Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

GE conducts psychological warfare with a video explaining how to reset a smart light bulb

Screenshot: GE Lighting (YouTube)

Nobody’s sense of patience is in great shape by the time they’ve arrived at YouTube to troubleshoot a home appliance. After trying to figure it out on their own, maybe digging around for a manual tucked away in some cobwebbed drawer, the decision to look up a tips video already comes loaded with a good amount of annoyance.

Rather than avoid adding to this sort of frustration, GE has chosen to lean into it with a hellish video outlining the steps necessary to reset one of its brands of smart light bulbs.

The clip, spotted by Josh Jordan on Twitter, is already off to a great start from its very premise: needing instructions on how to use a light bulb. Previously the humble bulb was one of the simplest devices found in a home, fixed only by unscrewing it from a lamp and putting a new one in. The revolutionary smart bulb, however, requires its owner to look up model numbers and firmware versions before they can even start figuring out how to light their rooms.


Insult is quickly heaped upon injury as the video guide, narrated by a chipper man speaking over steel drum-accented muzak, explains the many steps that go into performing a factory reset of their bulbs. A man’s arm, extended over a lamp in order to illustrate how you, too, can re-pair a fucking light bulb with your devices by turning off and turning back on a switch over and over again, for what seems like hours.

A counter runs down in the corner of the screen, marking when to turn off the bulb for two seconds and put it back on for eight seconds. This repeats for what seems like an eternity. After the first few rotations, the video cheerily timing each endlessly repeated step like an avant-garde stoner rock track, it all becomes uncannily hilarious.


The best part is an unexpected punchline partway through the torturous clip when, after having shown how to properly time turning a light bulb off and on for more than a minute, the narrator says that any further problems are probably caused by a bulb that’s “running on an older version of firmware.”

“We’ll need to try the second factory reset process,” the monster threatens just before repeating a new set of repetitive, mind-numbing countdowns. Why, it’s almost frustrating enough to make you think that we got it right back when we first came up with our boring old unconnected light bulbs.


Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com


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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.