No kidding: Denny's is introducing a special menu inspired by the upcoming movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. When I first heard this, I thought it was a joke. After all, watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy constituted ten hours of my life that I would never get back; no amount of drug use would induce me to watch any of those films ever, ever again. And I wouldn't watch the new movie if I was kidnapped by Al Qaeda, tortured with battery clamps, then promised release only if I agreed to sit through the entire film.
But there is a light in every giant, adversarial spider tunnel. The marketing wizards at Denny's may have done themselves and the public a solid by designing a menu around The Hobbit -- because the menu at Denny's couldn't possibly get any worse. Here are five reasons why this Hobbit-themed menu is the best idea in Middle Earth.
5. The new menu will energize Denny's nighttime customer base. Denny's is famous for two things: having food that truckers will turn down, and having an after-dark crowd of non-tipping, coffee-siphoning social rejects who play World of Warcraft in their basement during the day and park their pimply asses in the big corner booths at Denny's at night, arguing over the image quality of the Blu-ray transfers on the discs in the trilogy's theatrical-edition boxed set and throwing straw wrappers at each other.
This new menu will be not only familiar to Rings fanatics, it will renew their sense of camaraderie and boost their self-esteem just enough to have them start looking for dates on Craigslist. Even better, these perpetual coffee-swillers might actually order something off the Hobbit menu, giving the servers a chance to earn a living wage.
4. Denny's got to rebrand the same lousy menu items.
The theme may be new, but the menu appears to be the same old nutritionally vapid, greasy and low-quality hog slops that Denny's has been peddling for decades. The Hobbit Hole Breakfast? Two eggs fried into the middles of what appear to be hamburger buns. The Shire Sausage Skillet looks just like the Denny's green bell pepper-mucked breakfast skillet. The Ring Burger has three onion rings stacked on the top bun of a standard burger. And the Dwarves' Turkey & Dressing Dinner is the same institutional, Banquet dinner-grade hork that's been on the menu for years.
Denny's clearly took the easy -- and cheaper -- way out. Still, it's too bad the "chefs" didn't make an authentic effort to give the Hobbit-humpers some honestly original dishes, like "Orc Chops," "Ribeye of Sauron," "Frodonuts" and "Fried Chicken Legolas with Ara-corn and Gandalf Gravy." 3. The hobbitty menu theme will resurrect all the funny trilogy jokes -- and inspire new ones.
Randall Graves said it best in Clerks II: "Those fuckin' hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a fucking volcano." Clowning the new movie will be even easier, because there's precedent to follow -- and Denny's is directly contributing to this by shoving the latest elf, wizard and hobbit prequel into the news ahead of the actual movie's release. If Kevin Smith decides to get up off his lazy ass and write another Clerks movie, he'll have more Rings one-liners prêt-à-porter.
2. It'll piss off those vam-puking Twilight tw*ts -- and maybe even start a turf war.
Remember the saying "The enemy of my enemy is my friend?" As much as I can't stand the idea of bands of roving, Tolkien-worshipping freakjobs roaming the streets and invading public spaces with their bad dork ju-ju, the only thing I hate more is the current manic-depressive mobs of Twilight fans smoking clove cigarettes and whining about Kristin Stewart's hoeyness. And the Rings fans at least keep to themselves. With any luck, a new influx of hobbiteers will force the Twilighters back into their parents' attics (as opposed to those Ring-ers who dwell in their parents' basements) and off my radar screen.
1. Maybe in an epic, fantasy-adventure world, the food/service/atmosphere/décor at Denny's is actually good.
Perhaps the Denny's restaurants in Middle Earth serve delicious meals with friendly, efficient staff working in clean, comfortable dining rooms -- but the ones here on real earth are terrifying enough to make Sauron himself give up his quest for world domination and retire to Florida to play quiet games of chess in the park and drink chamomile tea.