Thursday, June 26, 2008

We Need Girlfriends

I saw an episode of this web series at a WGA-sponsored panel entitled "What Are Teens Watching." After failing to win a DVD of the series in the door-prize drawing (Door prizes? At the Guild? Ooookay....) I checked out the rest of the episodes online. #3, "Facebook," which screened at the panel, remains my favorite, but the whole series has charm. I also hear it's being developed as a pilot for CBS. I'm thinking they need a good match for Big Bang Theory. These nerds are younger and less professionally successful, but in the same wheelhouse. It has the endearing premise of centering on guys who really want Girlfriends, i.e., human connection, as opposed to just sex.

We Need Girlfriends
The Panel itself, co-sponsored by the Teen Media Project, was an interesting evening, though it wound up focusing more on the projects of the panelists and moderator (two web series, WNG and Planet Unicorn, and the ABC Family teen-aimed series Lincoln Heights) than on the larger question of what's getting teen eyeballs these days. There were two Actual Teens on the panel but they seemed more atypical than typical, one having already graduated college and the other being an award-winning music producer, so I'm not sure how reliable their window into the teen psyche was...
The young musician, though, made a a telling comment, stating that he's not much of a TV watcher and that this is because growing up, "we only had two TVs in the house, one in the living room and one in my Mom's room, and if the one in the living was on something I didn't like, I'd just do something else." (Quote approximate.) He genuinely felt that interest in watching TV arises out of having your own TV and control of the programming. I couldn't imagine trying to explain to him that most of the hardcore TV junkies I know grew up in single-TV households. We negotiated and compromised over what to watch -- or we watched whatever our parents chose. Sometimes we watched stuff we didn't like -- and sometimes we grew to find it interesting. I fear that in the modern niche-based, personal-device market, people never have to watch something that someone else chose, never have to be exposed to something that isn't right down their alley. This will surely have unintended consequences.

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