Nostalgic TV reunions are the only good part of this whole mess

Hillary Duff does a table read of "the bra episode" from 'Lizzie McGuire.'

Closeup on animated Lizzie McGuire sweating under a heat lamp. “I’d like to see a lawyer!” she cries.

Quick transition to an array of pixelated faces. “Lizzie, what do you need from the mall? Tell me the truth,” the actress Hallie Todd, playing Lizzie’s mom, demands.

Cut to a solo shot of Hillary Duff, playing Lizzie, duh. She’s fresh faced in gold hoops, Zooming from her bedroom, with patterned wallpaper and a handsome four poster bed in the background.

“A bra, okay?! I want a bra!” she wails.

The 32-year-old mother of two has had her own bras for decades… Duff was doing a table read of the infamous “bra episode” of Lizzie McGuire, along with the rest of the show’s original cast, over Zoom on Monday, May 11. Actor Jake Thomas, who played Lizzie’s kid brother Matt on the show, organized their reunion. Aww.

“Between a Rock and a Bra Place” first aired on the Disney Channel a whopping 19 years ago, on May 11, 2001. Who would’ve guessed that in the spring of 2020, we’d all be yearning for simpler times, when you could still go to a shopping mall. Instead of being terrorized by underwear, the now-adult stars of the iconic turn-of-the-millennium tween TV show are probably sitting around in their underwear trying to stave off existential dread… just like the rest of us.

Living through a pandemic sucks. The anxiety and uncertainty of this time is likely to linger with us for a while, too. The material downsides of coronavirus are also obviously awful: economic recession and widespread sickness and death. And the whole disaster is made so much worse by the fact that governmental ineptitude is perpetuating the pain and suffering.

One of the only good things to come out of this mess is that celebrities seem eager and willing to invite fans into their homes via Zoom. First there was the ill-conceived Imagine video, masterminded by Gal Gadot. More recently, there have been several major telethons, each featuring a parade of famous performers virtually gathered to raise money for charity.

Zoom reunions, like the retro Lizzie McGuire table read, are some of the most delightful at-home-with-celebs content to emerge from the pandemic. Several beloved shows have done them: On his pandemic YouTube show Some Good News, John Krasinski reunited the cast of The Office over Zoom to surprise a pair of fans who got engaged at a gas station — the same way his character Jim proposed to Pam on the show.

Krasinski virtually married the couple, actress Jenna Fischer served as maid of honor and then the entire cast Zoomed in to perform the same dance to Chris Brown’s “Forever” that they did at Jim and Pam’s fictional wedding.

Josh Gad’s quarantine side-hustle is hosting a YouTube series called Reunited Apart, which so far has reassembled the casts of iconic eighties movies. The first episode was a virtual reunion with the cast of The Goonies, including Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman and executive producer Steven Spielberg. His second installment was on Back to the Future, featuring stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson.

There’s something about Doc Brown saying, “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads,” that soothes the nerves. Props to Lloyd for the sick painting of wild horses on the wall behind him. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of ogling the stuff celebrities have in the backgrounds of their Zoom calls.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of videos like these ones. Seriously, there have been so many. The casts of Frasier, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Parks and Recreation, Friday Night Lights and Twin Peaks have all staged virtual reunions lately. There’s also a Community table read scheduled for May 18. What I’d like to know is when someone’s gonna do a reunion with the cast of The OC. We’re looking at you, Mischa Barton. Keep the celebrity Zoom hangouts coming. They’re one of the few bright spots these days.