@peanutfreemom: Staging comedy with the audience as your co-stars

Someone has crafted an excellent Twitter satire with the fictional Debra Jones-O’Brien, a sanctimonious, busybody, self-appointed supermom with her fragile, peanut-allergic son Caleb and a rapid-fire scroll of judgemental, self-oblivious perspectives from the suburban vacuum. Here’s a sample:

  • “Mom at Snip-Its told me she uses ‘Johnson & Johnson’s’ Baby Shampoo for her children.  I wouldn’t put that poison in Caleb’s hair.”
  • “@FCC I’m concerned about the show #glee.  Their writers have demonstrated insensitivity towards those affected by peanut allergy.”
  • “Caleb wants to see Cars 2, but we don’t support Disney products.  I suppose we’re just a little more socially conscious than some.”
  • “The complimentary coffee at the Volvo dealership was NOT fair trade certified.  Uh, Earth to Volvo?  Hello?”
  • “Drafting a petition to have the lyric ‘Peanuts and Cracker Jack’ omitted from ‘Take me out to the ballgame’.  Very insensitive.”
  • “Parents who buy their children “Lunchables” should be put it prison.”
  • “Parenting Tip: Try calling carrot sticks ‘Power Sticks’.”

The tweets themselves are a hilarious, a too-close reflection of actual clueless parents with a few more dollars than sense and a lifestyle-convenient social consciousness. @peanutfreemom creates a legitimately clever satire of obnoxious nannies everywhere who are eager to impose their rules, lifestyle choices and morality on everyone around them.

But I really love the author’s use of the unique structure of Twitter to pull it off. It’s more than just Twitter trolling; @peanutfreemom knows how to agitate just enough among the credulous who think she’s a real person. She pushes buttons sure to draw indignant outrage, including class snobbishness, judgement of others’ parenting, pop culture (baiting fans of Glee and Bridesmaids), school teachers and adoption. That outrage in turn fuels the growing audience, who are unwittingly participating in the production as it unfolds. The narrative can go wherever the audience steers it, or wherever it gets the most laughs and attention.

As long as it’s funny, and grounded by concepts and characters that reflect some real aspects of our culture, then I consider something like this as creatively entertaining as a well done comedy sketch or comedy episode. I’ve also thought about this way too much.

[UPDATE: Welcome all the many, many @peanutfreemom lovers and haters.]

11 thoughts on “@peanutfreemom: Staging comedy with the audience as your co-stars

  1. Fuck you. Poe’s Law aside, people think Karl Pilkington is a joke, too, but what makes him so insanely awesome is he’s NOT. It took me several hours to figure out whether or not she’s real or the put-on of a satirist. I don’t think she is. If she were, the satirist would have made it obvious by now by posting in “The Onion” or something like that. She hasn’t, and for a satirist that sharp, the catchphrase, “Um, yeah, hi,” would be too much of a give-away and would’ve been avoided.

    If she’s a parody, she’s not that good a one. And if she’s NOT a parody, she’s fucking amazing. And if you believe they put a man on the Moon, and if you believe there’s nothing up their sleeves, then nothing is cool.

    • Nice to meet you, Tony. Thanks for visiting containseggs!

      We’re sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your service. We submitted your post to the containseggs Customer Care team to process your request for a refund and to cancel your subscription.

      We also apologize for the delay in getting back to you. Our staff is limited because we’re in a bit of a cash flow bind right now. Valued subscribers such as you are canceling every day, also typicially because of alternative interpretations of satire.

      We were further delayed because, after multiple readings, we are still not exactly sure what the fuck you are talking about. After further research, we made a breakthrough discovery that helped us resolve your support case: We also don’t care.

      So, although you are not eligible for a refund under the terms of your agreement, we will still gladly cancel your subscription. We also are able to offer you this picture of a Satire Meter, which we believe will be helpful to you in the future:

      https://containseggs.com/?attachment_id=464

      (Sharp eyes will notice that it looks just like a Scientology e-meter. A containseggs tip: You can easily convert those old e-meters into Satire Meters with a bar of soap and a penny.)

      Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for your past patronage.

    • Landon, I promise you it’s satire. There have been many clues and links posted over the past several days on Twitter and elsewhere that make it clear. Plus, just go back and read her posts.

  2. I really don’t know if I want her to be real or not. I know a mother that is so similar its scary. I just discovered her today and I’m entertained and depressed at the same time.

    • I hear you Rob, the thing that makes this so entertaining is that our satirist assumes an unfortunately believable character in @peanutfreemom. Depressingly close to reality.

  3. Pingback: No good dookie-headed credit hoarders at L.A. Times Tech blog “scoop” the news that @peanutfreemom is satire | containseggs

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