Last night on two of TV most watched and different series, Twitter played an important guest starring role. Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory are two of the biggest hits on TV and last night both featured major plots revolving around the 140 character phenomenon.
Twitter as ‘The Critic’
Last night, TBBT had Sheldon asking Penny for acting lessons in order to improve his teaching methods. It was a neat plot line for the classic-style sitcom. Twitter provided some good laughs – while Sheldon was teaching, the guys found his student’s twitter feeds and relished in the horrible things they were saying about Dr. Cooper’s teaching.
Twitter as ‘Pedagogue, Reuniter & Lifesaver’
On Grey’s Anatomy, Dr Bailey had begun to live-tweet her surgeries and had developed a following of both doctors and students, who can offer tips or ask questions. This didn’t sit well with the Chief who ordered Miranda stop – of course she didn’t and just as he confronted Miranda during a surgery she wasn’t supposed to be tweeting from. Then the patient started to crash, and a lifesaving tweet came from in from a doctor. Well after that it was like Chief Webber and twitter were BFF’; he was taking questions from students and even got contacted by an old colleague who said via twitter something along the lines of how it was great to be in the OR with him again.
It’s not abnormal for two series set in current times to make use of twitter, in fact an The 21-Second Excitation, a TBBT episode from earlier this season has Sheldon following Wil Wheaton’s tweets after the Star Trek star stole their seats. But where that was a side joke to the whole plot, last night Twitter took the main stage and it didn’t feel forced or out of place.
Were they not fictional, Twitter would be a big part of The Big Bang gang’s lives. Spoilers, geek stalking, comic, movie, videogame release details – I know people who are very much like TBB boys and they regard twitter as a gift. And while it was more a catalyst than a plot point on TBBT, twitter felt right in the show and not at all forced.
Okay so fine, Twitter definitely felt a little forced in Grey’s Anatomy, where it was the focus of an entire plot instead of a medical problem, but in a time where the internet and twitter are constantly revolutionizing the way business is done, why not medicine? The other aspect of the Grey’s twitter use I approve of is how people of an older generation have a hard time acclimating to how fast the world has changed in so little time. It’s something I go through with both my parents and my grandparents. Last week at dinner my Bubby explained to my mother what a tweet was, because she follows the tweets of a cousin of our in Wisconsin. Like my Bubby, the Chief also had a hard time adjusting to twitter, but in the end like her he loved it. And why not, all old people want is more ways to keep tabs on their kids.
So far this twittering on TV business is OK with me. I have a feeling it’ll keep itself in reason. We’ll never see Olivia Dunham or Raylan Givens or Jax Teller reading tweets, that would signal the end of days. But if Twitter pops up in say The Good Wife, which relishes its digital age currentness, or 90210, which is a hot bed for twitterisms, it’s perfectly fine
But let’s not forget Twitter is also the beast that birthed Shit My Dad Says, a crime that needs time to be forgiven, and CBS is currently developing another Twitter based series; Dear Girls Above Me. It doesn’t look like Twitter is going anywhere so it’ll be interesting to see how the communication system fairs in TV appearances from now on.