Uncyclopedia:Pee Review/Why?:We Can't Have Nice Things

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edit Why?:We Can't Have Nice Things

A wonderful story about my childhood...Sirrah CatshirE Chess the Striker2117 20:31, September 24, 2010 (UTC)

I'll get this. --Black Flamingo 09:53, October 23, 2010 (UTC)
Humour: 5.5 Right, this is a decent article with a great idea behind it and several quite funny parts, the key thing holding it back in my view is the way you have constructed your narrator. The abusive and shouty narrator thing has kind of been done to death. It's quite a common trap that many writers on this site fall into, myself included. The problem is that it's very difficult to make it anything more than just a tirade of swearing that ultimately limps to a weak conclusion, and while that may provide some laughs (as this article does) the style itself is weak and isn't inherently funny. You do well in putting an original spin on it however, and I think I have some suggestions to get it into much better shape.

When I read the article, my first thought was that the father character is too abusive and shouty near the start. My main point in this review will be to change this so that he actually starts off quite mild-mannered and reasonable (although still unwaveringly selfish) and slowly get more and more pissed off as his rant goes on. Being abusive and swearing isn't particularly funny on its own, and isn't enough to keep the article interesting all the way through. I would probably set a guideline like "no swearing or all caps until the half way point", maybe. Try not to make it too obvious that this is where it's going though. A lot of the stuff in here, such as the Family Meeting Time part, could be just as funny if not funnier if the narrator was more low-key and less aggressive. Perhaps try to change the abusive language into snide/sarcastic remarks instead. The parts about the mother being depressed and thinking she was in Narnia sort of read like this anyway, and I thought they were some of the best lines in here. So to give you an idea of what I'm talking about; don't have him not giving a shit if the chair is missing a leg, have him be a bit calmer, like; "yes I know your chair is missing a leg, just sit down, in fact that's what I want to talk about".

Having read a few articles that take similar approaches, I think I have a few tips for you. It's definitely a good idea to cut down on swearing and shouting. I remember one reviewer on here once said that suddenly swearing is rarely funny - and I think they're absolutely right. Don't curse or yell right off the bat, again you should try to build up to it. Demonstrate with prose the increasing instability of the character, show him starting off with a fairly reasonable complaint, then get a little angry over it, then break down into the abusive style you use here. So for example, instead of just saying "Timmy, you're a horrible little bastard", try: "kids cost a lot of money, more money than I can really afford. We can't have nice things because I have to spend all my money on you, Timmy. So it's all your fault, you horrible little bastard. God, I fucking hate you!" I hope this example demonstrates what I mean. Don't be afraid to take your time building up to jokes, they will probably be a lot more effective if you do. If you write well, and flows naturally, your reader probably won't guess where it's going and will be taken by surprise when the abuse comes out. Therefore they will also find it funnier. I think this article might be worth reading if you want to see an example of when this style has been successful.

As a result of some of the same problems, I feel your ending is a little weak. I'm not just talking about the apparent death of the narrator (although that is a bit of a cliche) but also how rushed it all is. Some more communication between the son and the father would help to slow it down, maybe have the dad say something like; what's that? You're going to take it into show and tell tomorrow?" before deciding that he's going to burn the GI Joe doll, for instance. Another problem with the ending is that because the tirade has reached its climax, it's pretty much just a string of insults directed at the kid, a large portion of which is in all-caps. While some of this is funny it's a bit too chaotic and scruffy-looking. Like I've said, a more low-key, but still heartless, narration would not only be more original but will allow you to write a more fulfilling climax. For instance, the line "it's all because of your stupid childlike idiocy" is funnier than any of the ranting, swearing or shouting. Try to make this kind of abuse your peak, rather than the over-the-top stuff you have now. I also feel the dad explodes a little too quickly, which leaves you hurtling towards the big finish before really getting to grips with the concept. It would be nice to see more stuff about why they can't have nice things (the second half of the article neglects to deal with this and deviates into more general abuse, which is less interesting in my view).

Concept: 7 The concept is good, it's the execution that is problem. I really like your title, and from this alone I knew this article was going to have great potential. It's an ingenious yet very simple idea. The issues are all discussed above in humour, there aren't really any other problems that are unique to this section. Like I say, the characterisation of the narrator is the key, it's just something I've seen done time and time again. Even if you don't follow my suggestions to make it more subtle, I would definitely suggest you try to think of another interesting spin you can put on it. Something to set it apart from the others.
Prose and formatting: 7 The spelling and grammar here are mostly fine, and apart from the prose being increasingly rushed towards the end, I don't think you have much of a problem here. The main issue is with the formatting; the way the article looks. The ranting monologue doesn't lend itself well to formatting. Too much punctuation makes it look untidy (you don't really need so many exclamation marks, especially if you take the subtler approach I discuss above). And caps make it look very untidy, especially when there's a lot of them, and even one of the headers is in all caps. One thing I was advised to do once that does help is to embolden the capitalised words, but I think it would be better if you just used them less. It's up to you of course. I think that's about it for this section as well, all my issues with writing style are again mostly dealt with in Humour.
Images: 6 The first image is really good. I really liked the caption too, and I thought it would go quite well with my proposal of toning down the narrator's abusive ways. It's probably a bit too large but rather than resizing it, I would try to get more of a gap between it and the start of the first section (either by making the contents table larger by adding more headers or expanding upon your rather short intro).

The second image of the angry face is also pretty good, although it's really the caption that makes it. However, the image is of a really low quality and looks all kind of pixelated, so I would suggest you find another. Either a better version of the same image or a totally different one altogether. Like I said, it's the caption here that's important. This image also seems a bit too large, as if you're trying to fill gaps with one huge image rather than simply finding others. I would definitely recommend you try the latter, the more images the better really.

The last image isn't so great I'm afraid. Firstly, it doesn't really match the description of the burning narrator in the text, who is clearly in agonising pain at having his legs turned to cinders, and secondly it's in a bit of a silly place, just at the end. It looks like you're simply trying to expand the article so it doesn't look too short. Don't worry so much about the length, the shortness sort of suits it really. Also, just get rid of that picture, it's a major detractor. I wouldn't even bother trying to depict the burning scene if I were you, it's probably going to be impossible to do it well.

Finally, I would just like to say that one or two more pics would really help. Maybe some visual cues of all the nice things they can't have?

Miscellaneous: 6 My gut feeling.
Final Score: 31.5 So to sum up, this is a rather good idea that suffers mostly from it's execution. If I'm being honest though, the execution isn't all that bad, it could just stand to be better. Overall, I think it has good potential and shouldn't require much work to get it into much better shape. If there's anything I've said here that you want me to explain better, or if you want my opinion on anything I might have missed, please let me know and I'll try to help. I hope the review was ok.
Reviewer: --Black Flamingo 14:09, October 23, 2010 (UTC)
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