The best Easter eggs are the ones that were staring you in the face all along, but you never saw them. Then there are those that were not just staring, but breathing heavily and sweating profusely. There are recurring characters who show up in movies or shows that you've seen a hundred times but never noticed -- either because they were hidden, or simply because they have the kind of face you forget two seconds after you see it. Let us blow your mind by re-introducing you to ...
(Also, let us blow your mind with our Star Wars: Adventures in Jedi School trailer.)
#5. Jesse Heiman, the Background Nerd in Every Movie
Something really weird happened during the Super Bowl this year. There was an advertisement where it was basically just this ...
Rosatia is the new abs.
... for 30 long, uncomfortable seconds. Well, one of those people has been in over 60 films and TV shows and worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, and Michael Bay; the other one is supermodel Bar Refaeli (whose IMDb profile looks sad in comparison). This veteran actor's name is Jesse Heiman, and he was in 10 movies and TV shows in 2011 alone. In 2012, he was in seven more.
How is that even possible? Because he has made a career out of looking like a teenage dork despite being now in his mid-30s, and so every director just sticks him in the background. Don't say you've never seen him before, because yes, you have. Here he is in the first Spider-Man, sharing a scene with Kirsten Dunst:
In a universe where science geeks look like Tobey Maguire, this was the coolest guy in school.
And here he is in The Social Network:
They're all paying attention in class because this was before the guy in the back invented Facebook.
Remember Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can? He was there, too:
They ended up cropping him out because test audiences never noticed that Leonardo DiCaprio was there, too.
And that's just a small sample of his impressive career. Of course, he doesn't say anything in any of these movies and only appears onscreen for a few seconds, but how many hit movies have you not talked in? Jesse's first role was in American Pie 2, in which he played a non-speaking member of the infamous band camp:
You don't wanna know what he did with that trombone.
He moved on from high school to college in Will Ferrell's Old School, where he was one of the pledges ...
He's sad because he didn't get to tie a cinder block to his dick like the others.
... and from college to the workplace in Transformers 3. Michael Bay personally picked him for the role of "guy walking in the office."
And if there's one thing Michael Bay is known for, it's picking actors.
But Jesse isn't a snob: Unlike some of his fellow film stars, he has nothing against doing TV. In fact, he's been in pretty much every show ever, including The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother, Entourage, My Name Is Earl, Bones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, NCIS, Chuck, Monk, The O.C., and Reno 911!
Here he is in two shows where every single cast member is a terrible person.
Despite all this, Jesse isn't satisfied: He dreams of a speaking movie role and hopes to be the next Jonah Hill. Jesse's days of receiving extra's pay to stand awkwardly in the background may be over, though, because just recently he's been approached by the porn industry, since apparently even the most rudimentary fame means that there's a subset of humanity that want to see what you look like naked.
While we wait for that, here's a clip of some of his best appearances:
#4. R2-D2 Has Had a Better Acting Career Than Most of the Star Wars Cast
With the obvious exception of Harrison Ford, the actors in Star Wars haven't had very impressive film careers: Mark Hamill is best known for his voice-over work, Carrie Fisher for talking about her personal problems, and David Prowse for having been screwed over by George Lucas. Pretty much all of them have had terrible luck.
Oh, except R2-D2. The guy is everywhere.
That's R2-D2 flying through a battlefield in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, perhaps as a subtle hint of Abrams' plan to eventually take over every beloved sci-fi franchise (look out for his The Last Starfighter preboot in 2017). Sure, R2 is playing a piece of debris here, but that's still more dignified than starring in a Ricky Gervais series like his Star Wars co-star and fellow dwarfism sufferer Warwick Davis did.
On the other hand, Davis never shared a screen credit with Shia LaBeouf.
R2 has kept busy lately -- as seen above, he also shows up in Transformers 2, taunting us with horrible visions of an alternate reality where Michael Bay directs the Disney Star Wars sequels and gives C-3PO golden genitalia. This time R2 plays part of a robot that flies through the air to assemble itself into Optimus Prime's body, which incidentally was the exact plot of our erotic fan fiction novel.
The "let's hide R2 everywhere" tradition dates back to the '70s and started with Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in the very same year that Star Wars came out -- the droid can be seen standing on the underside of the alien ship, like Robert DeNiro's character in Cape Fear. Apparently, the SFX people needed more details for the ship's model, so they just threw in whatever they could find.
The aliens have very clumsy fingers, so they had to hire some guy named Luke to pilot the ship.
Spielberg must have enjoyed working with R2, because he included him again in Raiders of the Lost Ark, this time as a hieroglyphic. R2 somehow talked the director into including his buddy C-3PO there, too, along with a bunch of other Star Wars references -- Harrison "Just Fucking Kill Han Solo Already" Ford was probably thrilled.
For the record, Indiana Jones could beat up Han Solo.
Sarednab World Props
Is 3PO playing the bongos on R2? What a shithead.
And then, not content with showing up in two of the greatest movie series of every '80s kid's childhood, R2 appears in The Goonies (produced by Spielberg) as part of the pirate ship. R2's so determined to make an impact among children that the only point of comparison by today's standards is childhood diabetes.
Either it's him or the ship is getting a boner.
#3. There Are Over a Hundred Hidden Aliens in South Park
When South Park first debuted in 1999, the very first episode was called "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" and, predictably, involved Cartman getting anally probed by aliens. Did the aliens ever remove the probe from Cartman's poop-hole, though? Apparently not, because these beings from another galaxy have stuck around and continue appearing on the show to this day. They're just hiding.
"Hiding" is a loaded word.
There are over a hundred instances of aliens hidden in the show, a record for guest appearances that's only topped by Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live. Some hidden aliens are pretty easy to spot and barely qualify as "hidden":
"There. I'm hiding. Fuck you."
Others, not so much:
In fact, some appear only as random patterns in the background or easy-to-miss details:
Don't you hate it when someone goes through the article before you and circles all the answers?
Others appear for just a few frames -- in the episode "Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson!" the smiley face on Manson's forehead temporarily changes to an alien.
We're not sure if this makes Manson look more or less sane.
The director of animation, Eric Stough, is in charge of putting the aliens in, but even he doesn't know how many there are, because he sometimes forgets to do it. Although they are becoming more infrequent in later seasons, the aliens still show up somewhere in the crowd in the show's opening credits ... so, technically, you could say there's an alien in every single episode.
It's right in front of Satan.
Remember the classic two-parter, "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut"? Yeah, there was an alien standing among Cartman's possible fathers:
So that's what she was doing in those German movies.
And, amazingly, they still show up in more recent episodes, like the one where the Internet runs out ("Over Logging"), and the one where Stan loses the ability to enjoy anything in life ("You're Getting Old"):
But there's more to this than just some pointless Easter egg. The continuation of the alien theme points to a much bigger plotline in the South Park universe, which is alluded to in the episode "Cancelled." Here it's revealed that the entire Earth is a reality show for aliens. So when we see aliens in the background, what we're really seeing are crew members, runners, grips, executives, etc.
All in the employ of a giant ice-cream-shitting taco.
Also, taking the time to find these things can pay off. For Season 13, they ran a contest where they offered prizes to whoever found all the aliens.