Cultural Imperialist

"Scathing Spats on Shallow Subjects"


Mon Aug 21




Frozen Yogurt: Hell Frozen Over

With the proliferation of Pinkberry and Red Mango frogurt/ur-techno joints, one might be tempted to ask the semi-serious question: Is Frozen Yogurt in fact the Devil? And the answer is, of course, possibly. But probably not.

Frozen yogurt is, however, universally the most pretentious and therefore useless dessert.

Actually, it may not even be a dessert. The litmus test, aside from the taste of it, is the plethora of storefronts peddling this enigmatic frozen treat the way Wes Anderson sells lost paternity as drama, with earnest-yet-sly-winking nods of knowitall gustatory celebration, each name more bizarre than the last. Red Mango. Not a mango bodega. Flurt. I'd rather not. Öko. Like a cryogenic, fruit-enhanced Beatle-killer. You have to be Norwegian to even enter an /eks/ (Slashing prices upward!).

And this list doesn't take into account the numerous Los Angeles mini-froyo dealers "specializing" in the icy concoctions. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the choices actually proves you have a soul; if you don't feel the faint whiff of obtuse hipsterism spawned by names like CéFiore, YogurtBerry, BerryLine, Yo Berry, Kiwiberri, Snowberry, Roseberry, Berri Good, Limelite, Bear Naked, Pingo Berry, Peach House, Dolci Mango and Cantaloop, well, you're just a tool. The general math nomenclature seems to be either the combination of colors and fruits, or something that sounds like it was barfed out in a back alley behind a Karl Lagerfeld photo shoot.

Icy crystallized yogurt brings to mind the fjords of Norway, or perhaps the cliffs of Dover in December. The AC is always cranked like a European winter, but stepping into a gelato/yogurt proprietorship, and I'm thinking especially of Pinkberry, is functionally no different than visiting a very small version of Tokyo. While the sheen of curvacious, hard white plastic furniture and translucent hot green and orange table tops might bring to mind a certain Barberella-esque whimsy, the Eastern European-Asian fusion music pulls you back from your futuristic flight of fancy into a Hell constructed by a Japanese Eve Ensler who thinks the dessert world needs more clitoral references or exotic shampoos.

The Kings of Wham!

If Wham! mated with Kings of Leon, their babies would be poster children for the Frogurt Franchises of the world.

While there might be money in the frozen yogurt stand today, there may be a happy rainbow to this tale of Ugly Dorothy. Tangy yogurt (isn't that just sherbet?) has limited appeal in the low-to-mid middle class, and when the economy takes another nosedive, elitist yogurteers won't be able to rely on the fawning appeal of overpriced frozen custards and high-end fruit toppings to your inner giggling pierced teenager. And why not?

Because you'll be busy bailing out your hipster friends who spent their trust funds on the milky ice suds you can't seem to stop posting to Facebook about.

Because when you dip your tiny organ-o-plastic spoon into the melting glop of post-cow-tal bliss, you hear the untainted Western man whisper "Why?"

Because frozen yogurt is the Wild West aspar-tamed into soothing nihilism, propped by the devils of large blueberry toppings on one shoulder, pomegranate seeds on the other, each urging you further into the excess of elitism.

Because deep in your heart you know how false a dessert frozen yogurt really is, how deceptive neon lighting can make angels of a writhing swath of Greenwich Village denizens.

Because when Hell freezes over, it's not from the rare, the scarce, or the unexpected, but from the frigid familiarity of the fifteen ounce fruit parfait.

Because there's nothing so fleeting, so faint, as fifteen minutes perched in faux splendor, fixated by your frozen f***ing yogurt.

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