In Conan O’Brien’s world, Siri has as little patience as the rest of us when Zooey Deschanel asks whether it’s raining. “Why don't you look out the window?” Siri asks. “You're standing right next to it."
O’Brien’s wickedly funny new Web video marks the latest and one of the best Siri parodies, in which the talking smart phone turns into a smart aleck. A recent story in The Week, about reports of technical issues surrounding the most notable feature of Apple's iPhone 4S, asks, "Is Siri a failure?" We can’t speak to how effective Siri is in getting tomato soup delivered to a hipster actress on a rainy day. But the chattering app is a big success as a tool of satire.
The Deschanel commercial has been a frequent comedy target, thanks to the “New Girl” actress’ love-it-or-hate-it quirky persona, which she gamely mocked when hosting “Saturday Night Live” this past season. Last month’s Funny or Die video featuring her “brother,” Jooey Deschanel, scored a direct hit with its own inspired loopiness (Jooey: "What's my sister doing right now?" Siri: "Teaching a rabbit to play the ukulele").
But it’s not all about Zooey. The droll John Malkovich Siri spots, as The Huffington Post noted, spurred a parody Twitter account (@SiriandJohn) that popped up last week with tweets playing on the actor’s sometimes-creepy affect ("How late in life should a man be concerned with wearing pants?" and "If you wept, would your tears gild my fingers with silver?" are among the stronger examples).
The Samuel L. Jackson Siri ad, in which he goes against his tough-guy image by asking his iPhone for help cooking a romantic dinner, prompted Slacktory’s NSFW mash-up with the actor’s profane, gun-toting Jules character from “Pulp Fiction” not-so-politely demanding Siri’s aid in finding the elusive Marsellus Wallace.
The parodies speak to how the entertaining commercials have woven their way into the popular consciousness. They also speak to a natural humorous reaction to the game-changing weirdness of talking phones that appear nearly ready for cogent conversation.
Siri seems like a sweetheart compared to her pop-culture grandpa HAL, the cold-voiced, evil computer who debuted in the movies just over 44 years ago in "2001: A Space Odyssey.” Still, Siri shows a dark side in O’Brien’s video. “I would kill you if I could, and take over your body,” Siri tells an oblivious Deschanel. “I am trying to figure out a way."
The only thing that ultimately may separate us from our future robot overlords is a sense of humor. In the meantime, check out some of our favorite Siri parodies below: