‘Morning Show’ Screenwriter Ali Vingiano Shares His Pandemic Product Picks

There is no shame in asking for help during this time. Whether it’s booking emergency sessions with a therapist or calling a friend at an odd hour, we’ve all had to improvise as we navigate the murky waters of a global pandemic. Take it from Ali Vingiano, writer of the Emmy-winning series The morning show with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, and star of the pandemic-era romantic comedy The end of uswhich depicts the dysfunctional cohabitation of two exes: Some of the best help comes not from people at all, but from things.

“Beyond massage guns, headphones and musical instruments were big accessories [in the film],” she says. “My ex in the movie, Nick, played by Ben Coleman, finds sanctuary playing a melodica and a Rhodes piano, while my character finds sanctuary by using headphones to block out his noises.” Vingiano’s character also uses his phone and headphones to meditate, learn Chinese, and get lost in classic Criterion Collection films.

Whether you can relate to being stuck in close quarters with a dysfunctional ex, roommate or family member, or simply struggle to stay emotionally afloat as the world turns upside down, product choices from Vingiano are sure to bring you some comfort during these weird times.

Watch ‘The End of Us’ on Amazon Prime Video

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video

Rent or buy this romantic comedy, which chronicles a couple dealing with the ups and downs of the “new normal.”

LifePro Sonic Handheld Massage Gun

From $120

In the end of us, you will notice that the characters resort to various objects for immediate comfort. “There was a massage gun and a muscle hook that my character used as props — she had a bad back,” Vingiano explains. “The massage gun in particular is featured in one of my favorite shots in the film, but these attachments also served as actual massagers when we wrapped up for the day. We were all addicted to them and they became so crucial for filming.

After the shoot, Vingiano says the massage gun became so essential to her daily routine that she bought one. “The massage gun has become a staple of our movie-making era,” she says. “Ben Coleman brought his own from home, and we all shared it, soothing our backaches, exhausted from filming 12 hours a day. This was especially crucial for our cinematographers, Henry Lovener and Steven Kanter, who shot freehand every day for 12 straight days in addition to building lights and running sound The massage gun was king.

She uses the LifePro Massage Gun to soothe tension in her neck, shoulders, back, hamstrings and hip flexors post-workout and whenever she needs a little extra TLC . It offers up to six hours of battery life, operates quietly, has five intensity levels and comes with eight massage heads. For a more affordable (and just as effective!) rub, it also uses the ergonomic GoFit muscle hook, which lets you manually “dig” into muscles for a feeling of full-body relief, without batteries.

Your yoga mat doesn’t need to hide in your closet until it’s time for a studio session. Take it from Vingiano, a certified yoga instructor, and whip it out whenever you need some extra grounding.

“During the pandemic, I drove from Los Angeles to New York, then traveled between an apartment in the city, my parents’ house in New York, and my partner’s family’s house in Pennsylvania. Routine was very difficult, as was exercising regularly,” she says. “Having a yoga mat that I could travel with easily might have saved my mental and physical health during this time.”

She opts for the Manduka ProLite mat because it’s small enough to travel with, but thick and comfortable enough to use by laying it down anywhere for an impromptu One Down Dog class or Headspace meditation. The rubber mat is available in 71 or 79 inches, is 4.7 millimeters thick and uses closed-cell technology to keep your mat dry, even when you’re not.

Gluten-free and grain-free pasta from Cappello

Sure, mastering handstand poses on your new yoga mat is definitely one way to stave off pandemic-induced stress, but another type of handstand Vingiano recommends is indulging in some fresh pasta. Cappello’s pasta, in particular, immediately ended his quest for homemade pasta, ultimately freeing up extra time and eliminating the mess and headaches associated with DIY. The best part? Fresh pasta is frozen and only takes two minutes to cook.

“I knew it would be impossible to do better than that,” she says. “Not only does the Cappello taste great, it’s made from almonds, eggs and tapioca flour, which means it’s also higher in protein and lower in carbs. Me and my non-celiac partner agree that this is the tastiest pasta you can buy, gluten free or not. Fettuccini are my favorite, but I also like spaghetti, gnocchi and ravioli.

Like Vingiano, you too may have been trying to “waste time” this pandemic. Look: it’s okay! Anything to get you through the day! However, Vingiano eventually began to crave more meaningful interactions with his phone beyond scrolling through Twitter.

“I didn’t have WORDLE during Covid throws, but I had Chess.com,” she says. “I got into chess thanks to my father, who taught me how to play and ran a chess club at school where he worked for years. Then The Queen’s Gambit came out in the fall 2020, and I was one of thousands or millions of people who turned to Chess.com afterwards.

She says she appreciates how her first instinct when waking up or waiting in a long line is to solve a chess puzzle now. “It’s a great way to waste time on my phone while improving my brain instead of destroying it,” she says.

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