Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Overprotective internet panics over COVID survivor Tom Hanks looking cold at the inauguration

Illustration for article titled Overprotective internet panics over COVID survivor Tom Hanks looking cold at the inauguration
Photo: Pool (Getty Images)

Thanks to the decades he’s spent playing regular guys with endearing smiles, Tom Hanks has cemented himself in popular culture as Everyone’s Pal. Thus, the world freaked itself right out when Hanks announced he and wife Rita Wilson had contracted COVID-19—something they recovered from before going on to share important public health PSAs and bags of their magic blood with the world. Everyone’s overwhelming, Hanks-centric anxiety was already evident when Google demonstrated just how often people were searching for news on the actor throughout 2020, but it’s become even clearer now that the phenomenon of seeing him—a rich celebrity and adult of sound mind—spend a few hours without a jacket emerged as one of the top public concerns about yesterday’s presidential inauguration.

Hanks hosted an inauguration TV special last night, lending his comforting presence as national dad to a moment of political transition. He did so without wearing a proper winter jacket or warm hat, though, which has led many to ignore whatever else might be going on in Washington to focus instead on whether the country’s greatest natural resource was maybe a bit too chilly.

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Every viewer seemed laser focused on exactly how cold Hanks may have been, concerned above all else that his clenched jaw and hands were indications that he was unduly suffering.

The world, united in their concern for Hanks, became like overprotective parents on a winter day, afraid with parasocial fervor that the actor—who, to be fair, is a COVID survivor—may catch something from being too chilly for a while.

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“Look at his little cold ears,” one tweet stated in quiet desperation. “SOMEONE GET THE MAN A GODDAMN OVERCOAT,” wrote another.

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The internet tried in vain to will an extra layer onto Hanks—to conjure some extra heat to warm the fingies and toes of the actor they love so much.

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We’re definitely not mocking their concern. Hanks’ continued well-being is of tremendous importance. If he were to get sick it would be a blow not only to our general sense of mental well-being, but, based on the outpouring of worries over his frosty hosting duties last night, likely put an overwhelming strain on the chicken noodle soup reserves of a country desperately mailing him bowls to speed along his recovery.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.