Explain the craze about this restaurant review.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by gturner, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    I'm at a loss.

    I ran across an article about how an 86-year old journalist in North Dakota won a national journalism award for an Olive Garden review that went viral, dawing praise from famous chefs, and I just can't figure it out.

    http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/231419/

    It's well written, not too long, pretty much exactly what you'd expect for a short restaurant review by a good local newspaper writer.

    Of course now she has a wiki which says that yes, she wrote the Olive Garden reviw (above link - which also includes a CBS appearance) that went viral.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Hagerty

    Am I missing something in the review, some hook, inside joke, insight, or angle? :confused:
     
  2. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored The Norf Remembers Moderator

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    It's the earnestness with which she reviews an Olive Garden that has prompted some people to mock and parody her delivery, and others to think that it must be Onion-like satire. When it went viral and so many people started mocking her, big time chefs and food critics like Anthony Bourdain came to her defense, and she went on the talk show circuit. The journalism award was a lifetime achievement award from her alma mater at the University of South Dakota, so it's not like she got a Pulitzer. It's essentially the journalistic equivalent of the Rebecca Black Friday video where people parodied it or made fun of it mercilessly, until people felt bad and started supporting her, and she eventually did the talk show circuit. Plus, it's a sweet elderly lady who was genuinely happy about the restaurant opening, so people want to cheer her on for her down-home charm.
     
  3. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Plus, her review is rather solid. She gets right to the point about the atmosphere, the food, the service, making pertinent points along the way, and she relayed it all in an easy to read, organized fashion.
     
  4. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Okay, both those make quite a bit of sense.

    It was a well-written, enjoyable review, written not to show off writing skills or cultural sophistication or a thousand other things, but to tell readers what the new Olive Garden was like, which is the purpose of writing a review, and why we read them (when wer'e not so bored to go looking for snark and purple prose).

    So she's basically like the school-bus monitor lady that gained fame by doing a thankless job and doing it well, minus the in-your-face teenage attacks posted on Youtube.
     
  5. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored The Norf Remembers Moderator

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    Yeah, pretty much.
     
  6. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I hadn't seen that before. I could see people thinking the review is a parody simply because it's Olive Garden (which isn't bad, it's just there). She actually is a talented writer and probably would do better in big cities with better restaurants, but her Olive Garden review does exactly what it's supposed to do. I suspect, where she's from, Olive Garden is among the better restaurants anyway.

    So this is only a big deal because others made it a big deal. It's kind of like the Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt.
     
  7. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    At length, I asked my server what she would recommend. She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that. Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.

    She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes — several black olives.
    Does Grand Forks know how to party, or what?! :p
     
  8. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    They're gettin' crazy!
     
  9. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]


    "On a hot summer day, I will try the raspberry lemonade that was recommended."




    [LEFT]Let that freak flag fly, girl!
    [/LEFT]
     
  10. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    I think she's sweet, and I would likely try her recommendations. She appears to be a reliable, trustworthy reviewer. She does seem to engender trust, at least for me.
     
  11. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I hadn't seen the review before, or heard any of the "craze" surrounding it, but having read it just now I can see why people would think it's a satire. It made me chuckle a few times, especially the raspberry lemonade comments. It's just so damn sincere, and takes Olive Garden so seriously! It's certainly well written and a good review overall, but it's just hard to imagine anyone writing these words and not intending them as a parody. They are certainly from a different time; it's very much a sweet old lady thing to do, in a "oh, bless her heart, she takes Olive Garden so seriously, how cute is that?" kind of way.
     
  12. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yup. And if she happened to live somewhere other than North Dakota, she'd probably be reviewing much more sophisticated restaurants and doing it very well.
     
  13. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I heard an interview, and she basically said that her town that doesn't get much excitement, and not much in terms of restauraunts, so that when Olive Garden did come, that it was rather a big deal, and apparently the townsfolk were looking forward to it very much, so taking that in mind, I think it's easy to see why she wrote it the way she did. She has that wide-eyed optimisim of someone experiencing something for the first time, and while a big chain like Olive Garden isn't exactly something to be bragging about, for her and the townsfolk, it is something special.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  14. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Yes. A lot of big city folk forget that for many small towns, people still fondly remember getting their first KFC or Pizza Hut, and their first large "sit down" restaurant chain marks a coming of age. That the fancy world they see on television is real, and is coming bit by bit to their home town. It provides reassurance that the American future won't pass them by, and will be arriving right in their own tiny corner of the world, and it brings breadsticks.
     
  15. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly. Not so novel for those of us who are surrounded by this, where it might even be considered mundane in the scope of daily life in a big city, but it's easy to forget that there are smaller towns that don't have access to such conveniences, so that when one does finally open, it's a big deal.

    The downside to this, however, is when development companies decide it's a good idea to build clusters of big box stores. All fine if you like the convenience of your favourite chain in different cities you travel to, but I feel it removes the uniqueness a city has, if you expect the same stores and restaurants everywhere you go, and is not so great for smaller cities where the economy depends on local businesses.

    I live in a medium sized city and we only have one Starbucks. A shock to many, I'm sure, but our other big national chain keeps us in good supply.