The Onion Sucks Now

It seems to me that at the start of the 21st Century, The Onion’s quality has severely diminished. There’s an occasionally headline that might make me smile, and some of the What Do You Think?s can be funny, that’s about it.

Granted, there are a few articles that are hilarious, but…

The Onion sucks.

Where’s T. Hermann Zweibel, anyway?

One-time Onion Fan’s Rebuke Brings End to Newspaper Empire

NEW YORK — The stringing critique of one-time Onion fan, KwikStah, threw the staff of the national newspaper parody into a deep blue funk today, leading to the announcement that the faux media outlet was shutting down operatios.

“Well, that’s that,” said publisher C. Norman Tufts. “I guess we kinda knew that our quality had rapidly fallen off since the end of the 20th century. But KwikStah’s post in the Stright Dope Message Board confirmed our worst fears: We’re shit.”

The Onion had tried to liven up its copy of late with a move to the more urbane locale of New York City, but the change of scenery only exacerbated the problem as Onion writers wasted time trying to get seats for “The Producers,” rather than penning knee-slapping parodies.

“I’m calling Reader’s Digest to see if they need someone to edit Humor in Uniform,” said Onion contributing editor Ed Rawley. “Mom never understood why I left Reader’s Digest in the first place.”

T. Herman Zweibel, missing president and CEO of the media giant and last seen blasting off in an alien rocketship, did not return calls seeking comment.

It has shining moments now and then still. The sidebar mini-articles generally outclass the full ones now, though, which is a shame.

I don’t think they’ve been quite the same ever since they got online. In the olden days, they were print only, distributed all over UW Madison. I had a subscription for awhile but gave it up while I went to college, because the mail staff stole most of them, I’m sure. I can’t blame them much, how do you not feel the temptation to steal a newspaper with large headlines like “Dan Quayle Poops on Floor”, containing White House statements and press conferences about how the Oval Office rug was being laundered, and that the Veep’s occasional bowel control problems in no way impacted his worthiness and readiness for the job?

They are suffering SNL syndrome now. They find a funny idea, and kill it by over-writing it.

I very nearly had a coffee spewing moment when I saw this sidebar last week - “Jenna Bush’s Federally Protected Wetlands Now Open For Public Drilling

Yeah, the Jenna Bush thing was a classic! Not to mention Ethniklashistan! :wink:
I think they’ve still got a few good years in 'em.

— G. Racen

Their election edition had me rolling all over the floor. Especially “Clinton Declares Self President for Life!” Ethniklashistan was a pretty good one too.

And Jean Teasedale rocks.

I never thought it was very funny to begin with.

Bush Still Deciding How To Spend Tax Refund

“I could buy some new speakers”
I love the Onion. I’ve never been one to read the big, over written articles, but the horoscopes, Herb Kornfeld, What Do You Think and the sidebar are enough to keep me anxious for it every week.

And of course, the best headline…EVER:

Ebert Victorious

I haven’t noticed any decrease in quality, but it is possible The Onion is a victim of it’s own success. Over the last two years The Onion has released two best-selling books and the writers are getting some national exposure (beyond the cult following). Perhaps some of the writers are busy with other projects, leaving fewer good ideas per issue?

Frankly, I think it’s been going downhill ever since they switched to printing in color. But some of the sotries are still really funny.

I start every Wednesday morning at work with the Onion - sadly, it’s on hiatus for a few more weeks, those bastards. Some parts of it are dull (I always skip T. Herman Zwiebel and I usually gloss over Jackie Harvey) but others are almost always hilarious (Herbert Kornfield, Jim Anchower, Jean Teasdale) and occasionally you’ll get a good article (Clinton Declares Self President For Life"). Yes, I’m link-happy today.

He launched himself into space with Standish.

Fairly old-school Onion fan here. I started reading them pre-USA Today makeover, when one of the funniest moments each week in Madison was the Onion’s printing, word for word, of the highlights of the log files of campus security for UW-Madison. (Which always seemed to include a man found naked, somewhere.)

The movie reveiws are currently horrible. They sound just like everybody else’s movie reviews now. Personally, I still can’t see a scene like the one from Pearl Harbor where the Coke bottle is filling up with blood without thinking “Onion Product Placement Watch”.

The sidebars are still hilarious, as are the infographics and the Q&A (although I still miss “the guy with the glasses”). The headlines aren’t as consistant as they were, but the headlines were ALWAYS the best thing about the article. The rate where they deliver a full-length, readable article is about the same as it always was.


First off, kudos to JonScribe for that very funny post.
I too think the Onion’s got a little spotty, but overall, is still better than most humor sites on the web.

If you REALLY want to see something joyless and painful, rent Scott Dikkers’ “Spaceman”. Scott was a former editor and I believe founding member of The Onion. I saw him speak about a year ago on how he’s quit the paper to make “moving pictures”. He went on to detail how he spent his last dollar, lost his wife, and maxed out all his credit cards to make this movie. “But it was all worthwhile”, says he. Unfortunately the powers that be are keeping him down by not distributing his film.
Well, I saw his “moving picture” with 5 other devoted Onion fans a couple of weeks ago. WOW. I have never seen something so sad. This so-called comedy was beyond inept. The writing, the editing, the acting, all abysmal. I honestly didn’t laugh once, nor did anyone else in the room. The only humor came at the occasional joke amongst ourselves about how poor this movie was. Have you seen Battlefield Earth? That is Citizen Kane compared to this stinker. I just cant understand how someone so obviously gifted as to edit and co-create The Onion could be so inept in writing a movie script.
Different animal, I know. But you’d think there would be some glimmer of wit that would show through.

Anyways, if you want to feel a lot beter about the later Police Academy movies of maybe even Meatballs 3, go rent this movie.

As long as I’ve been reading it (since '96) The Onion has always been hit or miss…the occasional laugh out loud funny article, and a lot of dull filler. I haven’t noticed any significant deviation from this lately.

Hola amigos, it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya’.

I agree with an earlier post, it’s always been hit or miss, I’ve been reading since the early 90’s. It’s no different than a tv show, author, or musician in that respect. Also being summer, methinks they tend to print a few reruns of earlier articles. Since they have so many newer readers the last few years it’s not that big a deal. Plus the ones they rerun are great. Where else could you read about a study that says ‘lying on the couch leads to smoking pot’, or ‘Bush Pops a Woody’ (printed back when Papa George was ruling the land).

And Anchower rocks.

My impression is that a large part of the perceived loss of quality in The Onion is due to the fact that I’ve gotten used to the style of jokes they tell. Nothing’s gonna be funny when you see the punchline coming.

Did they quit with the columnists, like Anchower and Teasdale.

I’m a JEANKEETER for sure!

I’m still waiting for the next Kornfeld column. That’s been consistently funny, and I’m waiting for Miramax to pick him or the first Onion film, or else I’m gonna have to go Jet Li over Harvey Weinstein’s ass wit a quickness. Word.