Even after a pretty heartfelt “Pilot,” I still sort of approached Connecting… 1×02, “Day 30” with a little trepidation. It was hard to pull off the combination of real and heartwarming the first episode did, yes, but it was even harder to keep it up, to make us invest in these people’s lives, that look remarkably like ours, when all we’re seeing of them is random zoom conversations.
I’m pleased to report, however, that as much as the “Pilot” worked, “Day 30” cements this as the kind of pandemic show I can actually not just stand, but appreciate. This, after all, isn’t what Love in the Time of Corona tried to do – a sweeping look at how the world at large is coping. Instead this is just about …these particular group of friends, and what being family means.
Like if you’d taken regular dinners, and just moved them digitally.
But Connecting… isn’t just that, it’s all of those things while still managing to take me back to April and make me feel what I felt then, that combination of constant fear and anxiety and just this immense desire to connect to people. It is now October, and a lot has changed, but at the same time, a lot has remained the same. It isn’t hard to get back into that mindset. It isn’t hard to feel for these people.
In fact, all the characters work in their own unique way. We all went through that shopaholic phase, didn’t we? And Rufus’ mention of a “guest hazmat suit” was kind funny, but also …yes. Guest hazmat suit sounds right, though you would have to sanitize it after every guest, and is that even doable?
That’s without even going into Annie and Ben. When I thought it might be one-sided, it was more funny than cute, but near the end of “Day 30” there’s a moment when Ben tries to ask Annie to come stay with him, and she misses it. His face in that moment said it all: it’s not one-sided, and he’s just really good at hiding it during a zoom call, as we all have gotten used to hiding so many things, from the state of our rooms, our lack of pants, to the state of our hearts.
But I’m rooting for them. And considering what kind of show Connecting… is, I gotta believe the show is rooting for them too.
My favorite interactions in episode 2, however, weren’t ship related. I bawled when Garrett offered to pay Ellis’ rent and health insurance, not only because yes, that’s what friendship is, that’s what love is, but because we’ve all gone through stuff on this quarantine, and these kinds of big gestures …they mean a lot.
The little gestures, however, mean a lot too, like Ben getting Pradeep that box of mac and cheese to keep his kids calm. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not nearly as big as what Garrett did, but that doesn’t even matter. It’s about taking care of each other, because that’s what family does, and these people might not be related, but that’s never been a requisite to actually be family.
So yes, maybe we didn’t want a pandemic show. I certainly didn’t. Maybe I would have argued we didn’t even need one. But we could all use a reminder of what connects us, what ties us together, especially now. And hey, if the show wants to reflect the reality we’re all, sadly, living in, while doing that, then I’m not going to complain.
I’m just going to enjoy it.
Connecting… airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.