I know in many ways, I’m screaming into the void about Connecting …, and for valid reasons too. Some people will not be convinced because they just do not want to face reality in the way of a TV show, no matter how well written it is. For many of us TV is about escapism, and as Connecting … delves into not just the pandemic, but the BLM movement, it can get a little overwhelming to see things play out on screen that we all felt.
That we all lived through.
Before I gave the Pilot of this show a try, I would have agreed with this take. In fact, I watched Freeform’s Love in the Time of Corona and agreed with this take even after watching it. Which probably goes to show that good writing does matter in how a show is recieved.
Good writers can make almost everything work – even a pandemic we’re still living through.
If I wanted more proof that my initial instinct about this show was right, look no further than “Day 82,” the episode that allows Michelle the chance to be …well, the one who knows everything, fixes everything, and always, always has it under control. You know, the kind of woman she, a Black woman, is always expected to be.
The weight of people’s expectations, even well-meaning ones, has never been as heavy as it is in this episode, for Michelle. And that she survived, and somehow found it within herself to not be mad …just push forward, despite the day she had, despite the world she lives in, is a testament to what women like her go through every day.
For me, there’s a temptation to add a component of is it fair to her to this review, even though we all recognize that it isn’t. But I don’t think that’s the point, or my place. The thing we can all do, as allies – the thing Michelle’s friends don’t all just get, even when they mean well, is that, sometimes, Michelle just needs space to do and be and feel …and not have to do the emotional work for everyone else.
Sometimes she needs time for herself.
And, no, she probably won’t know how to ask. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve that Garrett, the one from the end, the one who’s falling apart but who can find time to not fall apart alone while his wife is also falling apart. That she doesn’t deserve for Ben to pay a little more attention.
That she doesn’t deserve to have her friends make it all about her, for once.
We’re all living this complicated time, and the issues of the pandemic affect us all, even if they affect us disproportionately depending on our circumstances. But the issues of racial inequality don’t affect us the same way, and to be an ally is to understand that, and to allow the people truly affected by not just a voice, but the time they need.
And it won’t always be pretty, or perfect, like Michelle’s friends showed this week, but true friendship is about still trying. About being there for each other. You know, about that connection that makes this show special.
This might not be the show you want to watch in this moment in time. You might feel like it’s not the show you need, considering your – everyone’s – mental state. But I believe this show has a lesson for all of us, one not just about who we are as people, but about the tribe that lifts us up when we can’t manage for ourselves.
Isn’t that worth a try?
Connecting … airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.