When it comes to TV, social media loves a spectacle – especially a live one.
When NBC aired The Sound of Music Live last year, audiences reacted almost immediately by flooding social media with updates – both good and bad – about the show and, in particular, Carrie Underwood’s performance. The reaction was strong enough to make producers worry and even prompt Allison Williams to beg fans to not “hate-watch” Peter Pan Live.
If you’re planning to tune in and live-tweet NBC’s live broadcast of the boy who never grew up, which airs tonight at 8 p.m., you better bring your A game.
So here’s a handy guide to what to you should be ready for when it comes to making the most of your “live social media TV viewing” experience:
Know your hashtags. The official tracker is #PeterPanLive. Use the tag wisely. (And you can follow NBC's curated Twitter list of the broadcast's stars, but just don't expect many to be live-tweeting from backstage.)
Follow Lena Dunham. The creator and star of HBO’s hit series Girls is basically responsible for the acting (and singing) career of her co-star Allison Williams. Without her performance of “Stronger” during season 2, there’d be no way we’d truly appreciate Williams in the role. But seriously, keep an eye on that Twitter account. She’s bound to tweet something… right?!
Yup. Allison Williams is MOTHERFUCKING PETER PAN!!!— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) July 30, 2014
If Laura Benanti (Elsa Schrader) taught us anything last year is that there will be several GIF-able moments. Though, none of them will top her side eye. But the best ones are likely to come from Christopher Walken. His face is so meme-friendly and his love for dancing is infectious. If you're not an expert GIF-maker, follow Tumblr for the best reactions.
Speaking of Walken, prep your dancing references now. Is he better or worse than he was in the music video for Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice”? He’s taken tap dance lessons with choreographer Danny Daniels, strutted alongside Liza Minnelli, appeared on variety specials with Lucille Ball, and danced backup for a Belgian cabaret singer. And at some point, you’ll want to reference his performance in Puss in Boots or his turn in 2007’s Hairspray.
Just don't expect any dancing like this:
Prepare to aww at Nana. For tonight’s live broadcast, Nana will be portrayed by a real life dog. That’s right: an animal with its own thoughts and ideas of what makes for good TV. We warned to get your drinks ready for any unscripted moments but make sure you have those iPhones set to Instagram. Nana is likely to be a scene-stealer.
Get ready for several new songs. Fans of the original musical will note (and likely have very strong opinions about) the new numbers, including one for Captain Hook (“Vengeance,” an adaptation of “Ambition” from Do Re Mi) and another for Wendy (“Only Pretend,” which is adapted from “I Know About Love” from the same musical).
Expect many Tiger Lily comparisons. The battle is between newcomer Alanna Saunders, who has ties to the Cherokee Nation, and Rooney Mara, the very pale, All-American actress most famous for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, who takes on the role in the upcoming live action film, Pan.
Start begging for more Minnie Driver now. She’ll be heard but not seen most of the broadcast. She plays the older version of Wendy and doesn’t appear until the end of the show. Sad.GIF #NeedsMoreMinnie
Know your hotties. Last year turned out to be a delight thanks to GIFs of Michael Campayno's tight pants. And we can tell you that the Lost Boys are hardly boys and that Hook’s seamen doing a swimmingly good job of working the plank. The background players feature several budding Broadway stars, including Ryan Steele, James Brown III, Charlie Williams, and Chris McCarrell.
Ignore the misinformed. Why is Peter Pan played by a girl? Why doesn’t Tinkerbell speak? Does Peter think of Wendy as a mom or a girlfriend? All these questions will be asked by someone at some point. Just don’t that person. (For more on the history of women portraying Peter on stage, read VH1's excellent oral history on Peter Pan the Musical.)
Finally: Tweet whatever you want! Just remember, it's live and -- as Ellie Goulding would say -- anything can happen. Take ownership of your tweets, have fun with it, and share your reactions with us at @ETnow.