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Snapchat proves it can with ‘Literally Can’t Even’

| Monday, March 30, 2015

snapchat-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara | The Observer

The television industry has been experiencing rapid changes with services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go eating their way into the market of traditional TV networks. The newest company to try to cut out some profits from creative industry destruction might surprise you — Snapchat.

As of Jan. 31, Snapchat has been releasing four-minute episodes of its original series, “Literally Can’t Even,” through the Snapchat Discover page on Staurdays. As alluded to by the title, the show is a witty, pseudo-satirical view of the lives of two twenty-something women living in Los Angeles and the unexpected situations they get themselves into as a result of their naiveté.

The most surprising aspect of this new Snapchat feature may be that, in true Snapchat fashion, each episode will disappear 24 hours after its release on the Discover tab. This requires users to stay on top of the show as soon as it is released to keep up with the plot line. A quick YouTube search reveals that no episodes are posted after the fact, so if you are planning on following the show you had better block off four minutes of your Saturday schedule.

Between its subject matter and its platform for reaching viewers, we can be assured that if nothing else, “Literally Can’t Even” will at least be the trendiest “TV show” of 2015.

Another surprise comes from who is behind the production of such an ambitious and eccentric idea. Emily Goldwyn and Sasha Spielberg both write and co-star in the show. Those last names should sound familiar: the women are daughters of two of the most famous producers and directors, respectively, in Hollywood.

Despite the success of their families in the traditional Hollywood movie path, the pair was excited to try something new.

“Working with Snapchat feels very separate from Hollywood,” Goldwyn said in an interview with the New York Times. The two also added that they like the idea of using Snapchat to reach viewers because they feel it is very in tune with the way that their generation lives and consumes content.

Skepticism of the idea for the show draws strong parallels to the premieres of Netflix’s original TV series. At the time of their inception, criticism of Netflix’s plan to create original content seemed to overwhelm support for the idea. Without a doubt, Netflix’s original series “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” have been resounding successes and likely spurred Snapchat to try their hand at original content production.

True to Netflix’s form of investing heavily into original production, Snapchat seems to be willing to spend substantial amounts of money to improve their product. According to the New York Times, Harry Potter star Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) is slated to make a guest appearance on the show in the near future. Early reviews of the show have also cited its surprisingly high production quality.

The jury is definitely still out on this show and its medium. Snapchat’s promotion of their discover tab has not resulted in high usage, but the potential for something special is definitely there. Maybe in five years Snapchat binging will be just as prevalent as Netflix binge watching. Goldwyn and Spielberg hope to be on the forefront of social media change, and it will only cost four minutes of your time to join them.

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About Jonah Poczobutt

Finance and International Economics Double major. Class of 2018

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