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Quarantine Diaries: Spanish sitcom poking fun at life on lockdown proves to be a hit

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By Jaime Velazquez and Mary Colombel
'Diarios de la Cuarentena' - RTVE
'Diarios de la Cuarentena' - RTVE   -   Copyright  RTVE

Television has always been the window that brought the world to our living rooms. Now, amid widespread confinement, a new TV series is bringing living rooms to the world.

Quarantine Diaries is Spain's new sitcom about life on lockdown. 

It pokes fun at everyday life in confinement and how people are juggling working, cooking, parenting and staying fit whilst stuck at home.

Amid lockdown, television consumption has hit record levels and forced networks to look for new formats to meet public demand. 

With just a mobile phone, a tripod and some Skype assistance, actors in Quarantine Diaries record themselves at home.

José Luis García Pérez, one of the sitcom's stars, says lockdown is inspiring for artists.

"I am sure, nobody is going to stop doing things," he said. "And I don't mean stuff for free on Instagram, I am talking about serious productions that are thought and developed via the technical means we have now at our disposal."

For Alvaro Longoria, producer of Quarantine Diaries, this was an opportunity to reach people and help them relax.

"I could see, especially my parents and other elderly people that I know, that they were getting kind of obsessed, and we thought it would be very beneficial for them to be able to disconnect with a humouristic show," he said.

The public broadcaster hosting the show has faced criticism for allegedly ignoring the tragedy of a pandemic that has killed more than 19,000 people in Spain by focusing on mundane middle-class traumas.

But psychiatrist Berta Collado argues that having a good laugh at the expense of the pandemic is a good thing.

"Well-known authors have pointed out that our sense of humour is one of our biggest self-defence mechanisms. 

"Self-defence mechanisms are our strategies to face inner or outer situations that we are struggling to cope with. 

"I think the limit is respect. You should never be disrespectful." 

Televisión Española insists the sitcom is only trying to draw smiles amid a desperate and traumatic situation. The series has proved popular and networks in Mexico, France and the US have shown an interest.