Easter eggs, by definition, are fun little extras. They're usually well-hidden, rarely necessary, and almost always made of light stuff. Rarely does an Easter egg shatter your hold on reality, make you question the fundamentals of your existence, or send you reeling with existential horror. Maybe the following examples won't do that either, but they'll give it a shot.
Back in the days before it was yet another battlefield in a very stupid culture war, Captain Marvel was just a movie encouraging its fans to go vote in the then-upcoming midterm elections.
Within minutes of the above tweet being posted, fans started ripping it apart for secrets, gags, and some semblance of closure following the ending of Infinity War. Soon enough, a Reddit user by the name of anilsoi11 conducted some in-depth analysis of the phone booth (i.e. they used the "zoom" function in MS Paint) and found a telephone number sitting there in plain sight. And behind that telephone number, they found ... a lady asking if they were ready for a good time. As it turns out, the number wasn't made up for the spot. It went to a functioning sex line -- a fact that we can confirm after dialing it six or seven times (for research purposes).
So what happened? Did the suits at Marvel lose their minds? A little digging by anilsoi11 revealed that the number used to be owned by ABC, and that if anyone called it after seeing it on TV (it appeared in a couple of episodes of The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody, for instance), they'd be greeted by a message saying that they'd contacted "a fictional, non-working number used for motion picture and television productions." At some point, however, ABC sold the number, and Marvel, without checking, recycled it for Captain Marvel. And that's the first and assuredly last time anybody ever got sex mixed up with comic books, right?
No two memes are more emblematic of the 2000s than Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat. Notably, unless we fell into a coma at some point and missed it, neither were ever once weaponized by a bunch of racist teenagers.
If this was released today, the cat would be playing "Deutschland Uber Alles" and sitting on a copy of 12 Rules For Life.
The developer of Scribblenauts -- a game in which players summon objects using a magical dictionary -- arranged for Keyboard Cat to appear in the first game as a neat little bonus for anyone who didn't immediately jump to spamming swears all day. Nyan Cat (as well as his keyboard-playing friend) showed up several years later in the sequel, Scribblenauts Unlimited. Well, we say "arranged for" ...
Soon after the release of Unlimited, the copyright owners of Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat teamed up to sue the game's publisher, Warner Bros., for borrowing their trademarked creations without permission and/or a fat paycheck. In the end, the suit was settled out of court and ended with Warner Bros. being awarded a license to use the two icons in their video game, in exchange for what we can only assume was a comical amount of money, as well as the last shred of love they had for cute cat-based memes.
Last year's Spider-Man featured a hidden marriage proposal that the gamer's developers, Insomniac, inserted at a behest of a real-life fan. But when someone followed up with "Tyler" about how things went with "Maddie," he dropped a bombshell: They'd broken up weeks before the game was released. According to Tyler, Maddie had broken up with him in order to start boinking his brother, which is the second-worst possible breakup (the worst involves penis snakes -- thousands of them). A representative from Insomniac soon offered to patch out the message, which Tyler called "a nice little reminder [of] the almost mistake that I made."
When The Houston Press did its journalistic duty and asked "Maddie" for her side of the story, she accused Tyler of lying about the reasons for their breakup, which she attributed to his horrible behavior, not a tryst with his brother. As she described it, "Our relationship [was] a mother and son relationship where I had to remind him about things, I had to deal with his financial mistakes, his violent outbursts etc." The relationship later ended, she said, after she gave him a month-long ultimatum to change his ways, which he refused to do.
God, between this and #PlaneBae, 2018 really did a number on our belief in true love.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has a bit of a thing about being compared to Winnie the Pooh. Personally speaking, we'd love to be compared to Ol' Pooh Bear (it sure beats the other nicknames we've gotten), but we aren't trying to control the most populous country on Earth.
Which brings us to Devotion, a horror video game set in 1980s Taiwan that was released only a short while ago. While playing the game, some players noticed a couple of oddities, like an old newspaper that refers to people who've been imprisoned as baozi (or "steamed bun," a term used by social media users in modern China as a way of talking about political prisoners without the country's official censors catching on). Another fun little political Easter egg: a poster literally puts the words "Winnie the Pooh" and "Xi Jinping" next each other.
This, coupled with the fact that it's set in Taiwan, resulted in the Chinese government banning the game. The developers responded by saying that these politically charged dunks were the result of a "technical issue" (you know how it is), and they promised that any users who bought the game could claim a refund. Or at least, they promised refunds to anyone brave enough to admit to buying a copy.
In February 2017, Elon Musk tweeted a picture of his new favorite possession: a mug depicting a unicorn farting into the trunk of an electric car. This shout-out delighted the designer, a potter named Tom Edwards, not least because it resulted in a small sales bump.
The following month, however, Edwards noticed that Musk had tweeted a carbon copy of his "farting unicorn" design in order to promote Tesla's new super secret "sketch pad" -- an Easter egg feature which allows drivers to draw on a sketch pad while driving. Which is actually a pretty ingenious way to ensure that customers regularly need repairs, if you think about it.
Edwards, being a chill dude, was going to let this fly ... until he saw that Tesla was not only using the image as an icon on the driver's console itself, but also as the basis for company's annual Christmas message. Figuring that the sales boost he'd gotten (which translated to a hundred mugs) wasn't sufficient compensation for all this "fair use," he wrote a letter to their legal department saying that he wasn't looking to "shakedown" Musk, but was seeking a "mutual decision." Tesla ignored the letter.
Edwards went to the press and called Musk out, which only yielded a response after his daughter Lisa tweeted the article at Musk C/O Grimes.
According to Musk, Edwards should be "grateful" for the opportunity, and it'd be "lame" for Edwards to sue him, because as we're all aware, Musk runs a worker co-op in Haight-Ashbury, not a billion-dollar company. After he started getting some heat for his bullshit, Musk laid into Lisa again, claiming he had "popularized" the mug "for free," that her father had benefited from the arrangement, and that he had nothing further to add, before later adding that he'd twice offered to pay Edwards for the design (which Edwards confirmed was a lie).
True to form, Musk then deleted all of his tweets (but not before they could be screencapped), and he still refuses to discuss the subject. Which honestly seems weird, considering how he won't stop talking about how he got owned by the SEC. Apparently, he's more scared of an artisan mug-maker than the federal government.
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Bawitdaba, pass the green beans.
It's hard out there for millionaire purveyors of garbage pizza.