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This Is Us and Queen Sugar tell a tale of two different pandemics, showing the racial disparities of COVID-19

  • On This Is Us, creator Dan Fogelman has incorporated the pandemic in a way that feels forced. "There is a scene dedicated to choosing the right mask, like the moment Kate accidentally wears one with an exaggerated smile with missing teeth to meet up with Ellie, the woman whose unborn child she plans to adopt," says Kristin Corry. "When Kevin gets word that Madison is in labor, six weeks early, he leaves the movie he’s shooting in Vancouver, but not before pulling a man from a car wreck in a ditch—without a mask. It isn’t until he arrives at the airport that he realizes he left his ID in the jacket he gave to the man he saved, which poses a problem in the TSA line. But anything is possible on television. Kevin had time to save a life, book a last-minute flight, get on the last-minute flight without ID before the birth of his children—all at the height of the pandemic. No biggie. The show’s fixation on things like quirky masks and Zoom calls feels like a very shallow rendering of what’s going on." Corry adds: "Queen Sugar, created by Ava Duvernay, does directly approach COVID. Here, the scenes and language surrounding the virus paints a very different picture from the quirky masks and cute FaceTime calls of This Is Us. Queen Sugar manages to capture the anxiety we felt trying to stock up on toilet paper and sanitizing our groceries, and the paranoia over a cough. 'Everything ain’t corona,' Hollywood’s mother says over a FaceTime call. It’s a feeling that was more relatable than many of us might like to admit. Down in New Orleans, the Bordelons are in jeopardy of losing everything. Darla and Ralph Angel are newly engaged and planning a wedding. Hollywood is preparing to open a new business. Micah is a budding freshman at Xavier University. Charlie finally got a judge to block the passage of a highway that would have ripped through the farm her siblings inherited, along with other local growers. They were all on the brink of these memorable moments, and so were the Pearsons. Still, the difference here is that a COVID outbreak in a Black and brown community, which is disproportionately affected by the pandemic, isn’t just a temporary inconvenience. It will change their lives forever."

    TOPICS: Queen Sugar, NBC, Oprah Winfrey Network, This Is Us, Coronavirus