Saturday, August 1, 2009

Start Me Up

Originally Posted 4-28-09

In a way, it would have been great if I had discovered the following last year when I was writing the commercial post between Seasons One and Two. But in another way, I'm glad I didn't. If I had, then I'd be somewhat stuck to do a commercial post about something specific to that year. Instead, I just write about anything I feel like, and sometimes it's somewhat related to Friends.

Behold. It's what is referred to as "the World's First Cyber Sitcom."

Nine minutes and fifty seconds into this, you learn that this cyber sitcom isn't going to follow through with that promise of bringing "more than a few laughs." You also learn that on top of being the first cyber sitcom, it's also the last.

Well, that's not entirely true. We have "webisodes."

First off, I'd have to say that I'm not very impressed with Bill Gates's office. Even in 1995, the man was a multizillionaire. I'd imagine he'd have a much bigger office and that it would be higher on the fifth floor.

He does, however, have a Clapper. It's a comfort to know he at least added that much class.

It's nice that Bill Gates, always the philanthropist, opens his office and his personal computer to anyone, be it "two of television's hottest comedy personalities" or average schmoes, so long as it's related to educating someone about Windows 95.

It doesn't take long for us to realize that despite his vast riches, Bill Gates cheaped out and bought the bargain basement Clapper that doesn't even work from his desk. How upsetting.

Not as upsetting as the Seinfeld-esque guitar sample that we hear every time someone makes what I'm guessing is supposed to pass as a joke.

The cyber sitcom continues, and we learn that Windows 95 allows you to fax. It's great that we're 12 minutes deep, and the Internet hasn't been mentioned once and we've just gotten into the virtues of faxing. What a difference 14 years makes.

Enter Boris the Window Washer. It's established that Boris is an expert of all windows. This includes the glass partitions that he has been hired by Microsoft to wash, Drive-thru windows—although I think Bernice was just making a crack at Boris's weight—and of course the computer product yet to be released by Microsoft. All good businessmen share company information with the window washer. This is why Boris has the freedom to barge into Bill Gates's office, offer two actors a complimentary squeegee and show them the new plug and play feature.

Luckily, Bill Gates keeps a printer that he has yet to install on his desk and Boris "never leaves home" without the CD-ROM for that printer. I guess you never know when you'll need to show sitcom stars how to install hardware.

Then the mail room guy comes in. He's your stereotypical nerd. However, he does tell us that "communicating online" is the hot thing right now, so he earns points for being with it in that respect. However, I quickly hated him again for referring to e-mail as "your onramp to the information superhighway." Granted, people spoke that way in the mid-'90s, so it's not really his fault.

Matthew demonstrates e-mail by taking it upon himself to invite some random friend over to Bill Gates's office.

Then The Chipster goes back to being super creepy.

Even more bizarre than a Cyber Sitcom that barely mentions the Internet is a picture of a cat found on the Internet that doesn't have a misspelled caption with poor grammar.

Then we learn that Jeff Lee is allowed to ride his bike through the fifth floor on the Microsoft office building, quite literally into Bill Gates's office. This video predates the rampant overuse of the word 'douchebag' by well over a decade, which makes me believe that he is some sort pioneer in douchebaggery. Boris is kind of annoying—although the least irritating in the room—but kicking him is completely unnecessary. I guess when you deliver food in less than ten minutes you can do whatever the hell you want.

However, I cannot forgive the blond boy who speaks as an stereotypical Asian; stopping just short of mixing his 'l's and 'r's. I really like the lax way Gates runs his company, people come in and out of his own office as they please. But if the kid who delivers the Chinese food can give an accurate and in-depth explanation about right-clicking on a computer program yet to be launched, I'd have to say that there are some security breaches. How did a rival company not steal any of their ideas?

The point he tries to make about right-clicking favoring left-handed people doesn't really make sense. He argues that right-handed people dominate the population, and they're more apt to use the left mouse button, since that's where the index finger is. However, Windows 95 helps out left-handed people, because it uses the right mouse button too.

Yes, but not as much as the left button. How often are you going to change your screen resolution?

And why is nobody eating? Everybody's hungry. Food's here. Take a break.

No, instead they talk about Desktop Themes for long enough for Joystick Johnny to come skating in demanding to fill his video game fix. Boris and Chip are employees of Microsoft, and Jeff was making a delivery, so it's understood why they have access to this office even though they may be abusing the privilege. Joystick Johnny, however, has absolutely no reason to be here except to give everyone a moral dilemma about when it's okay to beat the crap out of a child.

Also, the way they kept saying "Joystick Johnny," I thought his name was "Joyce DiJonni," which made me think that maybe he was a girl. I don't know, that's an awkward time for kids, a lot of times a boy could pass as a girl with short hair and vice versa.

This miserable wretch, for some reason, is hellbent on challenging someone to play 3D Pinball, a new game featured on Microsoft Plus which is noticeably missing one dimension.

By the way, playing Joystick Johnny is Sam Huntington who played Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns, and was in the sitcom that centered around characters created for a series of insurance ads.

Matthew's stoner friends arrive.

Apparently they live pretty close to the Microsoft office building and they knew exactly where to go in the building. I'd say that they asked a security guard the way to Gates's office, but there clearly aren't any security guards.

Bernice browbeats the stoners right away and says, "Uhh, not that you were invited..." She should know that they were invited. She was standing right there when Matthew wrote the e-mail inviting them. Maybe the dialogue is making her dumber which is causing memory lapses. You know who wasn't invited? Joystick Johnny.

The music video that was brought on CD-ROM, which easily plays on Windows 95, is a big hit.

It's so good that it inspires Jennifer to push the red button on Gates's desk that she was told never to push.

Naturally, this causes everyone in the room, except for the people who are behind the desk, to be imprisoned in to Gates's monitor as if it were some kind of Phantom Zone. This leads me to ask several questions.

What exactly did Gates use this button for?
Is this why security is so lax in the Microsoft building?
Everyone there knows that if they try to take trade secrets elsewhere, they'd get sucked into the monitor?
Wouldn't someone with a button that sucks people into their computer monitor use it on people like the irritating Chinese food delivery guy and the kid who comes by to demand video games?
Wouldn't Gates want to keep a button like that secret and not lying there on his desk next to his printer that he wasn't using?
Gates leaves his door open even when he's out, yet no one has stolen or dismantled the button?
Is a device like that even legal?
How do people get out of the monitor?
Why did anyone agree to pay money to create a sitcom about the Geico cavemen?
Did fellow cast members really refer to her as "Jen?"
Did they really call him "Matty?"
What is Matty doing hanging out with people like the people in that awful band?
Why do adults' fear of Joystick Johnny go beyond concern of being annoyed?
The restaurant that employees Jeff Lee is perfectly okay with him leaving for a long time for just one delivery?
Why does Boris put up with the fat jokes?
Why is Bernice, the loyal assistant, put in charge of showing Matty and Jen the ins and outs of Windows 95?
Isn't Bernice pinching Boris's cheek after he squeegees the monitor from the inside some form of workplace harassment?
What kind of cybersitcom about Windows 95 doesn't mention Minesweeper?
There's no better way to say it than "two of television's hottest comedy personalities?"
This cybersitcom isn't something I should invest too much mental energy on, is it?

Strangely enough, these are the 20 Most Asked Questions referred to in the beginning of the video. This begs a 21st question. Was this before the phrase "Frequently Asked Questions?"

No comments: