Spring. We have already heard of a “mysterious respiratory disease”. And then Cory discovers an entry in the news ticker: The family of Hannah, a young employee who slept with Mitch and later died of an overdose, has filed a lawsuit against the network for unjustified death. And then there is perhaps the most threatening development of all, when a woman standing behind Cory sneezes and the episode ends with a thud.
‘Are we just going to ignore this?’
The shutdown caused the show’s writers, led by Kerry Ehrin, to go back and rework everything.
“For a current show that looks at the world for what it is, the question was, ‘Are we just going to ignore this?'” Said Michael Ellenberg, Executive Producer and CEO of Media Res, the studio behind the series. That would be impossible, they decided.
“We had to bring up the times we were in and so our first conversation was how to do it. Kerry insisted we didn’t want to speculate about the future – how long the pandemic would last, would it end what it would look like, “he added. “And so we quickly agreed on this idea, let’s look at the conclusion of the pandemic when things build up and this bomb is under the table all the time.”
Season 2 takes place in the first three months of 2020. The virus has struck China and is slowly gaining strength to overtake the rest of the world. At the same time, many of the characters face reckoning as they struggle with their own identities and changing understandings of power, race, and privilege in and outside of work.
Angry about being passed over to host a presidential debate, Show-in-the-Show reporter Danny (Desean Terry) demands to know what it is – to be gay? To be black? – that hindered his career. Stella (Greta Lee), the blunt new president of UBA’s news division and an Asian-American, torments over whether she was hired as a sign despite being subjected to Trump-style racist slurs on the street. Yanko Flores (Nestor Carbonell), the beloved Cuban-American weatherman, is accused of appropriating indigenous culture after using the phrase “ghost animal” in the air and then attacked again when his apology is deemed defective will.