The new Netflix show “Social Distance” follows the lives of different people dealing with being quarantined at home during the ongoing pandemic. The show deals with heavy topics such as losing family members and depression but balances it out with humor and uplifting moments.
The show was filmed entirely from the perspective of Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls, home cameras and other internet apps and websites. While this is something that has been done before in movies like “Searching” and “Unfriended,” the format works very well for this concept. Communicating with others virtually has become an essential part of everyday life since the start of the pandemic and the show captures that well.
Each episode focuses on different characters having to deal with social distancing. The show suffers from the inconsistency that many other anthology shows suffer from: some episodes are far more interesting than others.
One stand-out episode has a family trying to conduct a funeral for their father through Zoom. Things quickly unravel as the dysfunctional family argues throughout the whole meeting, the uncle can’t get his audio on and the funeral is eventually interrupted by dancing Zoom bombers.
Another good episode involves a Chinese-American high school student who develops a romantic relationship with one of her friends. She is then devastated to find out that he had been posting racist anti-Chinese memes on his Instagram account.
Some episodes aren’t as well-written as others, though. One episode has a couple trying to solicit a threesome to save their marriage during the quarantine. Marital issues have been a big issue during the quarantine, but this episode seems to just play it for laughs and doesn’t have the emotional impact of other episodes.
The acting, which consists of mostly unknown actors, is great. The fact the actors aren’t famous really helps with the believability. The show wouldn’t have the same impact if it featured A-list stars trying to portray everyday people dealing with the quarantine—just ask Ellen DeGeneres.
The production of the show was complicated due to the California social distancing restrictions that were in place at the time of filming. Crew members had to set up equipment and control the cameras remotely from vans far away. The producers had to find actors who lived together for scenes that featured characters living together.
Aside from the inconsistency of a few episodes, “Social Distance” does a good job of portraying life during the quarantine. The episodes are short and to the point and the overall show is very well done considering the short production time.
These are truly strange and hard times we are living through, and I imagine many younger people will look back at this show as a time capsule of 2020. While I’m not sure that many people may want to watch a show about the pandemic while the pandemic is still going on, the show really does a great job of holding up a mirror to the past few months.