Jesse Eisenberg: The New James Franco of the Literary World

Just when you thought James Franco was the only actor vexatiously parlaying his fame into a writing career, Jesse Eisenberg came along and submitted a twelve installment series to McSweeney’s, called Bream Gives Me the Hiccups: Restaurant Reviews From a Privileged Nine-Year-Old, that ran from May 2012 to December 2013. Although Franco wasn’t on blast about his annoying need to be an author until 2014 with Palo Alto Stories’ resuscitation after being adapted into a film and that smear campaign against Lindsay Lohan in Vice, he was writing irksome fiction in 2010 for Esquire. While Eisenberg’s literary prowess might technically be better than Franco’s, he does have the fact that the story is being told from the perspective of a nine-year-old boy going for him. Ergo, every flaccid line is justifiable.

Disclaimer beneath the intro to each story from the collection
Disclaimer beneath the intro to each story from the collection
The opening to the first installment in the series, “The Ashram and Mom,” begins, “Over the weekend, Mom took me to an ashram, which is a place that stressed out people go when they’re rich. We were supposed to stay for the whole weekend but we ended up sneaking out in the middle of the first night, which sounds like a bad thing to do but it was also the most fun thing that Mom and I ever did together.” Already, one can’t help but envision the nebbish tone of Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg upon reading this line from a pompous gourmand of a child who one would have no trouble starving in retaliation for his imperiousness. But then, considering his mother is an alcoholic, this probably happens all the time, hence his zeal for restaurants.
Excerpt from installment two, "The Museum of Natural History and Making Compromises"
Excerpt from installment two, “The Museum of Natural History and Making Compromises”
Naturally, the work received high praise, much to the secret loathing of every aspiring writer who was unable to get into McSweeney’s due to not being an actor. This might have been forgivable–or at least forgettable–had Eisenberg not coasted off the “success” of the series by deciding to turn it into another series–for Amazon. It will presumably have all the makings of a neurotic, Wes Anderson-esque narrative. The question is, why did Eisenberg have to do it this way–writing it out first as a collection of short stories–instead of simply writing a goddamn teleplay? It might have given a better, more deserving writer the chance to occupy the pages of McSweeney’s for that year and a half stretch of time it was being published.

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  1. Pingback: The End of the Tour Is Just the Start of Analyzing David Foster Wallace | Culled Culture

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