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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The Return to ‘Normal’ Is Going to Be So Awkward

Vaccines are here, unemployment is down, and the pandemic is nearing its end. These are obviously good things. Still, the idea of returning to "normal" might seem daunting. That's because our brains aren't used to being in crisis mode for so long. All that anxiety and uncertainty that's built up over the past year is going to take a while to go away.

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED science writer Matt Simon joins us to talk about the psychology of reentry anxiety, and WIRED service editor Alan Henry offers some tips on how to manage it.

Show Notes

Read Matt Simon’s story about the psychology of returning to “normal” here. Read Adrienne So’s story about vaccine FOMO here.


Alan recommends the game Monster Hunter Rise. Matt recommends the show People Just Do Nothing. Mike recommends Hari Kunzru’s podcast Into the Zone. Lauren recommends the film Minari.

Alan Henry can be found on Twitter @halophoenix. Matt Simon is @mrMattSimon. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

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Lauren Goode: Mike.

Michael Calore: Lauren.

LG: Mike, what do you think it's going to be like when we have to sit next to each other in the office again?

MC: Remember you had a jar of salted roasted nuts at your desk? So, I would say I'm probably going to be putting my hands back in that.

LG: I mean, we actually used to both dip our hands in that jar. Are we going to do that again?

MC: Yeah, why not?

LG: OK. Well, I really want everything to go back to normal, but the thing is, normal has pretty much changed. So, we should talk about that.

[Gadget Lab intro theme music]

LG: Hey everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I'm Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED.

MC: And I'm Michael Calore, a senior editor at WIRED.

LG: And WIRED's service editor, Alan Henry, is joining us from New York today. Alan and his team write all of the helpful how-to's on our website. They cover the video game industry. And Alan is currently writing a book on productivity. Hey, Alan, thanks for joining us.

Alan Henry: Thanks for having me back.

LG: Also with us is WIRED's science writer, Matt Simon. Matt writes about climate change, human psychology, and Strange Creatures, which you may have seen on Netflix, because it's a video series. Hey, Matt.

Matt Simon: Hello, and thanks for having me.

LG: All right, guys, it's been a weird year, and you probably don't need me to tell you that. This pandemic has really made us all feel a keen sense of loss and tested our personal limits of uncertainty. But on the upside, people are getting vaccinated. And while we're not out of the woods yet, and some countries are still seeing alarming spikes in Covid cases, we may slowly start to reintroduce normalcy into our lives. But this presents its own jarring shift, right, because what is normalcy? And just because you get vaccinated doesn't mean all the anxiety will melt away. There are a whole host of other reasons why the prospect of returning to normal might seem daunting or why we might not be totally ready. So I want to go to Matt first because, Matt, you wrote a story last week for WIRED about the psychology of this collective sense of uncertainty. And I guess my first question is, are we going to be OK?

MS: That's a great question, and one we have to address on a number of levels. And the first one would be our own personal experience here. We have been through quite the trauma, and this level of uncertainty is just very bad for the human brain. We crave certainty. But there's also, as we reopen, interpersonal relationships that we have to navigate. We have to go back to eating in restaurants. Have we forgotten how to do that? Or drinking in bars, that sort of thing. And then also picking up friendships that may have fallen by the wayside through all of this. So, there's that personal level for you, yourself, also your relationships, but then even above that, there's this societal level as we go back to what we can call "normal." How do we renegotiate relationships?

LG: And we should note that a lot of this applies to people who have been lucky enough to work from home, who have desk jobs during this time. It's not the level of anxiety that folks who are essential workers or frontline workers, who've had to interact with others, have been experiencing during this time. So, Matt, the psychologist that you spoke to for the story you wrote, what did they say about what this stress has done to us?

MS: What they're saying is that once we get that vaccine in our arm, it's not like that stress is going to magically melt away, unfortunately. We have been living for over a year now with extremely high levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, which wreak havoc on our bodies. In the short term, they're survival mechanisms to make us escape from lions and that sort of thing. But over the course of the year, with completely heightened levels of these hormones, it's just a terrible thing, so our brain is going to take a long time to come off of that. So don't expect as soon as you're vaccinated to feel 100 percent better. The uncertainty certainly will melt away to a large degree. But then again, we have to renavigate all of these interpersonal relationships as well.

MC: You know, one of the ways we've dealt with uncertainty, for those of us who are lucky enough to work from home, is by establishing strong routines. Right? So, we've all got our routines, not only our daily routines but our sort of like what we do on Tuesday nights and what we usually do on Sunday mornings. That has really helped, I think. For a lot of people, it's helped them ease the anxiety that they're feeling about being cooped up. I'm just curious what happens when we have to stop those and start new routines?

MS: Human beings love routines. It hearkens back to our evolutionary roots long ago. We used to live in a world that was completely unpredictable. That's why we formed into societies, to be able to manage that uncertainty. Uncertainty is, again, a lion running around hunting you. You don't want that. So we fall into these routines, and as the pandemic dragged on, you did see people doing their best to pick up healthy routines. So, exercising more or reading more—and listening to podcasts.

But this comes back to the idea of privilege. Right? If you were a worker who had to go to work … there was a study  early on in the pandemic where epidemiologists and demographers looked at cell phone data and found that poor Americans were not able to stay at home as much as rich Americans who could decamp to the Hamptons or wherever and wait it out there. So, the routine that a lot of us were able to develop was … it comes from a place of privilege, because, for a lot of people, they just don't have the energy for that. They don't have the time for that, because they were thrown out on the front lines to get us, as a society, through the problem.

AH: Yeah. I think it's kind of interesting that all of the routines that we've built up at this point in the pandemic are things that we're kind of like holding onto or clutching very tightly. But at the same time, when things do kind of "go back to normal," I hope that we take some of the lessons we picked up from these routines and apply them to the new world, so to speak. Because, for example, a lot of people are working from home, and then there are people who have disabilities, for example, who are like, "Wow, you guys could all figure out how to work from home quickly when there's a pandemic, but not when one of us applies for a job."

And I think that that would be … That's one of those lessons that now we can do more of that. Now we can take the lessons that we learned and hold virtual events. And now we can do more telemedicine instead of forcing everybody to go to the doctor in person every time they have the sniffles or now we can stream online music festivals instead of crowding in and huffing each other's lung juice in groups of 10,000 or more. So, yeah, I mean, I, for one, hope that we can take some of the things we learned from this and apply it to the rest of our lives afterward.

LG: I'm curious how we process things differently when it's a gradual transition back to some kind of normalcy versus a one-time event that had a clear end. I mean, I think that our working from home, the declaration of the pandemic in March of 2020 was very sudden, right, and pretty shocking to our systems. But now our way out of this actually seems like it could be a very lengthy process. We could be sort of facing some version of this virus for years. And so, I'm wondering how do we handle this grief, essentially, when there's not a very clear ending to it versus something that happens and ends and then we recover from?

MS: Yeah, it's that uncertainty that's going to keep carrying on, which is why when you get the shot in your arm, it's not all of a sudden going to resolve itself. We are dealing with more variants of the virus and it's looking increasingly like this is going to be a virus that sticks with us year after year. And when you have a lot of people refusing the vaccine, that means we're having a hard time getting to herd immunity, probably. So, given the just crushing uncertainty that we've dealt with for the past year, that is now going to transition to kind of this lower level kind of uncertainty, both for the virus but also economically, people not being able to come back to jobs of businesses that have gone under. This has been just a tectonic event, societally speaking, interpersonally speaking, and economically speaking. There is no normal anymore. This is the new way of life.

MC: I feel like one thing that will be considered normal in the next phase of our lives is wearing masks in public. Do you guys remember a year ago, the first time that you wore a mask outside of the house and it felt like absolutely everybody was staring at you? It just felt so weird. And you've kind of felt like you had this sort of sense of shame around wearing a mask because there was something wrong with you if you're wearing a mask. Of course, now, we all know that wearing masks if you have any sort of illness that could be transmitted through your respiratory system, wearing a mask is good for public health. Flu is way down this year because everybody was wearing a mask or most people were wearing masks. So, there's that weird psychological hurdle about wearing a mask that I feel like we've cleared and now we're on the other side of it, and now it's like it's OK to wear one. You don't have to feel odd about it.

LG: Right. Our body of knowledge around this virus and the way it works has constantly been evolving over the past year. I remember the first time I went to the grocery store after a pandemic had been declared and I was wearing a mask, and I was standing behind someone in the cheese section as she was picking up a ball of mozzarella, examining it, putting it down, picking up the next one, putting it down. She must've done it about five times. And I remember thinking, "Stop touching the cheese. You're getting fomites all over the cheese." And in reality, that was not a concern. The concern was too close to other people in the grocery store. And that's just one small example of all of the ways we've learned, the ways we were actually supposed to reduce transmission during this time. And so, I think we're just going to continue to learn as more data comes in, as scientists and researchers are able to parse through more of it and just continually learn how to live again.

MS: That actually comes back to this idea of uncertainty, especially early on in the pandemic where we had mixed messaging on masks. We didn't know how the virus was best spread. And I think that scared a lot of people and I think it made a lot of people distrust the science when this is exactly how the science works. Right? You gather more data on what the virus is about over time. We just develop a better understanding. That does take time, as rapidly as it did happen during the pandemic that we got a better understanding of the virus. But that, I think played into a lot of the uncertainty. Like, as you're saying, "Does this cheese have fomites on it?" Now, we know, probably not that big of a deal, especially compared to aerosol transmissions, so that uncertainty has resolved itself. But we're just developing more uncertainties as we transition back into this, again, "normalcy."

LG: Is there any psychological upside to what we've all been going through?

MS: I would say that it probably, at least for, I will say anecdotally for me, it has made me better able to write things out with my own brain, as scary as that is, like as a single person in an apartment, being able to manage that. Psychologists and sociologists have been talking about … You would expect that this has put a lot of strain on marriages, in particular, but some of them have told me, well, maybe is actually good for a lot of marriages. Maybe a couple wasn't able to spend as much time together, and this actually forced them in a certain way to stay together, and maybe that has worked out for the better.

So, when I'm writing about these things, I'm trying as best I can to find the silver lining and just trying to squash my negativity as much as possible. So, I think that there are ways that people have bettered themselves throughout all of this. But again, this comes back to inequities. It's a place of privilege. A lot of people have really, really suffered through this because they had essential jobs. They got sick. They have lost loved ones. That's going to be very difficult to come the other side of. So, it's important, I think, to put that in perspective,

LG: Anecdotally, I've heard of more relationships ending than being strengthened during this time. I don't know about you guys.

MS: It makes sense. But maybe one out of 10 has actually gotten better.

LG: There you go.

MS: I don't know. I'm just trying to be hopeful as best I can. Don't drag me down, Lauren.

LG: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Matt. I didn't mean to bring you down at all, but maybe that is good news for people who are newly out of relationships too. Maybe it means there's something that lies ahead. All right. We're going to take a break and then come back and talk about how exactly to ease back into social interactions.


LG: Welcome back. Let's talk about socializing. Let's talk about socializing, playing sports, going back to offices. If these all sound daunting after a year of social distancing, I'm with you. You are not alone, but luckily we've got some advice on how to adjust back to what we used to call normal. And I'm going to turn to Alan for this. Alan, you run WIRED's how-to coverage and advice coverage. So, tell me what to do. Tell us all what to do here.

AH: So, yeah, I think that the first thing is not to put too much pressure on yourself to rush back to normal. Normal's going to be different for a lot of us. Like we were talking about earlier, there's some people… I was in a panel a couple of weeks ago, no, a couple of days ago—wow, time flies—with someone who is a Covid long-hauler. And for those folks, there will never be a normal again. They will have persistent, chronic health issues for the rest of their lives. So if you are lucky enough to have been relatively healthy and well, working from home, and you're thinking, "Oh, well, I got my vaccine. Now what do I do?" Well, OK, if you're the first person in your community to get the vaccine, then congratulations. You get to stay home a bit longer until everybody else gets it, because it's not like you're going to brunch anytime soon.

So, don't put too much pressure on yourself to run out and get back to all the stuff that you missed. There are lots of things you can do. Right? Like, maybe take the subway a few stops, just to ease yourself into the social anxiety of going back outside. That's going to be a thing for me. I hate being outside. I like being home. I like being cozy and warm in my apartment. But I mean, I don't know what I'm going to do when we start working in offices again. So, I'll probably head to my old barber maybe once, and then do the old quarantine cut a couple more times, or maybe I will go grocery shopping and wear a mask, obviously, as opposed to doing grocery delivery, and just kind of soak up the atmosphere and see if I can stay OK in that situation, and then ease myself back into it.

LG: That's really good advice. I feel like I'm the opposite, where I really enjoy being outside, and I've been pretty comfortable with that throughout this time. But going inside places is going to be a sudden change again.

AH: Yeah, like I have forgone parks just because … I mean, living in New York City, lots of people, can't guarantee everybody will stay 6 feet away from you. But I mean, I still feel more squeamish about when we're all going to say, "Hey, let's all go see a Broadway play again," or movie theaters become a thing again. Right now, everybody's doing creative things. Drive-in theaters are back. We're all spreading out on park lawns to watch movies, and that sounds great, especially in the spring and summertime. But when the theaters open up again, there are a lot of people who are going to want to run right back in. And that's fine, as long as everybody takes the appropriate safety precautions. But if that makes you worried, don't force yourself to do it just because it's available.

MC: I have this funny feeling that we're all going to find out that we're addicted to Zoom. I know that once the office opens back up and we're all safely back in the office, I'm going to be sitting in a meeting just wishing that I was actually on a Zoom meeting instead of an in-person meeting.

AH: OK. So, Zoom fatigue is a real thing, and we talked a lot about it near the beginning of the pandemic, but I feel like a lot of people have stopped talking about Zoom fatigue. And I think part of that is because it's integrated itself to our life now in a way that is undeniable. So we get tired, but we stop talking about being tired. But then also, there is a whole group of people, myself included, I hate talking on the phone. I am anxious about meeting real people for coffee, because I want to impress them, and I want them to like me, and I want to be likable, and yes, I talk to my therapist about all of this. But also, Zoom calls take and video chats take a certain … They remove you a little bit from a lot of that anxiety.

So when I need to call somebody, I've actually taken to not using my phone. I will use Google Voice. And I will sit here with my headphones on, in front of my microphone, and it feels like I'm on a Zoom call instead, which for some reason is less anxiety, even though I'm technically doing the same thing. I feel like there's going to be a lot of people who are just going to be like, "Yeah, I'll set up all my meetings for a Tuesday," for example. "And then I'll work from home and I'll take all my meetings over Zoom." And that might be normal for some people. And if it is, then I'm here for that.

LG: Glad you brought up Zoom because one of the questions for me is how we're going to decide when to take work meetings again, in-person work meetings. I've already gotten a couple of requests to take in-person meetings in the coming weeks. I'm not super comfortable with it yet. One of them involves air travel, which I don't think I'm ready for yet. But at the same time, I mean, I know journalists and some of our colleagues who have gone out to do some field reporting during this time. For example, over the summer, some of us went to protests. Louryn Strampe and I put together a guide to protesting for WIRED, and I felt it was important to go to a protest to experience it as part of informing that guide. And so, that to me is very different from someone saying, "Hey, do you want to come check out this gadget during a pandemic?" I just think there's a different kind of prioritization that happens at this point. And I'm not quite sure how I'm going to suss that out once more people are vaccinated and things do feel safer.

AH: Prioritization is key to everything, and I mean, obviously, I mentioned this in the book because it is about productivity. But we're going to run headlong very quickly into a situation where financial pressures from organizations and our bosses, as it were, are going to play a more substantial role in what we personally feel safe doing. And this is all going to sound incredibly familiar to frontline workers and service workers who have had to fight that financial versus personal kind of dichotomy for the past 12 months. Right?

LG: Right.

AH: They've had to go to work.

LG: Right.

AH: We, on the other hand, are going to be forced to come to terms with this right now. I'm getting pitches for events, in-person physical events. And I don't know if even early 2022, I'm going to feel comfortable getting on a plane and going to CES, for example. Right? Or whether or not next year's E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is going to be in-person. But a lot of the sponsors and companies who are behind this are going to want to do it because they need to make money. And if they can just operate on the assumption that everyone's going to be vaccinated by that point, they will.

LG: Right.

AH: So, it's going to be up to us individually in terms of workers and small organizations to decide what do I feel safe doing, and if I don't feel safe, how can I still be engaged while also making it clear that hey, I don't feel particularly great about this yet.

LG: Right.

AH: I hope that those discussions are easier to have with managers and other business leaders at this point since we've been doing it effectively for the past year.

MC: I have two etiquette questions for the room. First of all, is it OK to ask somebody if they have been vaccinated? And second, is it OK to ask somebody how they qualified to get a vaccination shot?

LG: Good question.

AH: My take is it is OK to ask somebody if they've been vaccinated, partially because so many people are volunteering that information right now. It is definitely kind of a badge of honor, and even though I cringe every time. From an OPSEC perspective, every time I see someone post their vaccination card to Instagram, I'm like, "Oh, you shouldn't have done that. Don't do that." But, I think it's totally fine to ask somebody if they've been vaccinated, like, "Hey, did you get the shot yet?" It's kind of like a social milestone for a lot of us that is free enough that we can talk about it.

Now, asking somebody how they got eligibility to be vaccinated is a little bit trickier. Right? Because now you're asking about people's comorbidities and other existing conditions and things like that. So, it might be a little less tactful unless you really know that person to be like, "So, how'd you get in?" Right? So, "I got in because I'm morbidly obese." No, that's not the kind of answer you're going to want to get from somebody. But if you're close to them, then maybe they'd be willing to pal around with you on that. Does anyone say "pal around" anymore?

LG: Let's forget that.

AH: But yeah, I think you can ask people, but I would recommend against asking people how they got it.

MC: It's fascinating that the pandemic kind of killed FOMO. None of us really felt really strong FOMO anymore because we were sort of all stuck inside and there was really nothing to feel like you're missing out on. But now that people are getting vaccinated, and they're going out in the world, and they're starting to hang out with each other, then FOMO is back stronger than ever, thanks to the vaccine.

AH: But it's kind of made people angry in a way. Again, I think that's part of the reason people are upset with vaccine selfies and like, "Hey, here's my card. I got my vaccine and everything." Like, err. I mean, I have not gotten a shot yet at all because again, I live in New York City. I'm not eligible yet. And to me, this is just my view on society, I'm fine with that. If I can stay cooped up in my house until it's OK for me, and everybody else who needs it gets it first, that's fine. But for a lot of people, they're like, "No, I want my shot now so I can go visit my family that I haven't seen in the past 12 months. And I want to see my sister or see the kid that was born when I was in lockdown."

So, yeah, it's coming back. And there's a certain level of anxiety that comes along with it. I'm actually working on a story right now from our own Adrienne So about vaccine FOMO, essentially, headline how to wait for your vaccine, which is a lot of the same things we've discussed already like stay in touch with your friends, talk to them about the experience and the side effects that they've had. But don't let yourself get too upset about it because ironically, it is that time that Adrienne spoke to a number of psychologists that said that when you're going through a traumatic event, you have these moments early on where you just kind of settle down. You settle in and you accept what's going on and you work through. You push through it the best way you know how. That was us when we were just like, "I'm so tired. Day in, day out. Time has no meaning," et cetera, et cetera.

But then, when things start to get better and the light at the end of the tunnel is there, that's when we start to get agitated again. That's when, regardless of whether it's a pandemic or some other kind of issue, we start to get angry again. We're on heightened alert and that's how you know that it's almost over. So, if you can look to the fact that it's almost over to soothe your anger and anxiety, then just know that what you're going through right now is a sign that everything will be better soon. So, just think about it like that.

LG: I want to bring Matt back into the conversation because I have a feeling I know some of what his answer might be. Have any of you felt like some of those restrictions or limitations on our socializing have actually been a positive? Has it made you reevaluate at all how you want to socialize and who you want to socialize with?

MS: It's saved me a lot of time. Like, if I'm in a social interaction and I don't like them, it's like, "Oh my internet's gone. I got to go, dude, sorry." So, for that, it's been a positive. But also I think, again, this kind of renegotiation of relationships, for me, anecdotally, I've been able to reach out and connect with people I haven't seen in a long time because they've been far away. It doesn't matter now because we're all technically far away.

But as we transition back to "normal," it'll be interesting to see how those relationships are renegotiated, so to be seen going forward. But I don't know. I think for me, it's going to be a hybrid approach. I get to stay home more just because I'm used to it now, but also I'll see people once we're all vaccinated and we need to be. I have also not gotten my shot yet, but I am also considering dressing up like an old person to get ahead in the line like those young ladies did in Florida, to dress up like old people to get ahead in the line. I think that's a good idea. No, I'm not going to do it. I'm going to wait my turn and I'm going to, soon enough, be back in the office to meet with you Gadget Lab folks in-person so we can cram into that tiny podcast room and spread some other novel coronavirus.

MC: It's going to be a mess.

LG: All right. On that note, let's take a break and come back with recommendations.


LG: Alan, let's start with you. What's your recommendation this week?

AH: Well, in addition to service coverage, I run games coverage over here at WIRED and my recommendation this week, which should be out by the time that the podcast is live, so by the time you're listening to this, play Monster Hunter Rise. It is a semi-technical video game, but the bottom line is you're a dude or a lady, depending, and you get a bunch of gear and you go out and you hunt monsters, huge, huge monsters that are way, way bigger than you are, and you jump on them and you stab them or you beat them up with … You hit them and then they fall over dead, and then you use their parts to make better armor and weapons for yourself.

It's actually a very popular franchise in Japan. At one company, and I don't know the name of the company, but I was reading about this yesterday, one company noticed that so many of its employees were scheduling the day off, the day that Monster Hunter Rise came out in Japan, they were taking it off so much they just made it a company holiday. They just let everybody take the day off because there was going to be no one there. Everybody was going to be home playing this game. So, our review of Monster Hunter Rise is up on WIRED Games and I have been playing with it, and it is a lot of fun. It lowers the bar of entry to this franchise, which has been very technical in past generations. So, this might be the one that gets me into the franchise too. So, I'm super excited about it.

MS: Wait, you kill the animals, and then you wear parts of them?

AH: Oh yes. I mean, yeah, you got to get better. You kill the dragon to get better teeth, to make better swords or better scales to make better armor. And it's really cool in that regard. And it's also kind of multiplayer because, like I said, some of these monsters are really, really big. But yes, you wear them. You strike them down and then you wear their skin and bones.

MS: It's like a Silence of the Lambs-type of thing. Interesting.

LG: Matt, what's your recommendation?

MS: So, I just burned through a series that I had not heard until recently. It's a British series called People Just Do Nothing. Highly recommend it. It is a mockumentary in the style of The Office, the original British Office, but it's with a crew of inept underground radio DJs. It is perfection. It's amazing. And it's like traveling to London without, obviously, being in London, and following their exploits, and things like that. It's phenomenal. Highly recommend.

MC: And it's on Netflix, right?

MS: I believe it is. Yes. It's on some sort of streaming service. Yes. Netflix. I just checked. Netflix.

LG: Mike, what's your recommendation?

MC: I'm going to recommend a podcast. It is something that just wrapped the first season. It's called Into the Zone with the host, Hari Kunzru. And it is a show that explores the opposites in life. And I can really recommend that you jump into the very first episode. It's called "Druid Like Me" and Hari sort of looks at Druidism and he looks at Stonehenge. He's a British man of Indian descent. So, he looks at where he comes from and where the original people that exist in England now came from, and immigration, and sort of cultural melting pot stuff that happens when people spend generations living together, and then also explores how that happened with the earliest humans that walked the earth. It's really fascinating.

There's also another episode I can recommend called "When We Were Cyber," where he goes back and he looks at the vision that we had of the internet culture in the mid-1990s and how that translates to now, and how it's affected art and commerce in modern-day. It's a great show. It's on the Pushkin network. So, if you like Malcolm Gladwell's show or Broken Record, it's on the same network. It's called Into the Zone. But anyway, enough about podcasts. Lauren, what is your recommendation?

LG: My recommendation this week is a movie. It is called Minari, and it's a scripted film about a Korean immigrant family that in the 1980s moves from California to Arkansas because the patriarch of the family has these dreams of building a large farm. And they have two small kids and one has health problems so their grandmother flies in from Korea to stay with the family, and she becomes this central character. And the film is really beautifully shot. It's rich in metaphors, and it's just a powerful telling of an immigrant family's experience searching for the American dream. So, I highly recommend it. It's $20 to stream right now. So, maybe that's a little more than some people might want to spend on a rental, but it's also nice to support the filmmakers if you can. And I'm sure at some point, if you wait a little while, the rental cost will go down. So, that is Minari. That's my recommendation this week.

MC: It's an Oscar movie, right?

LG: I should know that. Is it? I hope it is. Let's see. Let me do one. It looks like it is. Let's see, the actor in it has been nominated for best actor, best supporting actress, best score, oh yes, and best picture. So, it is. Oh, best director and best screenplay, all nominated. So, yeah. I'm not the only one recommending it, basically. You should go check it out. All right. That's our show for this week. Thank you so much, Alan and Matt, for joining us.

AH: Thanks for having me.

MS: And thanks for having me.

LG: And thanks to all of you who've listened. If you have feedback, you could find all of us on Twitter, just check the show notes. Send us nice notes. Send us feedback. We'd love to hear it. And the show is produced by the excellent Boone Ashworth. We'll be back next week.

[Gadget Lab outro theme music]

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