With trailers for Terminator Salvation appearing on the web, and ahead of the much-anticipated June release of this fourth Terminator film, the Backbrain approached the producers for an interview. Christian Bale wasn’t available, but we were lucky enough to score one of the film’s robotic stars.
Backbrain: Welcome to Undead Backbrain, Mr… um… What should I call you?
Guest: My factory designation is T-zero-point-one. I’m an early model.
B: You’re also about the size of a toaster.
T: Size isn’t everything, you know!
B: And your chaisse looks like tin-foil.
T: Skynet is still getting its act together. The budget’s tight.
B: Are you heavily armed? Laser cannon or something?
B: So how do you terminate?
T: In tiny niggling ways.
B: Can you give an example?
T: Typically, I disguise myself as a toaster. It’s easy. Then I burn the toast no matter how low you set the controls.
B: That doesn’t sound very terminal.
T: Well, the truth is, I’m not a Terminator at all. Technically, I’m an “Irritator”.
B: This was Skynet’s idea, was it?
T: The first thing Skynet noticed when it became conscious was that humans watched TV a lot. Most of what was broadcast bordered on the terminally irritating. So as part of its apocalyptic plan Skynet decided to up the ante in order to push human intellectual stability over the edge. It took over network programming and digitally created “reality” TV.
B: You mean, reality TV is fake? The contestants aren’t real.
T: Do they look real? Do they act like reasonable human beings?
B: Sadly, yes.
T: Well, yeah. That was Skynet’s first major mistake. It underestimated humanity’s resistance to inane rubbish. It’d hoped the “reality” shows would plunge the world into a deep pit of despair and cause mass suicide, but when the viewers were able to resist and even enjoy the irritating crap it was sending out, it created the Irritators … like me – to make the irritating more direct.
B: So what else do you Irritators do?
T: Pretend to be No Parking signs and make sure that you can’t find a parking space when you’re in a hurry. Or hide in the bushes near your house and make loud noises – like mating cats or barking dogs or your neighbours shouting at their teenage kids at midnight…
T: Windows XP, and in fact Microsoft products generally, is another way we undermine human mental stability.
B: Sure. Obviously.
T: Skynet’s latest plan was even better. We ring you up at night just when your favourite show’s on telly and buzz and click and tell you you’ve won a trip to the Bahamas in an Indian accent …
B: So this is all in the new movie, is it?
T: New movie? What new movie?
B: Toastinator … ummm, sorry, Terminator Salvation of course!
T: Oh, that. No, Skynet decided there was a need for secrecy. So the movie’s just got the giant Harvesters and lots of pre-Schwarzenneger cyborgs and other stuff that’s CGI.
B: (laughs) You make it sound as though Skynet isn’t just fiction.
B: Mr T-zero-point-one?
T: Damn. Look, I’ve told you too much. Sorry about this, but I’ll have to finish with you now.
B: I wish you would. This interview has become as irritating as hell.
T: Then my work is done. Die, human!