back to article If MR ROBOT was realistic, he’d be in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and SMELL of WEE

I have an urge to dress up in unconventional clothing, don a wig and parade myself around east London. You may be relieved to learn, without indicating prejudice, that this will not involve women’s clothing. I am neither a master potter nor am I on the game. Sorry to disappoint. I had better explain. MCM London Comic Con …


    1. Richard 81

      Re: Poop writers

      It's not always at home, but yes there's always an abundance of waste.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best Hollywood portrayal of a hacking troupe....

    .... For me this accolade was won in the eighties by Sneakers. It's a film about a team of pen testers.

    If you haven't seen it, watch it immediately. Robert Redford, Dan Acroyd, River Pheonix, Sidney Poitier, Sir Ben Kingsley......

    That list of actors alone should be enough to pique interest.

    A/C because I even *have* a favourite Hollywood hacking troupe.

    I'll get my coat.... It's the one with Setec Astronomy embroidered on the collar......

    1. Bota

      Re: The best Hollywood portrayal of a hacking troupe....

      Fantastic movie!

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: The best Hollywood portrayal of a hacking troupe....

      Really? I thought Sneakers was OK, but found it no more realistic than the typical Hollywood output.

  2. ThorWarhammer

    When is the next Asgardian curry night Loki ??

  3. Naughtyhorse


    The protagonist of Mr Robot is young, slim and handsome. He is smart. He is articulate.

    Are we watching the same series?

    Excuse the personal abuse but Mr Malek looks like the crazy frog on bad acid (me not him,,, err the acid that is... oh god... the spiders!!!!) and the character he plays has a personality disorder and is living in a permanent psychotic break, complete with interactive hallucinations (spoiler alert), his apartment is a shithole, and it looks like zero of the production budget was spent on soap.

    plus they all use linux so there! it's like a documentary about lulzsec :-)

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Not only but also.....

      Look at the episode naming scheme....

      Beautiful :-)

      tech related terms, in 1337(duhh!)... with a FILE EXTENSION!!!!!

      and an authentic multimedia extension at that.

      Of course there are tons of bit's that depart from reality, it's hard to imagine anyone sticking with a series where 40 of the 47 minutes in each episode was someone clattering away at a bash shell, muttering 'fuckity fuckiny fuck' under their breath every time they got some arcane syntax thing fucked up.... but that notwithstanding I think Mr Robot stands head and shoulders above it's peers in this respect.

      1. Bota

        Re: Not only but also.....


  4. Pez92
    Thumb Down

    Mr. Strawman

    That anon was 100% accurate in saying it's the most accurate portrayal of hackers to ever come from Hollywood. The strawman you used to dismiss it about him being to attractive is an extremely childish and lazy way to argue your point and definitely damages your credibility as a supposed "journalist" (to remove the quotes would insult the profession).

    Compared to 99% of shows where someone can just bang a keyboard for 30 seconds and "hack" their way into the FBI, this show is lightyears ahead. Like in real life, hacking is done via social engineering: dropping flash drives with malware, exploiting non-savvy employees with dictionary attackable passwords, or gaining physical access. He has a decent paying job which explains his apartment, and does not "go around telling everyone he's a hacker".

    The only stereotype of "TV hackers" Mr. Robot falls victim to is that the actors are somewhat attractive, but even in that department they are below average for Hollywood hunks. Calling Rami Malek a "Brad Pitt Lookalike" is like calling Red Lobster a 5 star restaurant.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Mr. Strawman

      >> extremely childish and lazy

      At least someone gets me here. I have no credibility to damage.

      1. akajohnsmith

        Re: Mr. Strawman

        You should definitely hang out at more hacker cons. Your sense of humor fits in well. And you'd get a lot of t-shirts to wear!

    2. akajohnsmith

      Re: Mr. Strawman

      Yeah, the first thing I thought was, "Holy cow, somebody actually did their homework for once - this profile fits like 80% of my paranoid hacker friends". And though some of the technical details are a bit stretched, they are by far the best I've seen so far (although I'll always love Sneakers for a genuine hacker-mindset movie that was pre-hacker-meets-media phase). It was the closest depiction to most of the people I meet in the infosec industry (or outside of it, making a reason for my job to exist). I hope they keep the writers they have for the second season, and keep pushing their accuracy; it's a breath of fresh air from Hollywood's basement (ha, smell that!).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If MR ROBOT was realistic..."

    ...he'd be made of metal and get chased around his robot factory by inexplicably sentient fire.

    (Did anyone ever actually *see* any robots being made in that alleged "Robot Factory"? As I remember he just went around stuffing his face with the pills he left lying on the ground).

  6. FBee

    Source Code

  7. Ouroborus

    "On screen, a hacker, with no apparent source of regular income, rents a flat alone and has filled his or her living room with five acres of Vittsjö shelving and 400 miles of cabling and managed to assemble their own Large Hadron Collider in the kitchenette."

    I always assumed their income was via credit card fraud. Or hacking the vendors' sales database.

    1. Naselus

      "I always assumed their income was via credit card fraud. Or hacking the vendors' sales database."

      Or, as in Mr Robot, being an infosec engineer. Seriously, the lead character is probably pulling in $150k a year.

  8. akajohnsmith

    You need to start attending the hacker scene more. The "overweight bloke" with urine bottles in his parents basement IS THE CLICHE (and it's a holdover from the IT Dude cliche, to boot). The problem is there is no solid stereotype for the mindless masses to latch on to, nothing consistent for Hollywood to spoon out in sloppy formulaic drivel, and so we have the battle of "what is hacker?" where all options are off base (sounds like politics). This is why people KEEP FALLING FOR IT. But hey, tote that profile, keep people on the lookout for fat dudes who smell bad, way to keep people in the dark. When one of those well-built, educated, wealthy hackers shows up at the front desk of your firm, nobody will stop her from walking through the badge door. They'll probably hold it open (after all, she's wearing a dress).

    Seriously, go to one of the bigger hacker cons (anything with *at least* a couple thousand, preferably something like DEFCON with tens of thousands, for good statistical distribution) and look around you. Check out each of the presenters. You'll find less of the {OB w/UB in his MB] than you will of averagely diverse people, with the one exception that there are definitely less women, both professionally and criminally, in the scene. Never say never, though, or deserve what you get.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grammar Nazi alert

    Please, please, please — shouldn't that be "If MR ROBOT were realistic...." We do still speak English here, hmm?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

  11. Bsquared

    Cosplay inspiration

    Up until I read this article, I thought I would never go to a cosplay convention, but I reckon I could play a decent Chief Aramaki from GitS. Grumpy middle-aged bloke with pattern baldness? Gissajob.

  12. Artaxerxes

    Did you just call British cosplayers fat?

  13. tomDREAD

    War Games

  14. Wiretrip

    The best bit about Mr Robot is the use of the Unix Command 'astu' - defined as:

    NAME astu -- act similar to unix

    SYNOPSIS astu [-command] […plotpoint]

    DESCRIPTION Approximate a Unix shell like series of commands for the purposes of simulating an actual shell session in a Hollywood movie or television show. Specify a number of operands that simulate Unix commands and output critical plot points and text specific to the story or scene.

    RETURN VALUES Returns a set of pseudo-Unix like responses to commands which furthers plot or scene in a way that is mostly understandable to non-technical audiences.

  15. Gavin McMenemy


    I don't know if we've been watching the same show or now.

    I find it hard to define the "hero" of Mr Robot as an attractive young man, given that:

    He has serious personality disorder issues that make it hard for him to deal with both reality and other people.

    He doesn't live in what I would term an attractive flat (and it's in fact fairly squalid...)

    He's a junky

    And in fact he's pretty far away from what you would call a punky go-getting young man hacker that you describe.

    There are plenty of scenes of him doing nothing but hunch over a keyboard typing (without bing boop noises).

    I take your point about him being zit free though.

    ps. It's a drama not a documentary. You have to give it some latitude.

  16. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    Old-day hacking which made me hate "Hackers"

    Basement of an Air Force town house, phone cord spliced into the main line running through the first floor supports, done in such a way as to be able to stuff back up and hide from the parents, dropped down to a 110 baud Volksmodem (or whatever the hell it was) attached to a Commodore 64, in turn attached to a 13-inch black-and-white TV.

    In the bed room is a Radio Shack "200-in-1" electronics lab with a light sensor and wig-wag circuit attached to a small Lego town lit by absconded Christmas bulbs and LEDs. During any other hour than the Witching Hour of dialing up through BBSs and weird network connections to other lands found by war-dialing and trial-and-error, the Commodore 64 is connected to said Lego town running its traffic lights directing Matchbox cars around the scene, while "Radio Ga Ga" and "Synth Sampler" (Doc-doc-doc-doc Doctor Livingston, I presume?) played on the record player next to the latest COMPUTE! magazine, and "You Can't Do That On Television" filled the room with sound.

    This was actually a somewhat socially-adjusted, in-shape kid of about 12 with an active sport, bike-riding, and outdoor life with little incentive to sleep during the night.

    He still does not sleep much during the night, taking advantage of this affliction to perform server maintenance and earn extra money while watching "Futurama" or "Casshern" on DVD (sometimes straying to watch "The Running Man" or "Runaway") and listening to C64 and Amiga remixes over Bluetooth headphones so as not to wake his female companion and the neighbors.

    The C64 does not run Lego town traffic lights anymore, but there is a traffic signal hanging next to the desk with a sequencer to keep it lively.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Robot is real.

    There's half a dozen of them in my local, banging on about DDOSing servers with batch files and metasploits in irc "back in the day"

    Not a job between them and half of them and yet they could bring down world govt's if they wanted...

  18. David Simpson 1

    So how do you know what someone on a TV show smells like?

  19. johndrake7

    上手ですね,ドッブスさん !

    Here's hoping unicode doesn't explode the comments system: job well done on the song. Don't happen to know it but do know and speak Japanese and you are either one of those freak savants who can sing in a language they can't speak, or a hakujin who put in the time and effort to be unnervingly dead on in informal settings. Cheers either way and a pint on me if you're ever in my part of SoCal.

    Flashing back to a previous thread in common: 5 days and counting to the full release of Man in the High Castle on NetFlix in the States, fingers crossed it doesn't disappoint.

    That is all.

  20. el_oscuro

    "Rather, they are friendless overweight blokes in faded Iron Maiden t-shirts, huddled over a second-hand laptop for hours in a bedroom in their Mum’s house, windows shut, curtains closed and with a row of urine-filled cola bottles arranged along the wall."

    That works for me except for a few things:

    1. I left Mums house about 3 months after graduating high school and haven't been back with the exception of a few visits. Given that I have been at least 2,500 miles from Mums house since then, those visits are rather infrequent.

    2. My Iron Maiden tee shirt is not faded, nor is my Zork one ("It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue"). Both are kept pristine and only worn on special occasions.

    3. I have never peed in a bottle except for a few required times in the army.

  21. Bc1609

    "If Mr Robot was realistic.."

    He'd use the subjunctive, I'm sure.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    peeing in bottles

    he just went around stuffing his face with the pills he left lying on the ground). eRR ? so that's the pacman movie then?. And as to peeing in bottles .. it happened then and its happening now, only now its medically approved and easily washable. If its good enough for HH its good enough for me.


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