NBC's Up All Night, which stars Will Arnett and Christina Applegate as formerly hip new parents alongside Maya Rudolph as Applegate's best friend and co-worker, is usually a show where you hate that you get the jokes. But Thursday night's episode took that self-loathing pleasure to new, indie-centric heights.
As you can see above, in the opening seconds of the show, Arnett and Applegate's characters visit a trendy coffeeshop. Arnett won't go in, because "ugh, these hipsters," and he gets in a pretty good one about seeing the "world's weakest lumberjack" (pity the urban woodsman). The real action for music fans takes place inside, though, where (of course!) Dirty Projectors' R&B-steeped Bitte Orca track "Stillness Is the Move" is blasting airily over the speakers and the barista is wearing one of those Yeasayer hand T-shirts.
Applegate's character, having once been cool, understandably wants to show this kid just how cool she still is. This happens:
Applegate: "Hey! You like Yeasayer? Oh my god, that's, like, my favorite band."
Barista: "Oh, they're so genius."
Applegate: "Oh, no no no, they are beyond genius. 'Ambling Alp' is, like, 24 sev on my iPod rotation."
Barista: "Well, right on!"
Applegate: "Yeah, right on. I really like them. I like a lot of those kinds of bands, and stuff."
Then Tanlines' wonderful "All of Me," from this year's excellent Mixed Emotions, comes on, Applegate declares, "This is my jam, man," and a couple of things happen that set the plot in motion (we won't spoil it). Note that she's a fan of one of SPIN's 20 Best Songs of 2010, off of that year's Odd Blood, and not Yeasayer's more recent, Worst New Music-branded Fragrant World. She probably hasn't had time to keep up lately, what with the baby and work and all, which — again, it kills us that we find this relatable.
Last night wasn't Up All Night's first foray into musical territory, either. In last week's episode, Arnett and Applegate sneak out to relive their rock'n'roll glory days by attending a Silversun Pickups concert. Because nothing says "letting loose" like a shimmery alternative-rock song called "Panic Switch."
Still, Up All Night has some competition from its own network when it comes to artist references. In May 2011, Parks and Recreation name-checked Neutral Milk Hotel. And last night's 30 Rock was about a Jimmy Buffett knockoff. Neither of which quite makes up for the debacle that was Karmin on Saturday Night Live, but with network TV, we'll take what we can get.