Uncyclopedia:Pee Review/Howard Hughes
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SagnikN 17:51, June 29, 2010 (UTC)
|Humour:||5||Hello there. This is the oldest request here so I guess I'll take it. Having read your article a few times I think I've identified a couple of things that might be holding it back. Your humour for example is a bit random at times, and a lot of the content seems totally irrelevant. It also becomes way too listy towards the end. However, I feel there is some real potential in here, which I will talk you through later.
Generally speaking there is too much silliness in here. And not the good kind of silliness either. There are too many references to things that actually have nothing to do with Howard Hughes. Jokes about him bedding Margaret Thatcher and Borat are not particularly funny I'm afraid. They're actually kind of lazy. I call this "namedropping" - it's a technique regularly used by noobs and unregistered users. I did it myself in my first couple of articles. The reason jokes like this don't work, in my opinion, is that it could be anyone's name in there. You might as well say he had sex with Harold Houdini or C3PO. It wouldn't matter, it makes no difference who it is. Instead, you should be taking real characteristics of Hughes' life, and making jokes based on them. You do already do this to some degree, so I know you can, however this should be the focus of your article, and the randomness should be trimmed. A really good example of what I mean is the part where you talk about him revamping his hospital bed, making it pointlessly elaborate and complex. I liked this part, specifically the characterisation of Hughes as a mad inventor - the kind of demented genious who would design a supercomputer to crack an egg. You even have a little aside here where you explain that he really did this, and mention that real life is funnier than made-up randomness. I couldn't agree more. In fact you make my point for me exactly. So lose all the crazy, meaningless stuff about squirrels, Michael Jackson and poo, and get more of this stuff in - Hughes' mental instability and the pointless inventions he squandered his (obvious) talent on. If you're ever stuck, How to be funny and not just stupid is an invaluble guide to tackling randomness and making jokes with some real meat to them.
There are also a few times when otherwise decent ideas are marred by flawed execution. Firstly, the writing lacks subtlety and depth. For example, I rather liked the idea of Hughes being compared to Icarus, it was an astute observation. However I think you go too far suggesting that Hughes actually built his own Icarus-style wings. The joke about him being told not to fly too close to the sun was enough. That was nicely subtle. Try to continue this kind of humour throughout; instead of resorting to easy randomness, try using wit and subtlety. The part where you compare Hughes to Michael Jackson, for instance, isn't subtle. I think there are much funnier ways to suggest his insanity. For example, you shouldn't just state that Hughes is mad, hint at it. This article should demonstrate what I mean. Instead of describing how mad the subject is, it describes the mad things he does, but as if they're completely normal. That's the key here; be straight, encyclopaedic. But I will talk more about tone later, in the prose section of this review. I'm also torn about the spruce goose bit. It's kind of funny, but also a bit absurd. Maybe Hughes could simply think it was a real goose, or think a goose was a plane, because he's mad. I don't know, it's up to you.
Another problem is that the article is very listy. As HTBFANJS explains, lists are very bad. Personally, the reason I hate them is because they tend to skim over ideas rather than exploring them in any depth, leaving the text feeling rushed. They are also predictable and have no flow. Good humour is like poetry. It's controlled. The rhythm is important. These jokes would probably work better in the form of prose. The list about his acts of lunacy, for instance, could easily be moved into the biographical sections (try moving the bit about his obsession with Jean Russel's blouse to the section where he directs the actual film, for example). Again the list of Michael Jackson similarities should go. If you want to point out his similarities to Jackson, do it in prose. It doesn't really deserve it's own section either, you could just say something like "Hughes has been cited as an inspiration to many modern day celebrities, including Micahel Jackson and (insert stereotypically insane celebrities here)". While not hilarious, I hope you see how this would be an improvement. It subtlely suggests the two are insane, and also flows better. Another thing you should do is try to make it unexpected. Lists cannot do this, as they are usually very predictable. I seriously recommend you get rid of them all; the one of the people he's slept with in particular. That one doesn't really even make any jokes, it's just a succession of randomly generated names.
Same with the opening quotes. I wouldn't recommend having more than two. And even then you should only have them if they are bloody hilarious. My favourite was probably the one about the "derranged billionairre", but again I think it would work better as prose. You could say something like "Hughes came under criticism in his later years, with one magazine calling him a "deranged millionairre". Hughes wrote in to deny this, pointing out that he was in fact a billionairre". Don't be afraid to take your time with a joke.
|Concept:||5||Ok, I've covered a lot of this already above, but one thing I will say is you need to pin down your characterisation of Hughes as it's a bit confused. For instance, you say he never had interest in anything, then spend the rest of the article describing all the things he was interested in. You should change this so you're not contradicting yourself. The joke itself is fine, and did raise a smile actually. But maybe you should say "until a certain age he never had an interest in anything" or something.
Like I've said, just try to focus on real stuff about the man. You've clearly done your research here, as you seem to know a lot about him and his life. Keanu Reeves is another good article I can recommend about a real person. Note how it pretty much just describes his life how it really happened, but while jabbing at his celebrity persona. This is the area you should try and move into. To give you an example, the Spruce Goose section would describe how the government hired him to make a cheap, reliable aircraft, but Hughes went totally over the top and builds an enormous tank-carrying behemoth that is also a submarine (or something to this effect). Because that's what he did, made things overly complicated and went vastly over-budget. And not only is this true it's also kind of funny (a bit, anyway. You can probably make it funny, at least).
|Prose and formatting:||4||Your spelling and grammar aren't great, but this won't be hard to fix. There are too many errors to list, so I'll just suggest you run a spellcheck or something. Maybe ask a language-savvy friend to look it over. Better yet, try the proofreading service, they'll comb out the majority of the typpos and stuff. And another quick note - you need a space after a comma or full stop (or period, if you're that way inclined).
You also need to rethink your tone, because it's inconsistent. Inconsistency can ruin an article by making it confusing. I would probably recommend an encyclopaedic style here - a dry tone to contrast with the lunacy of the subject matter. At the moment you kind of flit between the encyclopaedic and the chatty. Chatty could work, I guess, but I think you'd probably have to give the narrator some kind of agenda (i.e. trying to convince the reader that Hughes is great/shit/etc - something like that). That's just an idea, feel free to ignore it. But whatever you pick, stick with the same style throughout.
The point I'm trying to make is to be more satirical, which can easily be achieved by writing as the straight man. You talk a lot about people Hughes has inspired for instance, mainly by his repeating the same phrase over and over again. While some of these are decent jabs at the likes of President Obama and various pop musicians (although you do make this joke too many times in my opinion), you could word them better. Try and get them in as subtle digs rather than just stating them blatantly. For example, you could say "Some say critics were too harsh on Hughes. He was criticised for repeating the same phrase over and over, but when Barack Obama does it they give him the Nobel prize." Not an amazing joke I know, but hopefully you can see how to take the article into more satirical territory.
Another problem I had was with the little "asides" you kept making. You tend to comment on the subject matter, often in brackets, like where you say "you know the one I mean" when talking about the sex toy thing, and where you say "where he got this information from is unknown" when talking about Hughes' knowledge of vaginas. These really ruin the flow, and I recommend you remove as much of this kind of thing as you can. The joke about him realising all women have vaginas, for exaple, is pretty funny, but the bracketed comment you go on to make ruins it. It's unecessary. In fact, it's not even a joke. Then, there's the bit about his modified hospital bed, where you make the "aside" about truth being funnier than fiction. With this one it seems you're trying to explain the joke, which obviously is never good. So yeah, get rid of them. If you really want to keep them perhaps do them as footnotes.
There are a few parts where it's hard to understand what you're talking about, like when you mention the cone sex toy thing. I couldn't really picture what you meant. Explain youself more clearly throughout the article, or people won't find it funny, no matter how good your observations are. Try reading it aloud to see how it flows. Also try to make your sentences as simple as possible. You could just say, "he invented a sex toy", for example, instead of all that clumsy prose and knowing asides (that's if you even wanted to keep this joke, I found it a bit random and silly to be honest).
|Images:||4||Your pictures could do with some more thought as well I'm afraid. Some more genuine pics of Howard Hughes and his inventions would be nice to see, rather than the absurd images of geese and George Clooney. I liked the toilet-car one, and was kind of funny and fit in with the whole mad inventor idea, which as I said I also liked. Maybe the guys over at Image Request could knock you up some images of other silly inventions.
The ones you have of Hughes already are fine, but the captions could be better. I know that coming up with good captions is hard when you're stuck with specific images. Again just try and keep them in line with the tone of the article. My comments in humour and concept should help here.
A final note for images: they're all a bit bunched up towards the end. Perhaps try to move them around a bit, free up some space. Maybe even lose a few (the ones that have nothing to do with Hughes should probably go first).
|Miscellaneous:||4.5||Socre determined by the feeling in my gut.|
|Final Score:||22.5||So to conclude, your main problem here really is lack of focus. Sort that out, and well as some of the spelling/grammar, and the article will be in much better shape. I hope the review helps, sorry you had to wait so long. Please leave me a message on my talk page if I haven't made anything clear enough, or if you want to ask me something more specific (or if you want to thank me, abuse me or are just plain lonely). Wherever you go with this I wish you the best of luck.|
|Reviewer:||--Black Flamingo 16:25, July 23, 2010 (UTC)|