Once Upon a Pandemic in Hollywood
On Monday, March 9, the Grown-ish writers room gathered for day one of writing season four. I brought in a package of Clorox wipes and our boss sent out a largely ignored e-mail asking no one to hug. We joked about how we never realized our office is a total petri dish: eighteen writers and assistants in one room for sometimes fourteen-hour days with windows that don’t open for obvious reasons. Hilarious! But, no worries, we'd probably get a week off from work if this whole coronavirus thing got "really" crazy. By Wednesday, moments after the NBA shut down and around the time I was putting eighteen bottles of cold-pressed green juice in my grocery cart because I inexplicably feared I'd never have access to produce again, we were told to stay home.
At first, a comedy writers’ room, my absolute happy place, just got better! No one talked over one another on Zoom; with that many people, we respectfully listened to everyone’s pitches and jokes. Our hours were excellent—11:00am to 5:00pm every day? That was like five minutes compared to our sometimes 10:00am to midnight schedule. Instead of spending my lunch break in the petri dish, I would do things like play Super Nintendo on my couch or feed my sourdough starter. I felt like an Instagram influencer (only without the followers and athletic body).
But that just lasted a minute. Pretty soon it became clear that jokes didn’t land quite the same way. And if one did, my internet probably lagged, and I missed it. And we wouldn't stop for ten minutes to roast someone for something dumb they said. I stopped having time for video games on my lunch break because now I had to clean up after a nine-week-old kitten, Lou (my first pet ever). He is adorable, living proof that I have gone from a girl in Hollywood who lived for post-work margaritas to an agoraphobic cat lady seeking emotional support from a pet, so she doesn't have an anxious breakdown. Hello, glamour.
While my sourdough is still going, I’d definitely give up one night of cooking and endless dishes to be back in the petri dish, eating questionable seafood dinner take-out from the Valley, and opening a bottle (or five) of wine with all of my funniest friends. Hopefully, we'll be back in the writer's room soon. Even if it is outside, sitting on a lawn, shouting our pitches to be heard over the nearby 101 freeway. I'll take it. Hey, maybe I can even bring Lou!
Alexandra Decas graduated from Tabor in 2005 and went on to study Film and Television at Boston University before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television writing and eventually meeting her writing partner, Melanie Kirschbaum. Their credits to date include the Netflix/DreamWorks show Boss Baby and ABC's Mixed-ish, and they are currently Producers on Freeform's Grown-ish.