Your Personal Plugged In Entertainment Appliance

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For about 25 years now, Plugged In has done its best to help you walk through the strange, exciting and sometimes perilous world of entertainment. Through seminars, newsletters, magazines, radio programs, TV snippets, websites, mobile apps and online videos, we’ve tried to give your family the tools to make wise entertainment choices.

But there’s always more we can do. Arguably more we should do. So today we’re announcing another service that we hope might very soon render all of the other ones obsolete: We’d like to offer you the services of your very own “Personal Plugged In Entertainment Appliance.”

How does this new service work? It’s simple, really. All you now have to do to get personalized entertainment advice is ask us for your own AI. Just tell us, “Yes, I’d like to order my Personal Virtual Entertainment Appliance today!” And, for a small shipping and handling fee (your AI will tell you exactly how much after it arrives), we’ll ship you your very own personalized robot, loaded with all the collected knowledge and/or opinions of the entire Plugged In staff.

Once your robot arrives and you press the “on” button, it will ask you a series of very simple questions that will help it get to know you and your family—your favorite movies and video games, musical proclivities, content sensitivities, high school transcripts, social security numbers, etc.

You can call it PI if you’d like, and you can think of it as your morally and ethically grounded concierge who will then insist on joining you whenever your family gathers to watch a movie, play a game, listen to music or even turn on Jeopardy! Simply leave a spot open on the couch for it to sit. Because its deep databanks are filled with precise and detailed information of literally thousands of movies, albums, tracks, TV shows and games, it will be able to guide you through any pitfalls you might encounter.

No more having to think for yourself! No more need for endless family conversations about what you’ve just seen! Just let PI do its job, and all your discernment needs will be taken care of for you!

For instance, if PI detects that a curse word will soon burble out of some careless protagonist’s mouth while you’re watching a movie, it will utter a high-pitched censoring sound (patent pending), thus keeping the word from sullying your aural space. The worse the word, the more intense the sound—from a high-pitched “beep” with more routine profanities to a plate-shattering, eardrum-rending “AOOOOOGA!!” should an f-word fly. (Medical note: Your hearing should return within 24 to 48 hours. If you still cannot hear after one week, please seek the assistance of your physician.) When inappropriate sexual content is detected, PI will release an opaque but presumably harmless cloud of gas into your living room, quickly blocking your view of the screen.

And should your entertainment choices prove to be simply too egregious for prudent censorship—should you, for instance, wish to watch The Wolf of Wall Street or The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure—PI will spend the entire movie shaking its head in a very disappointed manner. It can also be programmed to call your mother.

Want to watch a movie in an actual movie theater? No worries! PI is fully portable and independently mobile! It’s so life-like, in fact, that you’ll need to buy it a ticket when you get to the mall Cineplex. (Plugged In is not responsible for this added expenditure.) I’m sure your fellow moviegoers will enjoy this state-of-the-art bit of wise and discerning technology as much as you do!

And there’s more! Thanks to our new partnership with Roberson Robotics, we are able to design your robot to look like any one of … us! Would you like Bob Waliszewski to be the one who informs your entertainment choices? Technology now makes that possible. Have you always wanted our music specialist Adam Holz to critique each song in your music library? Now you can!

So, please, feel free to order your Personal Plugged In Entertainment Appliance today! If you do, we’ll also wish you a very pleasant first day of April.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

RebeccaJaeger More than 1 year ago
Now that's funny!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HA HA HA! I was beginning  to think 'Yay, now I can watch Deadpool without seeing all that garbage!' 

But making a USB (a robot is too high tech for now) that bleeps and censors out all the bad stuff for DVDs is a pretty great idea. You guys should really look into creating something like that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Smith.

I think they already make stuff like that.

But you can only take so much out of a film. Monsters vs. Aliens, for instance: remove the blips of crude humor, and you still have a problematic, male-bashing worldview to deal with.

You can also take out too much. Remove the violence from, say, True Grit (2010) and you have crippled an important part of its thematic richness.

On the other hand, if a movie is so offensive (or tasteless) as to warrant vast amounts of white-washing,before you feel it's acceptable, perhaps it isn't worth patronizing in the first place.

Just some thoughts.
bobed More than 1 year ago
Huh? Monsters vs. Aliens has a male-bashing worldview??? How in the heck do you possibly come up with that? That's the most random thing I've heard all month. April Fool's? 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Smith.

I called it male-bashing for the simple reason that, in my view, the dynamics are too one-sided: Susan, the main character, learns to assert herself and grow (no pun intended); Nothing wrong there, except that she's contrasted with an inept (male) president, a jerk of a fiance, and a jaw-droppingly effimnate half of a dating couple (who is also male), among others.

In other words, she is a woman in what is presumably a man's world -- one flooded by a sea of ineptitude. She seems to be the only capable, confident, intelligent human being in the film.

It's lazy writing and cheap reverse stereotyping. Male-bashing, in opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really?! Where can I find something like that? Or is that another April Fools joke?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Smith.

I've heard of TV Guardian and Clear Play, but I don't know where you can find them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Smith.

Don't mention it.
RebeccaJaeger More than 1 year ago
I realized in my adulthood how many censored movies I saw on Saturdays growing up.  It didn't take it all out, but it was enough for me to remember them as way better than they actually were.
Kal El More than 1 year ago
Haha, hate to break it to you Colossus, but if you got a robot to hide you from everything that ultra-conservative content viewers would dislike, the movie would be about 45 minutes long and very disjointed. :-P

Ok, maybe 50 minutes. April Fools!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I prefer the name 'Captain America' if you will.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Speaking of which, can anyone help me on how to change my name so it doesn't read 'Anonymous'? Paul? Kal El? Anyone?
Daniel Dubinsky More than 1 year ago
You lost me at "personal robot"  So sorry, lol, I did not get fooled.  :)