Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Everybody Hates Chris: Comedy, Stereotypes

Everybody Hates Chris was a sitcom that is based on the struggles of a teenager named Chris that aired from 2005-2009. It is one of my personal favorite shows of all time not only because it made me laugh, but it gave me a good perspective on what it must have been like to grow up black attending an all white school in the 70s. Not only was Chris dealing with this, but he also lived in a family of five in a neighborhood that wasn't the greatest. He often got robbed by one of his neighbors had even had to call the police on somebody that stole the register at the store he worked at. In addition, his family didn't have that much money which is way Chris's dad had to work two jobs, meaning he worked all night and slept during the day. His brother and sister were both a few years younger than him so he also had to deal constantly getting annoyed at home.

Everybody Hates Chris focuses on every aspect of his life. We see his life at home where his parents really care about him and want him to succeed but they are also very strict. We see Chris get verbally and sometimes physically punished for doing something wrong. We see his life in the neighborhood where he is friends with a lot of people but he also has to be careful not to run into the wrong people, including the neighbors who usually rob him. We also see Chris's life at school. He is the only black kid in his school and therefore is often bullied just for being black. He has to deal with the same bully who not only picks on him but also picks on Chris's best friend Greg, who is white but he gets picked on anyway for being Chris's friend. His teachers are quietly racist, however, there are many scenes where Chris's English teacher happily makes racist comments towards Chris that are unfortunately going to make you laugh.

The comedy side of Everybody Hates Chris not only includes Chris's racist English teacher, but how Chris and his siblings poke fun at each other at home. We've seen the classic, "I'm telling mom." But Chris's siblings Tanya and Drew bring it to a different level with each other including Drew accidentally breaking Chris's arm and somehow not getting punished for it. Chris's dad is also incredibly funny because he insists on being super cheap with everything and literally counting every penny and/or food servings that they have.

Despite all the comedy, Everybody Hates Chris is a show that can educate you on the issues of race, gender, family, and school. This show really opened my eyes because I have it great here in Oak Park where we don't really see much of these issues, though they are still there. In the season finale Chris drops out of high school and takes the GED test to try to get a job. This is based on real life where Chris Rock chooses to drop out of high school to become a comedian. The show ends with Chris opening his test results and we never know if he passed or not.

Endless Love, comedy post

Aristotle claims that all you need is a happy ending to classify as a comedy. He describes that the basic formula for comedy includes conventions and expectations of plot and character rather than jokes. Finally he describes, “ A comedy is a story of the rise in fortune of a sympathetic central character.” According to his definition just about any story can be a comedy because most or some stories usually end with a happy ending. Also the sympathetic main character usually transforms in some way or rises in fortune. I believe comedy can enhance our understanding of the world. 

A movie by the name of Endless Love, can be argued as a romantic comedy. Following high school, the two sympathetic main characters, Jade Butterfield and David Elliot become involved with each other. Jane is a privileged and sheltered teenager with her life already planned out for her by her father. While David is a working class teenager struggling with a troubled past. Jade and David spend the whole summer together and fall in love, it seems that they are just meant for each other. However, Jade’s father strongly disapproves of the relationship because of the boys past and his class. David’s father does not necessarily disapprove of their relationship but he strongly cautions it because of Jane’s privileged lifestyle. Despite, their parents disapproval, their peers disapproval, David’s troubled pass, and secrets in Jade’s family; the love between the two continues to grow. After all the drama the two face they remain together and Jade describes their love, “was everything all at once, the kind of undying love that is worth fighting for.”

Throughout the movies events the creator asks, “What is love in our time? What is family? What do they mean to each other? ” The movie enhances our understanding of the world by depicting what harsh and changing circumstances can have on a family, as seen through the actions of David’s dad and especially Jane’s dad. The two will do anything to protect their children and secure their future just as any parent would. It also depicts how love can make you obsessive, it can be inevitably destructive, and a threat to family. Love serves as the driving action behind the main character's motivation to be together, “the kind of undying love that is worth fighting for”. When you truly love someone you risk everything and you don’t give up. That is how love works and that is how humans work. Once we feel love and acceptance, we can achieve esteem needs, self-actualization, and finally self-transcendence needs. A final thing love does, is it allows the characters to forgive one another and accept their deep dark past. It allows them to overlook the past and accept.

Should You Care for Comedy?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that at this point most people have seen, or at least know the general plot of, the TV series Parks & Recreation. If not, watch out for spoilers I guess. That aside, the show is certainly a comedy in the modern sense - it's designed to make you laugh. However, it is also a comedy in the Aristotlean sense. Though the series focuses on a variety of characters and their rise from ordinary to less ordinary, for the purposes of this blog I will be directing most of my attention towards Leslie's storyline.

Leslie Knope begins the show working at a small job in a local parks department, and the show follows her movement to City council, then to National Parks administration, and finally ends with the proposition that she will run for Governor. She is more than deserving of the position, as demonstrated by her almost inhuman work ethic which runs throughout the show. She fits the bill of a traditional comedy perfectly - ordinary yet deserving person rises to the top. And I do think it's meaningful to see her succeed on screen. She is a woman in politics, something which we are desperately lacking in the real world - women STILL make up less than 20% of Congress - and to see that on screen, to know that it is possible is meaningful, especially to young girls aspiring to be politicians themselves.

This is certainly part of a bigger trend (think Hidden Figures, Black Panther, One Day at a Time) in which marginalized groups get to see themselves succeeding for once instead of dying horribly, or failing, or wallowing, or getting crapped on like they already experience in their daily life. When the hero is a white cis straight man, sure, a comedy might not be all that meaningful. But the world is not comprised solely of white cis straight men and to see a comedic hero be someone who does not fit that mold is both necessary and therapeutic for groups who rarely get to see that outside of the media, not to mention that the aforementioned white cis straight man is now forced to recognize that he is not the only one who can or will succeed in today's society.

Sure, Leslie ends up with Ben, has kids, and fulfills a rather traditional wife/mother role. But that does not negate everything she did for the rest of the show, nor does that mean she is not still a woman thriving in politics. The same thing is true for Pride and Prejudice. Sure, Elizabeth ended up marrying the rich guy and living in comfort, but that doesn't mean the reader's mind is suddenly wiped of the knowledge that she was and is an outspoken, confident, and self-aware woman. A happy ending does not erase everything that came before it.

All in all, Parks and Rec is just one small chunk of the contemporary comedic media. However, I do think it helps to make two important points. One, a nice ending does not negate the hardships that the character(s) had to go through to get there. Two, a comedic ending for a group that rarely gets them in real life is inherently revolutionary. So yes, comedy can definitely be meaningful. Tragedy certainly can be meaningful too, but a world with only tragedy is a world without hope, and hope is what truly pushes society forward.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Great Product for OPRF Teens!

Click the image and zoom in to read the text, since it's difficult to see just on the blog.

I Bet You Didn't Expect To See Borat

Although the movie Borat can often be seen as completely useless to a person's intellect, I believe it carries a deeper meaning. The movie is about a Borat (Sasha Baron Cohen), a reporter from Kazakhstan, who to the United States as a tourist, but then finds his true love Pamela Anderson, and travels across the country in hopes of finding her. The movie undoubtedly contains a lot of goofy and often inappropriate humor, but it dives into the classic stereotypes of the different people of the United States. 

Borat's travels result with him experiencing different cultures and traditions. The amazing part of the movie, is that there were only four actors in it, because the people that he encountered were unaware it was a production for a movie. This resulted in authentic reactions and a real glimpse of how people live in this very diverse country. 

I think that this movie brought to light a lot of aspects of cultures that are often overlooked or ignored. His visits to the inner-city hood, rural households, rodeos, a Jewish bed and breakfast, Hollywood, and a Christian revival service, all emphasize the importance of each culture that defines the diversity of this country. I would undoubtedly defend comedy because I think it not only puts people in a good mood, but also it brings up serious topics in an easier way. Whether it be racial tension, or gender roles, comedy is a way to begin discussions that are often avoided. Therefore, I believe it is important to maintain and support comedies because otherwise, the world will become very one-dimensional. Honestly, without comedy, I believe that many serious topics would be ignored and swept under the rug as unimportant. The First Amendment grants us free speech, and using it for comedy is a great way to help society self-reflect. 

Legally Blonde

A trailer of the film Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde is an American Comedy Film from 2001. To begin, the film follows the life of Elle Woods, a fashion merchandising student. After being broken up with because she wasn't "serious enough" and would detract from her boyfriend's image, Elle decides to attend Harvard Law School. After struggling to fit in and be accepted into a new world, Elle eventually rises as a successful Lawyer who ends up happy in the end of the film. As a result, this film follows the general guidelines of what is defined as a comedy. However, Legally Blonde is not only one and a half hour of laughs, but a challenge to stereotypes and labels in society. 

For starters, Elle is introduced to the audience as what someone would immediately label a "sorority girl" and a "blonde." These stereotypes are often used in film and television to create comedy. She immediately begins to challenge these stereotypes when pursuing Law. "Blondes" are depicted as unintelligent or simpleminded. Elle's studying and academic characteristics oppose these assumptions. Once Elle has been accepted into Harvard Law School after relentless work and dedication, the comedy continues. She walks in dressed in all pink with a "SoCal" vernacular. With little hesitation, students and professors at Harvard begin to comment and ridicule her appearance. Not only is emphasis put on the labels Elle embodies, but a new set of stereotypes are introduced, East Coast, Harvard graduates. This contrast between the characters produces comedic moments as they clash.

Eventually, Elle is able to establish herself and reach success. Her dedication to education and her career challenge the stereotypes society often laughs at. She gains respect and confidence in herself in comparison to the beginning when she is left heartbroken and alone. While Elle may be an extreme depiction of labels like "blonde" and "sorority girl," the film uses comedy to introduce them and to tell society to stop pushing individuals into these categories and to break away from the habit of judging those who step outside of what is considered normal. Legally Blonde may be a comedy detailing the life of Elle Woods from "blonde" to a Lawyer, but it continues to highlight and propose possible solutions to society's judgments by just being yourself.

The Breakfast Club

The movie, The Breakfast Club, was written and directed by John Hughes in 1985. The Breakfast Club is one of the most popular movies of all time and rightfully so. The movie is about five different people who all have to spend a day together in saturday detention. Each person in the detention represent a different high school stereotype such as jocks, nerds, goths, rich people, and fall outs. They are all in saturday detention for different reasons.  The film follows these five people and their transformation throughout the eight hour detention.

The students pass the time in detention by talking, arguing, fighting, and breaking the rules set by the teacher watching over them. Over time, each of the characters open up to each other and reveal some of their deepest personal secrets. What they learn from this is that they have all come from abusive households and all of their parents hold them to very high standards. This allows them to realize that even though they all come from very different backgrounds and are apart of different social groups in high school, they have things in common. They find out that even with their differences, they are face similar problems in their life which allows them to bond with one another. The experience that these kids had in detention changed how they all looked at their peers after the day was over.

I believe that The Breakfast Club helps people and students in particular to realize that we all share things in common and we all are not what everyone thinks we are. Everybody has problems and things that they have to deal with that they cover up to fit into a particular group or social norm. Every person in this world has an identity that has been shaped by their peers and family. This movie helped show the audience that everybody has more to offer and are completely different people than their groups indicate. For example, in the beginning of the movie Brian says that this detention consists of "a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Throughout the movie, we realize that there is much more to these characters then their description and by interacting with one another, the characters are able to find that out. In the movie, we find out that everybody is not all that happy with their lives. The two popular kids, Claire and Andrew, are not all that happy with their life. Everybody thinks that the nerd, Brian, has his whole life figured out but he actually does not and it tired of doing all this work just because his parents expect it of him.

I think that The Breakfast Club does a great job of reminding us that not everyone is who we think they are and that we all have things in common. The film helps us to realize that nobody is perfect, everyone has flaws, and it is ok to have those flaws because they help shape who you are. Lastly, the movie does a great job of showing the audience that just because you label someone and certain way and put them into a particular group does not mean that they fit that description or want to be a part of that social norm. The Breakfast Club is one of the most famous movies of all time and it does a great job of using dramatic comedy to enhance our understanding of the society we live in.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Here's a Sparknotes summary of A Midsummer Night's Dream

By now we all have read work from William Shakespeare, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. One work of his that has stuck out is A Midsummer Night's Dream. This play is a perfect example of a romantic comedy, introducing young lovers who fall in and out of love for a fleeting moment. Their real world problems are solved magically, enemies reconcile, and true lovers reunite in the end. The function of comedy is to entertain the audience, while also portraying social institutions and persons as corrupt, and mock them through satirizing, parodying, and poking fun at their debauchery. Plays are primarily concerned with idealized love affairs, it is a fact that love never goes smoothly; however true love can overcome difficulties and end with a happy union.

While the Shakespearean comedy is romantic, it mixes the light and the serious. Follies are exposed and ridiculed, but the laughter is gentile and sympathetic. We laugh with the people and not at them. Romantic love is the theme of this play, naturally this comedy was a story of love ending in marriage. The whole atmosphere of this comedy is filled with love. One line that really sticks out across the whole play and that embodies the overall message is "the course of true love never did run smooth" spoken by Lysander from the opening scene in act 1.

Comedy, specifically this kind of romantic comedy, is very meaningful. Nowadays most of us view comedy as a vehicle to only entertain, not teach. But Shakespeare's comedy introduces a universal truth that surpasses time. The truth that "the course of true love never did run smooth" is a part of every intimate relationship we will experience in our life. The play teaches us that though true love may not go the way we intended, it will (hopefully!) end with a happy ending. It also teaches us that you cannot take love too seriously, it requires the balance between comedy and honesty. Although this may seem cheesy, this is something that is relevant to all our lives, present and future.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Absurdity

In Douglas Adams' book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" he piles insane events and circumstances on top of each other in order to show the way that life sometimes just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. No matter how much the straight-man lead character, Arthur Dent, tries to make sense of it, he just can't. Especially when his day just gets weirder and weirder.

At the start for example, Arthur is about to have his house demolished without warning. The plans for demolishment had been "official" for months, but nobody had actually considered asking or telling him. They had been on "display" for months in a basement with no stairs locked in a filing cabinet in a room with a "Beware of leopard" sign on it. This absurd situation escalates with aliens come to demolish Earth, feeling no sympathy since the plans had been on display light years away. A direct mirror of Arthur's situation.

Luckily for Arthur, he's saved by his friend Ford Prefect, who was actually an alien stranded on Earth. From there, their adventures get more insane each passing page. The book takes expectations that the reader might have and slams them on the ground in the most absurd ways possible. Perhaps the greatest example of absurdity in the book though, is the famous supercomputer scene. The greatest supercomputer in history had been built, said to be able to answer anything. When asked the meaning of life, the supercomputer needed millions of years to figure it out. And after millions of years, everyone crowds around in anticipation, to learn to meaning of life, the universe, and of course everything, the computer simply says 42. That is to say, there is no meaning. There is no grander purpose behind everything. The world is just insanity, and it's up to everyone to find their own meaning.

Valley Girl Stereotype

I choose to analyze the dramatic irony of the 1995 teen movie Clueless. Clueless revolves around a steriotypical "valley girl" named Cher Horowitz of Beverly Hills, California who seems to be entirely self-obsessed with noted interests in shopping, fashion, and other superficial activities. She also often uses typical "valley speak" throughout the movie, which is used as humor. Although the movie may seem as shallow as the main charecters, the movie actually breaks the valley girl steriotype as Cher discovers her own worth is not rooted in her clothes and address, but in how she helps others. At the beginning of the movie, Cher is just a steriotypical airhead who often manipulates people, such as her teachers, to get what she wants. She is selfish, egotistical, and highly matieralistic. But as the movie progresses, Cher begans to help others even though at first her efforts are somewhat misguided. She decides to help a new student, a social outcast named Tai become popular. This is something that share does for another person and not her self, which marks the beginning of her charecter development. Although helping Tai be popular is highly shallow and still goes with the stereotypical valley girl's preoccupation with social status, she does it for someone else, which begans to break the selfish valley girl trope. As the movie continues, Cher makes time to make others happy, like her father and continues to do good deeds, making her increasingly selfless. In the movie's climax, Cher realizes that her happiness is also important and makes an effort to be a less shallow person as she realizes that she is not truly happy in materialism.
The movie breaks several valley girl stereotypes by effectively satirizing the SoCal culture. One of the most important comedic moments in the movie, before Cher's change, she is shown showing Tai how to adopt the Valley Girl persona. She tells Tai that an important part of fitting in is to not only care about your apperance, but also your mind. She tells Tai to read one book for personal reasons every week. This moment effectively breaks the valley girl mold before the charecters even come to terms with it themselves. It proves that the girls of the valley are not only concearned with the superfitial, but also with their own intellecual development when they are still actively acting out the valley girl stereotype. Clueless accomplishes the massive feat of proving wrong a pervasive stereotype in American culture through the use of satire.

Monday, February 26, 2018


I believe suffering is caused by emotional, physical, and mental pain. Suffering can have several different effects on a vast number of people. In King Lear, his suffering had to do with his own blood betraying him and leaving him (literally) in the cold. Suffering in this case is in the form of betrayal. King Lear is known to be a honorable man and very respected. He believes he holds a lot of power, but it causes him to use his power for the wrong reasons. King Lear finds it almost impossible to recover from what his daughters did to him, which causes him to feel pity for himself. I think the fact that King Lear is suffering shows that just about anyone can suffer or experience some type of betrayal regardless of the amount of power you hold. King Lear was well respected and well taken care of, but he still was blindsided. I think in reality, everyone will experience some type of suffering during their lifetime. Some suffering with be worse than others, but in general we all face problems that we sometimes don't think we can handle. I think its how you recover from your suffering, and how you react to it. Suffering is inevitable.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Groundhog Day

I decided to defend the dramatic comedy Groundhog Day directed by Harold Ramis.  Groundhog Day is about a weatherman named Phil (Bill Murray) who is covering the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A random blizzard hits and Phil finds himself in a time warp. He wakes up to Groundhog day every morning, and is doomed to relive the same day again and again until he gets it right.

Bill Murray's farce comedic actions makes the audience laugh every other moment. It is a goofy movie that illuminates a deeper meaning of life through its context. I believe the comedy of Groundhog Day displays how so often, like Phil, people find themselves taking life for granted.

For example, a typical day for us students: we wake up, get ready for school, go to school, learn, maybe participate in an extracurricular activity after school, complete our homework, eat dinner, maybe watch some TV, and go to bed. Then we wake up the next morning and do it all over again. Sounds boring right? That's because we are taking life for granted! Groundhog Day points out to its audience you shouldn't have to relive a day 100 times in order to feel satisfied and accomplished. You should be trying your hardest and living your best life everyday. Waking up and taking the day by the reins, in order to strive towards your goals. Life is a wonderful, short lived experience, and I believe through farce comedy does Groundhog Day execute an amazing job in reminding its audience of such truth.

A Seasonally Appropriate Satire

Easter is coming up in a few weeks and for those of us who are practicing Catholics, that means its Lent. Fridays are for fasting, we're expected to give something enjoyable up for 40 days (plus Sundays), and we change all the prayers in mass to be far more dreary. Rather than getting down in the dumps about it, I've chosen to take a page from Monty Python's Life of Brian and look on the bright side of life.

Life of Brian is a (seasonally appropriate) parody movie made by the famous British comedy troupe Monty Python about a man named Brian who gets mistaken for Jesus, accidentally accrues a following of rebellious citizens, and is ultimately crucified for his actions. It is, without any hint of subtlety, a religious satire which pokes fun at the zealousness of some Christians. However, it can also be taken as a critique of the Western ideal of the stoic leader-turned-martyr which, while certainly present in religion, is not limited to Christianity.

One classic scene is set on Jesus' famous sermon on the mount, with the camera focusing on the attendees who are too far away to clearly hear what is being said. One man mistakenly claims that Jesus said "blessed are the cheesemakers" (the word is supposed to be 'peacemakers') and when another woman questions the reasoning behind the statement she is met with, "It's not meant to be taken literally. It refers to all manufacturers of dairy products". The scene combines parody (of the actual sermon) with dramatic irony (as the audience knows the sermon has been heard incorrectly) to comment on the way that many religious folks lose their critical thinking skills when it comes to interpretation of texts or preachings. The fact that the characters continue to argue amongst themselves about the meaning of the sermon adds another layer of irony, seeing as the whole point of the sermon was that those who are kind and peaceful will be rewarded. Again, Monty Python takes a crack at the Christians who are so caught up in debating the minutiae of their religion that they forget about the big picture of who Jesus truly wanted his followers to be.

Another famous scene is the final song (linked above). Brian has been hung on a cross while his friends and family abandoned him to be a martyr for a religion he never even wanted to start. Another man, who is also being crucified, begins to sing about the virtues of optimism and encourages Brian to " always look on the bright side of life", even as he is dying. The rest of the men on the crosses join in and the camera pans away as they bob their heads to a cheery tune while hanging to die. The irony of the situation makes a very strong statement about the way we glorify death as the 'ultimate sacrifice'. The stoic martyr, who accepts his gruesome fate for the name of a higher cause, is considered the ultimate hero across all of Western culture, not just Christianity. This song suggests that life is pretty ugly too, and dying isn't necessarily the horrible sacrifice we make it out to be. It doesn't always have to be somber and valiant. Sometimes it's just a thing that happens and we ought to make the best out of it.

Monty Python's satire Life of Brian, manages to comment on both the extreme nature of some religious fanatics and the misguided morals of Western culture (especially regarding martyrdom/heroic death) through its masterful irony and parody of Jesus' life story. It's a hilarious watch, and also serves to give those of us who are Christians a little reminder not to take ourselves too seriously.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Regina George- Queen of North Shore and Satire

"Mean Girls" is a satirical movie from the early 2000's that dramatizes the distinctive "cliques" in high school. As most popular in the school, Regina George basically runs everything, until a strange home-schooled student from Africa arrives. Regina's power is threatened by the excitement of a new student, Cady Heron.
Wanting to be in the cool "clique," Cady dumbs herself down to fit in- more so, to fit the stereotype that popular girls are not smart. The funniest part is that Regina's small, exclusive group of girls actually call themselves, "The Plastics"- as if the girls are not fake and shallow enough alone.
The mastermind behind this movie, Tina Fey, uses extensive irony to get exaggerate the stereotypes. In the beginning, Cady joins The Plastics to learn more about them and eventually cause their downfall in an awesome prank, but she actually becomes friends with them. While planning to take The Plastics down because of their bad personalities and complete disrespect for others, Cady falls under the influence of high school drama and becomes a Plastic herself. Not only does Cady become a Plastic, but she ditches her original friends. 
Tina Fey successfully suggests ethical reform among high schoolers, particularly girls. Teenage girls tend to be very mean to each other and tear each other down. I don't think that girls realize the extent to which their words and actions affect their friends, which Fey really emphasizes. By the time Cady was officially a Plastic, her friends were upset with her for ditching them, but Cady didn't understand why they were upset. Teenage girls are so incredibly self-absorbed that they lose sight of the kind of person they want to be. Eventually Cady identifies her flaws and makes up with her original friends. 
One would expect for something bad to happen to Regina George in the end, but Tina Fey puts a twist on the movie and emphasizes the positivity of individuality. Regina picks up aggressive sports, like lacrosse, that help get her anger out in a constructive way. Cady returns to her original friends, but there are no hard feelings between The Plastics (who no longer exist) and Cady. Everyone is friends with everyone, which shows that girls do not have to be enemies. Everyone can be their own person while still having all the friends in the world. 
All in all, Fey was successful in using irony in an attempt to enforce social reform amongst high school girls. I remember after watching the movie myself, I was more aware of how I treated others and did my best to treat everyone around me as I wanted to be treated. 

The Downfall of South Park

South Park is known to be one of the sharpest satirical shows, often stepping over the line in its mockery of cultural trends and powers that be. The show's anniversary 2016 season contained some fascinating insights into the darker aspects of America's collective unconscious that were brought into the light by the presidential election. The episodes were filled with creative satirical inventions, like, for example, the memberberries - malicious living berries that poisoned white rural Americans with a nostalgia for Star Wars, 80's music, and the times when women and ethnic minorities were barred from the political arena. However, after analyzing the causes of Trump's victory, the South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, seem to have lost a sense of direction in the latest 21st season.

Typically, South Park achieves a satirical effect by creating hyperboles and humorous analogies of current events, or by placing these events into unexpected contexts. Stone and Parker still do this to an extent in the new season. The Charlottesville alt-rightists protest against Amazon's Alexa taking their jobs, Trump nukes Canada, and the interactions between Trump and the American people are paralleled by an abusive middle-school relationship. However, the season lacks an essential component of satire  a clear understanding of necessary change. Despite of a somewhat hopeful ending, Stone and Parker seem for the first time to be completely clueless of what to make of our society's current state.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Aubrey, better know as Drake is known for being a rapper, producer, singer, and song writer. He's known for making relatable love songs, that teenagers relate to in particular. In 2017, Drake released a album called "More Life". In that album he released a song named "Teenager Fever", which in particular talks about loving and hating someone at the same time. He started off the song saying "Your heart is hard to carry after dark", and "You're to blame for what we could have been." Later on in the song he says, "You say the word I'm on the way." He obviously cares for the girl, but he loves her one minute, and doesn't feel the same the next.

Hijackers Surprised to Find Selves in Hell- Onion Article

Hijackers Surprised to Find Themselves In Hell

I chose to analyze this satirical article by the Onion, that came out after 9/11. It is a mock interview of the 9/11 hijackers who ended up in Hell and do not understand why. This article is a great example of dramatic irony because the audience all knows something the hijackers do not- that they deserve to be in hell... The article also uses dramatic irony by using humor when talking about such a tragic topic. The audience expects a serious and somber article about 9/11, so when humor is used it is a surprise to the audience. It also serves to illustrate the tragedy by deliberately hinting at it but never straight forwardly addressing it.


In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode, The Gang Recycles Their Trash, the group attempts to solve the garbage crisis while the Philadelphia garbage men are on strike. The episode effectively uses irony, sarcasm, and humor to effect a change to the "crisis" at hand. As the bar fills with garbage, the gang creates a plan to gather the garbage and profit off of the situation, and eventually undercut the garbage union for a contract. Alike most satirical comedies, this episode mentions a social and/or political issue, but solves this issue by finding a form of profit and self gain. The episode pokes at the traditional model which is meant to promote positive change and combat an institution. Though the situation present in the episode does not exist in real life, a strike by the garbage union would not be unfathomable. The gang sports suits and drives a limousine to collect garbage, to appear like high class garbage men, while attempting to undercut the garbage union for the contract to collect garbage. The characters in the show being narcissists, leads them to be consumed with their own lives over all else. This group dynamic is effective in combating the traditional model of satire, and creating an original product. The unique model the show uses to show satire provides the most humor and attention, while proving their ability to use satire effectively with real life situations.

Charlie Brown's Football

Most Americans are familiar with Charles Schulz's classic Peanuts cartoon from the 70s, and if they are familiar with the cartoon series, they know all about Charlie Brown's Football. Every October there is a new strip following the same plot: Lucy is holding a football and she asks Charlie Brown to kick it, Charlie Brown explains that he will not kick the ball because he has fallen for this trick before and refuses to do so again. However, usually after a long speech, Lucy convinces Charlie Brown that she has changed and that this time she will NOT pull the football away from him. Charlie Brown than runs at the football, ready to kick it as far as he can, and at the last minute Lucy snatches the ball away and laughs as Charlie Brown falls flat on his back.
Charlie Brown's football was first introduced in the 70s, when many U.S. citizens viewed the federal government as corrupt and manipulative. This scorn fell mainly on intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, who had repeatedly broke the law in the name of national security by spying on and wire tapping U.S. citizens. This playful interaction between Charlie Brown and Lucy alludes to the process of American politics. In politics, a figurehead promises the American public that a certain measure will be beneficial to all Americans. People are wary at first, as like Charlie Brown they have fallen for this before, but eventually the majority of the public is behind the figurehead. Finally the measure is carried out, usually without the outcome that was promised to the public.

In addition to the obvious satirical elements captured in the comic, one of it's most powerful tools is repetition. Every October, from when it was first published to now, there is a peanuts cartoon of Lucy pulling away the ball from Charlie Brown. The audience sympathizes with Charlie Brown, because every October there seems to be some political movement that they have been ridiculed by. That is why the comic remains relevant and powerful, as it obvious reflects the constantly turbulent politics in America.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Naughtius Maximus, Biggus Dickus, and the Life of Brian

Monty Python’s Life of Brian follows the story of a young Jewish man, Brain Cohen, who is mistaken for the Messiah. The film is filled with hilarious bits that challenge religion, question politics, and poke fun at human nature, particularly the tendency to fixate on semantics.

Life of Brian opens with Brian and his mother listening to Jesus’ famed Beatitudes speech. In this case however, Brian and fellow listeners are too far out to hear properly, and misinterpretation leads to arguments and eventual conflict. Within the ten minutes after this, the viewer sees a stoning in which all stoners are women (a crime punishable by stoning), an ex-leopard begging for money and explaining how curing him from disease has posed more problems than it fixed, and a defenseless roman who defeated a gladiator in the Colosseum by running him into a heart attack. Obviously these moments are all great pieces of satire in and of themselves (hyperboles or counter-intuitive situational irony), but the heavy hitters come after.

One of the best moments in the movie is the scene in which The People’s Front of Judea are seen talking amongst each other. Trying to establish their rules, the group is constantly stopped by mindless and irrelevant additions to the statements. Shortly after, the group performs a hit on the Roman’s and runs into their biggest adversary, The Judean People’s Front. The difference between the two groups lies entirely in their titles, but it is enough to pit the two against each other and spoil the coo. Moments like these (there are plenty in the movie) remind the viewer to look past irrelevant, instigative details and see the bigger picture.

The largest underlying piece to the movie is the critique of religion. Brian becomes the Messiah by accident in minutes and cannot remove himself from that title for the entire movie. Despite telling them repeatedly he is not the Messiah and giving them evidence, his fanatic follower spin everything he says to support their belief that he is the one true prophet. Although hyperbolic in nature, this example hits close to home for many, which may be why the film was banned for a time. This satirical moment suggests viewers reevaluate their beliefs in religion and make sure they coincide with free and independent thought.

Grown -ish

When it comes to Satire the first example that came to mind was a very newly popular show entitled Grown-ish. It is an American sitcom based around a young girl named Zoey whom is taking her first steps into the ¨real world¨ as she heads off to college. It ¨ explores the first trappings of adulthood¨. She must now ¨ navigate through the trials and tribulations¨ of the momentous steps that is ahead of her. Soon as she ¨ discovers that once she leaves the nest, things do not always go her way¨. The series features, ¨ that in between place where you´re not quite an adult but facing grown world problems for the first time. 

This show in particular uses two of the main forms of satire. The first form would be verbal which is what is said is the opposite of what is meant. This show constantly uses the verbal form of satire which is essential based around the entire show. There is situational irony where it is the appearance of things is opposite of the reality. This as well is shown throughout the show. More specifically in the first episode of the show Zoey was sitting in one of her classes and her teacher came in with a box of puppies that he were illegally trying to sell and then proceeds to hand out an assignment and leaves the classroom. 

This show is simply not making fun of people or institutions but is untimely trying to change society simply because it is as a reality verses expectation. More so directed for teens and young adults of things that are over exaggerated when it comes to college and the truths about it in comedic way. 

(Won't allow you to access from school account)
Key & Peele have done dozens of skits making fun of race in America, but I believe there was no bigger or better skit than, "Negrotown". If you've never seen the sketch, Key is stopped by the police for being black, he hits his head on the car door as the policeman shoves him into the back, and he's then sent into a fictitious place where every grievance black people have due to race is rectified. What is immediately hilarious is the list of struggles/annoyances that black people endure, that maybe no white person would know. For example, the inability to get a cab, or getting approved for a loan, or how white people love to touch black people's hair. These are things that white people may know but many don't. What's interesting is how they weave in the obvious things, like being able to wear your hoodie and not get shot. This is a use of satire because just hearing it, it sounds hyperbolic. But really it's not an exaggeration at all. The ridiculousness of the sentence itself is a reflection of how ridiculous and racist America is.

However, the most ironic part of the entire skit is how white it looks and sounds. I am no music or dance expert, but black people don't sing or dance like that. It's ironic because when you think of a black utopia that "Negrotown" is supposed to be, those wouldn't be the images or sounds you would probably think of, or at least I wouldn't. But what's even more interesting, that I never noticed until I looked at it closely, is the subtle hints or black cultural images that they throw in. While you're watching Jordan Peele teach Keegan-Michael Key about "Negrotown", I'm sure you didn't notice the men in the back who are wearing dashikis. Or the two teenagers shake hands like Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff do on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Or while at the end when everyone in the street is doing possibly the whitest dance ever, there are about 4 people on the side doing different black dances. And while they all do their dances, they end at the same point, united, with their fists in the air. It something that I didn't notice at first, but it perfectly caps off a hilarious yet serious reflection of race in America.

Welcome To Hell
This skit from Saturday Night Live is a music video of the song "Welcome to Hell" referring to the lives of women who have to put up with sexual assault, harassment or general fear and anxiety. The women dance and sing like the spice girls and Katy Perry combined, but the lyrics bring up controversial sentiments such as people who accuse women of not talking about it sooner, and how black women often have it much harder than white women.
This skit uses hyperbole first to convey the satirical message. The title "Welcome to Hell" likens women's lives to hell. This is an exaggeration, but a meaningful one. Furthermore, they exaggerate a stereotype of women as being ditsy and girly. The costumes are over the top and the women ask innocent seeming questions like "Guys are turning out to be-whats the word? Habitual predators?" as if they are clueless. The skit also makes use of parody by acting like a music video, silly and slightly sexualized, but the irony comes from the fact that the subject matter is actually very true and serious.
The skit doesn't just make fun of women or stereotype men as evil but it is a call to action. It calls men to empathize with the injustices that women experience. It supports the #metoo movement and further emphasizes the importance of stopping sexual harassment. 

22 Jump Street

The Spoken Word scene in 22 Jump Street is a satire itself, although it helps articulate the larger meaning of the movie. 22 Jump Street is a sequel to 21 Jump Street, that is making fun of other sequels and Hollywood in general. The movie is about two undercover cops trying to find a drug dealer at a university. 21 Jump Street was the high school version.

The movie, as shown in the clip above, makes fun of lack of creativity in art forms, especially Hollywood movies. Throughout 22 Jump Street , there are many jokes about "doing things the same way a second time" while also being a parody of other action and comedy sequels.

The movie not only satirizes Hollywood, a huge entertainment business in America, but other issues in the country as well. The movie satirizes the police force in America, and American college party and hookup culture.

There are many jokes throughout 22 Jump Street,  making fun of college football players and fraternities, a lack of creativity in a variety of art forms, and seemingly silly, everyday jobs that police officers have to take on. 22 Jump Street is a funny movie, especially in moments where their jokes are so spot on and "true" (like the parody of spoken word), it brings up many issues in American society. The lack of creativity is not the only, or biggest, problem in Hollywood. However, bringing light to any issues in such a huge business opens the door to questioning society. The other parts of society questioned, like culture in American colleges, make fun of more "every day" people. Either way, 22 Jump Street  causes viewers to question systems that are a huge part of American culture, by showing how easy it is to make fun of ,and laugh at, them.

Thrift Shop

"Thrift Shop" is a hip hop song by Macklemore that became really popular in 2013. It was known for its catchy lines such as "I'm gonna pop some tags" and "Only got twenty dollars in my pocket." Though it was very popular, a lot of people don't get the meaning behind the song. Throughout the song Macklemore quietly makes fun of wealthy people who feel the need to spend way too much money on basic needs, such as shoes, clothes, etc. In the song you can hear Macklemore saying, "50 dollars for a t-shirt that's just some ignorant bi***" and "I call that getting tricked by a business." Macklemore brings up a good point that not only do some wealthy people overspend on basic needs, but they constantly brag about how much money they spent on a a pair of pants. You can see this a lot in the hip hop genre, as a lot of rappers have a tendency to do this. One example of this is 21 savage saying he has eight m's in his bank account.

To mock other rappers Macklemore talks about paying things at a thrift shop, basically calling them out by pointing out that he can buy the same things they have but at a thrift store. Macklemore brings up a good point. I agree that even if you are as rich as a lot of popular rappers are, you don't really need to spend $800 on a pair of shoes or $400 for a pair of pants. Having nice shoes is nice, but I would never spend hundreds of dollars for them.

"The Office" Satire: Diversity Day

The entire basis of the show The Office is satirically criticizing the everyday experiences of the American workplace. A particularly keen example of the show's use of satire is apparent in one of the first episodes aired, titled "Diversity Day", in which a company enforces a day in which the office celebrates and learns about diversity and the different cultures of minorities in the office. Despite having hired a group leader to educate the employees, the racially ignorant and offensive manager of the office takes over the training and flips a would be helpful day into a place to insult and offend minorities in any way he could think of. The satire of this episode is apparent because it communicates that when we try to discuss the racial and ethnic stigmas and issues prevalent in our society, the conversation is often taken over by white people and makes the problem worse. Additionally, he "diversity day" the company enforced brought attention to people's tensions and prejudices without actually solving any of the problems, consequently only making people uncomfortable and reinforcing a somewhat volatile work environment. The audience of the show is therefore unconsciously educated about the problems we have with racial discussions today and given an example of what not to do.

He's Putting Chemicals in the Water. Guard Your frogs.

At this point, most people have heard of Alex Jones, the radio host of Infowars. Known for his outrageous conspiracy theories and constantly enraged affect, Alex Jones somehow has managed to gain a large following of people who seriously believe what he says on his show, the president of the United States included. While most of us understand him to be more than slightly unstable and that his theories carry little more than "meme appeal," it may be harmful for people to take him seriously. He spreads so much false information and spreads so much fear and suspicion that taking him seriously could lead to further polarization and attention to non-existent problems. As he has garnered more and more attention, larger media outlets have taken notice. The Late Show with Steven Colbert specifically. Colbert is both an expert of comedy, but he also makes more serious political commentaries when it is appropriate. He tries to use his influence both to entertain, but also to spread positive messages and move people to a more reasonable position. Colbert has much to say on the subject of Alex Jones as well. During a custody battle where Jones's mental stability was used to argue that he was not fit to have custody of his children, Colbert created his own version of Inforwars  to outline some of the most ridiculous aspects of Jones, Tuck Buckford. Even after the custody battle ended, Tuck reappeared on the show. Jones is an entertaining character, so it would make sense for Colbert to join the conversation through a wonderful display of satire.

Colbert's Tuck Buckford sketches utilize two aspects of satire, hyperbole, and parody. In and of itself, the sketch is a parody. It imitates Jones's formula of insanity to great comedic effect. Due to the time allotted in addition to Colbert's performance is very hyperbolic. He delivers much of what is regular for Jones in a very rapid fire method. Jones's far fetched theories fall onto the audiences ears constantly in a stretch of a minute or two. Although Colbert's character does not exaggerate Jones's character too much, his exaggeration of the outlandish theories that Jones is known for certainly assists in the satirical rendition of Infowars. Colbert's performance outlines the unhinged ramblings of Jones and hopes to guide us to understand that Inforwars should not be taken seriously. Most of Colbert's audience already knows this, but there are those who seem to find it difficult to discern what kind of "news" to take seriously. Colbert wants to make the world a better place. He has taken time before his monologue to deliver serious messages that change needs to occur, and even outside of these more serious pauses his performances outline many aspects of culture and politics that should be changed. Tuck Buckford serves as a way to show people that Alex Jones should not be taken seriously and that offers more than comedic entertainment. After all, Jones is quite entertaining.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

At Least We're Not Peruvian

Modern Family is a television series that airs on ABC (American Broadcasting Company). The model of the show is engaging as it mocks what would be a documentary of three families interconnected. The comedy series follows the lives of Jay Prtichett and his family, along with the families of his two children. Jay's family consists of his second wife, her son from a previous relationship, and their son. Jay's wife Gloria, who is played by Sofia Vergara, takes on the role of a Colombian immigrant to the United States. In the clip above, Gloria and Jay are in an argument and the show takes advantage of this heated moment to communicate satire irony. Jay begins to make a stereotypical comment about Colombians, but Gloria stops him to only add another discriminatory comment to the conversation. 

Looking closely at their language, one can clearly see the satirical elements in action. Gloria has taken a dog and Jay wasn't on board with her plan. Jay begins to talk about Colombians, "Don't forget stealing is against the law. Now maybe in Colombia..." This statement upsets Gloria and she responds with, "Here we go!  Because, in Colombia, we trip over goats and we kill people in the street. Do you know how offensive that is? Like we're Peruvians!" Her comment begins with verbal irony as she obviously means the opposite of what she said. Even though she says Colombians kill people in the street, she definitely means the complete opposite. She says this in response to Jay claiming Colombians are criminals. The next part of her response is situational irony, events that have an unexpected or unintended effect. Gloria doesn't expect that throwing Peruvians into their conversation will make matters worse. By bringing up another Latin American country, she is only adding to Jay's stereotypes concerning Latinos. 

While some may find Gloria's loud and fiery personality comedic, the writers of the show have certain intentions. Gloria represents whats some Americans think of when a Latina Woman. They think these women come from dangerous countries where murders happen in the streets. By exposing audience members to this issue in a comedic way, the message is effectively communicated. Gloria's attempt to change Jay's perception of Colombians by calling out Peruvians only makes the problem worse. The show could be suggesting that the solution lies in a stop to singling out people among their regional differences.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert is one of the funniest hosts on late night TV. His witty banter with his coworkers, and his willingness to try out different roles and personas make him standout from the endless list of middle aged white men that take over channels like ABC, NBC, and CBS each night. 

To start off every show, Colbert begins with a monologue to discuss political and social current events. Whether it be about crock-pots, the flu, or the White House, Colbert always finds a way to find humor in everything. Above I've linked the video to one of Colbert's best monologues titled, "This Monologue Goes Out To You, Mr. President." In it, Colbert uses sarcasm, irony, and parody to poke fun at President Trump's first 100 days in office. He uses images as well as his live band to enhance his critique on the state of our nation, and also to expose the man running it, Donald Trump.

Colbert works to find real news and present it to the public in ways that make it feel more bearable. In this monologue he begins with, "It is day 102 of the Trump Presidency, 1,358 days to go... but who's counting?" He then slowly raises his hand. The use of sarcasm here illustrates the shared feeling many of us in the Oak Park bubble have, why can't we dump Trump? Although many of Colbert's comments target Trump and his administration directly, they also criticize America as a whole for allowing him to be our President and expose our overall inaction. Not just a funny program, The Late Show With Steven Colbert and many other comedy specials lately work to expose our society for the part it played in the last election, and incite people with the desire to take a stance and make change.

Saturday Night Live: A Show Merely Based all off of Satire

After 43 years of being on air, Saturday Night Live (SNL) has shattered viewing records several times throughout the show's history. SNL, while making relatively immature jokes, has incorporated its political views within its humor. A mix so the current youth and later generations can understand the humor depicted. One video in specific: "kellywise" only proves the constancy of this humor. Shortly after Stephen King's newest version of It came out in theatres in 2017, the youth of the time found a new favorite horror story. All the while, many of the later generations found their horror story in  headlines stating "Donald Trump wins election" in 2016. SNL uses this kind of situation to, instead of positively encourage the US population, motivate US citizens with merely a concession of the flaws that lie in the U.S through humor. SNL, being a strongly liberal show, targets many jokes at the republican population.

While Kellyanne Conway is the the face of every decision that Donald Trump's makes, she is often portrayed as a ruthless woman who somehow can make up for the immature choices Donald Trump tends to make. SNL being the edgy show it is, portrays Kellyanne Conway as an inhuman monster named "Kellywise" (a play off of pennywise in 'it'). SNL has Kellywise mimic many of Kellyanne Conway's characteristics and phrases (but clearly to an extreme extent). A hyperbole of such a woman lead to a success for SNL; attraction to all audiences. This work, while depicts SNL's strongly liberal side, does concede to the flaws the democratic side has. After Hillary Clinton appears next to Kellywise,  Anderson Cooper asks Hillary why she is with Kellywise, Clinton responds with "well where did you think i'd be Wisconsin or Michigan?"

After watching this clip upwards of 4 times in a row, one may see that the main goal of SNL is not simply to boast about their political beliefs, but, through hyperbolic language, exaggerate this country's flaws through the media. Similar to "The Stranger" by Albert Camus, SNL is here to remind society that there is so much that the world cannot control, and that there is really no 'right' answer to solve the world's problems. SNL has set the bar high for humor, but also offers a complexity that not other television shows have illuminated.  SNL is truly the future of comedy, television, and the US.

American Dad

Much like Seth Macfarlane's Family Guy, American Dad is a show that has to grow on you. American Dad is a popular satire that infuses it's "normal" american family with powerful stereotypes. Macfarlane can poke at American society without the watcher always realizing he is trying to make a point.. such is the brilliance of his writing.

The main protagonist, Stan Smith, is a perfect example of this. He is the patriarch who is supposed to be a caricature of a conservative christian republican. He lacks emotions and is hyper-masculine and dominating over his superficial, boring, and stupid wife Francine Smith. Stan is a likable and sometimes relatable character, yet at the same time he is xenophobic, extremely conservative, blindly patriotic, etc.

The general plot in many episodes, is to mock straight, white republicans; Like Stan (and those who affiliate with them, such as Stan's abusive, narcissistic, perverted boss). It is a critic of the nuclear family; The nuclear family in American Dad only works because of the binary of HUSBAND/wife between Stan and Francine, and also because the two children Haley and Steve submit and respect their father. American Dad is also a critic of who our country gives it's power to, since Stan works for the CIA. He is xenophobic and an alpha male who tends to let his ego get in the way of his job.

Parks and Recreation

The hit tv series Parks and Recreation use satire to highlight the obscure and funny parts of government jobs and midwestern towns. The show takes place in the fictionary town of Pawnee, which in real life is said to represent Muncie, Indiana, a blue-collar town. They even use class to acknowledge mass class differences in Indiana, specifically between the towns of Pawnee (Mucnie) and Eagleton (Carmel). Pawnee is obese, poor, and has no functioning government, while Carmel is over-the-top wealthy.

The main joke Parks and Recreation plays on is government jobs. For Pawnee, all of the local governemnts sit around and do not accomplish anything, except for Leslie Knope, she love her job at the Parks Department. This pokes fun at how many Americans view their governments as lazy. Many viewers find this show hilarious fue to its exageration of governmetn inefficiency. After all, it takes Leslie about three seasons before she gets permission to build one park. Even her boss, Ron Swanson, makes it his job to get little to no work done since he doesn't believe in government. This hyperbole helps exagerate American local governemnt and class gaps between towns.


One of my favorite movies as a kid was Enchanted. It is about a princess named Giselle who is banished to the real-world (New York City) from the fairy tale world Andalasia (animated). Before being banished to the real world, she was set to marry Prince Edward and live happily ever. However, in the real world, she gets a rude-awakening. The real world is nothing like a fairy-tale. This is a satirical film. The movie definitely uses humor to criticize those who believe that living happily ever after with no adversity is possible. When Giselle gets to New York City, she automatically assumes that everyone knows where Andalasia is and asks everyone on the street to show her the way  Everyone stares at her like she's crazy. She comes off very entitled but naive in a funny way. There are many instances of hyperbole. Giselle meets this man (Robert) and her daughter in New York City, and he offers her to stay at his home. Robert thinks Giselle is a bit crazy.  As the days go on, Robert and Giselle get to know each other. Giselle finds out that Robert has been with his girlfriend for many years. Giselle tells Robert she barely knows her prince and they were supposed to get married within the next day of meeting each other. Giselle goes on and on that if she doesn't find her prince, she may die. Of course, she will not actually die from not marrying her prince. Another example is Giselle talking about the moment she reunites with her love. She describes when once she is reunited with her prince, she will be so happy and filled with rainbows and butterflies all around. Of course, this does not happen. In fact, there is a lot irony in this movie. Eventually Prince Edward finds Giselle, but Giselle doesn't feel much when she sees him. She likes her real-world lifestyle.  Throughout the movie, she learns about different emotions and dealing with them, and not always being joyful and giddy. Also, the truth about maintaining a healthy relationship and more. Unlike her supposed "fairy-tale" relationship with Edward. Ultimately, the movie implies that in order to be truly happy an individual must experience hardships. It's a great movie.

Here's a link to the trailer: Enchanted trailer

Real as F**k

The show Insecure, was based off Issa Rae's Youtube channel series, The Awkward Black Girl it follows the life of J as she interacts with her co-workers and love interests who place her in uncomfortable situations. Later Issa Rae's show was elected to take a positive and insightful opportunity by HBO and naming the series, Insecure.The show offers a different way into the conversations about sex, race, and culture that TV is trying to constantly have. It's primary strength is its confidence but it is exploring social and racial issues that relate to the contemporary black experience through two black female main characters that are best friends Molly and Issa. They are both in their late 20's, living in Los Angeles California, with career and relationships that are being challenged. Issa works for a non-profit organization that benefits middle schoolers of color, and Molly is a corporate attorney.
The first season opens up with Molly, being on of the only black women working at her jobs, the show really captures the tension with a dozen jokes and uncomfortable moments. At one moment, a white co-worker of Issa's proposes  having the program's teens clean up the garbage on the beach, almost "chain-gang style," as a way of helping out the community. Issa soon fantasizes about shaking her co-worker with rage, but she is struggling to construct alternatives for her reaction. Later, at the beach her co-worker asks, "Why so many African American children aren't swimming." Issa replies in a impassive way, "Slavery," 
She uses sarcasm using big awkward pauses and social interactions to prove the idea that black people can be summed up as one universal cultural experience. 

When we were assigned the satire project I immediately thought of all the skits on SNL. Known for its stand-up comedy, and a regular part of my weekend schedule, I was excited to decide which skit I would be using. In the end, I decided to analyze the sketch where Michael Che goes undercover as a liberal white woman named Gretchen. The skit is hilarious and filled with a lot of irony, satire, and hyperbole. It starts by Michael Che, who co-stars on weekend update, explaining that he gets a lot of mail from liberal white women complaining about his bits. In order to understand them, he goes undercover by wearing a wig and dressing in clothes that are stereotypical to liberal white women (crochet hats and scarves specifically). While very much still looking like Michael Che, he somehow completely alludes liberal white women with his transformation, and they completely accept him as one of their own.

At a Sunday brunch a group of liberal white women, and Che, gather around to discuss satirical exaggerations of what liberal white women would talk about at brunch. He also goes shopping, reading, and does various other activities typical to a liberal white women. The dramatization of these seemingly mundane tasks are what make the skit so funny, and really bring out its satirical nature. After a day of engaging in typical liberal white women experiences, Che ends with a new appreciation for his character Gretchen. In all, I think that this was a good example of what satire looks like in the 21st century versus the satire Jane Austen uses in Pride and Prejudice.


What is satire? Well to me, satire is an exaggeration or oversimplification intended to ridicule, highlight or expose the flaws of an idea. The purpose would then be to inform or change the behavior and perceptions of others and our environment.

Wall-e is a movie where it is showing the inhabitants of Earth have fled onto spaceships, leaving robots behind to clean up the garage that has consumed the Earth. Wall-e, the main character, is eventually the last robot remaining to clean up the Earth. After some time, Wall-e arrives at one of the spaceships that the inhabitant are on. While on the spaceships, Wall-e realizes that humans have evolved and become morbidly obese. An example of that is that the humans float around all day on chairs with screens on them watching television all day. 

Humans and their inability to be self-reliant with showing humans laziness. Humans are really reliant on new technologies but when that all disappears what would everyone do? In the movie, the characters are sitting lazily in chairs throughout their life. With the environment where does all this waste end up? Most of over waste and garbage doesn't get reused. After a time, this garage accumulates to an unthinkable quantity. Large companies who sell quantities of packages goods are kind of responsible for the mess? Machines are taking over kind of in a way because if you think about it technology is advancing at such a high rate that human has become unnecessary. 

Some devices that were used throughout the movie to bring a greater idea to it. Exaggeration because it is showing the world would never end up covered in garage. Diminution is another one because it is taking real-life situations and showcasing all the flaws. The last one that I found was a reversal and how the idea of obesity is considered positive with all the humans in the movie.


Insecure is a TV series that focuses on two main characters Issa and Molly who are two black women who want to be perceived as confident, successful, have everything figured out. In reality they possess many flaws and insecurities that seem to be brought out through their everyday experiences. But they also have to deal with the subtle and not so subtle racism and prejudice they experience as African American women. This racism and prejudice mainly occurs in their work places that are dominated by white people. Issa works for a non profit organization called "We Got Y'all" and Molly works in a law firm. The idea of We Got Y'all is pretty racist in itself because it's supposed to be an organization that helps people in "the hood" (primarily black and Hispanic people). In the opening scene of the first episode, the audience discovers that Issa is the only black employee at her job and she is the person her  white coworkers go to her to ask her questions like "What's on fleek?" (yes they literally ask her this to her face).  This particular scene is presented in a humorous, satirical way because to them Issa says "I don't know" but to the camera (the audience) she says "I know what that s**t means. But being aggressively passive is what I do best.  I used to keep a journal to vent but now I write raps." She is using sarcasm to critique the fact that black people have to deal with uncomfortable situations like that and not want to address the racism either because it's an awkward conversation or they are just used to it.

Maybe we can work it out

Kanye West's "The New Workout Plan" parodies work out tapes, and all the empty promises that come with them. Through this, it satirizes the expectations that society places on women to be sexy and fit.

The song begins with Kanye speaking to the target audience of his faux workout tape: women looking to get fit for the summer. From the get go he makes ridiculous empty promises. 
                    "And Ladies, if you follow these instructions exactly
                   You might be able to pull you a rapper, an NBA player
                                    Man, at least a dude with a car"
Here he uses hyperbole, while the workout tapes he's parodying wouldn't promise things as extreme as 'a rapper' and an 'NBA player', but they would make insincere promises for how helpful the tape would be. He sort of breaks out of the satire by saying almost desperately 'at least a dude with a car', as if he's aware of how useless the workout tape actually is. Like hell, something has got to happen.  I think it still works to show that the people selling workout tapes know better than anybody that their product isn't worth the money. This type of criticism could cover any quack miracle product, so why a workout tape?

Because silly puns revolving around workout terminology make for a fun song, sure. But I'd argue that the song also serves to criticize the expectations placed on women to be fit and sexy. Someone who feels bad about their body would of course be more likely to buy a workout tape.

The song goes through various lines of exaggerated misogyny to demonstrate the ways that women are valued for their bodies alone. "Excuse me miss, I forgot your name/Thank you, God bless you, good night, I came" Here he completely forgets the name of the woman he's having sex with. Now at this point in rap, this has become a fairly common thing to brag about (sadly). In the context of this song however, I think it's fairly clear that Kanye is using this line to show how little women can be valued outside of their bodies.  "All the mocha lattes, you gotta do Pilates/ You gotta pop this tape in before you start back dating." Again he talks about how women have to workout and get in shape before any man will be interested in them.

My favorite part of the song, and the funniest part is the customer testimonies. These ridiculous testimonies take the satire to an over the top level. One customer was able to date NBA players, another able to pay her phone bill (thanks to the workout tape?), and a girl from Alabama who was finally able to date outside the family. Basically, the results are hilariously ridiculous, giving the workout tape credit for every change in their life. Obviously none of these would ever happen due to a silly workout tape. This section just serves to further mock the idea of changing one's entire life with a few workout instructions.

Misogyny remains to be a big problem in rap music, and even Kanye isn't completely innocent, but at the very least, this song takes an interesting approach to criticizing sexual standards for women.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Mirror

Black Mirror takes a look at modern society, specifically focusing on the advancements of new technology. Episodes are standalone, and take place in the future. They usually have a more dark and satirical theme throughout the episodes. Each episode takes issues that take place in our world today, but sets it in the future and goes through how advancements in technology can take an effect. For example, the episode "Prophecy" is about the dying bee population, which is a prevalent issue in our world today. The episode is about the solution to the declining bee population, which are robotic bees that can carry out the same functions as a real bee. This advancement in technology is great because it allows peoples lives to be unaffected, while never having to deal with the real issue at hand. However, the making of robotic bees has a set of issues of its own. As the episode progresses it is made clear that the bees are having issues, and the original company who has designed and manufactured these bees are not in control anymore. The bees end up  being taken over by an unknown person/terrorist and used to target and kill people. This goes into the deeper meaning of the show. It takes real issues in our world, and shows how of instead of solving the actual issue you cover it up with advancements in technology it will not work out.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening. It is a satirical depiction of a working-class family of five; the Simpsons. The show is set in a fictional town called Springfield and depicts the life of American culture, society, and television. The father, Homer, works as a safety inspector at a Nuclear Powerplant although his buffoonish and clumsy personality. He is married to Marge, the stereotypical housewife. Their oldest Bart, is the troublemaker, Lisa the smart child, and Maggie the baby of the family. Although the family is dysfunctional, the show describes and examines the relationship and bond the family shares.

By using exaggeration and sarcasm the show is considered satire. It satirizes all aspects of normal life along from home life of the average American family to global politics. The show has made fun of past and present presidents on multiple occasions portraying them as an exaggerated version of themselves.

Throughout the showings of The Simpsons, not only has it made its viewers laugh, but it has also sparked thoughts in people's minds. The Simpsons appeals to audiences of all ages due to its constant jokes and stupidity which isn't difficult to understand  but also adults who can laugh at the low comedy but also understand the biting satire that is the true meaning behind the series.

Teacher's Gun Policy: OPRF should consider (Satire)

Based on the very recent and devastating shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the nation is in uproar on gun policy. Who should be able to purchase guns? How can we protect ourselves from gun violence? Is anyone ever eligible to buy a gun? It is questions such as these that have been popular in the recent days. Although, focusing specifically on gun violence in the high school setting, there is one question in particular that has come to surface. Should teachers have a gun for the safety of themselves and their students?

Our community should consider this question and possibly make this theory into a reality. There are several aspects to this plan that would create a positive impact both in school and out of school for students. One main impact is students would be much more attentive in the classroom. Clearly, teacher's have the dominating power in class because students fear that they may get in trouble if they act out of line. Despite this, there are always a few students that may misbehave and distract both other students and the teacher. Having a gun would make these children completely submissive. Knowing that one's Calculus or English teacher could whip out a firearm at any second may put some sense into the kids that don't listen. Scaring the students half to death may be the answer to a more productive classroom. Ultimately this would create a more positive environment for the students and teachers. The teacher's can lecture without being interrupted and the students will focus on the learning material. There is no time for socializing when safety is on the line.

More positives would be for students and their out of school lives. Homework completion and test scores would be expected to go on the rise. Most likely, this would be due to the fear of knowing that their teacher possesses a gun and that if they got a bad grade or did not complete an assignment, they may be subject to being held at gunpoint. Undoubtedly, the attempt to not have some "one on one time" with the teacher would boost academic performance. There seems to be no better way to motivate people than fear. 

Not only would it impact student performance in such a dramatic manner, but teachers would feel more secure with a gun as well. If a school were to go on lock down, there is no more need to lock the doors. Teachers, if properly trained can be useful in such situations. For example, if the invader were to come into a classroom, he/she would not expect the teacher to have a firearm. Why have Emergency Responders when the teacher could do the job for them?

Clearly I have demonstrated several ways that schools all around the country may benefit from a school with guns policy. Now it is time to implement this plan into our own community. So OPRF, strip off those "No guns allowed" stickers from every window and dive into the new generation of teaching. Lets load those pistols and fire this plan into action to create a more successful school environment.

Gun Fever Outside of Just Philadelphia

For my blog post I chose to critique an episode of the T.V. show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In their episode, "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot", the Philadelphia gang uses extreme hyperbole, mass hysteria, and irony to shed light on how ridiculous the US’s approach to gun control is. Throughout the episode, Dee and Dennis dramatically shift view points from thinking guns as a whole should be outlawed; All the way over to believing  that every single citizen in the U.S. should be packing heat. This shift is dramatized by the fact that they cannot themselves legally purchase a gun, which would assert that Gun Laws in the U.S. are strict enough, if it were not for the fact that they were both convicted felons. Moreover, even being convicted felons, they were still who on the verge of getting guns were they able to keep their emotions in check long enough to not ridicule the gun show owner. The irony behind them not being able to get a gun after they critiqued how easy it was, is in itself ironic because it insinuates that even for people as unhinged and violent as them, getting a gun in America is simply too easy.

Furthermore, the show uses the mass hysteria of the American public who believe their Second Amendment rights are about to be infringed upon to show how ridiculous gun nuts in the U.S. are. The sad thing about this is that while the show attempts to use Hyperbole to depict the public's reaction, it is more similar to the real world reaction than different. People’s rush to buy arms is completely the same as the public's recent rush to buy the bump stock which turns single shot assault rifles into burst/automatic weapons.

While this episode is hilarious and clearly is trying to make a point about weak gun laws in the U.S., as people react more and more similarly to the hyperbole of the show, the jokes becomes less funny and agenda pushing, and more of a harsh reality that U.S. citizens are struggling to deal with.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


Shameless, an American comedy series, I believe uses a satirical lens in order to portray its main messages of the realities of poverty.

Eldest sister Fiona Gallagher takes care of her five younger siblings Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, and Liam in place of her drunk father Frank, and absent addict and bipolar mother Monica. In the south side of Chicago, the Gallagher's tackle a new obstacle every episode.

Lip started his own business of taking teenager's SAT tests for them. He would take the test and earn them a high score that could then allow them to attend college with a scholarship. What Lip was doing was obviously illegal on many accounts, which is why there is a strict procedure of providing some form of photo identification for the SAT and ACT now. Lip had to jump through legal hoops in order to make money for his family. Lip's cheating also puts into perspective how little opportunities people have due to the issue of money. The SAT and ACT tests are all about figuring out the test, not being a genius. It takes practice to do well on those tests. However that practice costs money, as do tutors, and prep classes, which is a socioeconomic disadvantage to those who cannot afford such luxuries. This is just one example of how the Gallagher's come up with seemingly dangerous and comical ideas in order to make money highlights the issue of poverty and toxic capitalism. I believe Shameless does an adequate job of using parody in order to bring attention to the growing class gap and by doing so are attempting to change our society through awareness.  

Dr. Strangelove

Kubrick's 1964 comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb uses satire to make humor out of an incredibly dark subject. The film was based upon a novel called Red Alert, which was intended to be a realistic analysis of what would happen should a nuclear attack be accidentally launched. Kubrick kept the attention to detail and realism found in the novel's plot, yet performed it with hugely exaggerated characters. The soldiers, generals, and politicians all portray their respective stereotypes to the extreme, humorously criticizing our nation's leadership while still adhering to the dark plot line.

The movie switches between three main settings: the bomber plane, the rouge airbase from which it was launched, and the US war room. Kubrick uses satire most heavily in the war room, where leaders sit around a lavish table having pedantic arguments over what to do. This premise itself is ironic, as while war rages on in the other two locations, the men chosen to save us are fruitlessly bickering. One expects them to eventually come up with some brilliant solution, but instead the conversation simply shifts from saving the world to their own personal survival plans as the situation becomes more bleak. Many of the important characters in the war room are satires of specific politicians of the time. The character of President Merkin Muffley, for example, is a jab at real life presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. Muffley remains calm throughout the film, but is incredibly unassertive and neutral to the point where he's useless. This parody of Stevenson's own mild mannered nature is best seen in the famous quote "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!", which Muffley delivers completely unaware of its irony. Also in the room is General Turgidson, a jingoistic exaggeration of the war crazy generals of the time. He's constantly pushing to launch a full attack on Russia and is overly concerned with any "gaps" (areas where Russia is ahead of the US) he can find. Dr. Strangelove himself is a parody of the Nazi scientists the US brought over to work on our missile programs following the end of WWII. While he claims to now be helping us against the Russians, he keeps accidentally referring to the President as "Mein Fuhrer" and doing the Nazi salute with his prosthetic arm. The other leaders completely ignore this obvious allegiance to the Nazi party as Strangelove is likely the only one who can save them, poking fun at our nation's willingness to work with these horrible war criminals in order to beat the Russians in the arms race.

The film's ending is as pessimistic as its premise, making the time wasted by the huge personalities in the war room incredibly frustrating. By portraying it like this Kubrick was able to not only highlight the dangers of nuclear war, but also criticize how our politicians' stubbornness, idealism, and self-interest would make them utterly ineffective in stopping such a conflict.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Snack Life
Above is a link to a video clip called "The Snack of Life" , from the daily show with Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart uses hyperbole, verbal irony/sarcasm, and understatements to create a work of satire. Health experts say that a lot of foods are filled with poisons, are fattening, and contains lots of artificial chemicals and antibiotics. Stewart questions what fast food companies will do about this and goes on to exaggerate what food companies say they are going to do about this issue. He describes, that food companies are saying "forget your health study" and "you can stick your study's where the sun don’t shine". Food companies aren’t actually saying these things or they would be in trouble. However, it appears that they are basically saying these things because they choose to ignore the studies. Furthermore, Stewart goes on with his work by using and understatement, "Making food slightly less bad for you craze is spreading". His sarcastic tone in this understatement suggest that the food in general is still bad for you. There is no such thing is slightly more healthy, it's either healthy or it's not. Finally, Stewart describes,  “Chicken without antibiotics, well now I’m conflicted. I want healthier food but I’ll miss treating my ear infection with the Buffalo Ranch Mchicken”. Verbal irony and sarcasm are used here,  what Stewart actually means is that the slight healthier food craze is ridiculous. It's just a tease or an act food companies are putting on in order to continue to sell their products. The use of hyperbole, verbal irony/sarcasm, understatements help to create of work of satire because Stewart is ultimately criticizing fast food companies.

At the end of the video Stewart describes how Kraft is being considered a healthy food by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If fast food companies are paying health places money to say that their food is healthy, you know their is a problem with the system. It’s all about the money, the food companies don’t care about our health and apparently neither do the health companies. Stewart also criticizes people for buying into crazy of slightly healthier food. We need to stop eating junk food that is disguised as health food. The world is all about convenience these days, “How quick can I get it”. Instead, we should really looking into the companies we are buying these foods from to see what they are really about and spend more time preparing healthier foods.