Our love story begins, like Pete Davidson and Kate Beckinsale's, at the Golden Globes. But I must warn you — this isn't any ordinary love story. There are no stolen looks or electric hand-touches between two passing individuals, and it does not happen in some faraway castle or the halls of every rom-com high school. In fact, this love story blossoms where you'd least expect to find love at all: Twitter.
It's no secret that brands are starting to have minds and personalities of their own on the social media service. The Outline just wrote about Netflix's recent pivot towards horniness on the platform which, depending on how much of Her you finished watching, will either amuse or terrify you. But this isn't some out-of-the-blue personality change, and it's not just Netflix. In 2019, streaming services and networks in particular have gotten increasingly chatty on Twitter — and not just with us, but with each other.
However, for every coy flirt they send each other's way, there's the reality of the situation, which is that they are, at the end of the day, competitors. Tension! Drama! Passion! Dare I say, Shakespeare? It's all fun and games until someone is accused of faking their streaming numbers, and that dynamic might just make this the most interesting rom-com ever written.
But let's rewind. The first notable instance of flirting went down after Killing Eve's Sandra Oh won the Golden Globe for Actress in a Drama TV Series.
"Every single one of you reading this right now needs to make time in your life to watch Killing Eve," Netflix recommended on Twitter. "It's a true masterclass in writing, directing, and acting. Oh goodness ... the acting! What Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer do in this show is NEXT. LEVEL. PERFECTION. Watch it."
every single one of you reading this right now needs to make time in your life to watch Killing Eve. It's a true masterclass in writing, directing, and acting. Oh goodness ... the acting! What Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer do in this show is NEXT. LEVEL. PERFECTION. Watch it.— Netflix US (@netflix) January 7, 2019
Sounds normal enough — until you realize that Killing Eve is not on Netflix. It's on Hulu, one of Netflix's competitors.
However, that didn't stop the account from encouraging its 5.68 million followers to cross enemy lines to check out the hit BBC America show. That's how good it is.
Now I know — one flirt does not a romance make. But just a few days later, another network instigated cross-pollination: HBO.
For the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos, HBO promised mob-style nicknames for anyone who replied to the tweet. It wasn't long before brands got in on the fun.
Perhaps the most interesting of them were Comedy Central, who, as a comedy network, is technically in competition with HBO's stand-up specials, and Hulu. In fact, Hulu and HBO's flirtation got intimate enough that I can only assume they took the conversation somewhere more private shortly after this exchange:
But now, we are getting to the dramatic climax of our rom-com. Who among us hasn't ignored all the reasons someone is wrong for us until it all comes to a head at the Television Critics Association’s press tour? The last part might only be relatable to FX's John Landgraf, who rocked the boat earlier this month by accusing Netflix of exaggerating its high ratings.
“What do you know? The numbers look really big and promote the notion that many shows on their platform are gigantic hits that are watched more than shows on broadcast or basic cable," he said, according to The Wrap, later adding, “However, if you dig a little deeper, Netflix is not telling you the whole story because the numbers they issue do not follow the universally-understood television metric, the one you and prior generations of reporters have been using through their whole careers, which is average audience."
So where does that leave us? Well, maybe the person who has been right for these networks has been in front of them all along. Literally. While romance between streaming services may never work, rest assured that Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and myriad other networks are always there for you with the shows you need. There's only one fight that's allowed in this relationship: Yes, I'm still watching.