Tonight’s cuppa: peppermint tea

ParksandRecCastTCA.jpgThis past Sunday, I was livetweeting (as @KateOH on the microblogging service Twitter) the “Parks and Recreation” press conference (seen at left), part of the NBC day at the January edition of the biannual Television Critics Association Press Tour.

Reacting to a cast conversation about using Twitter, I sent out a message, or “tweet,” asking why no one was discussing the ongoing Twitter feud between Hart Hanson (@harthanson), executive producer of Fox’s “Bones,” and “Parks” castParksandRecAzizAnsariTCA.jpg member Aziz Ansari (@azizansari , seen at right).

This good-natured war of tweets came about largely because the shows are direct competitors in the Thursday, 8 p.m.-9 p.m. ET/PT timeslot.

The exchange has also featured volleys against “Bones” from Dan Harmon (@danharmon), creator of the new NBC comedy “Community,” which airs just before “Parks and Recreation,” at the top of the 8 p.m. hour.

(BTW, all three shows have new episodes on Thursday, Jan. 14).

Evidently checking Twitter at the time, Hanson quickly fired back a tweet. The following exchange ensued (I’m the unnamed questioner):

QUESTION: Speaking of
Twitter, I have a tweet from Hart Hanson from “Bones.”

MICHAEL SCHUR: Yeah, nice.

AZIZ ANSARI: What’s he
saying?

QUESTION: “Shout at them
that we at ‘Bones’ are furious at the way ‘Parks and Rec’ are constantly stealing our ideas. We had a pit too.”

AZIZ ANSARI: Oh.

AMY POEHLER: Oh, really?

AUBREY PLAZA: Is it full of bones?

QUESTION: Any reply?

AZIZ ANSARI: Wait. So he
said that we’re stealing their ideas?

QUESTION: Yes. Apparently
they had a pit too.

AZIZ ANSARI: Oh. I don’t
know how we could steal their ideas. No one watches “Bones.”

(Laughter.)

MALE PANELIST: What’s
“Bones”?

AZIZ ANSARI: You know why
they call that show “Bones,” right? Because it should be buried.

(Laughter.) Hart is a friend of mine.
I’m kidding. We’re friends.

AMY POEHLER: Oh, yeah. Aziz
started –

AZIZ ANSARI: I started a
feud with “Bones.”


MALE PANELIST: A kick-a– feud.

AMY POEHLER: A kick-a–
feud.

AZIZ ANSARI: Yeah.

CHRIS PRATT: I’m going to
stop watching it.

(Laughter.)

MICHAEL SCHUR: You’re
taking Aziz’s side?

CHRIS PRATT: Yeah, I’m on
Aziz’s side. We’re on the
same show.

Bones_Cast_TCA.jpgSince the next day of Press Tour was devoted to Fox, I was able to grab a minute with Hanson at a “Bones”-themed breakfast (at which I interviewed producer/director Ian Toynton, who was delightful. More on that later).

(Pictured: “Bones” cast and producers at breakfast. From left, Toynton, Hanson; stars John Francis Daley, Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz; producer Barry Josephson, producer Stephen Nathan.)

I asked Hanson if he wouldn’t be kind enough to answer some email questions about himself and Twitter, and he graciously agreed. And here’s the result of that:

Regarding
your just-for-fun flame war with Aziz Ansari, where did it begin and how has it
contributed to your friendship?

 

The
first volleys in this war were thrown by Aziz.  I believe he started by impugning
David Boreanaz, saying he hated puppies and sick children.   Aziz is
a very accomplished insulter.  First you laugh, then say,
“Heeeyyyy…”.  He’s a Ninja insulter.

 

I see you
and Dan Harmon go back and forth a bit, have you ever met?

 

I
have never met Dan Harmon face to face, no.  He’s funny too.  It’s
terrible getting into rock-heaving contests with guys who have flame-throwers.

 

How has
Twitter changed your personal and/or professional life?

 

Twitter
is a “thing”.  It’s there.  It has to be tended to.  You’re
either in it or out of it and right now I’ve been convinced that it’s best to
be in it.  I’ve had to develop a thicker skin, that’s for sure. 
Actually, I’m not certain I’ve done that. I’m still surprised from time to time
by the sheer rudeness of people. 

 

For
a while there, Twitter was the way I found out people had died. 

 

Why am I
your favorite Twitterer?

 

Because
you mix things up, baby.  Because you can find a tiny ember and fan it
into a conflagration, and I truly think that’s the whole point of social
networks. 

 

What do you
think is the main benefit to the audience by being able to use Twitter to get
to know behind-the-scenes folks like you a bit better?

 

I’m
not sure there’s a benefit.  Perhaps there’s an illusion of benefit? 
An illusion of immediacy?  Have you asked any fans of the show what they
are getting out of it?  I’d be fascinated to know.  I suspect that
they begin to feel like they know somebody who knows actual celebrities like
David and Emily.

 

I met Ian
Toynton this morning, and he really admires you. How’d you get so lucky as to
snag him?

 

Working
with Ian Toynton has to be one of the greatest lucky breaks in my professional
career.  And boy was it lucky! We lost our previous directing producer,
Tony Wharmby, and it was tragic.  He’s a wonderful guy and a wonderful
director.  Ian had a deal with the studio and they really wanted us to
take him on as a replacement for Tony.  Tony himself called and told me
that I’d really like working with Ian — referred to Ian in Britty terms like
“He’s a lad…” and “he’s a mate…” and other stuff like that.  Tony’s
recommendation alone was good enough for me and here we are.  Ian’s
amazing and it’s my great joy to work with him day in and day out.  Also,
he’s an obvious Object of Mockery due to his accent and the ridiculous
whiteness of his hair and beard.

 

I know the
100th episode starts later this week. Tiny hint?

 

Think
of it as the “Bones Origins” episode.  I know better than to give you any
hints.  You are a fearsome inductive thinker which is terrible for TV
writers.