Reply All Episode #217
Transcription courtesy of the GimletGopherParty volunteer corps. To volunteer, visit gofergripes.com/transcribe.
[Reply All opening theme music]
Alex: Hey everyone, this is Reply All. I'm Alex Goldman.
P.J.: And I'm P.J. Vogt.
Alex: This week we're opening the lines for you to call in with your Super Tech Support problems.
[Breakmaster Cylinder's Super Tech Support theme music]
Alex: Super Tech Support is the segment of our show where listeners call in with extraordinary, unsolveable tech support problems.
P.J.: And we fix them. Every time.
Alex: Always. Without fail.
P.J.: Riiiight. Hello, caller, this is P.J. Whaddaya got?
Caller 1: Operator? Hello, yes, is this the operator?
P.J.: ...The operator?
Alex: PJ has never been described by anyone as an operator.
Caller 1: Do be a lamb and ring off, then, would you please? I'm trying to reach the operator.
P.J.: Ummmmm...is this a bit?
Alex: You're havin' us on, dude, right?
Caller 1: Having you on? What -- I -- not at all! Kindly yield the line; I'm having trouble placing telephone calls, and this is the first time he's let me make a connection -- [aside] no, Newton, I haven't reached them yet, it's some other -- it's two gentlemen -- [indistinct]
P.J.: Ohhhh! Are you there with someone who dialed us for you?
Alex: Like a younger relation of yours?
P.J.: Because we might be able to help you with your phone problem, sir. Are you in the U.K.? What kind of phone are you calling from?
Caller 1: What kind of telephone? What sort of question is that?
P.J.: I mean I don't know, I still think it's a bit.
Alex: Like, what brand of phone.
P.J.: Could we talk to your friend Newton there for a second?
Caller 1: If you insist. One moment, please.
P.J.: At least he's polite.
Newton: ...Hi, guys.
Alex: Hey, Newton! How's it goin'?
Newton: Um, weird.
Alex: Weird because you're talking to us, or weird because your granddad hasn't used a phone in sixty years?
P.J.: Are we getting tagged in on your obligatory family tech support?
Newton: He's not family. And I can't do tech support, really, I sort of short circuit everything I touch. But --
Alex: Yeah, so does P.J.
Newton: Been a fan for years, though, so I thought if anyone could help with this it might be you. Maybe.
P.J.: Is this a friend of yours, then?
Newton: Sort of. Mostly it's just a really int'resting problem. I didn't know what to Google, and I'm not much use at Googling anyhow. So can I put you back on with him?
Alex: Could you describe the problem first, maybe, so we have a rough idea?
Alex: All right then.
P.J.: All right! Put him back on!
Newton: Just...trust me, stick around. You won't believe it, but -- hear him out, don't hang up. I swear it's all true.
P.J.: Intriguing! And probably a prank!
Newton: [distant] OK, so, they're the operators, they're the -- they'll try and fix it, just tell them, okay?
Caller 1: H-hello? Hello? Operator!
Alex: Yeah, we're here! What's your name, sir?
Caller 1: Oh, how terribly rude of me. You may call me -- A.Z. And with whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?
P.J.: A.Z., that's hip. I like it.
Alex: Don't say hip. I'm Alex.
P.J.: I'm P.J.
Alex: So can you tell us -- are you on a cell phone?
P.J.: Mobile phone, he's British. Is it a mobile phone?
Alex: Hey, you don't know that he's British!
P.J.: I have never heard anyone more British, or doing a more British bit, in my life.
A.Z.: I am not British, as it happens, although I have been headquartered in London Soho for some time now.
Alex: Oh really? Where are you from?
A.Z.: That's -- er -- privileged information.
Alex: Is it a mobile phone?
A.Z.: It is.
Alex: If you look on the back of the phone, is there an image of a little apple, or a -- a something else?
A.Z.: ...Oh, how terribly cliché. Yes, there is an apple. With a bite out of it. There would be. Funny I never noticed it before.
P.J.: So, what happens when you try to make a call?
A.Z.: Well, normally I decide that I'd like to make a call, and then I make one. But it's resisting me today. Which is, under the circumstances, likely inevitable, if terribly frustrating.
Alex: Do you -- which app do you use when you make a call?
A.Z.: Which “apt?”
Alex: Like, you click the round button on the bottom, then you open the phone app, then put in the number, right? Or select a contact?
A.Z.: Is that...how one ought to do it? He told me that it would just call when I wanted it to.
P.J.: Oh, do you maybe use voice commands? Do you say “Call --” what's a British thing? “Call Scotland Yard,” and, like, half the time the phone does what you want it to?
A.Z.: Oh, I don't think giving commands would go over at all well, not at present.
P.J.: What do you mean “at present”?
A.Z.: In fact, I'm not entirely sure why he allowed me to call you.
Alex: He -- who? Newton? Did someone put restrictions on your phone?
A.Z. No no, it's possessed.
P.J.: As in, owned by somebody?
Alex: This is new.
A.Z.: Rather, it's demonically possessed.
P.J.: Okay, this bit just took a turn.
Alex: What, uh, what led you to the conclusion that your phone is demonically possessed?
A.Z.: Well, my friend rang me up three nights ago, and he's a demon, and we had a disagreement, as we often do, and I hung up -- apparently while he was already on his way over -- and now he's inside my phone, and he refuses to come out. If you ask me, he's sulking. It's juvenile.
[silence for six seconds]
Alex: Is Newton there?
A.Z.: Just a moment. Always hazardous letting him near the... [aside] Newton, put the glove back on. There you are.
Alex: [whispering] His phone is possessed by a demon!
P.J.: I mean, that's what I thought happened to me after the last iOS update bricked Procreate, but still. Wow.
Newton: Hi, guys.
Alex: His phone is possessed by a demon!
Alex: His phone is possessed by a demon!
P.J.: Okay, so I can see why you've thrown up your hands.
Alex: This is great!
P.J.: Before we go on, normally this wouldn't be a good case for us to take, but I have to admit I am curious as all get-out.
Alex: Me too, but yes, we should definitely be careful. Like, are you absolutely sure he can give informed consent to be on a podcast?
P.J.: Is he big into conspiracy theories? Organized religion? Does he have a history of mental health issues?
Alex: Yeah, like, what's the best framework for us to deal with this compassionately and actually help? And also make our show?
Newton: Um, he doesn't deal with any of those things, I think, especially not the organized religion. He's definitely in his right mind. He just needs -- if you talk it out with 'em, it'll prob'ly go away? That's what usually works for me, it's just this has...it's been going on a while now.
P.J.: So this specific thing has happened before?
Newton: Oh yeah, loads of times.
P.J.: And how did you deal with it then?
Newton: Usually they just sort of calm down and work it out after awhile. Dunno why they're not this time.
Newton: Yeah...you'll see.
Alex: D’you mean this friend he had an argument with?
Newton: You'll have to ask him. Here --
A.Z.: Hello, this is A.Z. Fell speaking.
Alex: So tell us about your friend. The one that possessed your phone.
P.J.: Wait, first, I want to know -- how do you know when your phone's possessed? I wonder if my phone's ever been possessed!
A.Z.: Well, you know it's possessed when there's a demon inside of it.
Alex: But what does the demon do that tells you it's inside your phone?
A.Z.: Oh! He harangues me and torments me at full volume through the speaker, of course. He changes all the lovely little bell sounds to obnoxious or obscene ones -- I can't even mention in pleasant company the diary alarms he creates, nor the noises that announce them. He sends me instant telegrams filled with those tiny cartoons, and I can't make heads or tails of them; they're not proper hieroglyphics at all, and if they're meant as pictograms, the meanings are infuriatingly ambiguous.
P.J.: You've got a hot take and a half on emojis brewing here. I love it.
Alex: Is he changing your sounds while he's with you, or, like, remotely? From a distance? Could he have gotten ahold of your phone, maybe, like, if you set it down for a minute?
A.Z.: He does it from inside the telephone.
A.Z.: He also takes photographs of himself, and he invades the otherwise lovely landscape and nature photographs I've already taken. He buys -- what are they, Newton? Oh, the “apts,” right, he buys a variety of apts and makes them interrupt me whenever I try to ignore him. The dating apts are the worst; he's made ever so many fake accounts and he likes to string them all along at once, and they write me at all hours with atrocious grammar. And he once recited my internet reading history aloud, over the speaker, while I was on a London Bus! Not that there was anything untoward in it, but still. It's nobody's business why I was reviewing the latest scholarship on Desiderius Erasmus. They are getting closer to an accurate account of his life, you know.
P.J.: This all sounds kinda creepy.
A.Z.: Of course it's creepy. He's a demon; that's his job.
Alex: Wait wait wait wait. So, you clearly know what text messages are, and you know what the internet is. But you still think an operator helps you make cell phone calls?
Alex: Okay, Benedict Cumberbatch, mobile calls?
A.Z.: I use a proper telephone to place most of my calls, thank you very much.
Alex: What, like a land line?
P.J.: Your land line dials an operator?
A.Z.: Who else would connect the call for me?
Alex: Um. The telephone company? I don't know how to explain this part to you.
P.J.: It's a bit. It's a bit. It's a bit.
A.Z.: Whenever I place a call, from any telephone of any kind, I expect to speak with an operator. Don't you? And I don't understand the “bits” to which you keep referring. Do you mean to tell me that you are not associated with the telephone company? I'm only talking with you at Newton's behest, and certainly I don't wish to waste anybody's time.
P.J.: Man, you sound like someone with experience asking to speak to the manager.
Alex: Okaaaay, let's put a pin in the operator thing. So it sounds kind of like Anthony's harassing you.
A.Z.: As I believe I've mentioned, he is a demon.
P.J.: I don't know an easy way to ask this, so I'm just gonna say it: have other people witnessed these things? The texts and noises and the --
Newton: [in unison with three other voices] Yes!
P.J.: So they're definitely real, and they can be observed by other people in real time?
Newton: [in unison with three other voices] Yes.
P.J.: While Anthony's not in the room.
A.Z.: He is in the room, in that he is inside the telephone.
P.J.: Right. In the room but not of the room.
Alex: Phone ghost.
P.J.: Phone demon.
Alex: Does Anthony regularly have access to your phone when you are in the same place?
A.Z.: I keep trying to tell you, we are in the same place now! He's right here in my hand --
Alex: Does he mess with your phone when he's not in your phone, then.
A.Z.: I suppose he does have access to it, yes. He set it up for me.
Alex: So, I'm thinking -- does this behavior bother you or make you feel unsafe at all? Because a friend shouldn't ever make you feel unsafe, even when they're just joshing.
A.Z.: The only thing that's genuinely disturbed me so far is that he wasted a triple word score -- wasted! In my Scrabble game! -- on the word “anus,” when I could have played “quantum.”
A.Z.: And he keeps turning on the keyboard clicks.
P.J.: That fiend!
Alex: This means war.
P.J.: This has to stop.
Alex: Do you ever prank him back?
A.Z.: Oh, you needn't worry on that account, I'm reasonably well armed. If I give the impression that he's getting to me, he'll be unbearable for weeks; it would be a total disaster.
Alex: Newton seemed to think it was irritating you.
P.J.: Yeah, it sounds pretty irritating.
A.Z.: Well, perhaps it irritates Newton, but it doesn't irritate me, because it is beneath me. Because it is boring, obnoxious, unimaginative, derivative, playground poppycock. You hear me, dear boy?
Alex: Dear? Hold up.
P.J.: Dear? He's your dear boy?
Alex: Were you talking to him, just now? Is he there with you?
A.Z.: He's in the telephone, how many times must I --
Alex: But is he on the line?
A.Z.: He's in the line. And he won't come out! Stubborn thing. Anthony, say something! ...He would go quiet now that I'm trying to explain it to someone.
P.J.: Had you considered an exorcism?
A.Z.: What! WHAT? I would NEVER do that to my friend! How dare you!
P.J.: Whoa, whoa, whoa, easy! Sorry! Thought you wanted a demon out of your phone.
A.Z.: But I don't want him sent to Hell! That would be horrendous! What a disaster! Can you even imagine, Anathema?
Alex: Imagine-an-ath-mun? What?
P.J.: Hard to get a good exorcist on short notice, anyway.
A.Z.: I'll have you know that there is an experienced -- if overenthusiastic -- exorcist in the room at this very moment. And a witch, and a medium. Not to mention that I... well. Suffice it to say, we have all the occult expertise we could possibly need on hand, in addition to an extensive library. And a number of blessed objects and holy relics. But I would never remove him against his will! What sort of friend would I be if I did that?
P.J.: This is the weirdest prank call we've ever had. Maybe the weirdest in history.
Alex: I'm in, though, man. I'm all in. Holy relics. Yes. This is awesome.
A.Z.: For all that it seems to amuse you, it is distressing that he's stayed in there so long. He drew moustaches and...other indiscreet things on the likenesses of a number of my favorite paintings this afternoon. And he's been, what was it, Googling...oh, never mind. Recounting that would be doing his job for him.
P.J.: Well, I know what I think's going on.
Alex: Yeah, same here. You thinking what I'm thinking?
P.J.: I think so.
Alex: Okay, say it on three -- one, two, three --
Alex: Newton. I said on three!
P.J.: You said on three, and I said it on three. You said it after three. On beat four.
A.Z.: ...Newton what?
Alex: What do you think are the odds that your friend Newton is either behind this or aiding and abetting Anthony?
P.J.: Right, or directing this entire scene for a final project in improv 203?
Alex: Newton's fishy.
P.J.: Newton's fishy as hell.
Alex: Newton's newt-y.
A.Z.: Newt has nothing to do with Hell. I should know.
P.J.: He knows too much, and he's the one who called us.
Alex: He's playing innocent, but he's absolutely involved in your demon infestation. One way or another.
P.J.: It's a good bit, Newton, really it is.
Newton: [distant] You can call me Newt, guys. Everyone else does.
P.J.: So! A.Z.! If this is a real problem, and not a bit, what you need to do is never let Newton get his hands on your phone again. Don’t let Anthony touch it either. Find some new tech support and change your login credentials.
A.Z.: Newt has never touched my phone. I'm not that foolish.
Alex: Even when he talked to us just now?
A.Z.: That's why we make him use the glove. We are not engaging in hyperbole when we tell you that technological devices combust in his care.
Alex: Hunh. I still think it's him, somehow.
P.J.: Yeah, does he have your passwords?
A.Z.: What, do you mean something like “open sesame?”
Alex: Ho boy. If that is your password, you should change it after this call, buddy.
P.J.: ...Still pretty sure it's Newt. Criminal mastermind.
Alex: Or amateur director.
P.J.: It's always the quiet ones.
Alex: Holy shit that's creepy.
A.Z.: Oh, there you are! Kind of you to finally speak up, after making me sound utterly foolish in front of these gentlemen.
P.J.: Is that Anthony?
Anthony: Nooo, it's bloody Siri.
Alex: Wow. Good demon voice.
Anthony: If you allow them to credit Newton with my work for one more minute, angel, I'm staying in here another week.
A.Z.: I've been trying to explain, you've heard me, my dear --
P.J.: Wait, did you merge calls on your end? Or what happened? The audio's weird.
Alex: Yeah, it sounds like he's in the studio, not on the phone line --
Anthony: I am in the studio. And if you two want useable audio, you'll show my friend a bit more respect. He knows what he's talking about.
Alex: But you're the one who hacked his phone to harass him!
P.J.: [off mic] How are they doing that?
Anthony: Riiiight, see, nobody harasses him but me.
A.Z.: You can't possibly stay in there all week, my dear. We have tickets to Candide!
Anthony: Nnnnggggnnnyaaaah, it's cozy in here. I'm good.
[quacking duck alarm begins]
Alex: Whoa, vintage iOS ringtone. Nice.
P.J.: [off mic] How the heck is the sound coming straight into the board instead of through his phone?
A.Z.: How do I turn off -- oh dear, Newton, is that an alarm or an alert? Where's the -- won't you stop that infernal noise, Crow-- Anthony!
Anthony: Y'can say my name, angel. I want full credit for this one.
A.Z.: I'll make you a nice little commendation -- with a crayon, on a pub napkin, over drinks -- if you'll just come out of there, Crowley!
P.J.: [off mic] It's on a separate channel from the call!
P.J.: [off mic] I don't know, there's no input attached!
Alex: That's wrong. You're wrong.
P.J.: [off mic] I'm looking at the empty jack right now, nothing’s plugged in!
Anthony: Yeah, have fun with that one, guys. I'm in your board now. Spacious!
P.J.: [off mic] Mute channel four, see what happens.
[quacking duck alarm ends]
[excerpt of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen plays at full volume]
Alex: Um, that's weird. He's definitely in channel four but the fader won't -- hey! What did you --
P.J.: Awesome EQ, bro. Sounds like an old timey gramophone.
Alex: Okay, great! Now our board is possessed.
P.J.: This is fun, Sruthi, thanks. Is this for the Halloween episode?
Anthony: I told you, it's me! Your producer has nothing to bloody do with this. That's quite enough out of you.
[emergency broadcast tone]
[3 seconds of Super Tech Support theme song]
[Windows application crash sound]
[4 seconds of Reply All ad break music]
[automated time signal station announcement]
[Windows reboot sound]
A.Z.: Crowley, it's one thing to infest my phone in a petty little fit; it's quite another to torment the humans directly.
Anthony: But I'm booooored! And they were rude to you.
A.Z.: Not half so rude as you've been. Not that you care.
Anthony: Oh, I care, angel. 'F I didn't care I wouldn't bother you. This is caring.
[default 2007 iPhone ringtone at very high volume]
Newton: [distant] Okay, now we're getting somewhere.
[5 seconds of quacking duck alarm]
A.Z.: You wouldn't be bored if you'd come out of there already!
Anthony: Nothing interesting to do out there, either.
A.Z.: Your plants miss you, I'm sure.
Anthony: Meh. Ungrateful sods. Do 'em good to get thirsty.
A.Z.: What about the Bentley?
Anthony: Got nowhere to go!
A.Z.: Oh come now, if you'll just leave off sulking and go for a drive, I'm sure you'll think of something you want to do?
Anthony: Wanna do this. I just subscribed you to sixty-two academic newsletters about herpetology. And two magazines. And you wouldn't believe what you've been up to on Reddit.
A.Z.: Do I have to come in there and thwart you?
Anthony: I'd like to see you try!
A.Z.: You sound like a four-year-old, darling, and it hardly suits you.
P.J.: Okay, are you two married?
Anthony and A.Z.: [simultaneously] No!
Anthony: Who said you could talk?
P.J.: Because you sound married.
Anthony: We're sworn adversaries.
A.Z.: Whyever do the humans keep getting that impression?
Alex: The humans?!
Anthony: Ennnh, they like things in boxes, y'know. Some brain bias-y thing. 'S called selective -- no, stalwart -- syncopate -- annh, shit. No. Some other thing, starts with an S.
Alex: Did he say humans?
P.J.: He said humans.
A.Z.: I prefer things out of boxes. To be specific, you, out of this box.
Anthony: Can't make me.
A.Z.: Hmmmm. ...You're quite right, I can't make you. But perhaps I could...tempt you?
P.J.: Galaxy brain.
Anthony: Thass my job. Leave off.
A.Z.: Hmm, I just need to know what you want...
Anthony: You're no good at it anyway.
Alex: D'you think he wants some attention?
Anthony: What? No!
P.J.: Yeah, he's definitely making bids for attention. Like, on a little kid tugging pigtails level, but still.
A.Z.: I have no pigtails at the moment.
Anthony: Should try 'em sometime. You could pull it off.
Alex: So, let me guess, Anthony. If he had pigtails, you would grab them, right?
Anthony: Demon. Course I would. 'S what I invented 'em for.
P.J.: If you had pigtails, would A.Z. pull yours?
Anthony: Pffffffft! Not likely.
A.Z.: Metaphorically, perhaps. But not literally. Not without an invitation, at least.
Anthony: Thass the whole point of it though! If you ask politely for attention then what you get's not really attention, is it? 'S just -- appeasement!
Alex: Hang on, hang on, hang on hang on hang on. That is a really interesting assertion, right there.
Anthony: Not here to have my head shrunk on a podcast.
A.Z.: Ooh, are they podcasters?
Anthony: Yeah, 'slike radio, only not.
A.Z.: That explains the board and the channels and things.
Anthony: What did you think they were doing?
A.Z.: Oh, I don't know, something about...surfing?
Anthony: That is not what channel surfing means.
Alex: Anthony, if you wanted attention, how would you ask for it?
Anthony: Don't need attention.
A.Z.: Darling. Really.
P.J.: God, that's a withering tone of voice.
Anthony: Don't bring Her into this.
A.Z.: If I leave you unattended for forty-eight hours together, you start making sinkholes around tourist attractions. Of course you want attention.
P.J.: But he doesn't want, like, obligatory attention! That's the thing.
Alex: Yeah. He can't ask for it, because any attention he asks for is insincere, by his rubric. Right, Anthony?
[predatory hissing noise]
Alex: That -- that -- right. That -- goddamn. Okay. Okay.
P.J.: That sound was unbelievably horrifying in headphones, for the listener at home.
Alex: Which means we're onto something.
A.Z.: Crowley, is this true? Are you reluctant to ask for attention?
[six seconds of Pachelbel's Canon as performed with sampled dogs barking]
[three seconds of the guitar solo from “We Will Rock You” by Queen]
A.Z.: Well, apparently it doesn't bother you to demand attention. You know how I loathe Pachelbel.
[old car horn sound]
[four seconds of “Mr Blobby” by Mr Blobby]
A.Z.: Crowley, you stop that right this instant, or I'll let your battery run down!
[quacking duck alarm]
P.J.: Hey Alex, sidebar, if the demon doesn't cut our mics again -- have you heard of Ask Culture versus Guess Culture?
Alex: I...have not. Enlighten me.
P.J.: So, the idea is -- people from Ask Culture will blatantly ask for what they want. Even if it seems audacious, even if the answer's no. They just straight-up ask.
Alex: So, good honest people, basically.
P.J.: It's only good and honest if you're also an Asker. It's rude if you're a Guesser. See, if you're from Guess Culture, you only ask if you really need a thing, and if you're pretty sure the answer's yes -- because it's terrible to put someone else in the position of saying no. Or maybe you're scared of a no. Either way, you try everything except asking. You also try really hard to guess what other people need, so they don't have to ask you.
Alex: That sounds exhausting.
P.J.: For a Guesser, asking is rude, or even, like, risky. And making somebody else ask is a sign that you failed to take care of them. It's very Midwestern hospitality, y'know?
Alex: Explains a few in-law situations.
Alex: To be honest, it sounds kinda passive aggressive?
P.J.: Well, there’s a reason for the two camps -- usually an Asker is afraid of not getting what they need, or not being heard, but a Guesser is even more afraid of rejection or punishment. So, yeah. It’s a great way to miscommunicate when they’re paired up.
Alex: Where'd Anthony go?
A.Z.: Anthony? Crowley? Oh dear, I'm afraid he's gone quiet again.
P.J.: Would you say Anthony's more of an Asker or a Guesser, A.Z.?
A.Z.: He's...I can't...it's an interesting framework, to be sure, but rather simplistic. One might have certain needs that can be addressed openly, like a cup of tea, or a little time to read, or theatre tickets. But there may be...reasons...that other...particular needs cannot be directly addressed.
Alex: Hey, way to complicate P.J.'s cute little theory. Ask / Guess intersectionality.
P.J.: Do you guys hang out a lot?
A.Z.: Me and Anthony? We do, at least now and again.
P.J.: Do you think Anthony wants to hang out more or less with you?
A.Z.: I, well, I certainly wouldn't, wouldn't...presume to think that he'd, that he'd want to spend any more time with me; I, er, I impose upon him a great deal already, and he has so many other interests, and it really wouldn't do to, to, to, to have him start to -- if he were to -- one mustn't, truly --
Alex: Ho boy.
A.Z.: What I mean is, one mustn't wear out one's welcome, you understand?
Alex: Dude. He possessed your phone. If I had to guess? I'd say he wants to hang out more, but he can’t say that.
P.J.: Definitely. He's pulling your pigtails.
Alex: If he is in fact inside your phone, that means he's been living in your pocket.
P.J.: Yeah, and he doesn't wanna leave.
[more furious animal hissing]
[3 seconds of Reply All theme song played backwards]
[explosion sound effect]
[dial-up modem sound effect]
A.Z.: Oh, it's the operator! Hello, my dear, I haven't heard from you in so long! How have you been? I was so worried!
Alex: Holy Christ.
Anthony: It's not the operator, Aziraphale, it's just a recording.
A.Z.: Oh, what a shame. I do hope nothing's happened to them.
Anthony: They're fine. Promise.
A.Z.: Whatever happened to that 'you've got mail' chap?
Anthony: Gosh, dunno. Maybe they sent him off to a farm to frolic with ELIZA 'n MacinTalk 'n a fax machine.
P.J.: Ha! Yeah, and Microsoft Bob and Clippy.
Alex: Oh my God.
P.J.: All the retired communication concierges, out to pasture somewhere upstate.
Alex: Are they all desperately trying to out-help each other?
P.J.: Most definitely.
Alex: Clippy invented Guess Culture.
A.Z.: You might've said, darling.
Anthony: Said what? Got nothin' to say.
A.Z.: If you wanted to spend more time together.
Anthony: Don't. I mean, didn't. Didn't say that. Not don't. Ngk. Didn't.
A.Z.: I know you didn't say it, you impossible thing, I did. It's not as if I've been terribly busy since the Apocalypse. Although I assumed you were, and I try to respect your time. I always worry I'd slow you down or bore you, given too much exposure.
Alex: Sorry, the apoca-what now?
Anthony: When the world ended last summer, except it didn't. You're welcome, by the way.
A.Z.: If you're not going to tell me what you want, then I'll take a guess, and --
Anthony: Oh, as if you're not all hints and suggestions and batting eyelashes, what in blazes would you even know about it --
A.Z.: -- And while I wouldn't presume to know what you want, I will mention that your obnoxious midnight alarms have reminded me I'm overdue for a constitutional at St. James's Park.
Anthony: Which sound? Was it God Save the Queen at three AM? I was proud of that one.
A.Z.: No, the ducks, you idiot.
P.J.: How are they not married?
A.Z.: At any rate, I'm going now, although I'll be dreadfully bored without anyone there to thwart. And since you live in my pocket, you'll be dragged along one way or another. So if at any point you tire of Candy Crush, or you miss tempting every passer-by with whatever it is you're doing to your hair these days, you're welcome to join me in your usual...ah, configuration.
Anthony: ...Don't count on it.
A.Z.: Oh, I won't. Stay in there if you like. But oh, how I'd hate to visit the ice cream man without you.
Alex and P.J.: Ooooooh!
Alex: Oh man, that's playing hardball.
A.Z.: As I believe I mentioned, I am not entirely defenseless.
Alex: Anthony, what do you say? Are you possessing the phone or getting ice cream?
P.J.: [laughing] Your face, Alex! you're so invested now.
Alex: I am! This is high drama!
Anthony: Oh, you will never ever ever know what I decide, Alex. What kind of demon would I be if I spilled my plans to you and your nerdy goody-two-shoes gopher-griping audience? Sorry, but this one's gonna be a cliffhanger, and it doesn't matter how many secretive ex-employees of this-and-that you call trying to track me down --
Alex: He's out.
P.J.: Yeah, he's out. Got him.
[wire short, minor explosion and hissing sound]
Alex: Sparks! Okay okay okay --
P.J.: Holy mother of everything, are we still recording?
Alex: Fire! That was fire. There was fire. But nothing's on fire. I think.
P.J.: Did we get that? We got that, and we're still rolling.
Alex: Okay. That definitely means he's out.
[terrifying hissing sound]
Anthony: I am NOT! COMING! OUT!
A.Z.: The serpent doth protest too much, methinks.
Alex: We got him.
Newton: [distant] Yeah, you got him. Thanks, guys.
P.J.: High five.
P.J.: That was pathetic, dude. Watch the elbow.
Anthony: If something extremely itchy happens to both of you, please know that it's not a coincidence.
A.Z.: I'm going to the park now, and one way or another you're coming with me. Don't listen to them, Crowley; do whatever you like. As long as you're by my side I'm sure it will be an -- invigorating afternoon. Anathema, be a dear and lock up when you leave, would you? Pip pip.
Alex: That. Was. Awesome.
P.J.: Is this what making an episode of Heavyweight feels like?
Alex: We can only imagine.
P.J.: You've made the right decision, Anthony. Ice cream with your fancy husband at the park sounds way better than Reddit.
Alex: And nice directing, Newton. Excellent special effects.
A.Z.: I'm still not convinced that you're with the phone company, but I appreciate your input, such as it was, Alex and P.J. Should something itchy afflict you, it should only linger long enough for you to become aware of it, and then reflect gratefully on your general state of health as it clears up.
Alex: I -- that still doesn't sound terrific, but...I'll take it?
P.J.: Are they fighting over whether we get a skin condition?
Alex: If they are, I hope the demon loses.
A.Z.: All the best, now, and have a pleasant morning. Toodle-oo.
Anthony: Toodle-oo? Angel.
A.Z.: Oh, and Anthony, I'm bringing bread for the ducks.
Anthony: You know they're supposed to eat oats! Or rice or corn or greens or--
A.Z.: If only there were someone to stop me.
Anthony: Nnnno!!! I'm staying in here till October!
A.Z.: Say goodbye, Anthony.
Alex: Goodbye, Anthony.
Anthony: Oh, fuck off.
[chorus of “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley]
P.J.: Well, that's about as good a note as we can hope to go out on.
Alex: This is Reply All, I'm Alex Goldman --
P.J.: And I'm P.J. Vogt.
Alex: We'll be back with more Super Tech Support after a short break.
P.J.: If we can get the board to stop smoking. Is there an exorcist in the house?
Alex: Nah, demon's gone, he's going for ice cream. Got any holy relics, P.J.?
P.J.: There's a really old salad in the fridge that might qualify. Y'know, One of those ones that nobody labeled, and now nobody wants to throw away?
Alex: I always just assume those are yours.
P.J.: They always are. Let's dump it on the board and see what happens.
[break outro music]