A Tangled Web


Oh, what A Tangled Web we weave… When a TV show wants to include a phone number in dialogue, a “555-” number is used so no one gets calls intended for Fonzie or Liz Lemon.
When a script wants to reference a web domain, shows can be more creative. Lazy producers mention a web address and then have it redirect you to the show’s official page on the Network’s site. (If the show doesn’t register the domain, within hours it will be bought and pointing to porn.) More fan-friendly show runners prepare some fancy Easter eggs for their viewers. That is what this page is about.
A Tangled Web is my catalog of bogus web sites created by of some of my favorite TV shows. Not the show’s official home page, they’re easy to find. This is about those web sites that “stay in character.”  Each is classified as part of one of three categories:
  • IntraWebs – Sites that are mentioned or featured to drive the plot of an episode;
  • TruthiNets – Sites that are created because they ought to exist in the fictional world of the show;
  • Blauxgs – The online blogs or journals of characters on the shows.
This will be a growing list.  Bear with me while I catalog all of the sites that exist for Lost; those guys were prolific.  Enjoy, comment and drop me a link if you know of some I’ve missed.


How I Met Your Mother


Ted Mosby is a Jerk
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Without a doubt, How I Met Your Mother (CBS, Mondays, 8/7C) is the mother-lode ofTang0001 IntraWebs. If they mention a site, you can guarantee it has been created. This was one of their first, from the Season 3 episode, “The Bracket.” It is a Blogger site created by one of Ted Mosby’s sexual conquests. Except it wasn’t Ted Mosby. It was Barney Stinson.


Marshall and Lily's Wedding Album
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This was an online wedding album featuring photos and videos from the Wedding episode of the show.


Lily and Marshall Sell Their Stuff
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In the Third Season episode “Everything Must Go”, Marshall and Lily need cash to fix the floor in their apartment. Marshall suggests selling off some of Lily’s extravagant clothes on a site called Lily and Marshall Sell Their Stuff. The domain was never built out and has been hijacked and is for sale.  However, in the episode, the joke continues when an angry Lily suggests they just call it…


…“Guy Forces His Wife To Dress In A Garbage Bag For The Next Three Years Dot Com!”
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Marshall types it in on his lap top and replies, “Taken.”  Viewers who can remember theTang0002 world’s longest domain name are treated to a truly surreal slideshow. Of a guy who forces his wife to dress in a garbage bag for the next three years. They look like a happy couple, though.


The Mysterious Dr. X
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The Season 4 episode, “The Possimpible” reminded us that like most of us in our collegeTang0003 years, Ted Mosby thought he was cooler than he actually was and was going to change the world. Doctor X was Ted’s secret college radio DJ identity (which he listed on his resume when he was 30) who would go on rants about all manner of injustices. The site itself looks like an early GeoCities piece of work.


Barney’s Video Resume
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Also featured in “The Possimpible” was Barney Stinson’s online video resume, sponsoredTang0004 by Goliath National Bank, complete with waving flags. (Note: QuickTime required.)


Slap Countdown
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Possibly the most famous of the HIMYM sites is slapcountdown.com. It was taken down and now directs to a Web development company. Supposedly it is archived here.  Stemming from the Season Two episode, “Slap Bet” where Marshall earns the right to  slap Barney five times at any random time, this site was set up for Slap #3. Barney is informed that in this year, Thanksgiving will be renamed “Slapsgiving” and the web site is countdowncounting down the days, hours and minutes until the slap. We are briefly led to believe that in the spirit of the holiday, Barney will be spared, but right on schedule, it hits. Hard.


The Wedding Bride Movie
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Our dear Ted Mosby, in his eternal search for “The Mother”, nearly marries Dr. Stella.Tang0005 She leaves him at the altar to go back to her ex, a screenwriter. The story is later made into a movie, with Chris Kataan (SNL’s Mango) as the Ted character and Jason Lewis (Sex and the City’s Smith) as the ex. This is its official website.


Canadian Sex Acts
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One of the funniest of the HIMYM sites is canadiansexacts.org, from the Season 4Tang0006 episode of the same name. In a discussion of which celebrities they’d like to bed, Robin warns the group off celebrities. She hints that a famous Canadian once lured her home when the intent of committing kinky Canadian Sex Acts. The group wonders what these might be, so Barney begins listing them off the “official” Canadian web site that catalogs them. You must be 18 to enter the site. You must be dead if you don’t laugh your ass off when you click to read the description of each one. And just try to right click on an image. An all-time comedy classic.


It Was the Best Night Ever
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In the episode, “The Sexless Innkeeper”, Marshall and Lily try too hard to have aTang0007 couples date with Barney and Robin. They think everything went so well (Barney and Robin respectfully disagree), they put up a web site celebrating it in song. When showed in the episode, it was a photo slideshow set to the song; the current site has the stars performing it as a music video with Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt.


Grade My Teacher
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The Season 6 episode, “Subway Wars” gives us this site, Tang0008where students rate their teachers, featuring new architecture professor, Ted Mosby.


Not a Father’s Day
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After a pregnancy scare with one of his one night stands, Barney creates a holiday forTang0009 those are happily and decidedly not Fathers. The website has postcards and mugs and t-shirts, and shows a pregnancy test that reveals Barney’s face when you’re not pregnant.


Big Business Journal
Extremities Quarterly
Balloon Explorers Club
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These three interlinked sites come from a single classic episode, “The Playbook.”  BackTang0010 on the open market after his breakup with Robin, Barney resorts to The Playbook, his book of cunning ways to get women into bed. These three websites are part of a long con that help him build up the façade of his character, Lorenzo von Matterhorn.  A print version of The PlaybookLove & Romance Books), the book, is available on Amazon.


Barney’s Blog
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Just as it says, this is Barney Stinson’s blog. It is updated pretty much once perTang0011 episode, usually with a topic related to the episode. Apparently CBS cleaned up their official site and dropped many of the older posts, but they’ve been archived by a number of sites including this one


The Office


Dunder Mifflin
Dunder Mifflin Infinity
Sabre Corp.
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These three sites make up the Corporate suite of sites related to The Office.Tang0012 DunderMifflin.com is the home page of Scranton’s (and other branches) favorite paper supplier and includes a store for “company” merchandise. DunderMifflinInfinity.com is the company intranet. This one encourages you to register to get access to a number of activities, games and social networking.  SabreCorp.com is the page for the parent company that recently bought DM. All of these are pretty cleverly written. They are low on the Obvious scale due to lots of pictures of the actors, as well as NBC’s annoying habit of putting a graphic on the corner of most of their TruthiNets pages leading you back to the official Network site. This really interrupts the fantasy. (That’s what she said!)


No Accounting for Taste
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An employee blog written by accountant Oscar Martinez of the Scranton Branch. SalesTang0013 must be good; he’s only had time to write three entries since August 2010.


Wuphf
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This is a social networking project that was the brainchild of former temp, disgracedTang0014 Corporate Executive, Ryan Howard.  His vision: “WUPHF.COM is a crazy revolutionary program that ties all your communication portals together. Join today and link up your, emails, faxes, text messages, voicemails, tweets, chat programs, and pages with a single ‘WUPHF!’ ”  Basically, when someone sent you a message, it would simultaneously set off your e-mail, your pager, your home and office phones, send you a text, tweet you and send you a fax, all announced with the sound of a barking dog, “Woof!”  I’m pretty sure I remember the original page also asking for your passwords, your PIN and your credit card numbers, but they’ve scaled it back. I’m guessing a few folks didn’t get the joke.


Threat Level Midnight
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Apparently Scranton Branch Manager Michael Scott has been working on a movie. He’sTang0015 been filming it a little at a time for several years and using his employees as actors. The result is a “thriller” called Threat Level Midnight, which he screened for his team in Season 7. This is the “official” movie site. The full 25 minute film was available on iTunes and will be included as a special feature on the The Office Season 7 DVD release.


Parks and Recreation


City of Pawnee, Indiana
Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Recreation Department
Pawnee, Indiana Harvest Festival
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These three sites represent the web presence of the City of Pawnee, Indiana, itsTang0016 Parks and Recreation Department and the official site of the 2011 Pawnee Harvest FestivalP&R is one of the funniest, smartest shows on the air and these are rich sites, filled with lots of links and plenty of inside jokes for fans of the show. It does a great job of staying “in character”.


The Duke Silver Home Page
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Residents of Pawnee looking for a little break on the second Thursday of the monthTang0017 might make their way over to Eagleton and to Cody’s Bar. If they do, they’ll be treated to the smooth jazz stylings of the Duke Silver Trio featuring Duke Silver on the saxophone. Those who look closely through the smoke might recognize Duke as the alter ego of P&R Director Ron Swanson. This is his official page.


The Snakehole Lounge
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Tang0018Don’t want to drive all the way to Eagleton?  Pawnee’s sickest nightclub is The  Snakehole Lounge with a crowded dance floor and a busy bar. Investors welcome.


Andy & April’s Awesomesauce Wedding Album
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Tang0019When Andy and April surprised everyone in Pawnee by throwing a party that turned  into a wedding, this web-site appeared to document the event. Lots of pictures and a few inside jokes for fans.


Hoosier Mate
2 TruthiNets
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From an April 2011 episode, Leslie Knope has a thing for new co-worker Ben, and she was beginning to think it was mutual. When he blows off her dinner invite, she starts to wonder if there is a man out there for her. Best friend Ann turns her on to hoosiermate.com, "the world's largest Indiana-centric online dating site!"  She builds her profile, hits the button and is paired with... office perv Tom Haverford. Turns out, he has 26 profiles, one for each type of lady (and letter of the alphabet); Leslie got the one targetted at nerds.


Outsourced


Mid-America Novelties
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The Indian call center on the show takes calls for a tacky novelty catalog. This is theirTang0020 tacky web site. For a short time last Fall, this site had a unique interactive feature. While on the website, you could enter your phone number. You’d instantly get a call from Gupta which was synchronized with the online video to simulate a video conference. It was clever and well executed.  This site should probably score zero on the Obvious scale for not even bothering to register the web domain.


Castle


Richard Castle Official Site
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Tang0021 Nathan Fillian’s Richard Castle is a (fictional) popular crime fiction writer. This is his “official” web site.  It includes news updates (tied to the episodes), a Q&A section and a store where some of faux Richard Castle’s fake novels have been published for real. Heat WaveThrillers Books), Naked Heat (Nikki Heat)Literature & Fiction Books) and Heat Rises are all available on Amazon.


More to Come.


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