All about the Peeps: Everything you wanted to know about the 2013 Peeps Diorama Contest

Apr 01, 2013

Our annual Peeps Diorama Contest has become a survey of all that touches and taunts our collective consciousness, an anthology of absurd, artistic triumphs displayed through malleable marshmallow rabbits and chicks.

Want the inside scoop on what Peeps topics were trending this year or what made judges laugh out loud (and roll their eyes)? Join Katherine Boyle for a live online chat about this year's contest.

- Peeps Show
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- More Peeps dioramas
- VIDEO: Peeps contest 2012

Just wanted to say that I always thoroughly enjoy the entries each year. The imagination, talent, and hard work that goes into every susbmission (that we get to see) are truly entertaining. I have no skills in art-related areas so I really appreciate what others can do.

We really enjoy it too. What's more amazing is that they get better year after year.

Osama Peep Laden in a body bag?

You know, we haven't received complaints. There were some fears that the scene from "Zero Dark Thirty" would be a little unnerving for some younger viewers, but the scene was tasteful and beautifully executed.

Plotting and planning months or years in advance?

All the time. Actually, most of our repeat winners say they plan for this all year. The makers of the winner "Twinkie: Rest in Peace" say they plan months in advance and have multiple brainstorming sessions.

Are there any plans to exhibit this year's dioramas for the public? If so, will it include the semi-finalists or just the top five?

Yes, the top five finalists are being displayed right now in the front window of The Washington Post building.  They'll be there until May 1st.

I love this, too, but I live in LA so can never see them live. Every year, and this one is nno exception, I strongly favor some of the runners-up and some that didn't make the cut. What you consider clever, I consdier dumb. And probably vice versa. Even your excellent photographs can't show the attention to detail and other workl that went into the displays. Maybe next year my choice will prevail!

You've pointed out something beautiful about democracy, haven't you? I often wonder if our art critic Phil Kennicott would pick the best of the 650. What was your favorite? What did we miss?

Which was your personal favorite diorama and why?

That's tough-- I think "Twinkie: Rest in Peeps" was a brilliant concept, but I'm a huge Mark Rivetti fan. He made "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Peep” and "Peepius Maximus" from last year. At this point, we know his work. He's very gifted with the medium and we'll miss his entries next year. He's moving.

How long does voting last for the Peeple's Choice contest? How often can folks vote? Thanks!

April 15th. Make your vote count.

Why do you think there were fewer entries in this year's competition than the last few years?

That's a terrific question: to be completely transparent, we had a wonderful new technology system that did the counting for us. In previous years, we had to count manually and couldn't regulate double submissions when counting overall totals, which may have propped up the number in past years.  But there may be some other theories out there: what do you think? Recession? Less material?

Ever considered doing a different contest for families/ kids?

We have, and we know its unfair to have 9 year-olds compete with architects. But that's why our fantastic KidsPost editor Tracy Grant separates all of the kids submissions from the rest and puts excellent submissions in the KidsPost section.

I love, love, love the Peeps contest, but this year 99% of the Peeps were Bunnies. I think you should have a rule that all entries must include 50% of the ORIGINAL chicks! That's why they're called Peeps, after all.

I don't know that more laws will ever solve problems of fairness in The Washington Post Peeps Contest.

Do you think there is a market (besides diorama contests) for Peep artists?

If Jeff Koons starts making them, then yes. They'll sell for $20 million at Sotheby's and everyone will oohh and ahh about his genius. Invest now while they're cheap.

Island of the Grand Peeps. Brilliant concept and executionk from what I can tell. Just didn't care for the twinkie funeral. And the Osama in a body bag was appalling, IMO.

I agree that Peep Island was brilliant. We did have a lofty conversation about whether beauty is enough in itself to win a Peeps contest. Must everything be ironic in this Internet age? The newsroom answered with a resounding "yes." I don't know what that says about us.

My entry was a richly detailed and colorful science joke about evolution, but it wasn't selected as a finalist. My theory is that writers have a deep-seated prejudice against or misunderstanding of science and math. Can you comment?

Comment: I've never harbored any deep-seated prejudice against science or mathematics. But expand upon your theory and perhaps you can persuade us. Or better yet, send us a proof.

Is there going to be any gathering of finalists and/or semifinalists where they can meet each other?

We don't have one planned but I'd love to meet everyone. There are limitless possibilites when it comes to Peeps.

Do you have a favorite type of Peep? (chick or bunny, color, flavor, size :-)

I like the pink bunnies, which I think is pretty old school of me. Although, there are dark chocolate covered Peeps that have been sort of melted into a truffle-like substance? They are amazing.

Have you guys at the newsroom noticed a trend towards greater technical sophistication among the winning dioramas? As a layperson, that seems to be the case. I wonder whether this could be responsible for the declining number of entries, e.g., people feel they can't compete and so are less likely to submit?

The dioramas were very sophisticated this year, and they are getting better and better. But we had fewer multiple level submissions this year. As for whether it's discouraging, I'm not so sure. The most sophisticated dioramas don't always win.

Thank you!

You can vote more than once.

Is there an award for the diorama chosen as Peeple's choice?

Fame, glory, bragging rights.

What was your favorite pun in all of the submissions this year?

"Supeep Court Justice Clarence Thomas Makes a Peep" was too clever. Brilliant use of puns and language.

On a scale of 1-10 (being most arduous), how stressful is the Peep Diorama contest for the judges/writers? It seems like a very quick turnaround time to go through a ton of dioramas, make decisions, and get all the stories/videos/galleries out!

Oh, part of the magic is that we make it look easy, yes? It is, indeed, a time of sacrifice.

Did the inclusion of non-Peep foods in some of the dioramas (the twinkie diorama, the wrestling diorama with candies) stir controversy within the WaPo judges? Readers certainly seem to have opinions about not having enough peeps!

No, we're pretty easy going when it comes to materials. Some of our top 50 dioramas only had one Peep. The concept and execution matter most.

In This Chat
Katherine Boyle
Katherine Boyle is a reporter for The Washington Post and helped manage this year's Peeps Diorama Contest.
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