Binge and Repeat: ‘Social Distance’ hits a little too close to home in pandemic anthology series

Let’s be honest here, 2020 has not been an easy year. While the calendar itself is not to blame for the political and social tumults that have dominated news headlines, it’s a time when we do often attribute some of the heightened tensions to the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Netflix’s new anthology series “Social Distance” provides eight different stories of life while living with the “new normal” of the pandemic..

Heartbreaking and perhaps a bit too real, the anthology series captures the challenges and tumultuous emotions people have felt during the earlier stages of the pandemic. The first episode revolves around a newly sober man who is completely alone during the early stages of the pandemic. He attends his virtual AA meetings and candidly shares his concerns about not being able to work because his business isn’t deemed essential and how he lives alone after his girlfriend broke up with him a few weeks before the quarantine began. He turns to social media to distract himself, but it doesn’t provide the comfort he needs. In another episode, a family attends a virtual funeral that’s fraught with family dysfunction and grief that they are unable to give their loved one a traditional farewell. Another episode shows a set of parents, one isolating within their home as they battle the coronavirus while the other struggles to care for their child and their ill partner alone. The series also highlights how relationships are differently impacted through isolation and the fear of the disease. As the series progresses, it also examines the social and racial components of 2020 including racist memes about Asians and the social upheaval surrounding Black Lives Matter and George Floyd’s death.

Each episode is told through a virtual lens, which not only acts as a poignant nod to the important role of technology during the pandemic, but it also hammers home just how different life has become. Instead of being together, families have virtual get-togethers, people hold work meetings over Zoom and of course it showcases the resilience the public has shown in the face of this difficult time. The virtual lens also made it possible for the series to be remotely executed.

“Social Distance” has one season available on Netflix. The series is rated TV-MA. After watching this series, which might hit too close to home for some, viewers might be interested in watching something that provides more of an escape. Those looking for a laugh might enjoy Netflix’s “The Duchess,” a comedy about a single mom contemplating having a second child.

Social Distance

Seasons: One

Episodes: 8

Episode length: 20 minutes

TV rating: TV-MA

Language: English, Chinese, Spanish

Similar series: The Duchess