Review: Death's Blog

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Death's Blog is a humor blog fiction written by a fictionalized Grim Reaper. The blog picks up right after Death retires. He blogs about dating, his mother, and reminisces about memorable killings. When it started it had new postings 3 to 5 times a week, but posting slowed down through and eventually stopped. Fortunately, the blog is scheduled to come back at the end of this month.

Plot
This is a humor blog. It does not pretend to be anything else. You're not going to find a lot of deep soul searching(figuratively speaking, there IS literal soul searching!) nor are there epic quests. It is simply the story of Death going into retirement, dating, and eventually being pulled into semi-retirement. Every post is quite funny and as the blog goes on the situations only get more ridiculous.

Format
The story is presented as a standard blog fiction, that is, a single fictional character writing a blog. The blog makes good use of it's formats. There are usually humorous pictures to go along with the topic of each post. It will also provides backlinks to past events so you can dive into the blog at any point. Best of all, Death responds to comments regularly.

When starting out, posts were only about 250 - 300 words. However, as the blog went on posts gradually became longer. 500 - 600 words quickly became the Norm.

There isn't any graphic sex or violence. However, the blog still isn't for any kids who might still believe in the "boogeyman". Flesh eating demons tend to get a PG-13 rating.

Pros
It's funny. The cast of Characters are hilarious. The Devil as an umpteen times married pervert, an alcoholic reaper, a clinically depressed reaper, egotistical philosophers, and a never ending cast of Death's victims(well, he uses the word "clients"). All that before we even get into Death's disastrous dating life.

There's also a lot of satire built into the blog. For instance death often speaks like an annoying corporate boss when talking about managing his reapers. Another favorite example of satire is his recounting of when he was delayed bringing a busload of victims to heaven because of heavy "traffic", because it's a hilarious parody of airline delays. Sometimes satire just comes from Death explaining certain how certain rules in the afterlife came about, like the one grocery bag rule.

There's often also a surreal feeling to some of the posts. Like the way Death nonchalantly describes a restaurant in hell where you can hear the screams from the kitchen and human flesh is served. It's just funny reading a description of this the way one would describe eating at Applebees. It's made to seem perfectly normal.

Once you combine all 3 of these aspects you get posts that have you in stiches as you read about Death having to tell the devil not to eat the flesh of a bunch of nuns that were dropped off in purgatory instead of heaven because the alcoholic death wanted to make Happy Hour!

There are other good things I like about Death's blog. He makes full use of the blog format. He uses pictures, responds to people's comments "in character", and links back to past events (usually).

Cons
As funny as most of it is, there are still some problems that plague Death's blog. The first one you will probably notice is the color scheme of the site. White on Black background, as appropriate as hard on the eyes to read. The second thing you'll notice is an even worse problem. The text of published comments are black so you can't read other people's comments without somehow highlighting them.

Another strike against the site is that it starts so slow. You have to slog through about the first 15 or 20 entries to get to the funny stuff. Don't get me wrong, humor is attempted, but it gets old fast. The editor, Donna Sirianni, at Web Fiction Guide, explains it perfectly in her review of the site.

I kept thinking of Norm MacDonald’s Death in The Family Guy when I was reading this and there’s a stark difference between the two. Family Guy’s Death isn’t seen very often so when we do see him, it’s with something new and the laughs at what he does maintain their freshness. With Death’s Blog, it was cute and quirky for the first few entries (I actually read the first ten since they were so short) but I think the schtick got old quick. The constant reiteration that he was once Death and is searching for a new life just dampened the humor that could have been there.
Unfortunately, you can't just skip the posts, otherwise you probably won't get future jokes.

My last criticism are 2 cheesy running jokes in the story. The words "Scythe and "Reaper" being constantly substituted into other common words or phrases. Like "Scythemore University" or "Reapernecking". I know that comedy is subjective, but in my subjective opinion it quits being funny after about the second time you do it.

Conclusion
If you can get over the bad color scheme and slog through the beginning posts you will find a very funny story. As I said in the beginning, the blog will be coming back at the end of this month. So if you hurry, you should have time to read the archives just as your rss feed starts loading up new humorous posts for your enjoyment. Overall Death's Blog does come squeek by with a recommendation. I give it a:
6 out of 10
(rating scale)

2 comments:

5ws1h said...

Good review.
If Death gets a 6 I don't stand a chance in 773H !
So is it better to read a review of Death's blog, and learn from it, then to experience it ourselves?
Thanks, Dustin I learned a lot from this review of what I should and shouldn't do.
We can all benefit at Death's expense.
-Isaac

DustinM said...

Isaac,
A '6' is still considered "worth your time". So yes, read it, laugh, learn, and then laugh some more.

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