During last night’s Mr. Robot season one finale, Gizmodo and io9 shared ever-so-quick appearances during a mini-montage of online media outlets the main character reads in a crisis. I had no idea it was coming and it made me question my reality and sanity, kinda. SPOILERS.
If you’ve seen the show, particularly last night’s episode (which chronicled the long-awaited destruction of megarich Evil Corp via an epic hack), you’ll know that the show’s subject matter straddles fact and fiction. In this scene, Elliot and the gang had succeed in taking down the biggest corporation in the world, but he has no memory of it. So he’s combing the news to fill in massive chasms in his memory. In real life, we’ve had no shortages of huge hacks recently (Ashley Madison, Sony, Anthem, etc.), so Mr. Robot’s plot is semi-plausible, at least.
Well, that line between fantasy and the real world was smudged big time for me, as I was frantically typing notes during the show for today’s recap, only to see my employer flash across the whole screen for a one-Mississippi second. I was watching Gizmodo on Mr. Robot as I was writing about Mr. Robot on Gizmodo. Who and where am I?
Apparently, USA had reached out to my boss, Annalee, and they were all like, yo, can we show Gizmodo and io9 in the finale real quick. And clearly we were all like, aw hell yeah. (Other outlets that appeared in the show last night were BuzzFeed, CRN, Wired, and Business Insider.)
So, what happens when media outlets appear in entertainment media like this? Well, in this case, they reached out asking for permission, but couldn’t guarantee it’d actually make the final cut. Other times, it’s the media outlets who reach out to the studios or networks instead, asking for a plug.
And then other times, no conversation is had at all, as was apparently the case in an episode of Silicon Valley, in which Giz could kinda be made out on a monitor in a scene, as pointed out by a reader to my colleague Kate Knibbs:
Anyway, it was cool. The only thing, the bylines used in the show belonged to no actual human working here, which might be a legal thing. But hey, I’m beginning to question what’s real at this point. Maybe “Stephen Beatrice” will become the phantasmic Christian Slater of my own mind.