Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of American Gods remains pretty faithful to the original text it’s based on, but one of the more notable changes is how in-tune Technical Boy is with, well, technology.
Unlike the version of Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) that appears in author Neil Gaiman’s book, Fuller’s vision of Technical Boy puts him more inline with a YouTube personality than anything else. This take on the character has him vaping, using drone-like technology and artificial intelligence as a way of dealing with the old gods and Shadow Moon. Although it’s one of the more surprising changes to a character, American Gods feels like a product of 2017 — not the 2001 world it was originally conceived in.
In the novel, Technical Boy is described as a “fat, young man in a long, black coat with acne on his cheek.” In many ways, the version of Technical Boy that Gaiman imagined, which has become synonymous with an antiquated, almost satirical version of the “nerds” pop culture paints. The image of Technical Boy that Fuller broadcasts is far more punk, classy and elitist — more inline with the young Silicon Valley CEOs that oversee the tech world today.
Technical Boy being painted as a young, technologically minded god is a pretty good metaphor for how young Silicon Valley types are seen today.
Showrunner Michael Green told Entertainment Weekly that Technical Boy had to envelop the fact that technology is no longer something out of reach or reserved for the elite. Everyone and their great aunt has a smartphone, a computer, a Facebook account and can be seen texting on the subway.
“Technology has gone from something that was the province of the young to something ubiquitous and in your pocket, and the aesthetics of that have changed,” says Green. “Technology very much has a tie into fashion, which goes in cycles and changes overnight. What’s in fashion, technologically, and what’s in fashion, in fashion, are minute to minute and you can’t possibly keep up. And we look to the Technical Boy to be someone who’s very much a victim of both. The idea of feeling like you have to feed the beast of what’s new and what’s fresh is very much in his mind.”
Technology plays a big role in American Gods in general, with new gods like Media also taking advantage of the ubiquity small, personal devices offer. Even some of the older gods, however, are learning to use technology to their advantage. One of the most memorable scenes from the first episodes features Bilquis using a Tinder-like app to find men she can later devour. Technology isn’t just a facet of the show, it’s an integral part of the storytelling.
Technical Boy is the most visually arresting, however, when it comes to the ripple effect in trends that have emerged because of technology. Industries such as fashion, for example, are definitely reflected in the first few episodes of American Gods.
“Nothing he’s wearing could have been accomplishable 15 years ago when the book first came out,” Green said. “His clothes reflect modern methods that even we were introduced to for this [show].”
American Gods does a few other interesting tweaks to the original material to make it feel more genuine and authentic in today’s era, including ways that Wednesday and Shadow Moon handle situations they find themselves in, but there’s no bigger change than the punk aesthetic Technical Boy takes on.
American Gods will premiere on April 30 at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.