As far as blatant advertisements go, this one is pretty good.
On New Year’s Day, Netflix invited subscribers from far and wide to kick off 2021 by calling into a recommendations hotline — supposedly staffed by celebrity operators ready to assist you with your binge. Netflix announced the service (one we’ve been providing for years, thank you very much) with a musical number posted to Twitter that reimagines “Auld Lang Syne” as a listings anthem.
You can reach the hotline at 1-866-NYD-2021 to go through the experience yourself, or comment on this Twitter thread to request a personalized recommendation. If you just want to know what happens when you call, then read on. I went through the whole telephone tree (which is really all the hotline amounts to) and transcribed some highlights.
Happy New Year! We’ve assembled a team of celebrity experts to help you find the perfect thing to watch today!
Just tell us what you’re in the mood for and we’ll hook you up — you can also call our recommendation hotline at 1-866-NYD-2021 🎉 pic.twitter.com/vYmDczd4ph
— Netflix (@netflix) January 1, 2021
“Hello and welcome to the Netflix New Year’s recommendation hotline, brought to you by Netflix in the year 2021,” says an overly chipper operator. “2021: at least, it’s not 2020. If you’re wondering why Netflix brought back the telephone hotline, it’s because Hollywood loves a reboot.”
“Speaking of Hollywood,” the voice then instructs you to enter the extension for “your celebrity operator” — assuming you know it.
To find celebrity extensions, you can guess inputs and dial up a pre-recorded message. (For example: dial “666” and you’ll get Chilling Adventures of Sabrina stars Kiernan Shipka and Gavin Leatherwood recommending spooky shows.) But if you’d rather not guess, get a complete guide to the celebrity extensions on Netflix’s official Instagram story. There are messages from Jimmy O. Yang, Gabriel Iglesias, Rahul Kohli, Michelle Buteau, and more.
If you skip the celeb Easter egg hunt altogether, the operator will provide you with nine options corresponding to the keypad:
“1” for “if you want something brand new to Netflix“
“2” for “if you’re hungover”
“3” for “if you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution”
“4” for “if you’re feeling a deep sense of existential dread and want to embrace it”
“5” for “if you’re feeling a deep sense of existential dread and want to avoid it”
“6” for “if you’re actually optimistic about the year ahead”
“7” for “if you were trying to order a pizza but accidentally dialed this number”
“8” for “if you’re looking for something to watch with your family”
“Absolutely under no circumstances should you press ‘9’”
So, of course, if you press 9: “I see you’re quite the rebel who doesn’t like to obey the rules. Well, you’ve reached the part of the hotline where I list 99 TV shows and movies that are all now streaming on Netflix. Okay, here we go.”
The operator does indeed go through a monologue of 99 titles, and if you’re still on the line at the end of the spiel, will say, “Are you still there? What the fuck?” and take you back to the menu.
Go through the other eight options and you’ll get some pretty decent jokes about drinking, parenting, and the year to come — plus some solid (albeit biased) streaming recommendations.
UPDATE: Jan. 1, 2021, 11:49 a.m. PST This story has been updated to include new information about the hotline’s celebrity extensions feature.