Amid the flurry of speculations and distress regarding Steve Jobs and Apple’s withdrawal from the Macworld conference next month and the distress of hardcore fans, I’d like to point out a funny Simpsons episode aired a couple weeks ago that mockingly flatters the cult of Apple users and frowns on its tethered technology.
In “Mypods and Boomsticks,” (which, of course, I watched on the Internet at fox.com) the Simpsons go shopping to return gifts after Christmas and discover the new “Mapple” store, a glass cube sitting in the center of Springfield Mall.
“It’s so sterile,” Lisa gushes. (Could it be that Matt Groening read Jonathan Zittrain’s Future of the Internet?) “MyPods! MyPhones! A Brainiac Bar!” She recognizes, however, that everything is too expensive for her. She tries to buy some MyPhonies- white ear buds so she can pretend she has a MyPod- but even those cost $40.
Homer also takes interest in a MyCube, a device “powered by dreams and fueled by imagination,” the salesman says. “What can I do?” Homer asks. “You should ask, ‘What can I do for it,'” the salesman replies.
Everyone is interrupted by a live message from Chief Imaginative Officer Steve Mobs. “He’s like a god that knows what we want!” one Mapple fan says excitedly. Mobs says he will announce something “that will change the way you completely look at everything,” but then Bart intercepts the video and dubs Steve Mobs’ product announcement with some harsh criticism towards Mapple fans.
“You’re all losers! You think you’re cool because you buy a $500 phone with a picture of a fruit on it? Well guess what? They cost 8 bucks to make and I pee on every one!” shouts Steve Mobs with Bart’s voiceover, “I’ve made a fortune off of you chumps and and invested it all in Microsoft! Now my Boyfriend Bill Gates and I kiss each other on a pile of your money.”
Shocked, a disturbed Mapple fan hurls a hammer at the screen, reminiscent of Apple’s 1984 “Big Brother” commercial. “Your heart is blacker than your turtleneck!” he screams as the glass shatters.
The episode was very memorable not only because it made fun of how Apple users are willing to pay big bucks, but also because it also showed how young people download content without much thought. After some 1212 songs, Lisa realizes she has rung up a a debt of $1200 and seeks out Steve Mobs in his Mapple headquarters in the bottom of the ocean.
“I know our poster says ‘Think Differently’ but our real slogan is ‘No Refunds,'” Mobs tells a tearful Lisa, “How would you like to work for Mapple?” In the last scene, Lisa is shown in a MyPod costume, handing out flyers on the street. “Think differently,” she says in a flat voice.