“Amazon Review: The Musical!” Keys in on a Mom Whose Kid’s Instrument Is No Baby Grand - Culture | MERRY JANE
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“Amazon Review: The Musical!” Keys in on a Mom Whose Kid’s Instrument Is No Baby Grand

Go BTS on “Cute First Piano for Toddlers,” from the hilarious web-series inspired by earnest product reviews.

by Lauren Maul

by Lauren Maul

I never lie, I just really like to jazz up the truth. Once, in first grade, a boy in my class threw up in his desk but later when I told my mom and sister about it I changed the vomit to “explosive diarrhea.” Not a total lie, just spiced up a bit. (Besides, the diarrhea line had gotten quite a few laughs at recess, so I knew I had to use it in my after-school car-ride-home routine.)

In Amazon Reviews: The Musical!, I use actual Amazon reviews, so there isn’t any room to lie…but I can jazz up the reviewer’s truth by repeating the lines I want to emphasize and highlighting the emotional shape of the review with a melody.


The Amazon review. Image via Lauren Maul

To me, this woman’s review for a child’s tiny piano is pretty dark. In my mind she’s a Mommy Dearest-type who shows her resentment toward her daughter by occasionally tipping the new tiny piano onto her child’s toddler body. A friend of mine disagreed and said she interpreted the original review as “no big deal—the lady just doesn’t like the piano.”

But that’s boring. I knew the real truth was MUCH jazzier than that. So, I set it to music, added a maniacal cackle, and put it in the series.


Alexius Smith and the baby piano. Image via Jason White

If you’ve seen the other videos then you know that the Amazon musical dancers are total delights. I am not a dancer (I basically have one dance move, and it’s more of a “hippie flail”), so I am glad I hired Wendy Seyb, the choreographer/director. She introduced me to our fabulous four: Beth, Daphne, Josh, and Laura. Whether they are channeling Meatloaf, bopping in the park as ’90s dancers, or rocking some “hand-ography” in the bedroom, they are always a delight to watch. The only direction they got for this episode was “just be a baby,” so they were.


Laura Otremba-Lukos, Daphne Lee, Joshua Schnetzer, Beth Crandall. Image via Lauren Maul

I was feeling a real Muppet Babies-vibe with this scene, so I loaned the star of the episode some striped socks in an homage to “Nanny,” the striped-sock wonder.

Each episode of this web-series can stand on its own, but if you watch all of them together you’ll notice recurring props, dancers, and lovable characters from other episodes. To be honest, the three “boozy buddies” in this episode all had a little too much fun/wine, which was entirely the prop-master’s fault.


Rebecca Vigil, Larry Owens, and Gabe Morales, a.k.a. the “Wine Gang.” Image via Lauren Maul

We were supposed to use pale green tea or white grape juice instead of real white wine but the prop-master totally spaced that day and only had real wine to work with on-set. But no one complained. (The prop-master is such a stoner…. CONFESSION: I am the prop-master.)

There are four new episodes left—are you caught up? Next week we will see the paranoid side of Amazon reviews as a frantic woman reviews the Bible on the Kindle.


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Lauren Maul

Lauren Maul lives in Brooklyn, where she creates stories, music, and shows (while vaping.) See what she’s up to at www.laurenmaul.org.



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