If you’re planning on seeing the Fifty Shades movie only so you can get your snark on, then we have a reading assignment for you. Of course, the web is littered with Fifty Shades of Grey parodies, but “Fanny Merkin” (a.k.a. Andrew Shaffer, author of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love) wrote one of the funniest — and it’s a book-length parody. Yes, he wrote an entire novel that’s pretty much a line-by-line parody of Fifty Shades — it digs fun at the sex scenes, at the brand-name dropping, at the writing, at the murmuring, at the meandering inner monologues, and most especially at Anastasia’s various inner voices. It’s called Fifty Shames of Earl Grey and yes, there’s a grey tie on the cover. Earl Grey’s awesome deep dark secret is that he’s not nearly as kinky as he thinks he is. He wants to spank Anna Steal and she’s kind of like, ” That’s it?” Other dark secrets include: he rocks out to Nickelback albums, he has a man-crush on Tom Cruise, and he thinks that Italian food doesn’t get any better than the Olive Garden. Oh yeah, and the kind of role-playing games he likes involve wizard hoods and sorcery, and the only dungeons he’s familiar with are the kind that come with dragons. We weren’t sure we’d find a novel like this particularly funny — after all, the original Fifty Shades parodies itself pretty well. And it’s almost too easy to make fun of, so why bother? But once we started flipping through Fifty Shames of Early Grey, we couldn’t stop. Here are a few of our favorite bits…
- When Anna Steal first shows up to interview Early Grey, the receptionist hands her a security badge that reads VIRGIN. And when Anna approaches the elevators, she says, “We don’t have elevators in Portland. This will be my first elevator ride. How do they work, exactly?”
- Anna has an “inner guidette” who speaks with a thick Jersey accent. “I can tell it’s her,” Anna muses, “because when she talks inside my head there’s this weird echoey sound.”
- HOLY MOTHER EFFING SPARKLY VAMPIRES IS HE HOT.
- She feels a jolt of electricity when they shake hands… because he’s a prankster with a joy-buzzer in his hand.
- She writes an essay for her ethics class (via quill pen and candlelight!) on the legalities of fan fiction.
- Mr. Grey wears velour sweatpants.
- He buys her Snooki’s book.
- He runs “his finger over my most sensitive spot like it’s a MacBook trackpad.”
- He pulls a white dove out of her “sex.” Seriously. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens to the dove when it hits the ceiling fan. It could be a metaphor, Anna realizes.