The ABC comedies tackled the coronavirus crisis head-on in their premieres Wednesday for their respective seventh and third seasons. Black-ish's "Hero Pizza" shows Tracee Ellis Ross' Dr. Rainbow Johnson commiserating with co-workers during breaks at the hospital from witnessing the horror of the pandemic. On The Conners' "Keep on Truckin’ Six Feet Apart," the entire household is impacted by the pandemic as family members scrape to get by. "Finding humor in the depths of a pandemic is like searching for sunlight at the bottom of the sea," says Lorraine Ali. "But ABC’s signature comedies The Conners and Black-ish dived into the murk head first when both returned Wednesday with new seasons and of-the-moment storylines. Turning the horrors of the day into prime-time sitcom fare is a risky proposal at best. Celebrated political satirists like John Oliver and Stephen Colbert took time to find their footing at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Saturday Night Live is still struggling to do so, which means expectations — even for these topical productions — were guarded. Both comedies, however, manage to squeeze humor out of the dismal realities of lockdown and viral surges while still honoring the pain and loss many American families have endured since March. Each household features frontline workers at different ends of the economic spectrum and folks struggling to cope. And each show strikes its own balance of snarky/smart humor, empathy and newsworthy candor, highlighting what it takes to muddle through unprecedented times. So what does it take? Humor and the support of family, or course."
TOPICS: Black-ish, ABC, The Conners, Roseanne, Katey Sagal, Tracee Ellis Ross, Coronavirus