I continue to be confounded by Connecting … a show that could, so easily, fall into the cliché and over the top, and yet somehow, three episodes in, and especially in 1×03, “Day 78” continues to, at every turn, hit us in the emotions. The way it handles the journey of these friends through the very same things we’ve been going through in the past few months could have been cheesy, instead it’s pure catharsis.
At times, like at the end of this episode, the fact that Connecting … is dealing with stuff we just lived through, stuff we have barely had time to process, seems borderline too much. I cannot process George Floyd yet, and I’m having to re-learn, every day how I – a self-professed ally – fail each and every day at doing basic things because I just don’t know any better.
That’s part of my journey during this quarantine, in how to learn to be better. And that’s part of the journey Connecting … is going to take us on, and one thing is for sure, it’s not gonna do it by skirting the issue.
Let’s be clear, it couldn’t. And more importantly, it shouldn’t. The conversations we were all having in the days that followed are the conversations we want to see these characters have, and though we can all recognize that there’s still a lot of work to be done, I can’t but appreciate the show’s willingness to tell this particular story.
But this wasn’t the episode for that, not yet. This was the episode to make us reflect in our own behavior during this quarantine, and the choices we have made – for better or worse. Ben, for example, is shacking up with his ex in this episode, and all his friends are 100% in agreement that it’s a bad idea. But Ben’s not the only one making bad decisions, everyone’s being a bit more lax than they were at the beginning of the pandemic …which is kinda, infuriating for Garrett, and absolutely normal.
We should all be better. So many of us have been better. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that it’s sustainable for everyone. It’s hard to be alone during this time, and it’s an extra level of hard to have to take care of kids and attempt to work from home. Yes, we should all be doing our very best to be safe, and by being safe, keep the people we love safe, but the playing field is not even.
But, now more than ever, it’s important to take care of ourselves. Important to take time, to let ourselves feels, to understand what our bodies are telling us …and just as important to stay connected to your family, whether that is actual blood relations or your best friends.
That’s after all, why Connecting … works so well. We have never seen these actors actually sharing a scene, and yet, we believe in their friendship. We believe Annie has feelings for Ben and he has a crush on her too, they just don’t know how to take that next step. We believe they all care about Garrett enough to play make-believe to make him happy. We believe in their connection, and in seeing that highlighted, we feel infinitely better about our connections.
We all have our support system. Without it, we wouldn’t have made it to October. And that’s why Connecting … works. Because the most important part of quarantine isn’t how careful you were, or how scared, or how lonely …but how connected you managed to be.
Sometimes friendships can save you. During quarantine, however, they don’t even have to do that. All they have to do is keep you afloat.
Connecting … airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.