twitter_TV

New day, same old Twitter feeds being adapted into television shits. Deadline reports that Darren Star, the man behind bringing Sex And The City to television now hopes to do the same thing with a Twitter feed written from the perspective of a child:

In 1998, Darren Star took a book based on newspaper columns by a female writer, Candace Bushnell, and turned it into a hit comedy series, HBO’s Sex And The City. Fifteen years later, as the Internet and social media have taken over newspapers, Star is looking to do the same with The Honest Toddler, a book by Bunmi Laditan based on her successful Twitter feed. Star will develop and executive produce the adaptation of The Honest Toddler, which was published last month by Simon and Shuster’s Scribner imprint, with Laditan and producers Clark Peterson and Dennis Erdman. The show, described as “a Modern Family from a toddler’s point of view,” is eyed for broadcast or cable.

Sure. It is literally no skin off of my back either way. That is why it is always funny when people get mad that someone in showbusiness buys a Twitter feed and tries to turn it into a TV show. Why? Why are you so upset? Are they going to force you to be on it and also to air it on the television network that you own? Somehow I think that the one person who will for sure come out of the ill-fated Twitter-to-TV adaptation experiment is you. You’re doing great! Anyways, whatever, but also, there is an actual problem with doing this, I think, just in terms of turning it into something anyone would actually want to watch:

Candace Bushnell, since that was an example that was used to show how this is the that of its time, wrote pages and pages about her experiences as a young, ambitious woman dating in New York. Whether or not these pages were any good is not for me to say because I never read them, and whether or not there were plenty of other young, ambitious women in New York who were just as deserving of television shows based on their life is for the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time to work out. The point, though, is that when you try to turn something into a TV show, it helps if that something already includes all of the things that you need: characters, a setting, a purpose. Again, I’m not saying that a lot of work didn’t go into turning a dating column into a successful show, but there were at least some useful ideas with which to begin.

With a Twitter feed, you basically have a handful of the one-liner jokes that will eventually make up the show’s snappy dialogue, many of which won’t make the final cut because some Harvard educated TV writer will come up with what, at least he or she thinks is a better line. And that’s it! You’re going to make a Modern Family style show from the perspective of the child? OK, but what does Twitter have to do with that at all? Because once you do start working on the TV show, even if you try to keep the Twitter at the core, whatever that even means, you’re going to start casting roles, hiring writers and directors, and turning it into something about as far removed from a Twitter account as you can possibly imagine.

That’s the weird thing when people complain about Twitter feeds being turned into shows is that it always seems like the complaint is mostly that THEIR Twitter feed didn’t get turned into a show rather than that perhaps NO Twitter feeds should be turned into shows in the first place. Turning a Twitter feed into a show is like turning the board game Battleship into a movie. Whoops! (I watched that movie over the weekend, by the way, and it is crazy how bad it is but in really surprising ways. Like, for example, did you know that the movie is super BORING?! Because it is! Nothing whatsoever happens for the first 45 minutes–45 MINUTES–which is basically a bad Top Gun rom-com centered around a microwave chicken burrito? Weird. Weird that that movie is bad, huh? Who would have suspected?!)

The counter-point example of a movie/TV show based off of almost nothing would be Pirates of the Carribean, which turned into a mess later but the first one was so fun and it just a theme ride at an amusement park. OK, sure. They tripped over a good one. And the other argument to be made is that if they’ve got an idea for a show inspired by Bunmi Laditan’s Twitter feed, then they should absolutely give Bunmi Laditan some money rather than just going ahead and making the show anyway and claiming that Twitter doesn’t count.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make is welcome to the world’s most boring community college and thank you so much for reading my senior thesis. (Image via TheConnectivist.)

Comments (73)
  1. Now how do you feel about my plans to go the opposite route and turn a TV show into a Twitter feed? I’m thinking Community #140charactersandahashtag

  2. My takeaway is that Gabe isn’t a fan of The Country Bears or The Tower of Terror. Huh.

    • Don’t forget The Haunted Mansion!

    • The Country Bears The Movie produced one of the greatest Christopher Walken moments, when he as the evil villain or something is being whisked away at the end of the movie and he yells, “This is not over…..BEARS!” as if he was just now realizing he was in a movie that prominently featured bears.

  3. Say I have a friend who would love to be a staff writer for this possible television show. Say that friend has always aspired to be a staff writer for a sitcom and/or other type of comedy television show. How would that friend go about applying for the position? Asking for said friend, clearly.

    • Am I the friend?

    • Um. I’m the friend. Manners might have “manners” but he is very selfish.

    • You don’t cross manners, kid.

    • Let’s start our own show, then we’d have these dream jobs of strolling in at 10 am, ordering food and making each other laugh with crude not-HR-friendly jokes, then leaving at 4 pm, oh and incidentally writing some kind of show.

      Now here is the real mystery: I know people who’ve had their scripts stolen. Like, stacks of paper with their names clearly typed on it, with very specific, never-done-before high-concept plots. Someone else saw those scripts, changed ‘em around a little, slapped their own name on the cover, and sold ‘em for money. And Hollywood was like “Super original, [thief]!” So: How does Hollywood permit theft of unique, high-concept, plotted-out 100-page scenarios of fully realized dialog and action… but give full credit to the lone internet-user who tweeted 50 sentences on the most generic or already-done theme like “What if my Dad was cranky?” or “What if a baby could think?” (See Look Who’s Talking, Baby Geniuses, E-Trade commercials, etc etc.) THAT IS SOMETHING I CAN’T WRAP MY HEAD AROUND.

      • I take it your lawsuit against the producers of The Purge for stealing your premise isn’t going so well?

      • In other news, I just re-read Gabe’s post and it turns out the Twitterer also wrote a book. Which makes it harder to steal from her I guess?

        Mainly while reading this post, I found myself filled with an urge to see BATTLESHIP. I’m sure it sucks but there will be spaceships and when it turns out weapons alone can’t stop the spaceships, the US Navy will deploy courage and cleverness. That sounds like exactly what I need to watch Saturday morning.

      • Hotspur & Manners, the new cop drama with a comedic tinge, only on TNT.

        Hotspur: Detective Manners, where’s the beef?

        Manners: I’ve got a feeling, Hotch, the beef’s in the details.

        • Hotspur [ducking as bullets fly, returning fire on bad guys]: And another thing, Man, don’t call me ‘Hotch.’

          Manners [rolling to hide behind a different barrel]: I can never tell when you call me ‘Man’ if it’s supposed to be an abbreviation of my name or, like, ‘Hey, man,’ like a surfer would say.

          Hotspur: You see any surfboards in this shootout, Man?

          Manners: Hey, that gives me an idea…

        • Later that evening, at the bar.

          Manners: Nice shooting back there. We got those clowns, didn’t we… Ace?

          Hotspur: Why do you keep giving me nicknames? Just call me partner or Hotspur, for that matter.

          Manners: Roger that, Hotch.

          Hotspur: ugggggggggggggggggggggggggggh

  4. Oh, my twitter feed should for sure be made into a tv show. For example, this morning I complained about how it was only Wednesday. That’s like a three-episode arc right there! #followmeontwitter

  5. I agree with everything said here, though I do kind of really want Modern Seinfeld to bring back Seinfeld. My reasons are twofold: One, because I love Seinfeld and have watched every episode multiple times and Two, because those ideas for Modern Seinfeld are actually very clever and could work as episodes of the show.

    I realize this creates a whole new shitstorm argument of how nostalgia is problematic and indicative of a decaying society or whatever the fuck, but it would at least be more enjoyable than Shit My Dad Says.

  6. Got your opening credit sequence all ready to go:

  7. Hate to do this but… “Anyways” is not a word. Don’t ban me from the site, Gabe. DON’T DO IT! I HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER! For instance: my knowledge of the non-word, “anyways.”

  8. What happens if I live-tweet an episode of a tv show based on a twitter account?

  9. The problem with tv shows based on twitter and movies based on board games is that it is lazy and takes up money/time/talent/energy that could be spent on a really great tv show or movie from a very creative person* who has lots of great ideas but who hasn’t been given the chance yet because he/she it’s related to anyone in Hollywood. I’m just saying that we, the audience, deserve better than a show based on tweets.

    *not that that person with the Honest Toddler twitter feed isn’t very creative. It’s pretty funny, but as a short joke, not a whole series.

    • So you know how all the Marvel movies were basically leading up to the Avengers movie, which kind of ties everything together? The creative geniuses behind the movies based on board games have a very similar thing going on. Eventually it will be revealed that the entire series of movies comes together to make a movie version of Simon, and they’ve just been telling us to go see all of these movies, and we’ve just been following their lead, without ever really wondering why we’re doing so.

  10. @manners, wait, you are seriously going to argue that a word that is in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is not a word because you don’t think it’s a word because you read something on a different website or someone in college told you it’s not a word? Personally, I’m of the school of thought that language is malleable and constantly evolving and that proper usage, while obviously a thing, is a function of rather than definition of language. But even if I did not feel that way, you seem, to me, to be walking on pretty thin ice by discrediting the dictionary (regardless of whether the definition is identified as colloquial, especially considering this website is written in HIGHLY colloquial English) and claiming you are the one who is right just because you found a different source that says a different thing and now you are the Final Judge of right and wrong.

      • Facetaco! You are too much sometimes.

        • It makes me sad when Humans are so quick to exploit the mortal flaws of those they perceive to hold positions of Power, simply as a means of proving their own cleverness or furthering their own purposes. The point Mr. Delahaye made seems pertinent and worthy of an articulate response. Perhaps I am alone in thinking so, Mr. facetaco, but your glibness is wearing thin.

    • “Anyways” is not correct. That’s all I’m saying. I see it used a lot and it just irks me. I’m fine with “plz” and “4sure” and “put food on our families.” But in that instance, you were using it incorrectly not to make a joke, but because you thought it was correct. But seeing as we are all adults here who’ve chosen to skew language to fit our needs, be all means go for it. I just wanted to point it out.

      • Oh MAN, rigid linguistic stoicism in the face of long-term common colloquial usage, it is really going to be a long, boring trudge to the grave, Youse all should probably pack a snack pack.

        • I actually find it to be a fascinating subject! Like, obviously language changes, and you have to be able to accept new words and meanings, or else we’d all be talking like ye olde tyme people or whatever. But still, I don’t know even one person whom I consider to be intelligent that accepts “lol” as a real word that some people like to say in lieu of actually laughing. So where do we draw the line? What is acceptable progress, and what isn’t?

          You could also extend the debate to include punctuation, and invoke the interrobang. I loved the interrobang, but Ryan North hated it, and he’s basically a language genius. His point was that using the interrobang does not allow you to differentiate between shocked surprise (!?) and surprised shock (?!). Which I totally get! But most people don’t differentiate between those anyway!

          • Some of my favorites are “AWOOGA” (origin: Kelly, as I understand it), “Gene Belcher’s Fart Noise” – SOMEONE PLEASE FIGURE OUT HOW TO SPELL THIS ONE OUT!, and “Yaowza.” When these all become Merriam-Webster words, I will die a happy commenter.

          • Draw what line? Linguistic change is a natural process that’s been happening throughout the existence of all language. It’s a living, breathing autonomous organism that has informed everything that’s come out of your mouth without your help since long before the atoms that came to be the sperm that fertilized you existed. It’s only since the advent of the internet that anyone has become dumb and self-centered enough to believe they need to spend time and energy asserting some sort of pointless “stand” against the dying of intelligence they see in the use of colloquialisms in relaxed speech. You’re supposed intelligent friends may choose to spend their time worrying about the colloquial vocalization of lol but only the dumbest of people would use it in a formal setting or without specific humorous or slang intent.

            Anyways was good enough for Dickens and we’ll all be dead soon, my point is maybe have some al fresco brunch instead. The machines will gain sentience long before new usage means no one lands a job interview or whatever.

          • I say “LOL” out loud instead of laughing sometimes, but then, I am kind of a dummy so your point stands.

          • @Messica, I almost entirely agree with your comment, but I just wanted to point out that people have been “dumb and self-centered enough to believe they need to spend time and energy asserting some sort of pointless ‘stand’ against the dying of intelligence they see in the use of colloquialisms in relaxed speech” since LONG before the internet. This “debate” has been raging ineffectually since at least the 17th century.

          • I am really sad that I was so busy at work today doing actual work that I missed this entire thread. Language debates are wonderful and one of my favorite things. They do so rarely happen in my real life.

            Next time someone warn me when this happens!

    • Somebody please rest his or her case!

    • Okay, I guess I’ll just rest my case: I return to this site often because it is highly intelligent comedic writing, not just from the bloggers but from the commenters. It is simply common knowledge that “anyways” is incorrect. Teenagers and the like use it incorrectly because they don’t know any better. And they have pushed that word into society as being an OK version of it. Are we saying then that we should go with the idiosyncratic dialect of high schoolers as the decidedly correct way of the use of language? Because it is popular? I’d like to think we are better than that.

      As said earlier, if you want to use “anyways” comedically, by all means. You won’t hear a peep from me about it. But maybe change that “s” to a “z?”

    • I wanna way (sic) in! “Anyways” is nonstandard, and to my ears it sounds weigh (sic) informal. A few people have noted some older citations of “anyways” in literature, which is fair enough, but I’m thinking the usage in those cases is different from its current nonstandard usage, which is a synonym for an adverbial phrase like “in any case.”

      But honestly you can use words on your blog in any Manners you like.

  11. I feel like making fun of this, but I’m currently pitching a sitcom idea that spelled itself out in my alphabet soup last week, so I’m holding my tongue for now.

  12. “I tried to sell my twitter feed as a TV show even though someone is already making Girls/Entourage/Big Bang Theory/Other crap so all I got is this ironic t-shirt, a temping career and student loan debt.”

  13. Anyways, when does birdiepup’s TV show start?

  14. Um, this feed isn’t really funny at all, is it? It’s like observational humor without the humor.

  15. This isn’t so crazy. Fox successfully optioned the rights to a sack of wet garbage and came out a winner.

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