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From literature and films, what did you expect and what did you not expect about a pandemic?

(138 Posts)
KindergartenKop Sat 24-Oct-20 19:36:54

I'm quite a fan of apocalyptic books. There are a few things about the current pandemic which appear as tropes in this genre. For example, there are still buses with posters on advertising films released in March!

On the other hand, the books and films never warned me about the government floundering though this situation. In the books it all happens much more quickly and the government are usually all gone by week 3 (I get that in reality that would be a very bad thing though!)

What did you expect?

OP’s posts: |
baller20 Sat 24-Oct-20 19:37:13


baller20 Sat 24-Oct-20 19:39:57

Off topic but someone on AIBU told me it was "try hard "to use the word trope. No idea why! It's a good word.

What has surprised me is the weird gleeful doom mongering. Only seen it on here mind.

RunningFromWaterGhoul Sat 24-Oct-20 19:40:00

I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so boring!

baller20 Sat 24-Oct-20 19:40:21

🤣🤣🤣 that's true

WhistlersandJugglers Sat 24-Oct-20 19:40:29

I didn't think a pandemic would be so boring.
Trump and Boris do make it seem like a bad movie a lot of the time.

lljkk Sat 24-Oct-20 19:42:20

The bug is supposed to make you sick within 36 hours & very sick within 2 or 3 days, if not dead. It's supposed to be obvious how you got it, and it's not supposed to be asymptomatic / benign in the vast majority. The children all die & nobody cares about the old in the books.

Economic meltdown or Long term effects nobody puts into their story.

Or maybe (Earth Abides, Station Eleven) everyone gets very sick but a few survive and civilisation struggles to re-establish. That isn't like covid, either. Covid is very harmful but not wiping out governments as we know them.

KindergartenKop Sat 24-Oct-20 19:44:02

What word would the philistines on aibu use instead of trope?

Yes to the boredom!! Ugh it's terrible!

OP’s posts: |
lljkk Sat 24-Oct-20 19:46:34

Which story put toilet roll shortages in the plot?

baller20 Sat 24-Oct-20 19:55:37

The one about the diarrhoea pandemic, no I've not not read it either.

KindergartenKop Sat 24-Oct-20 19:56:09

Also nobody warned me about the endless queuing outside shops/libraries/school.

OP’s posts: |
SpeedofaSloth Sat 24-Oct-20 19:57:30

I didn't expect it to be so mundane. I am so, so bored of everything right now.

TheSeedsOfADream Sat 24-Oct-20 20:01:44

I thought Bruce Willis would fly a spaceship into the middle of the virus and blast it into space while I was having sex with Tom Cruise on top of a tall hill having scrabbled up there on a motorbike.

Or something.

amgine Sat 24-Oct-20 20:02:28

They never end up doing endless piles of washing up or working from home for months on end in the movies. Although a long incubation period would make for a boring movie.

RancidOldHag Sat 24-Oct-20 20:03:43

We didn't expect to spend so much time on our arses, staring at a screen. Telly programming dreadful, but Netflix had a boom beyond its wildest dreams.

We expected footage of dashing fit soldiers and medics, we got endless home videos.

DollyMixtureLulus Sat 24-Oct-20 20:06:20

If I were the protagonist I should have met The One, and we would have had a whirlwind romance.

Thankfully I have used the time to watch a lot of Grey's Anatomy and practise mask flirting.

will probably be given a life long ban from Tesco in the second wave

PoulePouletteEternellement Sat 24-Oct-20 20:09:15

Firstly, perhaps, from a lifetime of pre-Covid reading and apocalyptic Radio 4 dramas, I expected some immediate mass migration of people from unsafe to safer areas of the country. That was my biggest fear in March - a race against time for relatives in London and surrounding areas to get out before they were locked in. I had imagined the motorways crammed with desperate people on foot, loaded down with whatever they could rescue from their abandoned cars. Bankers in increasingly ragged suits desperately bidding thousands for stale, bottled water; elderly parents being left behind because they couldn't walk any further. That hasn't happened, thank God.

I read Emily St John Mandel's 'Station Eleven' at the very start of lockdown - and it made me thankful that things weren't even worse for us.

Zombies stopped being comedy. 'I Am Legend' lost the power to scare me, as either book or film.

I hadn't anticipated just how swiftly and accurately I would find the truth in Russell T Davies' depiction of blockaded ghettoes - in 'Years and Years' - with residents not allowed to leave a designated area. I've seen it in plays, heard it on radio drama - but had never grasped just how stingingly humiliating it would be.

The government incompetence is a shock. For the first seven months, I assumed we would just grit our teeth and eventually move past this nightmare. Now ... I'm not so sure. Future sentient entities/ humans looking back, 'Planet of the Apes' or 'Snowpiercer' style, on our destroyed civilisation - not quite as unlikely as it once seemed ...

KindergartenKop Sat 24-Oct-20 20:09:31

Where is Bruce Willis when you need him?

Who would play you in a film of your experience of covid? I'd be played by Emma Stone.

OP’s posts: |
SorrelBlackbeak Sat 24-Oct-20 20:10:11


I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so boring!

Exactly what I was going to say. There's lots of running around dramatically in films, not just staying at home solidly for 3 months....

WitchesSpelleas Sat 24-Oct-20 20:11:16

From 'Outbreak' I thought all they'd need to do was find someone who'd recovered and synthesise their antibodies then we'd all be sorted.

KindergartenKop Sat 24-Oct-20 20:12:39

@PoulePouletteEternellement you shouldn't have read Station Eleven at the start of lockdown! I'd have had trouble sleeping. Luckily I've lost my copy but my abiding memory of the book is when they discover a house that nobody has been in since The Event and it's like a time capsule but with skeletons in all the beds. Ugh.

OP’s posts: |
occa Sat 24-Oct-20 20:13:24

Eh I thought there'd be a lot more screaming.

And maybe properly ransacked shops.

The 'everyone ignoring the scientists' bit is pretty spot on though, to be fair.

SorrelBlackbeak Sat 24-Oct-20 20:13:39

God, in last lockdown Covid experience I'd be probably be Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones - ie podgy, shovelling crisps into my mouth and drinking too much.

TolstoyAteMyHamster Sat 24-Oct-20 20:16:16

I thought it would be more military coup, followed by total societal collapse and a whole lot of effort to get clean water and the power back up and running. Possibly with some eating of rats for good measure.
I did not expect it to be all about wondering whether I should buy an inflatable hot tub and to spend so much time saying “you’re on mute” while peering at a screenZ

MillieEpple Sat 24-Oct-20 20:16:47

You know we are still in the first quater of the film. The setting it up bit.

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