Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

Mimesis of the Zoom World: How TV Series Mirrored the 2020 Pandemic and Its Languages

Carlotta Susca



The COVID-19 pandemic has made apparent the importance of stories in consoling, healing, and being effective vehicles of useful information. The two case studies taken into consideration in this work are TV series special episodes created and aired during the first phase of the pandemic, and particularly during the first lockdown. Parks and Recreation’s and Mythic Quest’s pandemic episodes portray their characters’ interactions on line, mirroring the real world and the necessary but painful social distancing. These episodes were moving and have a great value as testaments of the lockdown, other than having proved helpful in raising charitable donations. Due to logistic restrictions and to the intention of portraying reality as it was, the two special episodes were realized through video calls and portray characters video calling each other.


audio-visual languages; comedy series; Coronavirus; COVID-19; healing narrative; mimesis; Mythic Quest; pandemic narratives; Parks and Recreation; TV series

Full Text:



Adgate, Brad. 2021. "The Impact COVID-19 Had on the Entertainment Industry in 2020". Forbes, April 13. [13/05/2021].


Alexander, Julia. 2020. "The Office's John Krasinski Launched a YouTube Channel Dedicated to Good News". The Verge, March 30. [30/03/2020].


Angeletti, Valerio. 2023. "From Plague to Plague: COVID-19 Andthe New De­­ca­­me­­ron(s)". International Social Science Journal: 1-12.



Auerbach, Eric. 2003. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1946). 50th anniversary ed., translated by Willard Trask. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Barra, Luca. 2020. La sitcom. Genere, evoluzione, prospettive. Roma: Carocci.

Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. 2001. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge (MA) - London: The MIT Press.

Bower, Gordon H., and Michal C. Clark. 1969. "Narrative Stories as Mediators for Serial Learning". Psychonomic Science 14 (4): 181-182.


Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. 2003. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946 - Present. New York: Ballantine Books.

Chandran, Nyshka. 2020. "Why Do We Find Comfort in Terrifying Stories?". BBC. [06/06/2023].


Clement, Lorenz Jan. 2020. "'Community' Cast Reunites for COVID-19 Charity Table Read". [20/05/2020].


Cometa, Michele. 2017. Perché le storie ci aiutano a vivere. La letteratura necessaria. Milano: Raffaello Cortina.

"Culture Shock: COVID-19 and the Cultural and Creative Sectors". OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19). [07/09/2020].


Dahlstrom, Michael F. 2014. "Using Narratives and Storytelling to Communicate Science with Nonexpert Audiences". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (Suppl. 4).


Eakin, Paul John. 1999. How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press.


Fischer-Lichte, Erika. 2008. The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aestethics, translated by Saskya Iris Jain. London - New York: Routledge.

Formenti, Cristina. 2012. "Il mockumentary. Quando le estetiche documenta­rie diventano stile cinematografico". Bianco e nero. 1: 106-110. doi: 10.7371/71287.

Gottschall Jonathan. 2013. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Boston: Mariner Books.

Gottschall, Jonathan. 2021. The Story Paradox: How Our Love of Storytelling Builds Societies and Tears Them Down. New York: Basic Books.

Grubb, Brian. 2020. "The Rundown: The 'Mythic Quest' Quarantine Episode Was a Straight-Up Triumph". Uproxx.


Haidt, Jonathan. 2012. "Born This Way? Nature, Nurture, Narratives, and the Making of Our Political Personalities". Reason (May).


Hersko, Tyler. 2020. "'Parks and Recreation' Special Has Already Raised $3 Million for Feeding America". IndieWire. [02/05/2020].


Horeck, Tanya. 2021. "'Netflix and Heal': The Shifting Meanings of Binge-Watching during the COVID-19 Crisis". Film Quarterly 75 (1): 35-40.


Jakobson, Roman. 1960. "Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics". In Style in Language, edited by Thomas A. Sebeok, 350-377. New York - London: The MIT Press.

Kumagai, Arno K., and Jay Baruch. 2021. "Stories in the Time of COVID-19". Academic Medicine 96 (8, August): 1095-1096.


Mark, Sean. 2022. "Pandemic Fictions: COVID-19 and the Cultures of Dystopia". Sillages critiques 32, mis en ligne le 30 novembre 2022 [06/06/2023].



McHenry, Jackson. 2020. "How Mythic Quest Wrote, Filmed, and Edited Its Quarantine Episode in 3 Weeks". Vulture, May 26.


Mekel, Michele L., and Lauren Stetz. 2022. "Viral Imaginations: Pandemic History and Healing". The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, April 29.


Misra, Shubhangi. 2020. "The Story of the Storytellers: How Writers Are Coping with COVID-19 and the Lockdown". The Print, July 5.


Mussgnug, F. 2021. "Afterword: COVID-19 or the Vulnerability of the Future". In Mediating Vulnerability: Comparative Approaches and Questions of Genre, edited by Florian Mussgnug, Anneleen Masschelein, and Jennifer Rushworth, 252-257. London: UCL Press.


Pandya, Apurvakumar, and Pragya Lodha. 2021. "Social Connectedness, Excessive Screen Time during COVID-19 and Mental Health: A Review of Current Evidence". Frontiers in Human Dynamics 3. [22/07/2021].



Power, K. 2020. "The Decameron Project: Fevered COVID Tales Convey a Strange Feeling of Reassurance". The Independent, November 29.


Pratici, Marina, e Cristiana Vettori. 2020. Decameron 2020. Racconti e poesie della qua­­rantena. Arezzo: Edizioni Helicon.

Puggioni, Raffaela. 2023. "Two Years of the COVID-19 Crisis: Anxiety, Creativity and the Everyday". Societies 13 (2): 24.


Rossini, Gianluigi. 2016. Le serie TV. Bologna: il Mulino.

Scaglioni, Massimo. 2022. La televisione nella pandemia. Intrattenimento, fiction, informazione e sport nell'anno del COVID-19. Annuario 2021. Roma: Ca­­rocci.

Testoni, Ines, Emil Rossi, Sara Pompele, Ilaria Malaguti, and Hod Orkibi. 2021. "Catharsis through Cinema: An Italian Qualitative Study on Watching Tragedies to Mitigate the Fear of COVID-19". Frontiers in Psychiatry 12. [16/06/2021].



"'Tg Casa 40ena', le notizie sul nulla". 2020. il manifesto, 18 aprile.

Weick, Karl E. 1993. "The Collapse of Sensemaking in Organisations: The Mann Gulch Disaster". Administrative Science Quarterly 38 (4, December): 628-652.


Weisholtz, Drew. 2020. "Watch Cobie Smulders Perform a Quarantine Version of 'Let's Go to the Mall'". Today, May 8.


Weiss, Josh. 2021. "'We had to throw out an entire season': How 'Mythic Quest' Pivoted to Reflect a Post-COVID World". Forbes, April 15.



Contagion. 2011. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Double Future Films et al.

Fuori era primavera. 2020. Directed by Gabriele Salvatores. Rai Cinema, Indiana Production.

Mythic Quest. 2020-. 3 seasons. Created by Charlie Day, Megan Ganz, and Rob McElhenney.

Parks and Recreations. 2009-2015. 7 seasons. Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur.

Parks and Recreations special reunion episode. 30/05/2020.

Some Good News. 2020. Created and hosted by John Krasinski. Sunday Night Productions. Available on YouTube.

Tg Casa 40ena. 2020. Created and hosted by Maccio Capatonda. Available on YouTube.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2023-002-susc

Copyright (©) 2023 Carlotta Susca – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Call for papers Vol 11 (2024) No 1 - Discourses, Methods and Practices of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging: Towards a Global Shared Framework
Edited by Dr. Paola Catenaccio (Università degli Studi di Milano) and Dr. Fadia Nordtveit (Springfield College)

Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process. 
Deadline for papers submission: January 15th, 2024
Request for revision following peer review: by April 15th, 2024
Final versione due by May 15th, 2024
Publication: by June 2024


Call for papers Vol 11 (2024) No 2: “The Language of War: Lexicon, Metaphor, Discourse”
Edited by Dr. Anna Anselmo (Università degli Studi di Ferrara), Prof. Kim Grego (Università degli Studi di Milano), and Prof. Andreas Musolff (University of East Anglia)

Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process.
Deadline for papers submission: June 10th, 2024
Request for revision following peer review: by September 10th, 2024
Final version due by October 10th, 2024
Publication: by December 2024


Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (27/11/2013 n. 380)
Online ISSN 2421-0293 - Print ISSN 2284-1881

Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature, Culture e Mediazioni  
Università degli Studi di Milano

Editors-in-Chief: Paola Catenaccio (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giuliana Garzone (IULM, Milano)
Editorial Board: Marina Brambilla (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giovanni Garofalo (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Dino Gavinelli (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Antonella Ghersetti (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Maria Grazia Guido (Università del Salento) - Elena Liverani (IULM, Milano) - Stefania Maci (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Andrea Maurizi (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca) - Chiara Molinari (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Ondelli (Università degli Studi di Trieste) - Davide Papotti (Università degli Studi di Parma) - Francesca Santulli (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Girolamo Tessuto (Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli) - Giovanni Turchetta (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Vicari (Università degli Studi di Genova)
International Scientific Committee: James Archibald (Università degli Studi di Torino) - Natalija G. Bragina (Institut Russkogo Jazyka im. A.S. Puškina; RSUH, Mosca) - Kristen Brustad (University of Texas at Austin) - Luciano Curreri (University of Liège) - Hugo de Burgh (University of Westminster) - Giuditta Caliendo (Université de Lille) - Giorgio Fabio Colombo (Università di Venezia Ca' Foscari) - Daniel Dejica (Universitatea Politehnica Timisoara) - Anna De Fina (Georgetown University, USA) - Claudio Di Meola, (Sapienza Università di Roma) - Lawrence Grossberg (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) - Stephen Gundle (University of Warwick) - Décio de Alencar Guzmán (Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém,  Brasile) - Matthias Heinz (Universität Salzburg) - Rosina Márquez-Reiter (The Open University) - John McLeod (University of Leeds) - Estrella Montolío Durán (Universitat de Barcelona) - M'bare N'gom (Morgan State University, Baltimore) - Daragh O'Connell (Cork University) - Roberto Perin (York University, Toronto) - Giovanni Rovere (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg) - Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (University of Edinburgh) - Françoise Sabban (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) - Kirk St.Amant (Louisiana Tech University, University of Limerick/University of Strasbourg) - Paul Sambre (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) - Srikant Sarangi (Aalborg University) - Junji Tsuchiya (Waseda University, Tokyo) - Xu Shi (Zhejiang University)
Section Managers: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (Modern history) - Paola Cotta Ramusino, Università degli Studi di Milano (Russian linguistics and translation) - Mario de Benedittis, Università degli Studi di Milano (Sociology) - Kim Grego Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giovanna Mapelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Spanish linguistics and translation) - Bettina Mottura, University of Milan (Chinese studies) - Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Contemporary Italian literature and culture) - Letizia Osti, Università degli Studi di Milano (Arab studies) - Maria Cristina Paganoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giuseppe Sergio, Università degli Studi di Milano (Italian linguistics) - Virginia Sica, Università degli Studi di Milano (Japanese studies)

Referee List

© 2001 LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto