|Reviews for Quackers|
| TolkienScholar chapter 5 . 5/17
THIS! Only the Marx Brothers could cure a hypochondriac, because they are so impossible that the hypochondriac will believe himself cured just to escape them! Wonderful! :D
This chapter is structured in a great way, because it's almost all dialogue except for a few snippets of narration to move the action along. That helps it move quickly, which is perfect for the classically witty exchange that goes on in this chapter. I absolutely love this; the highlight of the Marx Brothers films, for me, was always the scenes where Groucho and Chico have this sort of rapid-fire nonsensically witty dialogue, and this one is easily as good as any in the movies. Chico's story about atis and etis and osis and all that is fantastic! It might be a little easier to read if you capitalize the "names," as Chico is clearly using them as names anyway. But really, it's so in character and just perfect.
You are a brilliant dialogue writer, so incredibly funny and witty. Thanks for this story. It seems like you're no longer active on FFN, but if you ever come back, and if you want to add to this story (it seems like it could end here, but it isn't marked "Complete"), I'd love to read the rest. In the meantime, I'm going to add it to my forum for old movie/tv show fanfics. Great work! :)
| TolkienScholar chapter 4 . 5/17
Ah, as usual of course, Groucho is a complete fake. Was anyone surprised? No... :D Nice job bringing the doctor Harpo attacked back in; that was quite clever the way you mentioned it. By the way, I'm sure this is a product of having written this over a long period of time, but you changed the spelling from "Stevens" to "Stephens."
Once again, the dialogue is all quick, witty brilliance. The prose was a little better in this chapter, too. I enjoyed the mental image of Groucho clearing his throat and bouncing on his heels as thought waiting for a miracle to happen. Great touch with this line: "...at the rate you're moving you should be ready in time for the funeral." / "Yours or his?" No kidding! Also, I love what Greensleeves said about anyone spending more time on that patient requiring either "singular compassion, or complete lunacy!" I think we all know which one Dr. Penknife has...
I love this story!
| TolkienScholar chapter 3 . 5/17
Oh, wow. You do all of these characters well, but I've got to say, your characterization of Groucho is my favorite. I don't know how you come up with all these brilliant lines. :D Their exchange is so quick and clever. Here are just a few of my favorite lines:
- "I have whiplash! Trauma! I've fallen and I can't get up!" - What gets me about this one is both Groucho's melodrama and the way it moves from two very serious things to something more minor and cliche. Hilarious. :)
- "I gotta pretty good memory for funny-lookin' faces." / "Yes, I can see why." - At first I questioned this one because the insults are more Groucho's department, but when Groucho quickly picked up on it and turned it on Harpo, it became perfect. :)
- "Please continue, this is fascinating. I'll just be listening from two towns over." - Classic veiled insults from Groucho. :)
- "You know... I'm a very brilliant neurosurgeon, and I think I could remove that brain that's been troubling you." - This entire exchange is classic Marx Brothers, with Groucho's insult and then Harpo's taking it bizarrely literally and producing something ridiculous from his pocket.
- "First aid, second aid, lemonade, we know everything." - This is so Chico! Also, it reminds me of a line in "Duck Soup." :)
- "I could kiss you if I had a fatal illness." Again, this is a classic Groucho-type insult.
Seriously, I could go on and on about the brilliance of this dialogue.
Actually, what I'm having difficulty with is the prose in between the dialogue. It's not necessarily poorly written, but alongside the brilliantly witty dialogue, it often feels clunky and awkward. I'll mention a couple of examples, since I know I'm not being terribly clear:
- "Penknife smiled with sarcastic friendliness." - Groucho's friendliness is never sincere, and the dialogue shows that. You're describing something that anyone familiar with the fandom will know and be able to picture, so it's not really necessary.
- "He put one hand on Penknife's shoulder and gestured grandly with the other as he spoke." - This is the same problem as the other, something classically Chico to do that you somehow still have to describe for it to make sense. I understand the problem, really I do. But it does feel clunky.
- "Vorelli's eyes went wide while the others looked on." - This slows the scene, which is carried very well by the dialogue.
- "Vorelli flew to his feet, (making a fantastic recovery,) and walked up to Penknife." - Your readers know Vorelli was faking it and will supply the "fantastic recovery" detail themselves; it'll be much funnier if you don't directly state it. You could reduce this to just "Vorelli flew to his feet."
Maybe, since most people who would read this story would be familiar with the Marx Brothers and be able to picture much of this without description, you could cut the prose to a minimum and really bring out the dialogue, not using script form, but limiting your in-betweens while they're talking. That way you can keep up the quick, witty pace and highlight the dialogue, which is what really makes this piece.
Once again, fantastic job. I can't get over how witty this is. :)
| TolkienScholar chapter 2 . 5/17
Ha! Well done, once again! :) Chico and Harpo are quite in character as well; I can particularly see Harpo calmly lifting his leg to show a dog chewing on it, "without any obvious discomfort," and also him making a face as apparently Chico had tried to give HIM dog biscuits. :) And then of course, Harpo steals the young doctor blind.
This line was great, too, probably Chico's best in the chapter: "Hey, atsa good for you. But listen, this man, he's very sick." If you're going to do Chico's accent phonetically, though, it would probably be best to do it more consistently. For instance, this line would probably sound more like this: "Hey, atsa good for you. But listen, Doc, this man, he's-a very sick." Or this line: "Aw, come on, Doc. Can't you at least recommend something?" would look more like this: "Aw, come on-a, Doc. Canna you at least-a recommend-a something?" Actual respellings, of course, are up to you.
And just a suggestion: "doctor's coat" might sound a bit better than "doctor coat." I know you said that phrase was tricky.
Nice job! :) I love how well you capture these characters!
| TolkienScholar chapter 1 . 5/17
I favorited this story a long time ago, but I'm going back over my favorites list, and I decided to read again and review to remember why it was I liked this story so much. And I quickly realized: The reason I loved this story is because you've captured the tone and characters from the Marx Brothers movies to absolute perfection. You don't even have to tell me the actors for me to know whom you have in mind for each character. Mrs. Hermine is obviously Margaret Dumont, playing the same role she played in every single movie, with the implicit trust in Groucho's character she always shows, as well as the "melodrama" you point out toward the end of the chapter. Mr. Stevens might be any of several actors, but I'm picturing Siegfried Rumann, who played Mr. Gottlieb in "A Night at the Opera" and also Dr. Steinberg in "A Day at the Races." Naturally Dr. Penknife is Groucho, and Harrison is probably Zeppo. I love how perfectly you capture each one of them.
There are so many brilliant lines in this that I couldn't possibly list all of them, but here are a few I especially loved because they were so in character:
- "And do they call that fossilized Jell-O room service?" - Besides its being so classically Groucho, I love that you did a title drop for another Marx Brothers movie. :D
- "That's Harrison, the med student with a heart of gold and a couple of other organs as well. Speaking of organs, who do I have to call to get this guy removed?" - Classic Groucho humor. :D And this is, more than anything else, the line that convinced me Mr. Stevens was Sig Rumann, because that's exactly the way Groucho always talks to that actor's characters.
- "Well, tell him he can borrow it, but I'll need it back within the week."
- "Tell you what, I'll leave, and you can stay and tell it to the judge. If that doesn't work, you can tell it to the marines. I think the marines would have a thing or two to tell you as well."
- "All right, thirty-five, but I'm losing on the deal." - Seriously, you've got Groucho's style down so well. I can hear all of this in his voice because it's just so him!
The descriptions at the front end of the story, especially of Stevens and Mrs. Harmine, are pretty heavy-handed. There are better ways to incorporate description, and I picked up on who the characters were even without that. So careful there.
There are quite a few problems with dialogue structure, specifically punctuation and capitalization. Otherwise, I just wanted to point out a few possible mistakes:
- "an air of almost anal organization" - I'm pretty sure this isn't what you meant to say. Might the word you meant have been "banal"?
- "'Are you the manager of this crummy joint?' He asked Mr. Sevens." - Just a typo: it should be "Stevens."
- " took this opportunity to speak." - Just a typo, a missing space in "Mrs. Hermine."
- "She was pretty cross, I can tell her..." - I believe you meant, "She was pretty cross, I can tell you..."
Despite some minor issues, this story is excellent because it captures the spirit of a Marx Brothers film to perfection. I love this. Great work! :D
| Swashbucklist chapter 5 . 10/6/2010
Simply the best-written Marx Brothers story I've ever read! You can get back to it any time you feel like it. Seriously, anytime. Like, soon.
| Commander chapter 5 . 4/6/2009
I know this story hasn't been updated in a long time, but I still felt the need to comment anyway, because it's absolutely perfect! I can imagine Groucho and Chico saying every line you've given them. And Harpo is written perfectly as well. :) If you're still out there, I'd love to see this continued-I would imagine that few people can write Marx Brothers humor (or at least write it well), but you've done an amazing job. :)
| Aren Elsa chapter 5 . 5/7/2006
Good story...Very good story, I love those one liners Groucho has
| LilStripedTomato chapter 5 . 4/23/2005
Oh, I loved it! The randomness and sane-people-getting-aggravated-ness made me giggle uncontrollably! I really hope you write another! I plan to write a Marx Bros. fic myself, I just have yet to come up with a semi-unplotlike-plot thingy. I agree that there are way too few fics about them here. Yours, I must admit, I could picture them doing in my mind... and it was hilarious! Plus Harpo found a use for his ever-present mallet, how fun! (he's my favorite! hooray!) Anywho, I must leave you now for the horrors known as car repair. Toodle-oo and keep up the good work!
| mark s chapter 5 . 1/18/2005
Wacky, crazy and nuts. just like a true Marxs Brothers film. Great. Hope to see more.
| Cabel chapter 5 . 8/30/2004
LOL! Written like a true Marx Brothers story. Update Soon
| Kitty the drunken butterfly chapter 5 . 7/21/2004
LOL! WOw. My goodness. You have the Marx brothers down to a 'T'.
Keep up the good work!
| Ghastly One-Eyed Minno chapter 5 . 7/20/2004
Gah, I can definitely see this happening. XD Keep it up, yo.
| Kitty the drunken butterfly chapter 4 . 6/29/2004
LOL! Still love it! Wish it was longer but it's still great!
| Qoheleth chapter 3 . 6/28/2004
Quite worth waiting three months for. Although I'm not sure that Harpo could pull his own harp out of his coat pocket. Mary Poppins, maybe, but not Harpo.