Now that boom times are here again, it’s not all that unusual to come across a company whose big swagging concept sounds like it was lifted from the pitch deck of Entertainment 720, the fictional startup from the sitcom geniuses at Parks and Recreation. (Should you ever find yourself in such a situation, it’s best to imagine Aziz Ansari’s voice squeaking tech jargon at you from the founder’s mouth. For instance, business development is definitely getting abbreved to bizzy-bizzy dev.)
Thanks to the b-plot of last night’s episode of Parks and Rec, however, you no longer have to wonder, say, who Tom Haverford looks up on Wikipedia (Ray J) or how he feels about that vaguely racist Indian guy with turban emoji (“Hold up, didn’t Japanese people invent this?”).
Mr. Haverford’s storyline followed a court appearance for crashing into a fire hydrant for tweeting while driving. To make the punishment fit the crime, the judge sentences him to a week without screens and, with some help from Ron Swanson, Mr. Haverford learns a very important lesson along the way.
Tom reads his texts out loud in court and says the word hashtag every time:
“9.15 Four green lights in a row. Hashtag: blessed”
9.17 Drive faster, blue civic. Daaaaaaamn. Hashtag: soccermoms”
9.18 Gotta pass this lady on the ejkerkj.
That’s when I hit the fire hydrant. Sorry, allegedly hit the fire hydrant.
9.20 Just hit a fire hydrant, but I survived. Hashtag: Unbreakable. Hashtag: What’s Mr. Glass up to these days? Hashtag: Why no sequel?”
Tom responds to his no screens for a week punishment, smartphone in hand:
“No please send me to jail. One last tweet? Press send, bailiff! PRESS SEND!”
Tom tries to cope:
“I can’t use screens for a week? Big deal, I’m adapting! I built a real life Pinterest board. [Bangs finger into corkboard repeatedly] “I really wish you could click those.”
Tom tries to get his screen fix by watching Jerry’s monitor from a hand mirror:
Tom: “Oh my god, Jerry, when you check your email you go to Altavista and type, ‘Please go to yahoo.com?’ You don’t have your email bookmarked? Do you have any bookmarks?”
Jerry: “What’s bookmarks?”
Tom: “God, Jerry! You don’t deserve the internet!”
Ron Swanson tries to help Tommy by taking him out to his cabin in the woods where they chop wood:
“Ouww, I got stung by the wood. Oh no, it’s a splinter, I need to get on WebMD now. I need an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy. Something with 4G, there’s no time for the Edge Network!”
Ron encourages Tom to purge “the garbage” from his system. “Talk about all of the things you do on those screens and let the words just float away into the fresh air,” he says. Tom obliges:
“Worth a shot. Ok, everyday I start by hitting up Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Sometimes, I like to throw in LinkedIn, for the professional shaaaawties.
Then I like to go on Reddit. Reddit is great because it has all the important links.
Wikipedia! Mankind’s greatest invention. You can learn about anything. Take Ray J for example. We all know he’s a singer, he’s Brandy’s brother, and he was in that classic sex tape with Kim Kardashian. But did you also know he’s Snoop Dog’s cousin and he was in the 96th Tim Burton movie “Mars Attacks”?!! Suddenly, you’re on the “Mars Attacks” page.
I love gChat, you can talk to anybody! I hit up brad.pitt. It wasn’t the actor. It was actually a guy named Brad that’s a teacher in Pittsburgh. We don’t have a lot in common, but we chat quite a bit.
Emojis are little cartoons you text instead of words. Instead of saying, ‘What up, boo?’ you can type ‘What up’ and then a cute little ghost because that means boo. There’s even a little Indian guy, but he has a turban on, which I think is racist. But the Asian guy also has a racist hat on. And it’s like, hold up didn’t Japanese people invent this?!
Podcasts! They’re a million of them and they’re all amazing! Jean Ralphio and I have one called Nacho Average Podcast where we rate different kinds of nachos.”
During the after school special part of the episode, Ron tries to get to the bottom of Tom’s obsession with screens:
“Ron: Why do you need to be constantly distracted, Tom?
Tom: The truth is, I spend a lot of time looking at screens because recently a lot of the stuff in my real life isn’t going that great so I’d rather play DoodleJump than think about that, ok?”
Hashtag: Daaaaaaaamn. What does that say about the rest of us, then? Aside from the concluding message, the only other downside to the episode was a commercial for Intuit’s new mobile credit card swiper. Where’s the Jack Dorsey love, @TomHaverford?