The idea of human connection is a concept that defies definition. While many people long to have people in their lives, there can be a divide between real relationships and an artificial façade. Although devices appear to allow people to have great connections, that screen might be more of a barrier than what people realize. On the Peacock show Mrs. Davis, Tara Hernandez, and Damon Lindelof present a story about a quest, but the bigger tale might be a cautionary one.
For anyone who has watched Mrs. Davis on Peacock, the evolving story is part fantasy and part cautionary tale. Even though the laughter and extreme moments might have people shaking their heads, there are times when the fiction hits a little too close to home. Even though the main character is far from the “flying nun” from decades ago, there is a moment or two where the simplicity of a less technologically embedded world might have its advantages.
During a roundtable discussion with Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof, the pair discussed the creation of this story, the challenges of bringing it to life, and the struggle of balancing technology and faith.
While Hernandez might have driven the storyline to Mrs. Davis, Lindelof knew that the concept was in good hands. He believed that Hernandez knew how to drive home the concept while making engaging television along the way. The resulting project is more than an entertaining series, it has some curious commentary on today’s society.
Without giving away the many twists and turns, the characters question whether artificial intelligence can help create a more fulfilled, connected life or if that screen creates a bigger barrier that needs to be eliminated. Hernandez shared that the concept was borne out of the pandemic timeframe.
She mentioned people being sequestered and isolated in their homes yet connecting over phones did not necessarily alleviate that feeling of isolation and disconnection. Even though the device was meant to bridge a divide, it may not be complete. A 100 years ago that connection might have been made at a church, now it is made through a screen.
Lindelof described the concept in terms of a simple equation or question. Is that phone being used in a way to talk to, interact with, or engage with another person or is it scrolling through social media, playing a game, or doing Wordle? In the latter case, a person is interacting with an algorithm, not an actual person. Being connected to something is not being connected to another person. Woven into the humor and fantasy, the point never fades from view.
That ability to bring a touch of levity in moments of heavy subjects is key and was intentional by the creative team. From references to Schrodinger’s or an inside joke, the audience feels like they are part of the group. It fosters a connection.
Hernandez believes that those hilarious moments are the break from fear and anxiety that people need. She appreciates that moment when the audience laughs, takes a breath, and feels that collective appreciation for the work of talented actors like Betty Gilpin.
As people watch and rewatch Mrs. Davis, Hernandez, and Lindelof acknowledge that opportunity to bring original content to the screen. From highlighting the actors’ talents to encouraging people to think beyond laughter, the premise of whether or not a technologically connected world is a fulfilling world will continue to be discussed. As long as people take a look around beyond the screen and see, not just view, the people and world surrounding them, the show might have a bigger impact than anyone realizes.