The obsession with Game of Thrones is just as inescapable on television as it is in real life. It’s become a staple interest of “nerd” characters like Dwight Schrute on The Office and Leonard and Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory but has also been referenced everywhere from 2 Broke Girls to Bunheads to New Girl. Parks and Recreation especially loves its Game of Thrones references. Ultimate cool-nerd Ben Wyatt is a huge fan of the show, quickly defending its appeal and completely freaking out when Leslie gives him a replica of the Iron Throne as a gift.
These TV references are a fast way to insert a relevant pop culture joke into a script, but they also point at something larger. Television becomes an increasingly important part of the culture sphere with every passing year — how many different “Golden Ages of TV” have been declared within just the last two decades? — and it’s finally creeping up to the level of appreciation and respect that people generally reserve for other art forms, like film or books.
TV is a large and significant part of our lives, so it’s only natural that the fictional characters that exist on television reflect this. It’s hard not to get excited when you learn that a fictional character you love or relate to shares similar interests and enthusiasm. Like Abbi, we’ve bailed on plans because we’re in the middle of a Netflix binge, and like Donna, we’ve bonded with a coworker over shared love of a twisty thriller. (And maybe, like Tina, we’ve filled our LiveJournals with embarrassing fan fiction, but no one has to know that.) Watching Diane’s quick spiral into Olivia Pope’s world makes us feel better about our own television spirals. Some of the best sitcoms work simultaneously as an escape from reality and a mirror of ourselves. Celebrating real-world TV culture on the TV shows we’re watching is just another great way to do this.