By Grace Van Duyn, ’22
When quarantine hit our area in March, a lot of us found ourselves on our couches trying to find entertainment and an escape from the frightening reality on the news. As I thought about this, I wondered, what was the most popular show that people in the United States watched during quarantine and what did that say about our mentality at that time? I asked a few Hanover High students what they watched and the most popular answers were All American and Outer Banks. I also thought those television shows had to be some of the most streamed shows during quarantine. But, as I looked for information online to back up my classmates and my own opinions, I found that our guesses were wrong.
According to the Observer, an American online media company, the top three shows watched in the U.S. during quarantine were Spongebob, My Hero Academia, and Game of Thrones. I was surprised by this, but then realized that teens weren’t the only people who were looking for an escape from reality during quarantine. Many of the shows that were popular with teens weren’t even close to being the most watched in the United States.
Instead of watching regular programs, people tended to binge-watch certain shows and to try out different types of shows than they did before. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the TV streaming search engine Reelgood analyzed its users’ viewing trends during the pandemic. Reelgood found that in May, three months into the quarantine, the top three shows that people watched for the first time were Ozark, Tiger King, and Breaking Bad. Reelgood also saw that genres such as animation, fantasy, and comedy all had a significant increase in their number of streams. In addition, Reelgood noticed that genres such as biographies, documentaries, war, and crime actually were streamed less during quarantine. Initially, I expected that all shows would have experienced an increase in their streams during the quarantine, but the data shows that generally people only chose to watch uplifting shows. Also, because so many families were together, family shows also saw a big increase in popularity. Families were spending an enormous amount of time together and these shows were very relatable. Also, for others who were separated from family and friends, these shows reminded them of feelings of unity and love. Some of these shows were Modern Family, Friends, and Schitt$ Creek.
I think television was a distraction that we needed during this difficult time. So many people were quarantined at home to protect others and themselves. If you were able to be home and healthy, television might have made your time a little easier. You might have even bonded with others over a show like Tiger King that would normally never have caught your attention. As the data that Reelgood collected proves, we all searched for shows that could make us forget about our realities and give us a needed smile or laugh. This pandemic showed us a lot about our world and even how important simple things like television can be.
Keep the conversation going. In the comments, tell us what shows got you and your friends through the quarantine?
featured image: https://time.com/5836749/share-tv-computer-quarantine/