Critiquing the Critics / Judging the Judges / Rating the Raters
Product Review Review:
Amazon’s TV show-inspired mug may hold water, but one customer’s review of it certainly does not.
When considering any online coffee mug purchase, a discerning buyer like yourself seeks answers to many questions. Among these:
Unfortunately for customers reading this review of amazon.com’s Smelly Cat Mug, Regina Phalange provides none of these answers. (Although the answer to question #3 is obviously “no.” Craig has way whiter teeth than you do, plus everybody thinks your Sharon Osbourne impression is not at all funny, and just a little bit racist.)
Although Ms. Phalange gives no indication as to whether or not she herself is a racist, she does appear to share your propensity to try too hard to get laughs, choosing to literally begin her review with one:
Hahaha I did the fake name in honor of Phoebe!
There are two problems with opening a critique in this manner. First, the author is laughing at a joke that she never actually told. And second, she’s admitting that she has written her review using a false identity! Equipped with this knowledge, it is impossible to trust her when she asserts:
I think this mug is honestly amazing.
Amazing, huh? Really? It’s amazing?
Here is a complete and unabridged list of attributes that Reviews of Reviews believes would qualify a coffee mug as “amazing”:
Yet when readers look to Phalange for an explanation of what exactly makes this coffee mug so amazing, all she offers is “the picture is adorable,” followed by a Cliff’s Notes-style summary of the major characters from the TV show Friends:
Chandler is very funny!, Monica is very very VERY neat, Racheal is spoiled (but doesn’t know it) and sensitive, Ross is a nerd that is obsessed with dinosaurs, Joey is well… Joey, and Phoebe is a crazy fun person who doesn’t change for anyone or anything.
Reviews of Reviews Relationship Tip: if you ever find yourself saying anything resembling the above quote on a first date, there will not be a second one.
And that is ultimately what this review turns out to be: a first date that just doesn’t go anywhere.
Unlike her more established critical contemporaries – Hughes, Greene, Ebert – whose insightful commentaries and demonstrated expertise result in life-long marriages between their writings and the thousands of loyal readers who love them, the best that Phalange can ever hope for is to happen upon some late-night online retailer shopper drunk enough to engage in some sloppy, unprotected, back-seat-of-a-’96-Grand-Am user-submitted review reading, which nine months later results in a Maury Povich inspired, paternity-test-induced court mandate requiring the poor schmuck to continue reading her inane reviews each and every month for the next eighteen years.
Come to think of it, wasn’t that the plot of Friends episode 827, “The One Where Joey Metaphorically Impregnates an Online Product Reviewer”?
Better check the Cliff’s Notes.
Andy Ankowski, May 21, 2012
This will be a fantastic web site, would you be interested in doing an interview regarding just how you developed it? If so e-mail me!