Fake websites have been a long-running joke on television shows. Usually, these sites are just quickly mentioned, like the multiple fictional versions of Facebook (The IT Crowd‘s FriendFace or Degrassi‘s Facerange), or are registered domains that steer back to the show’s official site (30 Rock‘s JoanOfSnark.com). However some shows take the extra step and actually create these sites for viewers to enjoy. Here are seven of the best TV tie-in websites from Silicon Valley to Parks and Recreation.
If there’s any show that deserves its own fake website, it’s HBO’s tech comedy Silicon Valley. The Pied Piper website finds laughs in tech talk, passive-aggressive digs, and in-jokes, but the real greatness is in the crew bios. Gilfoyle’s is great — “has played drums in a series of Toronto-area first-wave-DC-influenced hardcore, thrashcore, hatecore, corecore, and corehard outfits” — but my favorite is the one for Jared, who was coxswain for the Women’s Heavyweight Crew and assistant stage manager of the opera American HerStory XX.
Breaking Bad wasn’t exactly known for its humorous side, but I’ve always found this “Save Walter White” website to be pretty hilarious. There is obviously a sad story behind it — Walt Jr. trying to raise money for his father’s cancer treatment; the actual text on the page is heartbreaking — but the execution is so funny. It’s reminiscent of Geocities and Angelfire fan pages, complete with a gaudy background and plenty of Comic Sans.
For a sitcom’s fake website, Dunder Mifflin is pretty straightforward and realistic, offering a look into the fictional paper company and its products. But the real gems are the multiple newsletters with columns “written” by the characters. Each one is sure to make you miss the show.
NBC has a lot of fun with fake websites, and Parks and Recreation, an Internet-savvy show that really knows its audiences, is the best at it. There are a handful of tie-in sites, but the “official” Pawnee, Indiana site is one of my favorites because it’s just as funny and earnest as the show. The best jokes are the ones that reflect the nature of a small town.
Parks and Recreation‘s Tom Haverford has had a number of hilariously bad ideas, and most get their own website, like Entertainment 720. I’m a fan of the Rent-A-Swag site, mostly for the numerous ridiculous pictures of Aziz Ansari modeling his swag.
Arrested Development was known for really committing to its bits, so when Oscar Bluth sets up an “I’m Oscar” website to prove that he’s not George Bluth, Fox set up a real website for viewers to visit. Unfortunately, the real website is no longer available, but it has since been recreated on ImStillOscar.com
How I Met Your Mother probably has more tie-in websites that any other show, ranging from Robin Sparkles’ MySpace page to the silly Guy Forces His Wife To Dress In A Garbage Bag For The Next Three Years. One of the funniest is Ted Mosby Is A Jerk, which a woman created while on a date with Barney, who used Ted’s name. It’s hastily made but complete with a warning, a copy of the letter he left, and a terrible autoplaying song.