Our terrible omen of Twitter-based TV shows has come to pass.
Back in June NewsFeed took note of a blog/Twitter feed we thought was kind of funny called Dear Girls Above Me. We praised the conceit, admiring the economy with which it sketched the awful characters of the girls who lived above writer Charlie McDowell. But, we noted, we had a sneaking suspicion that not everything about the situation was as it met the eye:
Of course, because this is L.A., there is an additional wrinkle to the story. McDowell is well-connected in Hollywood: He’s the son of actor Malcolm McDowell and actress Mary Steenburgen and owns his own production company. Could DGAM just be the set-up for another @S***MyDadSays-style Twitter-to-TV jump?
We don’t want to pat ourselves on the back or anything (yes we do) but this weekend everything happened exactly as we had foretold. According to Deadline Hollywood, CBS has been so inspired by the success of $#*! My Dad Says that it has signed a deal with Ashton Kutcher’s production company Katalyst to develop sitcoms based on the Twitter accounts Dear Girls Above Me and ShhDontTellSteve, which documents the annoying things an annoying man named Steve does. McDowell will reportedly have a hand in the writing of the DGAM sitcom, and TV veteran Tim Doyle will be on hand to executive produce.
While we unapologetically enjoy the DGAM feed, we can’t help but be distressed by this news for two reasons. Artistically, we are of the opinion that Twitter feeds can’t work if they’re just translated word-for-word into 22-minute television scripts. The best Twitter accounts are sparse and economical; put them directly on TV and all you get is a collection of funny lines. (This makes for a good script sometimes, but rarely a good show.) But our greater fear is a sociological one. Studies already show that young people today lack empathy; we can only imagine how bad they will get if everyone who talks on the Internet about people they hate is rewarded with a TV deal.
Still, there could be one upside to this trend: NewsFeed could also turn into a TV show! We’re thinking a wacky workplace comedy about a hunky blogger who writes awesome SEO headlines. Josh Duhamel could play the lead.