The Wobbit (Harvard Lampoon) - Simon & Schuster Touchstone - 2013 - 151 pages

In 1969, Doug Kenney and Henry Beard wrote Bored of the Rings for Harvard Lampoon.  This was the classic parody of Tolkien's trilogy, Lord of the Rings.  Kenney & Beard went on to create National Lampoon, a landmark humor magazine.  Forty-four years later, the new Harvard gang wrote this parody of The Hobbit, the Rings "prequel" with much less success.  It seems that The Wobbit is trying to be a parody of the book, the movies, and a lot of other works of fantasy at the same time.  "Billy Bagboy" (not Bilbo Baggins) is a morbidly obese (although Billy on the cover drawing looks to be of normal proportions) and extremely lazy occupant of "Wobbottabad."  "Dumbledalf" (not Gandalf) is a crazy loon of a wizard who thinks he is in a Harry Potter movie.  Together they prepare to go on a "YOLO" with several other strangely-named organisms for who knows what reason.  Their adventure roughly follows the hobbit story with a huge number of 2013-referenced jokes thrust upon it.  Some of the jokes a kind of OK but many of them just go lurching into the "Vast Unknown."  There are also numerous unnecessary "footnote" jokes.  While it made sense for Tolkien to write the Rings trilogy after introducing hobbits in 1937, there was no reason for Harvard Lampoon to attempt this parody after the success of Bored of the Rings.  It does not work.  [JAM 8/17/2020]