It’s been quite the run around the last two weeks. First, there was the fiasco with Netflix and Disney Plus where we lost a bunch of our favorite shows. Then we had to deal with the fact that our beloved Sesame Street was heading to Netflix. And then there was the glorious moment when we got to enjoy all our favorite shows again!

Of course, the world didn’t end there. Just as we were getting back in the swing of things, the big news networks started carrying news about the novel coronavirus. Suddenly, our daily lives looked very different. We were in quarantine, working from home, and trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

A lot of the shows we love revolve around the coronavirus pandemic. While it’s wonderful that these shows are entertaining us during a time of social distancing, we worry about the lack of information. After all, these are shows that entertainers play on. The stories might be fictional, but it’s the facts that matter most now.

When we found ourselves unable to leave the house for several days, we decided to binge-watch all of our favorite shows. Unfortunately, many of them had changed dramatically since we’d last seen them. For example, Game of Thrones is now an adult-only show and there aren’t any children’s characters left. To us, that felt like a major step back. We couldn’t help but feel a bit disheartened. After all, these are the stories that we’d grown up with. These are the characters that we’d learned to love and it felt like we were missing out on a chance to learn more about the pandemic.

Now, thanks to COVID-19 testing and ventilators from the frontline, we might actually get to learn more about the pandemic. So while we still miss our favorite shows, at least we have something better to look forward to. At least these are the stories that have educational value.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

When we were hit with the news that Sesame Street was on its way to Netflix, we were pretty bummed out. Although we understood why Sesame Street was leaving the ad-supported network and heading to Netflix, we were still sad to see our favorite childhood show go. The last several seasons had felt very different from the seasons that came before. First, there were no longer any live performances (something we grew to love). Next, the focus shifted from performing to practicing social distancing. It felt like a step back. After all, isn’t that what we had Kids Week for? To give us a break from practicing social distancing?

Then, as if to make matters worse, the show began carrying ads. Even worse, these weren’t the brief and unobtrusive ads that we were used to seeing while watching television. These were the long, annoying ads that appear at the beginning of the episode and don’t leave until the end. While we still love and depend on Sesame Street for educating our children, we couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. We’d spent years watching the show, but now, thanks to coronavirus, we had to start all over again from the very beginning.

The response from Sesame Street was that the show would be available for streaming on their platform starting April 1st. While this was good news, it came with a giant asterisk. Even if we hadn’t been hit with the pandemic, we would’ve still been unable to stream the show. According to Netflix, to use their service, you have to have a steady internet connection and be willing to put up with ads (which we aren’t entirely sure how you manage to avoid, considering how long they last). Even worse, if you do have a steady internet connection and don’t mind ads, the show’s price goes up every month. This is particularly frustrating because of all the money we’re already spending on groceries and utilities, we barely have enough left over for petrol. If we did have enough left over, maybe we’d consider paying for Netflix. But as it stands, we’re basically forced to either pay for cable or look for free streaming alternatives.

Streaming Isn’t Streaming

For decades, television has been moving away from the traditional TV model and toward online streaming. Much like the internet, online streaming gives viewers the ability to access content whenever they want, wherever they want. While this convenience has had many advantages, it has also brought its share of disruption. Just as the internet and social media have changed the way we communicate and entertain ourselves, so too have streaming platforms.

One of the biggest disadvantages is the lack of a tangible connection to the content. When you click on a link in an email or on social media, you’re taken to a website and hopefully, an engaging, informative website at that. If you click on a Netflix link, however, you’ll be taken to a completely different site – one that not only offers you different content but also tries to sell you additional items. While this might not seem like a problem, especially if you’re already a Netflix subscriber, it can be a bit overwhelming to find yourself on a different site when all you wanted was to access Netflix content. Even if you’ve been to a different site before and know how to stay away from the garbage content, it can still feel overwhelming to find yourself on a site that you don’t want to be on. This is why, when we were in lockdown and desperately needed a laugh, we turned to YouTube.

YouTube Is Where We Spent Our Time

While we were in lockdown, working from home, our time was incredibly valuable. Even though we were in self-isolation, we still needed to spend time with our children. Since we no longer feel the need to socialize and entertain ourselves with friends, we turned to YouTube. Even though some of the content could be unsettling, especially for our younger children, we found that it was a great way to connect with them and keep them active (which is more important now than ever).

Thanks to YouTube, we were able to continue watching our favorite shows even though we couldn’t leave the house. As we watched, we found that not only were the shows different than we were used to, but they also had a lot more educational value. For example, in the past, we might’ve turned on Sesame Street to see familiar characters dancing around and teaching little kids how to count or identify the letters in the alphabet. These days, though, we turn on Sesame Street to see adults telling kids how to practice social distancing. Even better, now that we’re aware of the pandemic, we can point out specific things that the show has taught us about the disease. We’ve realized that not only does social distancing help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it can also protect the elderly from getting sick as well.

Saving Money And Quality Time

We might’ve gotten used to paying for TV packages in one place, but since we started watching shows online, we’re no longer bound by contract. Thanks to the incredible value that online streaming offers, we’re not only able to continue watching our favorite shows, but we’re also able to do so for free.

Additionally, we have the ability to watch shows whenever we want, which means we can avoid spending our valuable time on things that don’t bring value. We’ve found that we’ve been able to shave a lot of our weekly costs by watching shows online. Even better, we can now spend more time with our kids, which is the greatest gift we could ever give them.

While we miss our old favorites, at least we have a wealth of content to choose from. Even when we can’t spend time with our friends, we have Netflix. Even when we can’t travel abroad, we have YouTube. Even when we can’t go to the beach, we have Netflix. These are all just a few of the ways that the internet is helping us to cope with and survive the pandemic. Thanks to the heroes on the frontlines, we’re finally getting the education that we need and the entertainment that we crave.