The chocolate mint cravings of a New York City Yelp reviewer are brought hilariously to life in the latest installment of the viral web video series, Real Actors Read Yelp. Jenny G.'s review of the Times Square Olive Garden praises the chain's classic Chicken Caesar Salad for its "nice balance of cheese, lettuce, and other ingredients," but later takes a turn towards the noir as she reveals, "I like that candy way too much."
Actress Ashlie Atkinson delivers the dramatic monologue, her face betraying the conflicting emotions of the Yelper's inner thoughts. While the location, she feels, is "superb," she worries the waiters and waitresses might not be as happy to serve as they appear.
"The waitresses/waiters smile and seem nice but it feels like they are doing that just to increase their tips," she said, brow furrowing. "Not so genuine."
Real Actors Read Yelp has seven episodes so far, including the review of a San Francisco strip club where the dancers "either look like they just had a kid or they are obviously on drugs."
The series was heralded by The Atlantic as "a review of Yelp itself -- one that both celebrates and eviscerates the site's particular brand of comically weaponized consumerism."
Joe Plummer, an actor from New York, came up with the idea after reading aloud Yelp reviews while in the car with his wife, Natalie Markoff.
“We had to pull the car over at one point, we were laughing so hard, just crying with laughter,” Plummer told The New York Times.
Kevin Allocca, the manager of YouTube Trends, told The Times, "These little slices of our Web experience — social media posts, customer reviews — have become such a part of our daily lives that we can sit back and collectively laugh at the absurd elements of them if they’re presented in the right way."
This is not the first time an Olive Garden review has gone unexpectedly viral. In March, 85-year-old Grand Forks Herald veteran restaurant writer Marilyn Hagerty reviewed her local Olive Garden. The piece was read hundreds of thousands of times online and shared or forty-five thousand times on Facebook.