November 29, 2010 § Leave a comment
You can have your own show on the Discovery Health Channel if you
- reproduce exponentially in Arkansas and name all your kids J-names
- like to analyze corpses
- didn’t know you were pregnant
You can have your own show on TLC if you
- are a little person in a big world
- just wanted one more but ended up with six
- like to be da’ bahwuss of da’ bakery
You can have your own show on the Disney Channel if you
- have the best of both worlds
- live a sweet life
- if you’re lucky, like Charlie
You can have your own show on the Weather Channel if you
- experience partly windy conditions followed by sun with a 40% chance of sleet
- like to lie
- get a rush out of catching deadly things
You can have your own show on Nickelodeon if you
- are a hideous 2D character whose ugliness is outweighed only by the brightness of his clothing
- have a voice that sounds prepubescent
- that’s pretty much it
You can have your own show on MTV if you
- grossly over-represent and over-reinforce an ethnicity stereotype – New Jersey, for example
- are teenaged and with child
- were born with a physical deformity and have a sad but true life
You can have your own show on VH1 if you
- are into Rihanna and Michael Jackson and all that jazz
- heart the 70s, 80s, and 90s
- know how to count backwards from twenty to zero
You can have your own show on HGTV if you
- are a boring, middle-class, middle-aged couple looking for a good deal on a house
- are really, really messy
- are homosexual
There’s a show for everybody. You just have to find one that fits your style.
November 22, 2010 § 2 Comments
Joking about terrible diseases is a terrible thing to do, because thousands of people worldwide are afflicted with, debilitated from, and killed by the horrendous maladies so unfortunately ubiquitous amongst mankind. But for some reason, making fun of these illnesses is one of the funniest jokes available. I watched a show on MTV with some of my friends called “True Life,” a show that finds kids with some kind of defect and follows them around for a couple weeks documenting their difficult life. This particular episode was about a couple of kids who suffered from Tourettes Syndrome. The show incited disgust and sympathy amongst my friends, but that is as far as our benefactorial spirits would take us. The remainder of the weekend was not spent raising support money for Tourrettes research or thanking god that True Life isn’t making episodes about us; rather, it was spent jokingly excusing every fumble with “I have Tourettes.” It was funny, and it never got old. (And believe me, there was a lot of stumbling and tripping and dropping things that summer weekend.) We probably could have marketed our own show — “True Life: We’re Horribly Insensitive But We Don’t Care.”
But I don’t think are actions are as disrespectful as they first appear. True, no healthy person should mock another less healthy person. But I think laughing about it is partially a cover up of our fear that it could happen to us. Additionally, speaking lightheartedly about evil traumas is our own way of celebrating the fact that we don’t have that disease. Everyone’s going to die someday of one thing or another, so while we’re healthy we eat drink and merrily mock those not so fortunate. Because soon enough, karma will catch up and it will be our turn to fall.
November 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
So there’s this kiddie show called “Charlie and Lola.” It’s about these two little 2D cartoon British kids who go around doing ordinary daily things like eating and schoolwork and recycling newspapers to save the earth. For some reason, little kids love it. The show, while mundane, has a unique charm, and I have at times been drawn in if not by the cute characters than by the effect of a well-turned British phrase on a case of sheer boredom. (“I feel absolutely completely dreadful, Chawlie!”)
While I was watching one day, Charlie and Lola were enjoying their afternoon snack: biscuits (that’s the British word for cookie) and milk. PINK milk. Pink milk is their favorite.
Why do little kids love turning food wrong colors? For some reason, it’s fun for them. Breakfast cereal, candy, juice, jelly, you name it — people marketing to younguns make sure its sopping with Red #40 and Blue #5. If you don’t believe me, check the grocery store. And then when people graduate from childhood and get their I-Am-Now-Officially-A-Boring-Adult diploma they suddenly think wrongly-colored food disgusting. Instead of Fruit Loops they eat Raisin Bran without the raisins and and the Frosted Flakes without the frosting and Lucky Charms without the lucky or the charms.
I dare you to re-release your inner child and put food coloring in everything you eat and drink for an entire day, and enjoy it. Pink milk. Absolutely and completely charming, Chawlie.
November 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
I think it all boils down to the fact that humans thrive on similarity, and pain is something we, unfortunately but universally, share.
My second hypothesis is that as subjects of occasionally awful luck we like to watch karma dish itself out once in a while onto other people’s heads. It is under this assumption that America’s Funniest Home Videos has made a fortune and aired for years. For the sympathetic soul, watching it is half cringing, half laughing. Haha their ATV tipped over, haha they fell through the trampoline, haha they slipped on the bathroom floor, haha they crashed into a window, haha haha haha haha! That looked like it hurt. Hahahahaha!!!
Most of the humor in The Three Stooges is slapstick comedy of the hammers-dropped-on toes variety. So is the humor in Bugs Bunny. Disney’s Pinocchio falls down the stairs. In the Home Alone movies, the bad guys get bricks dropped on their faces, step on nails, and get their hair set on fire. None of these instances are meant to satisfy sadistic urges or model behaviors; they are intended to make people laugh. And I think the reason it makes us laugh is that it reminds us of ourselves. We make mistakes all the time and so, while it feels almost wrong to laugh at this type of entertainment, in reality we are really only laughing at ourselves. So watch the stooges guilt-free and laugh until you pee your pants, because there really isn’t any substitute for vicarious tomfoolery.
A comedian died last night, Rorschach (Watchmen) says. But his death, though tragic, was a comedic act in itself, for every brutal tragedy invents another shade on the comedic color wheel to add to the ironic palette of humor.