A home control system made a cameo appearance in last night’s episode of CBS’s Two and a Half Men.
Alan (Jon Cryer) gets released from the loony bin after a brief psychotic episode where he takes on the persona of his deceased brother (Charlie Sheen). The first half of the program shows Cryer coming home to face a series of events that would send even the sanest person right back into the psych ward: his teenage son announces that his girlfriend is pregnant … and they’re keeping the baby … and naming him Frodo; he gets audited by the IRS and learns that he owes $80,000; his long-time girlfriend has hooked up with his much cooler, much cuter roommate Waldenl (Ashton Kutcher); even his attempt at suicide doesn’t work out.
It was all just a dream. Back to reality … kind of. When Alan leaves the hospital for the second time in the show, it’s for real, and this time his homecoming involves getting hosed by a voice-controlled home. During his stint at the nut house, seems that Walden tricked out the beachfront house with a system that responds to voice commands. Walden says “lights off,” they turn off; “music on,” music magically fills the air. Unfortunately, the system is only tuned to Walden’s voice so Alan won’t be able to work the lights, the music, and as we find out later, the ice maker.
In this case, Walden requests “ice” by speaking into his smartphone (poking fun at Siri?). The refrigerator dispenses it. He informs Alan that if he wants ice to call him, and he’ll call the refrigerator. Convenient, right?
The saving grace—almost—is the gigantic TV in the living room. Alan’s loving it, but again, since it only responds to Walden’s voice, he realizes that “this isn’t really my home anymore.” How true. Technology when done wrong can make you feel like a complete stranger in your own house.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
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