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Kelly*
Poke me in the knees and call me Roger
Wed 30th Jul '08 3:09PM
758 Posts
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Member Since
4th Oct '03
Demian's Mini Review of Josh Lyman's Hair 10/10
An outstanding effort. Highly recommended for West Wing fans and non-fans alike.
   

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Tue 26th Aug '08 3:20PM
4678 Posts
Demian's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03
Tescos Soda Farls by Kelly 9/10
At first glance this review is almost simplistic in its approach, yet further scrutiny starts to unpeel some of many layers of the review-onion which Kelly has so carefully served up to us, cooked to a turn yet perfectly crisped in the boiling vegetable oil we like to call a ‘sentence’. I reproduce it here for the benefit of the reader:

'Really some of the best farls I've ever met. 10/10'

It would be easy to mistake Kelly’s brevity for hurriedness, or simply a lack of interest in the subject matter, yet it becomes apparent due to her enthusiasm for the particular farls in question, that this cannot be that case; and so the reader is forced to reinterpret his or her earlier judgement in a new light, one which sparkles with the effervescence of ironic postmodernist self-caricature. Additionally, it is important to bear in mind that the review itself is published in a medium specifically designed for the ‘mini review’ format so it would be unfair to dwell too long on the length of this review, bleedin’ tiny though it may be.

And so we turn our attention to the nub of the matter – the crux, the pivot, the very epicentre or ‘point’, if you will. Even if you won’t, I intend to plough on regardless, so you might want to leave now while you’ve wasted a little bit less of your life. And this ‘point’ (such as it is), is that the farls (such as they were) (when Kelly ate them) were some of the best farls that she (such as she is, if indeed Kelly can be said to ‘be’ without arriving at too preposterous an ordering of words (and the bracketing therein)) has ever met.

Of course, it would be foolhardy of me to dive straight into an analysis of the deeper implications of the words before tipping the hat to the joke which nestles snugly within, like a jar of marmite jammed between the freshly-shaved buttocks of a gorilla.

Our notion of one of the two main types humour, insofar as it is understood by psychologists, is based on the idea of the ‘bait and switch’, or the fact that a sequence of events or concepts becomes ‘funny’ when the person experiencing them has formed certain preconceptions as to the direction the outcome of the tale / sequence is taking, only to be dumbfounded (and therefore amused) by the sudden realisation that their presumed course was not, in fact, the one in which they were heading. Thus, ‘To get to the other side’ only becomes funny if one has previously assumed that the intentions of the chicken were about to be delimited in purely psychological terms, when in fact a behaviourist approach was the unlikely payoff! And so Kelly has masterfully used the same trick to entertain the review reader – by the time the last word is revealed, the reader has already formed the conclusion that the final word is going to be ‘eaten’, and Kelly deftly pulls the mat out from under the reader by introducing the psychologically jarring (and therefore ‘funny’) shift to having met a farl, rather than having simply eaten one.

(It is worth mentioning at this juncture the high regards for the Daddy.Org readers this review evidences on the part of Kelly, as the joke relies entirely on readers being quick-witted enough to have formed a preconception about the conclusion of the sentence within a couple words of the end, although of course this is easier in a written format.)

The mark itself is surely another example, for if these are indeed the best farls Kelly has encountered (in any capacity!), then one of two possible marks could have been anticipated – either a ten, as these are in a sense the ideal farls for Kelly (unless other farls later prove to outperform these, in which case the mark would have to be revised downwards accordingly) – or a nine, as it is common for a reviewer to leave theoretical manouvering room if he or she doesn’t believe the product or service to be the ultimate ideal of it’s genre. After all, perfection is seldom attained, and some would argue it is unattainable. So, after the preceding sentence, and given the knowledge we’ve already accrued about Kelly’s expectation of her readers, we can deduce that her intention was indeed for us to form one of these two conclusions, thus enabling her to pull the ‘bait and switch’ for a second time in a masterpiece of self-referentialist comedy when she reveals the true mark to be a paltry 8.

The contraction in ‘I’ve’ is really not all that noteworthy at first glance - having been used in its normal context as part of a fairly informal piece of prose it would be natural to assume that it is simply an informal contraction in an informal piece. However, it is here that Kelly’s true genius lies! For, as we have already noted and evidenced on two occasions, Kelly has already set up the piece of writing to conform to the ‘bait and switch comedy’ style. If this was to continue in the same vein, we would expect Kelly here to use the more formal version ‘I have’, as it’s very incongruity would have been congruous with the theme resounding across the larger piece. But no, that would have been far too straightforward a move for the cunning Kelly – having already conditioned the reader into expecting the unexpected, Kelly pulls of the masterstroke of surprising us with the unsurprising! In other words, not only has Kelly repeatedly confounded our expectations for comedy effect, she has even counfounded us by not confounding them when we have been led to believe that confoundment was the very raison-d’etre of the piece!

It’s all very well for me to list and characterise the various liet-motifs running through Kelly’s work, but without an in-depth analysis of the text itself, we would be missing the point entirely. At first glance the punctuation seems entirely unremarkable, almost workaday in its pragmatism, however closer examination reveals a subtle level of detail it would be easy to overlook. I’d like to draw your attention to the lack of a comma after the first word – a comma here would have signified a pause, and forced us to consider the word ‘Really’ to apply to the entire following concept. However, by denying us this easy route, Kelly forces us to ask which of two possible interpretations we ought to place on her work – the aforementioned, or the slightly different proposition that the word ‘Really’ is used as a modifier to the memetic token ‘some of the best’, or in other words that Kelly has previously offered up to us some farls for consideration, and those ones turned out not to be the best, but this time she really means it! Again, one is forced to accept the notion that the ambiguity is built into Kelly’s piece deliberately in order to provoke these sorts of internal debates; indeed, it would be to underestimate Kelly woefully to fail to accept the multilayered nature of her art.

For those of us who have no idea what a farl is, as indeed I don’t, Malcolm’s second opinion helpfully elucidates the fact that this is some sort of bread product, of some sort of size. And given the huge amount of meaning to be gleaned from Kelly’s primary review, I think Malcolm’s vagueness in this area can be seen as a blessing to us all.

To summarise:

Really one of the best reviews I’ve ever copied out onto the back of a Maltesers packet and sent to Boris Yeltsin.
  

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Tue 26th Aug '08 4:54PM
4597 Posts
Spanners's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03
Tescos Soda Farls by Kelly by Demian 9/10
Detailed, knowledgable and, although critical in places, very fair in its analysis.
    

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