The upcoming Portlandia Activity Book is chock-full of good, old-fashioned, Wi-fi-independent fun by the combined publishing and television powers of McSweeney’s and the IFC sketch comedy show Portlandia. Read an excerpt below, and pre-order here.
ONLINE REVIEWS FOR THE FLEDGLING CRITIC
Critique is no longer an activity reserved for mothers and journalists. Today we’re all critics capable of turning our subjective experiences into incisive, factual data. The Internet is the critic’s playground, providing ample free space for brutal overshares and expository tales of health-code violations. As a critic on a quest to preserve truth, your writing skills will serve you more than all the other skills you list on your resumé. Here, we’ll concentrate on the various approaches to a successful online review.
The Enthusiastic Self-Promoting Review
MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN
My mother’s the best and I love everything she makes. The meatloaf—amazing. The casserole—forget about it. And her Bundt cake! That’s the only thing that matters. It’s been three months since I graduated from college and I’m not sure about anything these days but when I’m alone with that Bundt cake and my childhood toys, I don’t need anything else. I don’t mean to sound like I’m doing marketing for my mother’s kitchen, but I can’t help it. And since I’m here, if anyone out there reading this is hiring, I would give up the Bundt cake for full-time or part-time employment.
The All About Me Review
Last Tuesday I was doctor shopping when my big toe started to hurt (I figured it was trench foot). I was near the Stardust Lounge and wanted to check it out for a while (before WebMD diagnosed me with leptospirosis) so, I stopped in. I ordered some jalapeno poppers, thinking the Vitamin C and antioxidants might soothe my glandular phrenitis, which started to throb a little that afternoon. While I waited for my food to arrive, I got one of my migraines (my mom says it’s Epstein-Barr, but I’m not sure). In the end, the jalapeno poppers made my migraine disappear (however, I did get a weird rash that evening, though it might have been a mosquito’s concentrated attack on a three-inch area on my neck). No major developments on the trench foot so far.
The Strictly Hypothetical Review
BILLY’S ORIGINAL BURGER JOINT
I have not yet stepped foot into Billy’s Original Burger Joint but the walk-by vibe I got was, to put it nicely, less than welcoming. Assuming Billy is an actual person and not someone’s idea for making a crappy restaurant seem more personable, would it kill Billy to fix that awning? The g in Original seems to have peeled off. I’m not sure what exactly is original about that place. Is it the first joint in Billy’s hamburger franchise, or is it the joint itself that’s original—I’m not sure. I don’t have much time or patience for misplaced modifiers, and I’m not sure what that says about the integrity of the ground beef patties. Smelled delicious, though, and I will recommend it to friends.
The Wrong Website Review
I saw you in the parking lot the other day. You were wearing all black, so it’s likely you’re goth. I couldn’t tell if it was, like, a laundry day type of thing or if you’re in mourning or if it was a lifestyle choice. Anyways, watching you unload groceries into your trunk, I couldn’t help but notice your canvas bags, which made me think we share a moral platform? I don’t know if you remember me, but you turned to me and said, “Can I help you? What are you staring at?” I’d love to get coffee with you sometime. Please message me if you’re interested.
Illustrations by Joana Avillez