The first entry in a Slice of Life Appreciation Column
According to Google, Alfred Hitcock once said, “Cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.” I don’t know if he actually said this, but please believe me when I say: I love cake.
Cake is awesome. I grew up with a dad that loves cake and shared a lot of classic cakes with me. There are many different flavors to choose from, fillings, icings, sprinkles, toppers, shapes. Sometimes cake can be formulaic, but it always takes me on an adventure. It takes me to real or fake places, meet characters I’ll never meet in my real life, and see high drama play out in epic ways. Cake is fun.
But, sometimes, I don’t want cake. I want something bland or plain. Something I can find in my pantry right now, something that takes minimal effort to consume and enjoy. I don’t need to be thrilled. I need something comforting, something that I could have over and over again for breakfast. Toasted bread, perhaps? With butter?
Hopefully the metaphor is sticking, but I’ll spell it out anyways: I don’t think Alfred Hitchcock was wrong to call cinema a cake, but I do think there is so much enjoyment to be had in mundane depictions of everyday living, or as the term has been coined for this genre of entertainment, in a mere “slice of life.”
It has other names, too. Call it “naturalism” or “nichijō-kei” (“everyday-type” in Japanese), but the slice of life genre holds a special place in my heart because of the way it can highlight the beauty in the ordinary.
So, no, I will not be having cake this time. This column will be an exploration of those pieces of entertainment that embody the slice of life genre and its appeal—Studio Ghibli movies, Animal Crossing, YouTuber vlogs, maybe even some TikToks, who knows? Slice of life in any form, be it witty, pensive, fantastical, or mystical, shows us that everyday, little dramas are something to be savored with no jump scares needed, thank you very much.
If there’s some slice of life media you’d enjoy seeing in the column, @ me on Twitter (@frankiemilktea) to let me know. Until next time!
Frankie Martinez is a writer from California. Her work has appeared in 3 Moon Magazine and Poetically Magazine.