Netflix Original “Social Distance” is a uniquely filmed eight-episode series that focuses on individuals' lives as they combat the safety measures of quarantining at home after COVID-19, leading to the temporary shutdown of society in March. With each episode being based on a different individual or family, the show was easily relatable but became too real for some viewers as it talked about the good and bad of being quarantined with a significant other, losing family members and working full time with a little one at home.
A majority of the show was filmed through the recently popular apps of Zoom, Facetime, and even a home security app - Nest, making the show similar to the movie “Searching” which was filmed entirely on a computer screen. Each episode took around five long days to shoot due to the show being produced in the middle of the pandemic, but episode run times vary from 20-25 minutes.
While the idea of the show was interesting, the material itself was mediocre at best. As mentioned before, the show covered real topics that a lot of people have had to accommodate recently, but it captured these moments in such a cringey and un-intriguing way that each episode felt like an hour of watching your neighbor continuing their daily activities through a never-ending live stream.
If the show decided to focus on a singular family with two working parents, a teenager and a child, then the show could better capture what it is like to deal with COVID-19 at different stages of life. However, by focusing each episode on a different person, the episodes ended with no real ending or closure.
There were a few moments in the show that caught the attention of viewers such as the fifth episode where a small family was separated in their own house because the mother had COVID-19. They had a young son, and the dad was struggling to not only keep himself sane but also to keep his son happy and away from his mother, which was emotional to watch. Not to mention the show also incorporated the BLM protest for the season finale and did an excellent job of capturing the tension between older black generations, and today's black youth when it comes to marching, but once again left the season-ending very open.
Even though those moments made the show a little more interesting to watch, it doesn’t make up for the fact that the majority of the star actors and actresses featured in this show struggled with filming in these foreign environments portraying characters in these real situations, which did not help with the cringe.
For example, the fourth episode “Zero Feet Way” starred actors Brian Jordan Alvarez and Max Jenkins, a gay couple that was going over a rough patch in their relationship after being stuck in the house together. They decided to “spice things up” and add a third to their relationship, but the entire experience felt violating and very uncomfortable to watch for both the actors, but the viewers as well.
Also, in the seventh episode, a group of highschool PC gamers were playing a game together for their channel but the way the show portrayed Gen Z’s use of language was unsettling. Between the annoying “VSCO Girl” sound of “KSKSKSKS,” the spontaneous dabbing, the neverending use of the word “simp” and one of the characters answering the phone with an avocado face filter saying “Welcome to Chili’s,” this episode was not a favorite. It was similar to Netflix's large selection of original teen romance-comedy movies, but 20 minutes long and much worse.
While the show itself was an interesting idea, it portrayed life under quarantine in quite possibly the worst way possible. A few moments in the episodes salvaged the show a little, but still deserves at most a 1.5/5 stars. With the virus seeming to never leave, a second season may possibly be released in 2021, but in the meanwhile, this show is streamable only on Netflix.