If TV Characters Used Real Computers

2001 – MacCentral will occasionally post “famous people” sightings, where celebrities and others use Macs as props or as tools in public. I was thinking about this the other day, and wondered if people in TV shows used computers as much as real people – and real computers, not those 67-point font monsters that say things like “Find Bad Guy . . . Searching . . .” on a blank screen – what kinds of computers would they use?

This led me to consider…

If TV Characters Used Real Computers

The Simpsons

Apple LisaLisa uses a Lisa, of course – but a used one, rescued and repaired from a dump. “It never gets a virus,” she says.

Marge uses a late-model Mac SE reasonably competently, but for very limited purposes, such as recipes and hair care. “I think Bondi Blue matches my hair,” according to Marge, who is saving for an iMac but will find her color unavailable by the time she gets the money to buy it.

Mr. Smithers uses a Unix terminal at work and a nondescript Windows machine at home. However, he is an expert at the ins and outs of USENET. “I belong to 75 newsgroups and contribute regularly to many more,” he says.

Bart uses a PlayStation but successfully fools many of his friends into thinking it is a real desktop computer. His secret is revealed by Nelson, who says, “Ha-Ha.”

Mr. Burns does not use a computer, because he doesn’t trust them. He insists on running utility bill totals on an old hand-cranked adding machine “from before the war.” A future episode will deal with an energy crisis in Springfield caused by the breakdown of this machine.

Moe owns a Windows 2000 machine with huge amounts of memory, an enormous hard drive (500 gig), and a Pentium III processor (which uses so much power a special dial is installed to monitor it in Burns’ office) just to keep track of Homer’s bar tab. This single function completely taxes the machine.

Homer has the empty shell of a Commodore 64 in which he has installed a tape recorder playing a recording of someone typing. Although his job requires it, Homer cannot type and uses this device to keep it a secret. “I love the Internet. The Internet is my friend. Internet – mmmmmmm,” says Homer. Favorite website: www.KrispyKreme.com. Too bad they don’t yet have a store in Springfield.

AIM-65Comic Book Store Guy uses an AIM-65, and, amazingly, can make it do things like target photon torpedoes and initiate transporter sequences. “Obviously you fools do not know how to use the equipment you have,” he mutters.

Flanders owns an iMac, but the entire hard drive is completely filled with Parental Safety software for his children. His children require 63 passwords to look at the two sites they are allowed to see. Flanders secretly uses an unsecured iBook in the attic, wired through AirPort to use the family Internet connection. His startup chime says, “Okeley Dokeley!”


Seinfeld castLong known as a Mac user, Jerry always has the latest Mac on his desk near the window. Starting with an Titanium G4, which he is currently trying to get back from Kramer, who is using it to plug a crack in his apartment wall because it fits so well.

Elaine is definitely a Windows user. She valiantly tries to use whatever machine is put in front of her. However, she always answers emails that carry macro viruses; forwards funny emails to everyone she knows, every time she gets one; and has never emptied her mailbox in over nine years. She upgrades her computer regularly so she doesn’t actually have to read saved mail. Uses AOHell at home, but is infuriated by spam.

George owns a DOS machine, probably an IBM-XT given to him by his father, who insists on seeing George use it each time he comes to visit his son. Frank belittles George for not being able to download images and music from the Web with this machine. George wants to buy a new machine, but is unable to make a decision about what to buy. George wants to get access to porn on the Net but doesn’t know how.

Newman uses a VT100 terminal at home to dial into the Post Office network. He learns when large junk mail contracts come due, so he knows when to call in sick. Newman secretly uses Jerry’s Mac to surf the Net when Jerry isn’t home. Newman knows how to do more illegal things on the Web than anyone else in the Seinfeld universe.

Kramer owns stock in Amiga and uses an Amiga at home. He plans to take over the company and rename the computer the Kramiga. Amazingly, Kramer is able to surf the Net, book flights, order stuff from dot-coms, and many other things his friends cannot do, all using the Amiga. The prices he gets are ridiculously low. It turns out his account is a front for an FBI net-fraud investigation, of which Kramer is the main focus. Before the FBI can close in, the computer he uses breaks down, and the nearest place with replacement parts is in Vermont, where Kramer refuses to go because of some unfinished legal issues in the state related to the illegal use of maple syrup.

Jerry’s parents use an Atari 520 ST and want Kramer to fix it up so it can surf the Net on their 2400 baud modem.

George’s parents use a manual typewriter but are considering the upgrade to electric any day now. Mr. Castanza owns a Timex-Sinclair 1000 he purchased for fifty cents at a yard sale. He has never successfully booted it up. This experience has soured him on the whole computer business (along with the ill-fated computer mail order business he ran of his garage.)

Short link: http://goo.gl/hyPcA0