@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.]