If you came to this post to get all riled up and angry because you think I’m bashing either Chili’s or Oklahoma, well think again! I’m not here to tell you either one is amazing, or that either one is particularly terrible. And therein lies the reason for this post.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Chili’s is the mainest of stream restaurants, especially since millennials killed Applebee’s. It’s neither offensively bad, or remarkably good. But it’s always there, offering you the same thing regardless of where that Chili’s happens to be.
And I would argue that really lines up with how Oklahoma operates. Don’t believe me? Check out these 8 reasons why Oklahoma is basically the Chili’s of the United States.
1. Oklahomans are generally content with “good enough.”
I would argue that nothing is ever great in Oklahoma. Sure, news features and the state fair jingle would have you think otherwise, but honestly, Oklahoma is just the sort of place where stuff is good enough for you to not complain. (Though, there’s a lot of stuff that should be complained about more.) Which, honestly, is much like your average trip to Chili’s. The food is good and tastes the same always, thanks to the line cooks who lovingly heat up those frozen offerings. The service is never anything to write home about, but how could it be? Chili’s has like a million menu items, which is way too hard for a server to learn, especially when like 98% of the customers are just going to order some variation of the Chicken Crispers.
2. We put way too much stock in labels.
Oklahomans really like to show off their affiliations. Whether it’s products and brands they like, or the mega church they attend, Oklahomans show that off like they’re getting paid to advertise for Yeti coolers, rather than paying to do so. And Chili’s likes to show off their branded labels as well. Whether it’s the Big Mouth Burgers or the Guiltless Grill, Chili’s has a label for every menu offering, and a brand profile to go with it.
3. Oklahomans straight up love lip service.
Oklahomans love nothing more than when some politician or businessman uses specific buzzwords that let you know they’re a Christian. Feigned ethics really keep us warm at night. And what’s better than Christian lip service? A server coming by two minutes after your food hits the table to ask, “Is everything tasting great here?”
Yes, Susan. It’s great. Now run away and leave our drinks empty until it’s time to drop the check.
4. We bleed queso.
I think this may be why our collective health as a state is so low. Cheese shouldn’t make up a considerable percentage of the human body. But we love our queso, and honestly, Chili’s queso is a thing of beauty. When I worked at a terrible job (that was infinitely worse than Tate Publishing) it wasn’t uncommon for my coworkers and I to go to Chili’s and have some queso fries. That’s where you dip french fries in queso. It’s basically mother’s milk, but for the severely depressed.
5. We really value homogeneity.
This isn’t true for just Oklahomans, but it’s quite prevalent here. Each Oklahoman likes to think that their particular worldview is universal. And when you mention how yours differs, you’re automatically seen as a troublemaker. Different religion? Different favorite truck make? OU or OSU? IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ME YOU’RE AWFUL. And even though we know that not everyone can always be the same, we sure like to operate as if it were the case. We like to think that Oklahoma is like a Chili’s — always the same, regardless of which location you go to.
6. We don’t understand portion sizes.
I’m not trying to beat a dead horse about Oklahomans and their health (or lack thereof), but just look at the official state meal. It’s too much damn food. And so is pretty much every meal on the Chili’s menu.
7. Our state song is almost as singable as that Baby Back Ribs song.
Everyone knows at least 70% of the lyrics to Oklahoma, and 100% of the lyrics to the Chili’s Baby Back Ribs song. And in either case. you’re super pissed when you find yoruself singing either one all day long.
8. We feel the same about Chili’s as we do about Oklahoma.
We inexplicably love both, no matter how terrible or lackluster they are. We proudly go to Chili’s and order a Perfect Margarita and Southwestern Eggrolls, just as we proudly wear our Thunder shirts and
Marisa and Chili’s are no longer on speaking terms since they took the Awesome Blossom off the menu. Follow her on Twitter.