HOLLYWOOD, CA — Both 2020 and 2021 mark periods of great tragedy in human history. While such periods in the past have provided inspiration for some of the most celebrated art and entertainment of all time, it seems that the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the opposite.
This is particularly true in the realm of television.
“I just like….love tv that I dont like…um…have to actually watch ya know,” said Jennifer Higgins, a 31-year-old public relations strategist.
Higgins is not alone, the New Yorker recently published an article on the rise of “Ambient TV,” the magazine’s term for hollow, plotless shows that are vaguely reminiscent of nothing and allow viewers to safely do anything but actually watch the show, while still being able to follow along.
Among the most popular “Ambient TV” programs? “Emily in Paris.” A show about a young white American woman who goes to Paris, and proceeds to do nothing interesting beyond that. The show was recently nominated for a Golden Globe, while more substantive, thought-provoking, social-commentary-type shows like “I may destroy you” were snubbed.
While the nomination of an empty show like “Emily in Paris,” over the riveting “I may destroy you,” shocked many, Higgins says she was not surprised.
“It’s a pandemic, and I like…can’t go anywhere. So why would I add to my misery by following a story of sexual assault and race that could completely change the way I understand trauma and potentially change my life for the better? I’m not watching tv to learn something, I’m watching so that I can click through Instagram stories with sound.”