In three of the best (YMMV) sitcoms on television—Happy Endings, How I Met Your Mother, and Up All Night—the character ensemble is supposed to be very “young” and “hip” and “with-it” when it comes to pop culture.
But sometimes lazy scriptwriting takes over, and the mere mention of a celebrity’s name is supposed to inspire raucous laughter.
Which celebrities are punchlines? Gwyneth Paltrow. Edward James Olmos. Ian Ziering. Basically, anyone you feel kind of weird about liking.
Oh, no, it isn’t all bad. In a way, the little namedrops do double-duty: they make the episodes feel very topical, but they also establish the characters as being credibly “real,” slightly snarky people.
The namedrops are great simile-shorthand, too: “They’re like Vaughn and Favreau in there”? I actually know exactly what that means.
And by the way? If the Stop Online Piracy Act passes, I will never be able to post a great video—like the one of Sean Bean dying repeatedly—ever again. I can’t live like that. Call your congressperson.