We’ve all seen a celebrity agree to live-tweet a TV show he or she is on for one episode. But there’s nothing more pure than a celebrity committing to live-tweet a show he or she is simply a fan of on a weekly basis. Patton Oswalt now does it Sundays with Downton Abbey, drawing attention to details we may have missed (“Not even joking — Matthey Crowley has a f—ing HALF SWASTIKA on his cheek!
#DowntonPBS”), to the performances (“NO ONE holds back tears like Carson. #DowntonPBS”), and to the level of our shared obsession (“I would pay $10,000 for the Earl of Grantham to say, ‘Good God!’ to every snack choice I made for a week. #DowntonPBS”). In Her Shoes author Jennifer Weiner has long done it on Mondays with The Bachelor, which helped earn her a spot on Time‘s list of the 140 Best Twitter feeds last year and had her defending her beverage of choice for her drinking games, Raspberry Lambic, to PopWatch when we chatted recently. “It’s fruit-flavored Belgian beer, which I know sounds super wussy, but it’s highly alcoholic,” she said, adding that she grew up on Manischewitz and needs something really sweet.
It was after Jason Mesnick’s After the Final Rose special when Weiner wrote, “I think Jason’s a huge tool” on her Facebook page and it quickly got more than 100 responses that she realized she wasn’t the only one watching The Bachelor. That comforting sense of community is why she moved her musings to Twitter, where it feels like she’s watching the show in a room full of friends. “To me, it feels sorta like being in a support group where I feel like I’m not alone in my freakish devotion to these people,” she says. “There are other people who are just as into it for weird reasons as I am.” Her fellow celebrity addicts range from comedienne Lisa Lampanelli, who tweeted Weiner during last week’s Bachelor, to novelist Gary Shteyngart. “Finding him tweeting about The Bachelor was one of the stranger and more wonderful moments in my writing career,” she says. (Weiner thinks a lot of writers follow reality shows, citing Tayari Jones’ Real Housewives live-tweets as an example. “There’s a soap opera aspect to it. They’re sorta watching the way producers develop the characters — who’s getting the villain edit, who’s being edited to be the nice girl,” Weiner theorizes. “It’s interesting watching the show, but it’s interesting also to think of the construction that’s going on behind it.”)
Of course, not all her followers understand her fascination with the show. Last week, Weiner responded multiple times to a follower who said her tweets about The Bachelor made her “trashy.” “Listen, I don’t get Jersey Shore. I’ve tried and tried and tried. It looks like really cheap porn to me where there’s never any actual sex. I definitely, definitely understand that there’s people for whom this is not their thing. They don’t want me clogging up their timeline,” she says. “People can unfollow me for the night. I have no problem with that at all. The thing you can’t do is complain about it, because I let everybody know that this is my thing — here’s what’s going on, and I’m going to be doing this, and if you don’t want to hear about it, then turn me off. But don’t try to talk me out of this.” She does notice a fluctuation in her number of followers while she’s live-tweeting — which we assume Oswalt does as well, since he tweeted a “prepare to unfollow me” warning last night. But generally, a lot of people come back once the show is over, she says. Plus, “It’s always exciting to get retweeted, and watch new people find you, and watch people who are like, ‘Ohmygod, I read your books. You watch this show?’ That’s always fun,” she says.
People will have the chance to find her (or temporarily unfollow her) for the foreseeable future. Like the rest of Bachelor viewers, she’s trying to figure out if this season’s villain, Courtney, is really that awful or just playing a part. And, she’s curious about Emily Maynard’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette. “Personally, I like a girl with a little more edge than we saw from Emily last time, but she might have acquired some edge, or there could have been edge we didn’t see if they were editing her to be the nice girl. But it will be interesting from a more real perspective: What is she gonna do about her daughter? She was sort of adamant about not wanting the paparazzi, not wanting her daughter to be on TV, and then eventually, her daughter was on TV for the hometown date [in Brad Womack’s second season]. I have girls, one’s a little older and one’s a little younger than little Ricki, whose name I know,” she says with a laugh, “and I do wonder, as a mom, how she’s going to navigate that aspect of it. So I’ll be interested.”