Internet. Nerds. We need to talk.
You had … what? Months between the iPad’s official introduction and its eventual release to remix a halfway decent YouTube satire featuring Captain Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise and his 112th Generation iPad.
We all saw the startling similarities between “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Personal Access Display Device (PADD), the handheld interface upon which Capt. Picard stored his log and whatnot, and Apple’s latest bit of futuristic bit of technology. (Why, if the PADD lost most of its functionality, it and the iPad would be the exact same gadget!) But the “coincidence” didn’t result in a whole lot of Internet comedy gold.
Sure, we were all initially distracted by the second-grade hilarity inspired by Apple’s poorly chosen name. “iPad? Sounds like a feminine hygiene product! Yuk! Yuk!” As we all know, a "MADtv" sketch even foretold of the comedy gold.
Seriously though, that gag aged out as soon as your mom said it was funny … which was pretty much the next day. After a few mock commercials on YouTube extrapolating on the iPad’s once-a-month use among females, the creativity pretty much ground to a halt.
Certainly Pee-wee Herman’s Funny or Die iPad video, in which Pee-wee ultimately uses the Apple table to serve beverages to his Playhouse guests, set the bar high. But the Internet is made of amateur multimedia humorists who have the gift to force coffee from our collective noses and here are a few examples... all of them “funny,” but not necessarily “funny” in the same way.
Pushy Pixels, creator of the “Captain’s Log” app, wins the prize for best exploitation of the Capt. Picard/iPadd connection. Authentic down to the “Star Trek” prop’s screen colors, the “Captain’s Log” iPad application functions as a virtual skin for your social network collection. Alas, the free app was almost immediately yanked for “copyright infringement,” leaving us a dearth of witty “Star Trek”-related iPad humor.
In its wake, we are left with a few half-hearted YouTube attempts to bring out the iPad funny. Rather than breaking out mad editing skillz, these videos let the titles do all the work. In “Picard Has iPad,” the “iPad,” barely visual on the captain's lap.
“Picard unveils his iPad” doesn’t even feature the in iPad doppelganger. “What are these?” Picard asks Data, holding a framed tray of the android's metals. The spliced-in voice of Steve Jobs replies, “We call it an iPad.” Picard asks Data what logical purpose “they” serve, to which the android replies, “I just wanted them. Is that vanity?” You could salvage some social comedy; wanting something you don’t need just because you want it. But if you’re going to work that hard, you might as well write fan fiction.
Meanwhile, a case can be made for a scene from “Deep Space Nine” in which Quark’s nephew receives an “iPad” as a gift. “You mean it will teach me how to attract human females?” the grateful tween asks. Ha-ha! Quite the opposite, my little Ferengi friend.
Toddler vs. iPad
Having trouble using your new iPad? Look! A 2-year-old can do it. You’re clearly an idiot.
Just kidding! A bitter columnist might view this as some dad’s multitasking brag video: “Look! I have an iPad! And look! My baby has mastered said iPad! I’m so proud of both my baby and my iPad.”
Wait ’til Dad starts making family friends — not to mention YouTube — endure his daughter’s piano app recitals. Ugh.
A thoughtful writer might observe that the “video gives us a glimpse of how the next generation of readers will read — reminding publishers that this generation will take interactivity for granted,” as Jason Boog wrote in Media Bistro’s eBookNewser.
True that. And she is adorable … until you find her navigating your $500-plus status computer with her peanut butter-and booger-covered fingers. Get a Speak-n-Spell dude! They’re way cheaper and equally entertaining to the under-3 crowd.
Baseball bat-wielding jackasses
If that were a PSA, you’d see Steve Jobs with one single (really angry) tear running down his cheek. Instead, the pathos comes from angry mobs of Internet commenters infuriated by “idiots” who “are living off their parent’s money,” destroying an iPad in what is obviously an ill-considered homage to “Tosh.0.”
According to the YouTube user who posted the video, the brat wasting the iPad with a baseball bat purchased three, sacrificing the third for “fun.”
“Instead of donating that to kids in need or people who could actually use it you break it,” one of the hundreds of commentators helpfully offered. Oh, and boys? You know that iPad Daniel Tosh blasted with a golf club to on his Comedy Central show? He got it for free.
Still, this video provides a service to those late adopters who can now wait in good conscience for the indestructible iPad 2.0. (It will ROCK!)
Will it blend?
On the latest episode of one of the most successful viral campaigns ever, Blendtec founder lets his commercial-grade blender rip on the latest piece of must-have Apple paraphernalia. Maybe it’s Dickson’s guileless smile, enthusiasm and high school chem teacher lab coat and goggles that protects him from the nasty comments hurled at those baseball bat jerks. But Davidson, and the iPad, are not without critics.
“Much like everything else about the iPad, this blows compared to the wee iPhone version,” my one friend, Ree Hines, observed. “When the iPhone got the frappe treatment, it created a spooky black plume of “Lost”-like evil.”
What’s more, “the aluminum back was missing when Tom folded the iPad,” one Engadget commentator pointed out.
On the plus side, “This totally made me want one of those blenders more than I want the iPad,” Ree concluded. Which, in the end, is what “Will it Blend?” is all about.
PCWorld’s stress test
Here’s a dude destroying an iPad with purpose. This is the one to watch if you want an honest example of how iPad holds up to real world use. PCWorld's Senior Editor Tim Moynihan starts his video with yet another mockup of Apple’s over-the-top pretentious ad where a British guy describes the iPad in spiritual parameters.
Once he takes it through the PCWorld Labs, we learn many things, including the fact that a donut can be used as a stylus. That’s two things at once! Take that, $500-plus, single-tasking toy!
The iPad is bricked somewhere between the coffee test (What happens if you dump coffee on your iPad?) and the faucet hose-down. “You’re not gonna want to put this under water,” Moynihan advises.
Unlike the baseball jerks, Moynihan actually feels some guilt for the damage he’s inflicting — delivering increasing decrees of blunt-force trauma. This is either a great argument for getting a case for your iPad, or it’s a great argument for never getting an iPad. Guess which one’s cheaper!
'Hitler’s' reaction to the iPad
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to fans of the YouTube Hitler meme that “Hitler” (Bruno Ganz) has learned of the iPad’s inability to run more than one app at a time, and he is furious. Why, I he hasn't been this enraged since “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” release delay! (NOT SAFE FOR WORK WARNING: Subtitles include a few curse words.)
YouTube is lousy with various versions of the 2004 German film “Der Untergang” (“The Downfall”), in which subtitles are changed to make Hitler rage about everything from “Balloon Boy” to Hitler's thwarted trip to “Burning Man.” Hitler’s reaction to the iPad is one of the few that gets it right. The video even takes advantage of the very subtle collar-tug by one general after Hitler mumbles, “Nobody better gift it to me.”
Before that, Hitler rages. “It had all the potential in the world,” he screams, spittle flying from his mouth. “It could have changed the market! It could have single-handedly destroyed netbooks! But what do we get instead?! An oversized iPod Touch!”
It’s not often I say this, but Hitler has a point.
Friend Helen A.S. Popkin on or follow her on , and she'll entertain you with sophomoric humor even after iPad stops being funny. (As if!)