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“ Are you people insane? He was talking to a BOT....Automated reply. ”

jjcaTHE ATLANTICSaturday, January 4, 2014 12:55 PM


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“ If that's a bot, then the turing test has been passed. ”

SmilodonsRetreat THE ATLANTICSaturday, January 4, 2014 4:15 PM

THE ATLANTIC2015-05-18T05:25:28.000Z

"They never disappointed me. I love them."

Chip Zdarsky is a comic book artist and journalist. He is also a devoted pen pal ... of an Applebee's. For the past several months, Zdarsky has taken to Facebook to befriend one of the fast-casual chain's Canadian franchises. And the franchise has, fortunately, returned his overtures. The results of the unlikely duo's interaction—you can read the whole thing at Buzzfeed—are hilarious and delightful and wonderfully weird. And maybe, in their way, literary. The Chip/Applebee's exchanges, played out on Applebee's Facebook page, are like Waiting for Godot ... if God were an Applebee's. They're like Her ... if ScarJo were a riblet.

The months-long conversation, in other words, pretty much defies description, except to say that it's a dadaist and absurdist and either way very of-the-Internet take on the epistolary novel—one that is earnest and ironic in pretty much equal measure.

It starts like this: 

And then it continues:

Haaaaaaahahahaha. 

I asked Zdarsky how he got started with his uniquely fast-casual friendship. As he told me in an email: 

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