was just remembering that most of the action takes place in the house so nobody is wearing a mask. Now I remember Jackie in her bicycle outfit. Dunno why I can’t picture the sisters in the factory with masks on - I can picture the actual scene but not the masks. Weird!

This Is Us had people wearing masks, and social isolating and so forth. The Good Doctor, set in a San Jose hospital, had a two-part season opener all about the staff treating COVID patients and dealing with the impact of it. (One doctor was shown driving up to his garage, opening the garage door and settling in on a bed there, so he was isolated from his family.)

Billions was interrupted mid-season and did not have time to work the pandemic into any of the storylines but they did drop a coronavirus reference into the last episode that aired.

And, yesterday’s XKCD comments on this.

I’m really not surprised. Actors hate anything that obscures their faces. Actors playing soldiers NEVER fasten the strap on their battle helmets, because they don’t like the way it makes their chins look. I’ve been in the military, and I’m here to tell you that this would not fly in the real world.

And on top of that, a lot of the show (or at least the last two(?) episodes have spent a lot of time discussing the pandemic. I think they’d win the award for using the word ‘pandemic’ the most times in 22 minutes. Even when Roseanne was part of it, this rebooted series isn’t exactly subtle when it comes to current events.

I think it’s not just about you not being able to see their face, though that’s certainly part of it, seeing someone (on tv) talk without seeing their mouth is, for some reason, jarring, at least to me. Any time two people are talking and the camera is over the shoulder of the speaker, it always seems like it was dubbed in later, especially if I can’t, at the very least, see their face/chin/cheek moving.
Something else you can see is that if an actor is on the phone, they always hold the mouth piece nowhere near their mouth. Far enough away that if you used it like that, the other person would be constantly telling you they can’t hear you.

I remember (though likely mis-remembering some of the details) on Friends, Joey had to teach someone how to kiss on camera. Joey mentioned that when you kiss someone, you always hold their face with your hands. The other person asked if that was to make it look more passionate. Joey replied that it was so the audience could see your face and not theirs.
I’m having problems locating the scene…maybe I have the wrong show.

This was my exact thought while watching the last episode of Black-ish. The first two episodes were all about the new reality of COVID and then on the last one suddenly there was no more social distancing, no masks, people at work in the office. So… is the pandemic over in that world now? It was very weird because it has been such a focus.

Superstore has been really good at this. The characters pretty much always have their masks on when on the floor, even when in conversation. (They tend to take them off when they’re in the back, but even there they still follow social distancing.)

As xkcd & @Chronos said, this will be very interesting later. Advertising is pretty ephemeral, so if we get rid of COVID & masks, soon enough the ads will be maskless.

But what’s the shelf life of episodes from syndicatable shows like Superstore? When Superstore is running as Hulu’s Olde Tyme Reruns in 2040, will those 12-18 months (If we’re real lucky!) of episodes be usable? Or will they be quietly buried like some of the more tone-deaf racist eps of various 1960s & earlier shows?