ReportOfTheWeek is a YouTube channel run by a “20-something” year old guy who talks about fast food and food in general. He eats a dish and then talks about it in detail for the camera. ReportOfTheWeek, or as he sometimes refers to himself, “reviewbrah,” analyzes the dish down to its contents and their positive, negative, or neutral additions to the eating experience. He has a personality that many would refer to as “old soul,” and his quirky but relatable observations on such a mundane slice of life as fast food are extremely entertaining and calming.
The thing about ReportOfTheWeek is, though the content is always entertaining, it’s hard to pinpoint any one review as a “standout”—all of them are pretty consistently quirky, soothing, and descriptive. However, if I had to choose one review as my favorite it would be his review of Cookies & Creme flavored Pop–Tarts. The reason for this is that “reviewbrah” pointed out a downfall of Pop-Tarts in general, which I must say resonates with me. As good as the contents of a Pop-Tart are, the “bone dry”–ness of the crust negates those positive qualities altogether. It’s true! I have had so many unenjoyable experiences eating the crust of a Pop-Tart that it felt nice to have this feeling confirmed by “reviewbrah.” Thanks to him, I will no longer waste my time eating the edges of a Pop-Tart, wondering to myself silently why I am supposed to be enjoying such a “bone dry” dish that has somehow earned cultural icon status.
Other highlights of the channel include “reviewbrah’s” review of Monster’s “Ultra Red” energy drink. The best part of this review was not a commentary on the taste of the product at all, but rather the descriptive blurb on its packaging, which urged the consumer to take a break from his “mindless job” and indulge in Monster energy. To this, ReportOfTheWeek responded, “I like my mindless job! I am offended by this!” The way ReportOfTheWeek seamlessly interjects his life perspective on the branding of a product is incredibly funny and authentic.
The simple pleasure of “reviewbrah” in moments like this reminds me of the simple pleasure of eating at a dining hall with a old friend as he asks you, “How is your salad?” and you answer sincerely that it’s “alright” while adding in some details about the texture of the dressing or maybe the abundance (or lack thereof!) of croutons, assured in the wisdom that your interaction, which, in some textbook version of the world, might be considered “superficial” small talk, is sufficient in conveying to your friend that he matters enough to you for you to let your guard down and unlock that approximation of your “true” self you stumbled upon maybe last week. Maybe this doesn’t come through in the words themselves as you speak them, but rather in the way you rest your head on your hand with your elbow propped on top of the table—yes that one really does the trick. It’s the cherry on top in fact, while your other arm listlessly twirls a plastic fork through lettuce and crouton.
I think ReportOfTheWeek is the kind of thing that resonates with people who don’t like too much stimulation. Every one of “reviewbrah’s” videos is simple: no change of scene, no special camera effects, no abrupt switches of topics, just a kid sitting in front of a camera talking about what he’s eating in calm detail. In a culture where we as consumers are bombarded with more advertising and new products than ever before, the slow, deliberate, and childlike manner in which “reviewbrah” analyzes a dish is anxiety-relieving. We face so many choices as consumers these days, it’s overwhelming. Every day, a new craze (artisan menu with a free minion, too), a new trend (now serving Asian-American fusion options, all under 650 calories) or, a new sauce (applewood-smoked bacon glaze with real whiskey– it’s “the one thing you didn’t know you needed in your life”). It feels like I’m always trying to keep up with the hype. But what’s the rush, really? If the marketers want to know what we think, we’ll let them know. But while we’re at it, we might as well enjoy ourselves, talking like old friends at the dining hall, not sure where we’re going or what our future holds but content in the knowledge that words, and each other, are all we really have.