Today, we look at how poorly the ABC drama, A Million Little Things, has handled COVID on the series.
In Remember to Forget, we spotlight pop culture stories that I wish I could forget, but I can’t, so I instead share them with you all, so you’re stuck in the same boat as me!
A Million Little Things is an ABC drama created by DJ Nash based on the real life suicide of a good friend. The show is about a closeknit group of friends in Boston who are shocked when one of their friends dies by suicide in the first episode. Flashbacks show their friendship and the impact that the man who died had on his friends.
Notably, the first season of A Million Little Things took place in the immediate response to the death of the friend, Jon. Due to the tight chronology of the series, then, the show was still just getting into our timeline at the start of Season 3, so while it was the end of 2020 in our timeline, in the show’s chronology, it was early 2020 and the pandemic had not happened yet. Nash decided that Season 3 would deal directly with the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests of the year. He noted at the Paley Center in 2020, “There’s a bunch of stories that have come from both the actors’ lives and the writers’ lives that we are going to tell given everything we’re going through as a world right now and really as a country right now. The way COVID hits this world and the way Black Lives Matter is going to hit this group of friends – it’s going to be very moving.”
Fair enough, right? Not a whole lot of TV dramas have openly decided to tackle the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, so it was a fine idea for the show.
And for a while there, the series handled it well. Most shows, even the ones that tackle the pandemic, are pretty iffy on the masks, but A Million Little Things did as well as you could expect, depicting people wearing masks, people freaking out over being sick, protests (with people wearing masks), one of the characters getting injured at the protests and her husband not being allowed to see her because of COVID restrictions, all that stuff…
Then the show just…stopped. It’s still about July 2020 in the chronology of the series, which recently started Season 4, but outside of one of the characters losing her restaurant to COVID, there is no longer even the SLIGHTEST hint that they’re still right in the thick of the time when most everyone was wearing a mask and social distancing. It’s the strangest darn thing. I have no problem with shows that either A. decide to take place in the “future” after COVID restrictions are over or B. just want to ignore the pandemic period to maintain a fictional setup. Either are fine. But you can’t choose C. Fully embrace the pandemic and then just…stop.
It’s so stupid.
The MOST galling bit was a scene in the Season 3 finale where they had one of the characters interact with a man who had just lost his wife to COVID. The unmitigated AUDACITY to do a “My wife just died of COVID” plot in the middle of a show where NO ONE IS WEARING MASKS IN JUNE 2020 is just too much to comprehend.
If you have a suggestion for another pop culture plot that is probably best forgotten (but it is fun to revel in how much we can’t help but still remember it), drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!