If you’re wearing an Apple Watch on a TV comedy, you’re the punchline

Character wearing an Apple Watch? You know what time it is
The Apple Watch punchline

When the Apple Watch was first announced in 2014 it was a gift to late night hosts and TV stand ups. Conan, Kimmel, Fallon and the rest lined up to give the smartwatch a kicking. It was just too much of an easy target, Apple's own hype was outrageous and it's right there on someone's wrist.

The device itself was the joke.

Apple has since made its own pop culture moves specific to the Apple Watch with product placement in shows like Agents of Shield, a Met Gala tie-in and most recently that Nike Kevin Hart ad. But that's all essentially marketing, not what writers and comics really think about the Watch.

Read this: Apple Watch Series 3 - what we know so far

Back in 2014, Stephen Colbert taped a tablet to his wrist and called it a calculator watch for a bit. (Funnily enough, he now wears an Apple Watch on pretty much every show and in a monologue on Apple's earnings last year he was all: "I love Apple, I got the Watch, I got the 'Pods, I got the 'Pads, I got the 'Phones.")

As late as April 2016 (pre-Series 2 announcement), John Oliver ran a spoof on Apple encryption in which Jake Lacy, Apple Watch wearing fanboy looking for vegan sushi, asks 'Wait this isn't cool?' to which the Apple voiceover lady replies 'Fuck, no'.

Again, an easy shot that appeals to the sense of embarrassment some Watch wearers feel and relies on the audience to nod along in agreement like 'WTF, that's not cool'.

For the most part, though, once the Apple Watch stopped being newsworthy the comedy commentators moved on to fresh snark victims.

That's when it started to pop up as a prop in sitcoms and sketches, a quick shorthand to enhance the comedy of the character wearing it, whether or not it's referenced.

Take Bill Hader's cameo on the first episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine's Season 3 (which aired in September 2015 in the US, January 2016 in the UK). Captain Seth Dozerman is an awkward, OCD tech geek who hands out iPads to track the police station's output and "finds people weird and confusing". So, of course, he wears an Apple Watch.

Check out those estimated calories bants!

Spoiler alert: joke's on Dozerman as he should have been using his Watch to keep an eye on his heart rate before that heart attack later in the episode.

If you're not a socially awkward police captain, you're a crazed woman who jumps from one cult to the other.

In Season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which went live on Netflix in April 2016, Gretchen - who survived being kidnapped and trapped in a bunker with Kimmy - turns up to visit with an Apple Watch on her wrist.

She calls it her "magic watch" and has an app that makes her sound like celebrities including Steve Buscemi and Frasier (want). Plus she got sucked into the cult of Apple.

If you're wearing an Apple Watch on a TV comedy, you're the punchline

Gretchen [on the Apple Store]: It was white and clean and they all dressed the same.

Kimmy: Sounds like your brand of strawberry jam.

Gretchen: Definitely. Everyday we'd meet in a giant glass cube and I gave the geniuses all my money in exchange for this magic watch. And then they ex-communicated me for eating Sheryl's yoghurt and that's when I found cosmetology.

(The clip isn't on YouTube but you can watch the scene in Season 2 Episode 4, from about 8:20, on Netflix.)

The Apple Watch isn't just the accessory of choice for oddballs, it's also a become a comedy shorthand for well, douchebags.

Check out Tom Hanks spoofing himself as Sully, bragging about his free Apple Watch, on Saturday Night Live in October 2016.

Someone on the SNL cast definitely owns an Apple Watch because it turns up again in Melissa McCarthy's two brilliant Sean Spicer press conferences in February 2017.

It's worn on her wrist in a way that you can't ignore it i.e. not classily tucked under the shirt as the real life Colbert does but on show and in your face.

Especially when, at 5:30, her Spicy starts advertising a high quality Ivanka Trump bangle on the other wrist in the second of the two skits.

So the Apple Watch's mere presence in a sketch or sitcom scene can signal crazy, geeky, strange, pompous or try hard. Sure, when a character's using a MacBook you can make certain assumptions but when was the last time we imbued a phone or laptop with this level of animation and personality?

There's something about wearing tech on your body that we have to laugh about, via mainstream comedy, as we slowly get used to the idea. It'd be interesting to know how the boost from models and celebs talking about and wearing the Apple Watch bumps up agains the shade from these sketches.

I'll leave you with the human punchline, Shia LaBoeuf, whose truly excellent Just Do It video has been spliced with a spoof Apple Watch commercial here.

I don't know what this tells us about the world's reaction to the Apple Watch over the past few years, I just know that it managed to take something peak ridiculous and make it even better/worse.

What comedy clips, Apple Watch wearing characters and sitcom references did we miss? Let us know in the comments.


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