Thursdays at 10pm are party time, watch party time, twitter watch party time. There is no dress code, no line and no name to drop at the door. The only thing you need to get in is a twitter account and a love for Scandal.
Yes Scandal. That is the one show that almost my entire timeline “TL” (the people I follow for you twitter illiterates) agrees on and watches. Men and women, 30-somethings and 60-somethings all watching, reacting and even bonding miles apart through twitter. This watch party is almost always the highlight of my Thursdays, sometimes my week if the anticipation for an episode is great enough. #WhoShotFitz
Of course you can argue that people tweet about all kinds of shows every day of the week, no matter how many other people might be watching along with them, goodness knows I do, but not every show has the stars and even its creator Shonda Rhimes (@shondarhimes) tweeting along with their audience. Every Thursday night Kerry Washington (@kerrywashington) who plays the show’s lead character Olivia Pope is joined by her fellow cast members at this virtual party:
Columbus Short – Harrison (@columbusshort1)
Darby Stanchfield – Abby (@darbystnchfld)
Guillermo Diaz – Huck (@guillermodiazyo)
Bellamy Young – Mellie (@BellamyYoung)
Katie Lowes – Quinn (@KatieQLowes)
Jeff Perry – Cyrus (@jscandalp)
Tony Goldwyn – President Grant (@tonygoldwyn)
They tweet thoughts on their characters, reactions to getting scripts and story lines. Rhimes loves to hint and get viewers riled up before episodes air; Washington even answers wardrobe inquiries (her clothes are fierce).
The interaction the actors have with their fans only heightens the allure and appeal of watching the show, especially over social media. It’s genius PR and genuinely fun. You could argue the show would be just as popular without the integration of twitter into the viewing experience but would people make as much of an effort to watch the show in real-time? There’s DVR, On-Demand, ABC.com and ABC apps that allow fans to watch at any time but while you stay up-to-date you lose out on the fellowship and sometimes sheer hysteria of the watch party. #FreeHuck
Whether it was intentional or not the actors of Scandal have created a model of show/audience integration that is to be admired and emulated by others. They have taken part of what is so enticing about twitter, being able to talk to your favorite celebrities, and made it a major part of the experience of watching their show. For shows that go after that coveted 18-49 male/female demographic it’s so obvious it’s a wonder more aren’t doing it.
I don’t know how long the intensity of Scandal tweeting will last, I hope as long as the show itself but considering how long its sister show Grey’s Anatomy has been on the air that may be wishful thinking. What I do know is that as long as I’m using twitter I will be spending every new Scandal episode in front of someone’s TV, phone or iPad in hand, ready to party. #Gladiators