From Barney Stinton to Zoe Barnes And More TV Characters With Blogs

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Television writers haven't always been kind to bloggers.  Cool, powerful, attractive and creative characters tend to get jobs like chef, architect (hey Mike Brady) or crisis fixer. Bloggers, on the other hand, have grown used to having our vocation mentioned along with some sort of "nerd in his mom's basement"  dig to serve as shorthand for powerless and nerdy.

But the role of bloggers in media has been hard to ignore or relegate to one dismissive trope, and bloggers are increasingly shown as key characters with websites that are important to their identities or to advancing the plot.  

House of Cards Zoe Barnes
Image: Netflix

The increased focus makes sense knowing that behind the scenes, social media has become a powerful public force and visual media partner. Bloggers are uber-viewers,  cultivating devout fandom communities, honoring show writing and performances through recaps and Tumblr gif galleries and otherwise promoting shows on our social channels. Just as we've tracked them, television writers are tracking us as a cultural force with a particular impact on their industry.

Characters who are bloggers are also handy narrative tools for television writers, just as we're useful in real life. Need a political crisis to fix? Have a blogger create one! Need some voice-over dialogue to speed up exposition? Blogging is better than "Dear Diary." Need news to travel Internet-fast? HBO's Silicon Valley put this device to great effect in episode 3, when the lead character almost closed a $1K  deal to buy the corporate name Pied Piper from the rural sprinkler service that owned it, only to have the price escalate to $250K when tech blogs covered his venture funding riches.  Even construction guys name check Kara Swisher. 

Storylines are increasing, but major characters with blogs are still precious commodities. We aren't at Mike Brady Architect Level yet. Take a look at some of my favorite blogging characters on television, present and past, and see what you think about the representation of our industry on the small screen. 

Jonah Ryan, VEEP

Jonah's blog was a major development in the current season of HBO's fabulous VEEP. Jonah gets canned from his White House administration position after being outed for being the anonymous "West Wing Man" blogger. He doubles down with a vlog site "Ryan-Tology" hoping to own the town as a caustic insider pundit.  This representation is cringe worthy and cutting, but that's not surprising because no one is spared on VEEP. Yes, he is shown to be self-serving and mean, but he's also shown using a small blog as major leverage over the reputations and campaign direction of the most powerful. 


Zoe Barnes, House of Cards

Zoe's reporting IS her identity and also a major plot point in the series and the reason for her dangerous relationship with Frank.  She leaves the Herald for Slugline where she can really dig in to investigative work.  Old school Beltway journalism v. new media plays out for better and worse through Zoe. 


Barney Stinton, How I Met Your Mother

Oh, Barney's Blog. You did personal blogging proud, even when you were baffled that your friends obviously hadn't been reading your posts. Barney's Blog yielded one of the best quotes of all times, from a blogger's point of view, when his co-worker Randy told him: I have been reading your blog for years. You are like a god to me. 

That's music to a blogger's ears. 


Anonymous, Gossip Girl

Gossip blogs had their moment with Gossip Girl, which was held together by the anonymous rumor-monger of Manhattan's elite.  Did you stick with the show through the reveal in the last episode in 2012?


Bitch, Please, SNL

SNL Entertainment blogger Weekend Update

Entertainment bloggers (ahem) have been sent up here and there, no biggie. SNL has received plenty of blog pans for their lack of diversity and failure to produce consistently funny programming, so it's understandable they'd want to take a stab back. See the clip on Yahoo.


Marge Simpson, The Simpsons

Simpsons Food Wife

This is an oldie (Food Wife, Season 25 Episode 22, at Hulu or YouTube) but it's too good to ignore. Food bloggers have Marge Herself as patron saint. Marge had a short-lived stint as a foodie with a family food blog that opened culinary doors for her and the kids, while sending Homer to a meth lab. Classic. 

Have you noticed television characters representing bloggers on any kind on any of your favorite programs? 


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