I've noticed in the time since my first two Amazon review articles that the whole "fake funny Amazon review" thing has really become an established phenomenon, with its own in-jokes, cliches and traditions, which in a way makes me a little sad. I hate the "This was so much better before it went mainstream" attitude, and I'm glad more people are enjoying the occasional unexpected laugh in the course of their shopping experience, but the reality is that more participants lead to more repetition.
So you get a lot of generic jokes about the magical properties of an item. It's funny and unexpected the first time, but after a few hundred variations of the same basic joke, you get critical and picky, and you feel more like you're auditioning a bunch of writers to see who can write the best "magical HDMI cable" joke than like you're stumbling across that silly idea and being genuinely tickled.
"I can't choose between the one who said it cured her cancer, the one who said it cured her AIDS and the one who said it cured her cancer and her AIDS."
And I don't know about anyone else, but slipping in a reference to the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt, or any other classic Amazon joke-review item, just ruins any humorous story-driven review for me. It's like winking continuously at the camera during a Saturday Night Live skit. Sarcasm is a great performer, people, but he is sad and lonely without his partner, Deadpan.
That said, there's still plenty of originality and creativity in the world of silly reviews -- it just takes a little more digging to find it. Here's a few examples:
#8. Officially Licensed Luke Skywalker Ceremonial Jacket With Medal of Yavin
Now there are a lot of joke opportunities to be had in an Officially Licensed Luke Skywalker Ceremonial Jacket With Medal of Yavin. You really have to sit down and think about what direction you want to take. Do you want to make the predictable joke about how you put on the jacket and turned into Luke Skywalker or exhibited characteristics that Luke Skywalker exhibited in the movies? Half the reviewers did. I'm not even sure if I find that joke funny or not because seeing it repeated 15 times tends to bias you.
So that's where I thought this one was going:
Another way to go is the "making fun of nerds with brutal sarcasm" route. You can aim for straight-up mean:
Or a more subtle character piece:
Or take the other side and tell those Star Wars bashers what's what:
How is that different from the other "this jacket turns you into Luke" reviews, you might wonder. Well, context -- it's framed as a serious defense against the "Ha! NERDS!" reviews -- and deadpan delivery. Maybe it's just me, but a lot of the other stories give me the vibe that the writer was giggling while typing his own joke.
And finally, I had to laugh at this one because this is the last place I was expecting a Star Trek fan to sneak in a shot at Star Wars.
The only thing that bugs me is that I feel like Spock would be a better speller, but whatever, I'm already being way too picky about free reading material.
#7. MHP The Sandler All Wood Coffin Kit
Yes, this is an actual pine coffin for sale. No, I don't know why someone would buy a pine coffin off of Amazon. I thought the "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" section would help, but it just made things more confusing.
This indicates that either a lot of joke review connoisseurs were hitting this item on their way to other joke items or that someone is planning to kill his wife by gassing the house and protecting himself with a gas mask and then burying her in elf shoes. Perhaps he could never talk her into wearing elf shoes while she was alive, and this is the only way.
"That's stupid," you might say, because it is stupid. But this review seems to indicate that spouse-murdering has occurred to at least one purchaser:
So who's stupid now? Probably still me. But this coffin appeals to not only to those who are about to be dead, but also those who are already dead. Now I'm just as tired as anyone else of throwaway zombie/vampire jokes where people think just mentioning zombies or vampires automatically makes something funny, but some of the zombie/vampire reviews here actually bring up good points about why a flimsy wooden coffin might be good or bad for different types of undead. Such as this one:
I don't think they've settled the issue, but it does make you think, and it can be a good jumping-off point for a real discussion about the pros and cons of different coffins for different types of undead. I myself have been really guilty of lumping all the undead together when it comes to the coffin issue and never really thought about their unique needs.
This review in particular really opened my eyes:
I mean seriously, how would he get it down there? You don't think about that sort of thing, right? These are the kinds of situations where you need feedback from real customers who are using your product out there in the field.
#6. Relaxman Relaxation Capsule
The obvious joke here is about how it looks like a spaceship or other sci-fi device, and how it transports you to a virtual reality world or something. That concept could be funny and interesting in the right hands, but nobody here is exactly Philip K. Dick or anything, so those reviews didn't really do it for me.
I am, however, always a sucker for a simple misunderstood-instructions joke:
And there's nothing like good old-fashioned biting sarcasm about the usefulness of the product:
Probably one of the better short-story-form reviews is this one, slightly more grounded in reality than the average "transported to another dimension" yarn and probably the better for it.
Not only is it an interesting story, but it also brings up a common human dilemma that many of us face -- whether the life of a human being is worth as much to us as their collection of Batman comics. And it doesn't just apply to neighbors with Batman comics. It applies to anyone in our lives with a collection of Superman comics, or Marvel comics, or manga, or any type of graphic novel media.
#5. Ready America 77100 Cat Evacuation Kit
Your first thought might be, "Is this a joke product?" No, you asshole. Some people, when faced with a fire or earthquake, might want to leave the house with their cat safely restrained and well-supplied instead of releasing it into the street to be run over by an arriving emergency vehicle. Maybe this product isn't for you if you like to throw your cat into the path of approaching fire trucks, but some people can make use of it.
Sorry, I'm supposed to be presenting sarcastic reviews, not writing them. As you can guess, most of the jokes come from misunderstood instructions, although each of these reviewers decided to go a different direction.
Taking a completely different route, another reviewer explores the alternate meaning of "evacuate":
And finally, someone who may have ordered entirely the wrong product: