Fake Web sites on TV

Almost as much fun as fake software user interfaces on TV are fake web sites on TV!


        1. Well, it’s OBVIOUS that TV computers will display one character at a time with typing sound. Any other way would imply that TV show makers live somewhere near the present (and/or they investigate stuff before recording it).

    1. The producers of Leverage originally didn’t use any unrealistic beeping sounds when computers were being used, however in early test screenings audiences were apparently thrown by it and the scenes felt unnatural. I imagine it has a similar effect to the sound of guns making metallic clicking noises when picked up, even when there’s nothing to actually make that sound.

      Unfortunately I can’t seem to find the specific article it was mentioned in, however John Rogers wrote about it on his blog years ago.

  1. Some of them are extremely faithful at cloning their real world inspiration too.. youtube’s layout has had dozens of fake domain named glued to the upper left. Google search results have also been duplicated many times.

    I really wouldn’t be surprised if the guy that did the animation actually saved an html copy of a youtube page and used a text editor to replace the trademarked bits.

  2. Meanwhile in an alternate universe, episodes of Laws and Crime: New Hampstead show people infiltrating Facebook, making Google searches, and gasping at horrible truths revealed by OkCupid and Wolfram-Alpha.

  3. One of my favorite responses to computers by a fictional character was when the DC character the Spectre first saw a computer (I think it was the 30s/40s Spectre, traveling through time to the present blah blah blah) and said, pretty reasonably, that “computer” was the wrong name, that it should be called an “infoscope”, since that’s what it does. I’ve always loved that.

    1. As was YouLenz on Criminal Intent – when I worked on that show we used it like 3 different times in a season.

  4. What I LOVE about fake websites versus real ones is that in 2 seconds flat you can find the exact info you seek. I want all web designers going to that school of web design. Programmers too.

  5. The Japanese must have different rules than we do, because they’re deeply allergic to product placement.  So their characters will run a search on Goggle, or Yohoo.  Once you notice it, it’s charming.

  6. I was happy to see Dan Schneider’s work displayed here (in iCarly and Victorious). He actually put some effort into making the sites mentioned in his shows real and active sites – granted, mostly marketing-driven, but still live content that extends the universe of the shows.

    There was also a fake search engine that I remember being used in the vampire detective show “Moonlight” that I had also seen in a few other shows on different networks. I thought it was strange to see it used by other shows that way.

  7. Hey, they’re missing that awesome Google clone from The Amazing Spider-Man.  What was it called again?

  8. Call me naive, but is there a reason why they are using fake websites instead of real ones? Would they have to pay to have the right to show Youtube, Google, Facebook et. al?

    1. No, I think Google would have to pay for product placement. If they don’t pay, but get screen time anyway, that makes it harder to get paid next time. Thus, “My Face on a Tube.”

  9. I don’t mind these… sure they’re a little jarring, but it’s not like, when you unpack them, many of the names we already use aren’t pretty silly and arbitrary anyway. 

    What always bugged me though, usually, when you have a TV show or commercial appearing WITHIN a TV show, it’s always got the worst acting you can possibly imagine, to the point that it breaks my suspension of disbelief in the whole show, because I can’t imagine something with such poor production values making it on the air.


  10. I used to create fake software and website interfaces for a string of “lower budget” TV shows and made-for-TV movies back in the late 90s and early 00s, including: “Pensacola: Wings of Gold”, “18 Wheels of Justice”, “Silk Stalkings”. The #1 rule was to make it clean and tell the story. With all the work I did, I was lucky to see my work appear for more than a second or two. I often added the names of friends and family I knew to “fake” islands that were being attacked (Pensacola) or “fake” police booking reports (Silk Stalkings). 

    I was creating the images in Photoshop and then bringing those into Macromedia Director (a precursor to Adobe Flash).

    Of course, no matter how technologically sophisticated I thought my software interfaces were, they were no match to the technology-less writing. And those stupid computer sound FX. I realize they were necessarily but so inaccurate!

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