A few years ago during a big family Thanksgiving gathering, I looked up to see my seventysomething mother and her siblings sitting on the couch all fiddling with their phones, and I posted a picture of it with the caption “Darn those millennials!” or something like that. I did this not to be mean to them — I too had been fiddling with my phone just minutes earlier despite being in a room full of family that I hadn’t seen in months — but to make the point that our gadgets are inherently addictive and people of all ages find it hard to tear ourselves away from them. I genuinely appreciate that today’s Shoe features two late-middle-aged bird men sitting at a diner counter looking at their phones, a scene (other than the bird part) that would be utterly unremarkable in real life but which most fiction has failed to keep up with. I especially appreciate it because presumably the main audience for Shoe is older and maybe prone to thinking of gadget love as an affliction of the young. Is the way to break these diabolical machines’ grip to remind people that they could be having sex instead of staring at their phone? I’m not convinced, but I’m glad Shoe is giving this messaging strategy a try.
Sure, it’s taken a generation or two, but at least someone in this family knows that the best way to avoid learning truly horrible things or hearing terrible puns is to just talk to other people as little as possible. Max and Mindy could be completely free of this nonsense by just moving out of their parents’ house entirely, but this will do in a pinch.