Thursday, February 28, 2019

Happy Gilmore can Make us More than Just Happy

Comedy, as entertaining as it is, can be no more meaningful to people's lives than hearing a lame joke. But can it be more than that?  Comedy is using the “art cycle”, someone has a creative vision and is choosing to bring it to life in a creative way. Being unique in that it’s intended to draw the reaction of laughter and happiness,  but even then, different comedy can provoke different reactions. Its ability to reach levels of artistic depth is often questioned which allows its credibility to be questioned.

An example of comedy that can be argued doesn’t matter to society despite being hilarious is "Happy Gilmore". The movie is about a ‘wana be’ hockey player who is actually an amazing golfer but hates golf. He quickly discovers that golf- even though he loathes it- can make him money. Not money for him, but money for his grandmother who had a foreclosure on her house. The strange sports story falls into both the farce and romantic comedy categories. The movie follows Happy’s' adventure as he begins his non-traditional golf journey, falling in love, and winning a golf tournament to buy back his grandmother's house.

Mostly just a hilarious montage of Happy being himself: a blunt, yelling, swearing, and rebelling on the green the movie fits the mould of a farce. Towards the end, the conflict between the main character, Happy, and his top prestigious competitor, Shooter McGavin ends with Happy winning the tournament, being able to get the house for his grandma, and his crush that he has been begging throughout the film to go out with him generating a perfect romantic comedy ending with the coupling of the well-matched pair and a win.

As funny as the movie is, one can argue how it contributes very little to our understanding of the world. I understand that it is a golf movie, that teaches absolutely nothing about golf but that's because there is a bigger picture than that. Happy Gilmore is teaching the audience about growing as a person and taking responsibility. He is showing you can still be yourself in a room of people who are polar opposites and you will still be valued and shine, more so, it shows how family love is important. But Happy’s actual golf skills are not helpful to the majority of the population as a way to understand the world or the sport.

But when thinking of comedy do people gain any more than a laugh from the content because of the singularity of the characters' experiences? I would argue yes, because even other funny movies are often meant to teach people life lessons about the real world because they make a difficult situation funny and relatable, therefore, achievable for everyone. So maybe for some people, seeing Happy Gilmore use a hockey stick as a putter can be meaningful and inspiring.

Art is defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Comedy fits that definition.  Comedy is defined as the professional entertainment consisting of jokes and satirical sketches, intended to make an audience laugh. If poetry and wordplay are considered real art than comedy is, because it requires a creative and artistic mind to write the funny stuff that makes us feel good and think in a unique way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Comedy is Funny, Not Important

Comedy, as entertaining as it is, is no more meaningful to people's lives than hearing a passing joke. The comedy that does not matter at all to society despite being incredibly funny is Pitch Perfect. The movie, about a college freshman who grudgingly joins a girls' acapella group, can fall into both the farce and romantic comedy categories. The movie follows the girls' adventures as they begin the movie as a rag-tag group of mediocre singers and end as a championship winning act.

Mostly just a hilarious montage of failures at singing, dancing, and socializing, the movie fits the mold of a farce. Towards the end, the conflict between the main character, Beca, and her love-interest intensifies, and they union at the end is a perfect romantic comedy ending with the coupling of the well-matched pair.

As funny as the movie is, it contributes very little to our understanding of the world. It is a funny lesson to learn about growing as a person when you get to college, but I don't think hyperbolic representations of a single college experience is helpful to the majority of the population as a way to understand the world. In general, the setting of the story only really functions to add humor to the story because the majority of the characters are inexperienced and naive. 

The human experience gains little more than a laugh from the movie because of the singularity of the characters' experiences. Even other funny movies about college and high school that are often meant to teach people life lessons about surviving school can miss the mark because they represent only one individual and their experience no matter how broad it is. So maybe for some people, seeing these stereotypes of young people in high school or college can be meaningful to explaining the human experience, but for me, they are just too far off from what reality is to make their genre of comedy meaningful. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

There's a Tiger in the Bathroom!

The Hangover, at its core, is the story of a bachelor party in Las Vegas. The movie starts near the end, with a seeming disaster. The group has lost the groom and the lavish outdoor California wedding, scheduled to take place in five hours looks like it won’t be happening.

At this point the movie goes backward in time to the beginning of the story. At first, it seems pretty standard. A group of privileged white guys in their late twenties plan a bachelor party in Vegas. They take the groom’s future father in laws luxury convertible Mercedes and hit the road. The audience expects to see excessive alcohol consumption, some gambling, strippers and bad behavior. However, the movie is a clever comedy.

After arriving in Vegas, the four men toast on the roof of the hotel to ¨a night they will never forget¨. The toast is a clever use of irony, because the men have a night that they will never forget because it is a night they do not remember. When they wake up the next morning, their hotel room is completely trashed, the groom is missing and no one can remember anything. The writer uses hyperbole to communicate the completely outrageous nature of what has taken place. In addition alcohol and broken furniture everywhere, there is a rooster in the room, a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet and possibly the best use of irony, Stu, the dentist, has lost one of his incisors.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Satire of SNL's Take on the Pepsi Ad

The show Saturday Night Live always finds a way to make light of current events, oftentimes creating their spin on an event just days after it occurs. Many times their skits will act as satire commenting on the ridiculousness of certain events. One such event that SNL satirized was Kendall Jenner's Pepsi commercial which did not exactly strike the right tone with its audience. SNL's fake ad follows the director of the ad moments before filming as he tries to call his friends and family to see if his vision for the commercial is appropriate.

SNL is satirizing how the media will use racial or political protests and tensions as a means to further their own agenda under the guise of representation. The satire in the skit comes mainly in the form of  situational irony. The skit uses situational irony by making the viewer think that when he calls his sister and friend their reaction will be positive because of the director's excitement but all three of the people he calls, including the neighbor that he doesn't know, tell him that his idea is terrible because its just using people's cultures to sell soda. This is to make the point that seemingly everyone realizes that the companies are simply using cultural differences and political unrest to make a profit. Situational irony is also present when the director tells the person on the phone that he is celebrating different cultures but the camera cuts to show that they are only showing stereotypes from those cultures such as black culture being two guys dancing to hip hop music or Asian culture being an Asian man playing the cello. This specific scene comments on how many companies forms of representing and celebrating cultures are really just stereotypes that are thrown in to hopefully boost sales. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Latest development of the Mueller investigation

In this article from the Onion, Robert Mueller shares one of his thoughts about Trump. According to the Onion, Mueller is shocked that Trump hasn't put an end to his investigation yet. He says that a smarter president could have ended his investigation within a month or 2 by using some kind of loophole or as Mueller puts it "if Trump just had any negotiation ability or public relations skills whatsoever, he could’ve just used good old-fashioned deal-making to shut this thing down." 

The Onion uses the satirical technique of the understatement by making what Mueller says about loopholes and deals seem totally normal but the point of the article is to make fun of the way politics work. It is saying that powerful people can just make their wrongs right by using shady loopholes that save their own skin. It is criticizing Trump for not knowing what he is doing but mostly focusing on politicians in general for using loopholes to get out situations they need to take responsibility for. 

President Barbie

In this SNL skit, "President Barbie", the little girls who are being convinced to buy the barbie doll are completed uninterested in the item. The ad speaker tries to persuade them that the barbie doll is a great toy to play with because it's a female just like them and on top of that, it's a presidential barbie.

This scene is a perfect example of situational irony. When you first watch the video, you expect for the girls to fall in love with the female doll, especially one that's in a presidential position. Instead, it's the exact opposite. They decide not to play with dolls and play with their other toys such as legos.
The skit makes fun of the little girls and their way of thinking. The idea of the doll is ultimately to try to change the way people think of women in general I guess by making a doll that's in a high position.

Sensitivity Training

The video above is a scene from the hit television show The Office. It shows the workers of Dunder Mifflin undergoing "sensitivity training" run by their boss Michael Scott. Michael, who is known for making multiple borderline racist and homophobic jokes, claims that it is against the rules to make fun of something for things they can't control, but okay when it is something they can. He goes on to give examples using Oscar Martinez (a gay man in the office), claiming that it was his choice to be gay, and therefore making jokes about it are absolutely fine. Michael goes on to make a list of things that people can no longer be made fun of for, but ends up making lots of exceptions.

This particular scene in the video above makes use of verbal irony specifically. When Kevin asks to stop being made fun of for his weight, Michael claims it's too broad and instead writes "huge gut." While Michael claims the list is a way to keep his coworkers from being made fun of, he is really using it as a tool to continue making jokes.

While the scene is hilarious in multiple ways, there are certain aspects that are important to take note of. It is clear that things such as being gay are not a choice, but simply the way that a person is born. It is a joke in the show, but also provokes the audience to think about why they are laughing in the first place. Other items on the list include weight, height, and facial features. It's important to notice that a person has no control over these things, even though they are being treated as such for the sake of satire and comedy.


Through the past decades' people of color, men and women have been subjected to the ideology that they are superior to another, black men and women are oftentimes based on the shade of their skin. It is commonly seen on social media, pictures of light skin vs. dark skin - at the bottom “Darkskins winning”, “ Darkskins ain’t got nothing on Light Skinned”, “I want mixed babies” or “If only she was lighter”- etc with heart eye emojis next to it. The plague of colorism was invented by colonization of white men, commonly slave masters that gave lighter slaves better jobs, such as working in the kitchen, maids, or nannies - their darker sibling, cousin, mother, and our father worked in the harsh fields. As children, they grew up to know that depending on their complexion where they’d be placed in society. Society still values this ideology today, with this societal biased on the rise, there has been an increasing number of fetish for one shade out of the spectrum of beauty.

More often than not, many Black men and women have experienced the murky and heavy effects of colorism. Daughters using lighter dolls to show a standard of Eurocentric beauty;the darker dolls to be ugly and dirty. The concern during pregnancy, darker mothers rubbing their bellies thinking what will their child’s hair texture be like? Or their eye color, or skin? At the hospital, their jaw drops when they receive a fair child with brown hair. As their child grows up, they pray they don't turn against them to lighter roots, and never to sep in the brown soil they were conceived in.

My design will end this worry, and only provide the unbiased beauty of character. A guaranteed strategy to cure all the consequences of colonization and fetishizing. Throughout the years, I have tried to be complacent, but the media shows no remorse or much change. We have tried to show all complexions are beautiful, but black children are still troubled- they look in the mirror and say “I’ve always been black and ugly¨. It is repulsive to know how important skin color is in our society. In my experience, I’ve known people to bleach their skin just to fit in, and feel beautiful. My idea might be the only way to save us from the chance of a race going to war within itself. We must start by temporarily going blind. This can be achieved with your God given limbs. I’ve tried it myself actually, my favorite method is using my thumb and finger pressing on the bone of the eye socket, soon you’ll be able to experience a perfect vision of beauty. There are several benefits of us going blind.

You can now walk around and actually learn a person’s personality, their goals, and interests. With this in mind, everyone will benefit, especially your black male friend who offensively says the common cheer ¨I prefer Light Skinned girls¨.This should also give light to the issues other people of the color face within themselves. No more race wars, like really imagine not having to debate about race issues in class without someone saying “Wow, I really, like feel like… black people should work on black on black crime." If we temporarily blind ourselves we can just ignore the issues of colorism all together, and the close relationship it has with racism. By ignoring them, we will no longer have to worry about the damaging results, to ourselves and our future.

Satire: The Simpsons

The Simpsons series, created by Matt Groening and the show focuses on satirizing the modern day American family. In this episode, originally from 2008 during the 2008 Presidential Election between John McCain and President Obama. Homer goes to the voting booth in an attempt to vote for President Obama, however, the machine malfunctions and counts the vote for McCain instead. As Homer realizes that machine is rigged, it suddenly sucks him in and harms Homer in the process. Homer tumbles out of the machine, unconscious and a man sticks an "I voted" sticker on his forehead.

I think that the clip is satirizing the idea that the American electronic voting machines are rigged or flaws in the overall voting process.

There are multiple techniques used within the short clip to help convey the message:
  1. A parody was used to make fun of the voting machines in Ohio during the 2008 Presidential Election when the machines mysteriously switched votes from President Obama to John McCain. 
  2. Verbal irony is used when Homer says "I would like to vote for President, Governor, or anything else that will take money away from our parks and libraries" (The irony is that voting for someone is supposed to bring positive changes not negative ones). 
  3. Once again verbal irony/incongruity is used when Homer says "This doesn't happen in America! Maybe Ohio, but not in America!" (Ohio is in America!)
I think that this clip overall is an effective use of satire because it emphasized concerns that the American people had our voting system by using the Ohio incident as an example. In fact, people today still have the same concerns regarding electronic voting systems today as they did ten years ago, especially after the 2016 Presidential Election. Read more about it here.

The Simpsons Test the System

The Simpsons is a animated show that has been around almost my entire life and it has always been one of the most well known comedic shows on T.V. The Simpsons is also known for having meaningful undertones in some of their episodes. It is a show that is placed in a town called Springfield and is focused on a pretty unorthodox father named Homer and his family. In the episode I am critiquing, the kids at Bart and Lisa’s school have to take a standardized test.

The makers of this episode use hyperbole to convey the point that standardized tests are a failed system of determining where people go in life and that they are very out date in today’s society. They do this by stating things that are true, but put a specific emphasis on things that they are mocking. For example, the teacher says when they are finished with the test, “Since we have an extra 15 minutes, we will sit forward and stare at the well.”

The purpose of the episode is deeper than making fun of standardized testing and really gets at the point that the tests should not be controlling where kids end up after high school. It also gets at the point that the tests are very outdated for the complex society we have today. This topic has been brought up in society for the past couple years because of the pressure put on these tests for high school students, when the tests get such a small part of a student’s persona.


In the video,  Melanianade, made by Saturday Night Live (SNL) Melania Trump (Cecily Strong), Ivanka Trump (Emily Blunt), Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon), Omarosa (Sasheer Zamata) and Tiffany Trump (Vanessa Bayer) can no longer stand by Donald Trump's (Alec Baldwin) side. They all express their problems and what they're going to do. When Donald Trump comes in at the end and says, "The limo is ready. Let's go, you all look very nice, but let's go." All the women do not put up a fight and quickly follow him.
The women in the video employ understated satire as they say one thing about their feelings but their actions show the opposite of that. As well as using, parody as they use similar rhythms, scenes, and choreography to Beyoncé's music video, Lemonade. In the satire video Melania says that she cannot take standing by Donald Trump anymore and that she doesn't like being undermined or played as dumb. Kellyanne is tired of cleaning up Trump's messes, like his twitter posts or speeches, as she holds up a news paper that reads "GRAB THEM BY THE P***Y" which his face as the background. Ivanka is upset that Trump brought in Paula Jones, who's case participated in Bill Clinton's impeachment, which ruined her personal relationship with Chelsea Clinton. Tiffany is tired of being in the shadows of Ivanka and not being able to be enough for him even when she thinks she "killed" her speech. Instead of being known as Tiffany Trump she wants to be known as Tiff Maples, taking her biological mother's last name rather than Trump. Omarosa says that she is going to turn in her resignation and that she does not need a last name for him to know. The women all say that Trump is breaking them and taking it for granted that they have always been there. Melania says she will one day soon not be there anymore. The five women say that without them, Donald Trump would not be where he is today and that he would "just be that guy with the weird hair." Melanianade is not just for humor but it criticizes the women standing behind Donald Trump for staying with him. As well as criticizing Donald Trump's actions.

Whale You Don't Say

Whale Won't Shut Up About Time It Was Beached uses understatement to emphasize the seriousness of climate change specifically warming waters and sea level. The post understatement casually introduces a whale complaining about a beached whale thinking been there done that. The whale seems to be sick of the story because c'est la vie; he can't stand it. The annoyed friend of the beached whale says, “Christ, whenever someone even mentions the shore, the coast, sand, anything, he immediately chimes in with the same goddamn story about the time he got stranded out of the water for ‘a whole day," Obviously, to the peer whale, being beached doesn't mean shit nowadays. 

By taking this route of satire, the reader leaves feeling empathetic and guilty. The tone of the sassy whale adds the the understatement of the post. "We’ve all heard a million times that the only thing he could do was flap his tail and how it took 30 rescue workers to get him back into the ocean. Just give it a rest—anyone can be beached, okay? Big deal." The whales real life complaining does't leave the reader historical rather questionable. The sadness of how casual it is leaves the reader not feeling happy through comedy, rather guilty.  

Your Mother's Best Day of Her Life

Your mother's best day of her life was the day you were born. On May 12, 2018, Saturday Night Live  (SNL) celebrates Mother's day by sending out a lovely reminder to every mother of the best day of her life. The video begins with a mother's young son coming in with a Mother's Day breakfast he prepared "all by himself" and she expresses her love and appreciation for her son and his efforts. She expresses her love for him so ardently that she reveals that the best day of her life was the day he was born. The son, being a young curious child, asks questions such as "what was it like?" and "Were you scared?". The mother sweetly tells the story while recollecting on the magnificent day of her son's birth along with a few commentary by her husband in the background.

The most prominent satirical device used in the SNL skit was situational irony. The mother tells her son  that the day of his birth was "amazing", while that may be true after the fact, in the moment it was the complete opposite as observed in the flashback clips where she is screaming, crying, angry, etc. Situational irony is used throughout her responses and storytelling as seen throughout the several flashback clips after each of her responses to her son.

The overall message the video is conveying is that giving birth is not as beautiful and sweet as everyone says, nor is raising a child. The video is criticizing the human ability to easily take things for granted, such as mothers. Mother's completely commit themselves to the care and support of their child each and every day, to the extent that they will overexert themselves at times. It is important to show mother's the appreciation and love they absolutely deserve each and every day, rather than only on Mother's Day.

The Popular Girls

Mean girls, a popular comedic film for high school students depicts the life of teenage Cady Heron, who was educated as a child in Africa by her brilliant scientist parents. When her family moves to the United States, Cady finally gets to experience public school. She quickly learns the cruel laws of popularity that divide her school into tight cliques and finds herself wound with a group of girls named "the Plastics" or the popular girls. At first this is exactly what Cady was looking for- to be one on the top- but she soon realizes how shallow her group of friends turns out to be. 

At first the movies uses a sense of irony because Cady joins the plastics to spy on them and get insider information. Eventually she gets caught up in their boy talk, designer clothing, and boy talk and becomes one of them. She becomes exactly what she was dreading to become, on her quest to gain popularity. Then it switches to satirical irony as emotional twists help Cady realize what she herself has turned into which calls for individuality and self respect among teenagers. Satire in this film is used to show that being yourself is important and clearly one should not work to become popular because it the end it will not benefit you. 

This film helps teenagers to realize that popularity is not necessarily a bad thing. It tells them not to work to be a certain part of a group but to be themselves. Although the film falsely portrays popular people it shows that when a person doesn't act like themselves or strives to be something that they are not it doesn't end up well. I think Mean Girls is a great example of an exaggerated version of what not to be and how not to act for others.

The video above shows the exclusiveness of the Plastics and how it is ironic that Cady even wants to become friends with them in the first place.  

Hidden Message

Although Keegan-Micheal Key and Jordan Peele's Comedy TV skits "Key and Peele" are generally seen as purely comedic, there can be some main ideas or arguments behind their skits. In the skit "Prepared for the Terries" there are two characters on a plane sitting next to a random man. The two characters who are together are typically dressed differently and have very strange looking hairstyles, as well as speak in a very strange way. The two main characters proceed to explain to the man sitting next to them that they are prepared for "terries" or terrorists.

The obvious satirical device used in this skit would be irony. This would be Irony because it is conveying a message by using an extreme situation as an example of the opposite of their argument, their argument clearly being that people that you may see as strange or different than you should not be stereotyped as dangerous or a threat. The use of irony for this skit allows Key and Peele to keep the comedy aspect of their skit while also portraying the deeper message of the skit. 

To go into depth about their argument, it can be said that their argument is that people who don't look like you are portrayed as a threat to your life or crazy. In this skit by Key and Peele, they portray strange looking people who talk and act pretty strange as well, telling a passenger next to them that they are "prepared for the terries" and how they plan to defend themselves from the terrorist. in doing this they bring a 3D printed gun and box opener onto the plane to defend themselves. But in doing this, they put the other passengers at risk and therefore portrays that people that don't look the same as other people are dangerous.   

The Boondocks and its Satirical Social Commentary

The short lived (in my opinion) eight year airing of the wildly popular adult animated sitcom, The Boondocks was one of the most blunt and straightforward television shows to air on American television channels. Aaron McGruder, an accomplished African American writer, producer, and screenwriter, amongst many other professions, used this platform to expose and critique American culture and a wide array of social and political issues. The sitcom, based off of his previously written comic strip of the same name, follows a family of three that consists of Huey Freeman, the shows protagonist and future revolutionary, Riley Freeman, an 8-year-old fanatic of rap culture, and their grandfather as they experience a sudden transformation of lifestyle after they moved from the South Side of Chicago to the Suburbs of Woodcrest.

Besides every episode having a great deal of comedic content, the satirical elements that gives this show a deeper meaning allows for a much needed glimpse into our own society and the wretched way it works. Most episodes of this sitcom integrates hyperbole in its exaggerated characters and parody of real life situations to its advantage to show how ridiculous some situations and some people in our society actually are. This clip of Uncle Ruckus, an African American male who himself hates African Americans, but shows the utmost respect and admiration of white people is one example of hyperbole and parody. The show uses Uncle Ruckus’ exaggerated nature to mirror the essence in which Pastor Manning, the American pastor of the ATLAH World Missionary Church, conducts his sermons and lives his actual life. Uncle Ruckus is supposed to be the most extreme example of what happens to people and their vision of self worth as a result of generations of African Americans being told that they are nothing compared to their white counterparts. He is showcased as the most extreme version of someone who has conformed and attempted to assimilate with their culture, but in the process builds up hatred for himself and people who look just like him. His beliefs in the scene above reflect the actions of Pastor Manning, as he often delivers sermons about how African Americans are no good. The show is obviously adding comedic effect to ridicule people like Manning and Ruckus who are ignoring their self worth as it address this pressing issues that are present in the black community.

Another example of parody is very apparent as the show mirrors an actual news segment about a young boy traveling down the wrong path, seen in the embedded video below. The clip shows the obvious parallels of the real life of Latarian Milton and their version of him, “Lamilton Taeshawn”. The show is imitating the real life of this young boy and his grandmother while also using understatement / verbal irony in their version of the news clip when his grandmother tries to defend him as she says “ See, you have to understand, all children his age love stealing cars and going on high speed chases" and “You have to understand, he really likes that fried chicken”, obviously lessening the significance of all the wrong doing this child has done. In fact, no 8-year-olds love to steal cars and go on high speed chases nor do they seriously injure their grandmother because she will not buy them fried chicken.

This show uses comedy to allow African Americans to see real life situation that involve us and our culture. It also allows allows us to see the many problematic situations in our community and how we respond to them. If we can see that these characters on television look ridiculous in the way they are living their lives, we can see how we need to change ourselves in our real lives.

The School Bully

In this key and peele skit, one school bully seems surprisingly "in touch" with his feelings. The bully confronts the kid he is picking on and then fully explains why he is picking on him and lets the kid in on all of his problems. This skit is kind of ironic because most bullies do the opposite, as in act all tough and scary, when this bully seems vulnerable while still trying to act like he is tough. The video comments on how society tends to excuse bullies from bad actions once they are give an excuse as to why they are doing this. 

I think this skit is an example of situational irony. In this skit, what you would expect to be happening when someone is being bullied is actually the opposite. You would expect that the bully be mean and hurtful towards the kid, but instead he lets out all his feelings and personal dilemmas to the kid. Society portrays bullies in a specific way but in this video he contradicts the way that bullies.

The skit ultimately criticizes the way that people view bullies in society. It portrays the bully as vulnerable and open to his issues which is not how society views bullies.

The Symbolism and Satire of "This is Ameria"

The music video of,"This is America", by Childish Gambino is packed with symbolism and satire as it deals with topics such as race, police brutality and gun violence within our nation.

The video begins with him dancing to the lyrics, "we just want to party", before he shoots a man playing a guitar with no remorse. Throughout the video, many extreme acts of violence targeting African Americans take place. This plays into our ongoing racial issues and injustices. Childish Gambino portrays "America" in his reckless manner and in his gun use throughout the video. His behavior represents the harsh reality of how violence affects communities and cultures within our nation. Later, an all-black choir is seen being gunned down by Gambino with an assault rifle. This scene portrays situational irony because the choir is initially seen dancing and singing an upbeat tune which creates a peaceful and powerful environment. But when Gambino brutally guns them down the peaceful environment is instantly destroyed.

After each of these scenes, Childish Gambino is seen walking away singing the lyrics, "This is America". His relaxed manner throughout the video exposes how America normalizes gun violence.

The Satire of "Atlanta"

One of the most popular comedies on network television right now is the FX series, "Atlanta". Atlanta is a show based around a group of three young men from Atlanta, trying to gain money and success through a gritty rapper named Paperboi. However, the shows is less about an actual rapper, and a more so a representation of what it is like to be black in America, just through the lens of a rapper. The show uses very small awkward interactions, mostly with micro-aggressions, to portray the experiences people have to deal with today. Atlanta contains a lot of irony and satire through its episodes, and the one I will be focusing on is entitled B.A.N.

B.A.N. is a parody sketch that Atlanta did following Paperboi going on a talk show to discuss his views on transgender people, much to his demise, because the host kept going at him and painting him to be a villain while making assumptions about him, saying that he "hates women". However, this is not the most important satire that happened in the episode. There are two ways "Atlanta" used satire so well in that episode, and it was through the commercials. In the episode, FX allowed "Atlanta" to make its own parody commercials, rather than letting the normal network commercials run, and those commercials were very important. One of the commercials was advertising Dodge, the car company. It portrayed a man driving around the city getting looks of awe from the passing pedestrians, and the slogan was "Dodge, make a statement without saying anything at all", but the part that was funny about it was when the driver of the Dodge had to stop to get gas. The commercial cut to a man saying that the driver had been cruising around the city for 2 weeks straight without exiting the vehicle, he would only stop to get gas. Then the camera cut to the driver in a frenzy filling up gas, because he didn't have any pants on. This is a hilarious form of satire showing that people will put all their time and money into investing in material products that don't really mean anything to them, just for reputation and acceptance, all while portraying a car commercial.

The second form of satire in this episode is another parody commercial involving a made up kids cereal. It was set in a cartoon format, mimicking Cocoa Puffs, where the crazy bird is trying to steal the cereal from the children. But in this one, they used a dog with a stereotypical African American male accent, trying to get the cereal from 3 African American children. The commercial starts of light-hearted and child friendly, but it takes a turn for the worse. The dog is about to get the cereal from a kid, until a police officer attacks him, and uses brute force to retrain him, telling him to "stop resisting" and pushing his knee into his neck, showing the police brutality that takes place in today's society. One of the children takes out his phone and begins filming the whole thing, while the other kids sit back in awe. While the dog is being restrained he is pleading to the officer saying "Man, I could be eating these kids, I'm just trying to get some goddamn cereal", and one of the kids follows up with, "Yeah man it's just cereal, he can have it", then the officer threatens the kids and makes them leave the situation as the commercial cuts away. This is an extremely powerful use of satire. One of them of course is the parody they used, setting it as a kids cereal commercial, but then they utilize dramatic irony, putting such adult ideas and serious, heavy topics where a light-hearted kids commercial is supposed to be taking place. The satire also says a lot about our society today. When the dog said he could be eating the kids, but he just wants some cereal, it shows how police will racially profile people for doing nothing serious, showing that people out there are doing way worse things, but police are using brute force on African Americans for something as silly as cereal. The fact that one of the kids took out his phones is also very telling of society today. We are now in a technology era, where everything is being recorded, and it is almost an allusion to how most of these interactions go down now. "Atlanta" is able to use satire in genius and powerful ways to portray important topics in today' society.

Blogging Satire

The first blogging assignment (unless you choose the creative, original satire project) is to discuss a work of contemporary satire: a film, TV show, song, etc, from the last few years that uses humor to make a larger point about society.

Even though we have often discussed satire of the construction of gender or race, your example does not need to involve race or gender as its primary subject matter.

Your post should include the following:
1. A summary of the work of culture -- maybe including a link to a video or lyrics.
2. An analysis of how the work uses techniques of satire -- irony, hyperbole, understatement, and/or parody.
3. An analysis of how the work is not simply making fun of certain people or institutions but how the work is trying to criticize and ultimately change society.

Note that I'm asking you to do more than just #1 -- giving us an example.  You need to analyze and reflect on that example.

And remember to also comment on two of your classmates' posts as well.

Family Guy

Family guy is an animated sitcom created by Seth McFarland surrounding the Griffin Family. The creator, Mr. Macfarlane uses many techniques of satire to help break down many prevalent stereotypes in US doing so in a light hearted manner. From a parody of Star Wars or Stewie, a baby, taking over the world, family guy uses just about every satirical technique in the books and then a few. Family guy has broken just about every taboo; terrorism, pedophilia, god/Jesus, abortion, physical/mental disabilities, Transgenders and even AIDS along with just about every other racial stereotype, so why do people continue watching this show? There are two important things that the creators of family guy do so that they continue airing episodes twenty some years later. First and most importantly is they do not single out one group in particular but instead, they poke fun at many different (and many times) very taboo things. By doing this they are not marginalizing one specific group and instead make fun of human nature itself. I think what the show is really going after is the fact that we are all human; we make mistakes, we’re ignorant people, but at the end of the day we have to embrace this and learn to laugh more at ourselves for all our flaws and imperfections.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Absolutely No Way To Prevent This

The famous newspaper "The Onion" is known for creating unique articles that will make you cry from laughter. The best part? New ones are published daily! However, the one article that caught my eye is one that is republished at least two times a month. The article, "'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" is published after every mass shooting in the United States. The only difference between each article are the number of people murdered and the place.

Even though this article is republished every few weeks, the great use of situational satire and understatement never fails to make me laugh. One would expect action to be taken when mass shooting occurs "regularly". The article highlights the issue on gun control policies and presents are nation as blind to how bad the issue actually is. The article interviews a citizen to represent the popular opinion of our nation that "sometimes these things just happen and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them". This pokes fun how there are obvious steps that our nation could take forth to solve this issue however no action has been taken. Instead of policy and change we give our thoughts and prayers and present ourselves as "hopeless".

The best part about the series, is that "The Onion" will not stop publishing this piece until the United States no longer has a gun violence problem. As of right now, looks like we will all be dying of old age sitting in our rocking chairs still laughing at the same article.

Diversity Day

In the hit show The Office all of the episodes are funny but most also have satirical value.  In most episodes, gender stereotypes are brought up, racism is prevalent and some office not so friendly jokes are being played usually on the coworkers that are part of a minority.  In The Office episode called Diversity Day, Micheal Scott (the boss) tries to bring everyone in the office together by defacing and making light of common stereotypes faced by minorities.  He wants everyone to put a different ethnicity, race or culture on their forehead and then have a partner talk to the person as if they were talking to the person of that ethnicity, race or culture.  Of course, the point of the exercise was to show that no matter the ethnicity, everyone in the office is themselves and can be talked to with equality.  However, things go aerie and the exercise turns into a racist fiasco. 

This episode is definitely one of the most funny ones in my book but also holds many racist stereotypes that we can actually learn from.  The clip does a fantastic job of highlighting every ethnicity's and cultures untrue assumptions that people make but while doing it in a funny manner.  This satire is very basic and we can see the absurdity of the employees and how they are acting but many of these assumptions can be seen in real life.  While Michael is talking to Kelly (the Indian lady) he is being extremely racist and then gets slapped for what he said.  While Dwight (the "Asian" guy) brings up how Pam is a bad driver because hes a woman and she is also "Jewish" so he says shalom and asks for a loan.  These are all common stereotypes and the office does a perfect job of making us feel surprised, aware and maybe even uncomfortable.  In the clip we can see examples of hyperbole and situational irony.  This clip is an example of a hyperbole because everything is blown out of proportion and Micheal has sort of a twisted and absurd way of bringing his co workers together regardless of their differences. It is ironic that Micheal would be a hero like Martin Luther King Junior and Stanley would "randomly" get the black card.  Overall this episode was funny based on making fun of people but it brought awareness to common stereotypes that are heard in our society and how they can be damaging or absurd.

Yay guns!

In the Saturday Night Live sketch about guns entitled "Guns" it shows a myriad of different people in different situations.  The theme is things that everyone can relate to and has experiences with things like love, family, and connection. The music behind it is soothing and puts you in a calm space, something typical of a calm positive ad for things or ideas that people should cherish and maintain. The last thing that it says everyone can share in is guns.  Making guns seem like something that is and should be present in everyday life and interactions, especially with those you love.
This ad is an example of situational irony.  In situations like those shown in this video, from a situation with a grandparent and there grandchild, to a dinner with your significant other to a party, guns are placed in each.  The gun is seen as a symbol of love and viewed extremely normally.  Of course as people know about guns they are absolutely not associated with these circumstances.  Guns, in reality, are violent, dangerous weapons that most people don't want near them.  The gun in this instance is an object that completely doesn't fit, but is viewed through a lens of normalcy. 

What this video is trying to show is that guns are so prevalent in our society and in a way they are "normalized." However this shouldn't be something that is okay or normal.  They are very dangerous and being found in places they shouldn't be, as in this video someone has it in their bed. As a society we need to realize how truly abnormal it would be for guns to be recognized in these circumstances, or any, for that matter.  It forces us to look at our laws and regulations and think, could this actually be the direction that something with as big a magnitude as guns is going. This satire was done well as it is funny to see people act so happily in situations with guns, but really, commenting on our countries problem with guns and that something needs to change. 

Not So Royal

It's not very difficult in today's world to find examples of satire. We live in a society where people constantly critique others as they try to defend why there way is the best. There are lots of great opinions and messages sent out through satires, and I found one of my favorites in the song "Royals" by Lorde.
Lorde makes it very clear that she isn't making music for the money and fame. In fact, she's actually criticizing the common lifestyle of those with loads of money and fame. Using mockery and hyperboles, she is able to speak her opinion that life isn't about materialistic things or status. In the hook, Lorde sings,

Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair.

As she mocks tremendously rich people, she uses the hyperbole of "tigers on a gold leash." This is an extreme exaggeration of what rich people are like. It's very unrealistic, making it a quiet diss towards the wealthy and famous. Although I'm sure Lorde loves messing with the one percent and fellow celebrities, there are deeper meanings behind the lyrics of her song. By dismissing the actions and lifestyle of the obnoxious rich people, Lorde is also dismissing the popular conception that money and fame equates to happiness. After listing off a list of hyperboles referring to the rich, she sings,

That kind of lux just ain't for us
We crave a different kind of buzz.

This statement alone strengthens the message that happiness can be found elsewhere. The "buzz," referring to happiness, can be found in other areas than money and fame. Although Lorde's "Royals" can be claimed as ironic, due to her recent success and fame, it still spreads a great message to our society. She uses her experiences as a famous, rich celebrity, as well as her platform, to dismiss the idea that people need money and a high reputation to be happy. Hopefully, this message can continue to be spread, and more celebrities can reveal the realities of being famous.

Isn't it Romantic


Isn’t it Romantic opens up with a shot of the main character, Natalie (Rebel Wilson), watching the movie Pretty Woman, and dreaming of getting married to a handsome man. However, her mom comes in and shoots down her dream saying, “Life’s not a fairy tale, girls like us don’t get that”. This comment sticks with her far into the future, as we can see when Natalie tells her best friend how fake rom-coms are by listing off all the cliches. This leads the audience to believe that maybe Natalie doesn’t even believe in love at all. That night as she was heading home from work, a man mugs her and as she is running away she hits her head on a pole, sending her into a coma.

When she wakes up, she is in a classic rom-com world that is full of the cliches she listed off at the beginning of the movie. For example, everything is beautiful. New York City is covered in flowers and there is a cupcake shop on every corner. Suddenly, every man looks at her and finds her beautiful, something she refused to believe to be true in the “real” world. She also ends up having a gay-best-friend named Danny who, in real life, is just her drug dealing next door neighbor. 

Throughout her stay in the rom-com world, Natalie’s interactions with all of the cheesy staples turn out to be hilarious for the audience. As a parody to a typical rom-com, Natalie hates being in this world where she can’t even swear to express her true emotions. As she explores the world, she only seems to run into more and more cliches that continue to drive her crazy, but there is still a driving storyline of how she will get out of this world.

To escape this world, she first thinks she needs to fall in love with the rich handsome man. Then believes she needs to fall in love with her guy-best-friend. In the end though, to get out of this roma-com world, she realizes she needs to love herself. This is the underlying message the movie sends that makes this rom-com distinct from others, and satirical.

Even though the movie is clearly satirical, the ending pushes against that. In the end she does get the guy she’s always wanted, and she gets the job she’s always wanted. Natalie clarifies that this is all because of her confidence, resulting from her new-found self love, but doesn’t that still make this movie a rom-com? If a rom-com cliche is having the girl and the guy end up together, and the movie ending assuming they’re going to live “happily ever after”, then this movie isn’t truly a parody because, in the end, it turns out to be like any other rom-com, even if there is an important message.

Whether you believe Isn’t it Romantic to be satire or not, I can attest that this movie really does make you think, even when you’re too busy laughing.

Pshhh Who Cares About the Environment When We've Got the BROTHER OF BILL NYE

In the satire “Oil Spills Actually Totally Good for Our Animals,” The Guardian employs the usage of parody and situational irony to mock the lack of action that is taken against environmental issues. The video is based on a traditional newscast accompanied by dramatic music, a newscaster, and rolling headlines such as “Polar Bears Hate the Environment. Need to be killed...”

The newscaster begins by introducing the oh-so-credible Doctor Andy Nye, brother of scientist Bill Nye. Through this association with the “wacko” children’s tv show scientist, the satire digs at the reliability of sources who negate the seriousness of oil spills.

Doctor Andy Nye argues that oil spills quicken the process of Darwinism. This justification of killing is completely ironic, for if we followed that same logic, drowning thousands of people in oil would simply be sparing the human race of the weak and inept. Andy Nye then goes on to say that animals who are drenched in oil are indeed better off than others, as oil makes them slick and quick in the water. In reality, there is scientific proof that oil degrades the insulating layer that protects fur-bearing animals. Therefore, the flawed logic of Doctor Andy Nye reaffirms the unreliability of those who are blinded by the mindset that all human action is progressive action.

By criticizing America’s response or rather lack thereof against our dying environment, this satire invokes scientists, politicians, and ordinary citizens to realign their priorities before the world we know and love succumbs to the destruction of mankind.

"All 3.6 Billion Men Are Like This!"

In the television show "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," the main characters often use silly comedic songs to touch on difficult subjects such as mental health, sexism, and societal standards. I chose the satire: "Let's Generalize about Men," which is a man-hating song that reflects on why men are hated and mocks how women talk about them.

The characters in the song are all women who have recently had trouble with their relationships with men. They're all caught up in the terrible things their boyfriends have done, and talk about how every single man is an emotionally stunted child. The song encourages the stereotype of single women who drink and complain about men, but also the stereotype that men argue how not all men are like this.

The women say, "All men are completely repressed/...There are no exceptions/ All 3.6 billion men are like this." This satire uses hyperbole to acknowledge that in reality, not all men are like this. It's impossible that 3.6 billion men are childish and never listen, but the women use this generalization to explain why all of their relationships have gone poorly.

They also say, "And why do men never listen and only think about themselves?/ As opposed to women who always listen and never think about themselves?" This question brings up the fact that not all women have these characteristics, either. It examines the stereotypes in general, and how you can't accurately depict what a group of billions of people are really like. Especially if the stereotype for them includes multiple requirements of their character.

The women then bring up the question, "Hey what about gay men?/ Gay men are all really great/ Every single one.../ They're all completely adorable and fun!" This continues to mock the stereotype about how straight women talk about men, and plays into the stereotypes of gay men. The women truly feel depressed and hurt about the straight men they have dated, and come to the conclusion that every single gay man must be "adorable and fun!" This represents another hyperbole, which brings up the notion that all gay men must have this kind of character, and doesn't bring up the fact that these are just stereotypes, and don't accurately depict the true character every single man on the planet.

I think that this satire is not just mocking women for generalizing about men, but also critiquing sexist stereotypes and how they unknowingly permeate into our society. These women, in particular, use these stereotypes to make themselves feel better about their past relationships. But, they don't acknowledge the fact that these stereotypes are extremely harmful. This satirical song is trying to make their audience see that we should stop generalizing about any group of people, specifically men, gay men, and women. We shouldn't jump to the conclusion that all straight men/gay men/women are like this if we have only had a few encounters with a person that fits this stereotype.

"Help, help, I'm being repressed!": Satire in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Frequently ranked as one of the best comedies of all time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is undeniable comedic genius. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a series of comedic sketches which parody the legend of King Arthur's journey to the Holy Grail. During his travels King Arthur encounters two peasants, one of whom is named Dennis, who spout anarcho-syndicalist ideology in resistance to Arthur's repression of their freedom by being king.

The most obvious technique of satire used in this Monty Python sketch is parody. The legend of King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail is quite well known, and through costumes and setting they are able to recreate it. The comedy of the parody comes from the less than perfect recreation of King Arthur-rather than actually riding a horse Arthur gallops about while his servant bangs coconuts together to mimic hoofbeats. Instead of working the peasants sit in the mud and slap it about in an exaggeration of the actual menial work done by 10th century peasants. 
The skit also relies on hyperbole. As Arthur attempts to find out who lives in the neighboring castle, the peasants object to his superior attitude and reject his right to call himself king:

King Arthur: Well, I am king.
Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society. If there's ever gonna be any progress...

The language here exaggerates the loquacity of the peasant in order to make fun of the unnecessary complexity of language in progressive thought.

Monty Python uses situational irony to as a tool of satire in this skit. In a scene in which a king encounters peasants the audience may expect respectful and deferential treatment from the peasants. Instead, Dennis and the peasant woman are downright rude and challenge everything the Arthur says with anarcho-syndicalist rejections of authority.

Finally, this Monty Python skit is satirical because it uses these tools of comedy in order to comment on a larger aspect of society. The dialogue between Arthur and the peasants shows a power dynamic between leaders and citizens which bring up the degree of autonomy that people should have from the government. When Arthur shakes Dennis he screams, "Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!" The skit criticizes an over use of power by leaders and questions what determines the authority of leaders at all. When asked why he is the king, Arthur says the Lady of Lake gave him Excalibur, to which Dennis replies, "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government." Although placed in a historical context, Monty Python and the Holy Grail's skit criticizes the same power relations between the government and the governed that existed during it's 1975 release and continue to exist to this day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Katy Perry is not Your Therapist

Contrary to its name, Bo Burnham’s Kill Yourself (warning: explicit) neither glorifies nor espouses suicide. Instead, the song uses its provocative title to satirize today’s pop songs and comment on the relationship between pop artists and their audiences. Along the way, it also touches on the topics of depression and mental illness.

Kill Yourself works on multiple satirical levels. The form of the song is a parody—a parody of pop music—although that is not the area from which the satire derives its most poignant commentary. However, Burnham’s choice in using a pop song format to deliver his script enhances the comedic value while simultaneously connecting the message with the medium being critiqued. His use of parody ties the whole comedic sketch together, allowing the meaning to shine through.

The main satirical technique in Kill Yourself is a kind of hyperbole. Burnham uses the brutally straightforward action of suicide as an exaggerated example of a simple solution to a complex problem. By establishing a parallel between suicide and the advice given by pop icons, he argues that pop song morals, like suicide, are an oversimplified and ultimately unhelpful response to the complicated struggles of life. In the same way that killing oneself is a non-solution, the uplifting words of a pop artist can not resolve the listener’s problems in any meaningful way.

The true genius of Burnham’s song is the way it leverages its use of hyperbole to address both sides of the analogy. By comparing the pop industry’s ineffective emotional support to suicide AND THEN continuing to show how lack of proper mental health care can lead to suicide, Burnham connects all the concepts of his satire into one interconnected message. Like figurative suicide, seeking support from pop songs will not improve one’s mental health, and may in fact contribute to literal suicide.

Key and Peele: the magic in satirical comedies

In this comedic sketch by Key and Peele, the 2 actors present the scenario of a white cop pulling over a black man. The scene begins with the police officer pulling over the driver, and asking him some questions. He then tells the driver to open his trunk and step out of the vehicle. The officer "finds" some drugs in the trunk, though he really just planted them there, which upsets the driver. The cop then pushes him up against the car and begins to show the driver a bunch of random magic tricks, which confuses and frustrates the driver. The sketch ends on a bit lighter note, where the driver thinks that the cop is handing him a ticket, whereas he's giving him a ticket to his magic show, in which the driver declines and says he'll take the ticket instead.

In this sketch, the prominent and probably only satirical technique that's used is situational irony. When the officer approaches the black man and forces him to exit his car, you can only assume the worse will happen, as the typical representation of this situation would end with the black man assaulted or murdered. Instead, when the cop pulls out the drugs that he planted in the drivers car, he then magically turns the drugs into roses, instead of punishing the man. The cop performs many other unorthodox actions, such as pulling out a multi-colored string of bandana's, turning a gun into a dove, and performing a card trick. The only time he's seen showing practical instances for this type of scenario is when he pushes him against the car, and even then it doesn't show for much. Finally, the officer ends the excitement with giving him a thought-to-be ticket, but instead of two-for-one coup to his magic show, another clear example of situational irony.

The first, and obvious criticism of society in this sketch is the treatment of black men. Black men are usually depicted as being pulled over by white cops for no reason, and harassed for an even lesser reason. Key and Peele, however, use their humor to emphasize the play-by-play of these situations. In this scene, the cop hits the driver with random magic tricks, which in reality represents the ridiculous and unnecessary questions and actions that white cops perform on black man during these types of situations. Also, when the driver asked the cop a serious and relevant question, the cop would either ignore or blow off the question. For example, when the driver asked if the officer was a real officer, he just shouted "freeze!", and pulled out a gun that he planted on the driver. Ultimately, this shows how white cops think they have the privilege of creating unnecessary and unprovoked conflict when dealing with black men, but also proposes a solution of just leaving the situation alone, which is shown through the cop offering the driver a coupon to his magic show, rather than a ticket.

The Real "American Vandal"

In this day in age, there are many sources of comedic entertainment. Some of these sources are just funny without any satirical content, but others are funny due to their satirical content. Recently I finished the second season of American Vandal which is a comedy created by Tony Yacenda and Daniel Perrault. The second season of the show is set in a Catholic high school that has just experienced a "Brown Out" and the students and the faculty don't know who the culprit is. The show is a "mockumentary" and a true-crime satire so it takes on characteristics of real-life documentaries but it applies them to ridiculous crimes. This is what makes the show so funny. 

There are multiple elements of satire used throughout the show. The most obvious is parody because that is the main idea of the show. At any point in the show, parody is always being used due to its reputation as a mockumentary. Also, the situational irony is very evident in the characters' interviews and the overall plot of the show. For example, the crimes that are committed are very juvenile and inappropriate and one would not expect that a high schooler committed these crimes, let alone commit them in a Catholic setting. Another example of situational irony becomes apparent in the interviews. For example, when the nun comes on the screen the audience doesn't expect her to speak about such a silly topic.

While watching the show you wouldn't think that it was hiding a deeper meaning that goes beyond creating a satirical "documentary". On the other hand, once the last episode comes around it's clear that the show was criticizing society the whole time. In the show, there is a link that's discussed that exposes some of the students' personal pictures and embarrassing information about them. In the show, the link can be found on an Instagram profile @theturdburglar. But if you visit this link in real life it brings you to a video detailing errors in society regarding social media and more. Not only can the audience get tricked into watching the video in real life, but the video also plays at the end of the show and it has a clear message. American Vandal emphasizes that appearances can be deceiving on social media and that there's more to life than just internet status. The "mockumentary" entertains its audience with comedy for the duration of the show but illuminates a clear message at the end which makes it a satire. This video can change society because it calls out the generation and gets them to think about the impact of social media on a deeper level. If you want to hear the American Vandal message you can watch here:

When Key and Peel Made us Laugh - and Really Think

Key and Peel might be this generation's most iconic satirists, with over 160 million views on one sketch, “Substitute Teacher.” This particular sketch is funny because it unearths a universal truth about the cultural divides and a willingness to adapt or not adapt, in the case of substitute teacher it is not adapting. With each side, black teacher versus white students digging into their own culture, the way they speak and act but not giving an inch to the other's perspective.

The sketch starts with the introduction of the “substitute teacher” who vocalises his credibility through years of experience, unfortunately, the substitute teacher cannot get past roll call because of a unique cultural approach to language and names.

It begins with an initial mispronunciation of a traditional Caucasian name, Jacqueline. The substitute teacher asked for Jay-quellin and doesn’t get a response. After multiple calls for “Jay-quellin” to an unresponsive room, the substitute, Mr Garvey, is corrected by the young white blonde girl that her name is pronounced Jacqueline, with more common name mispronunciations, Mr Garvey continues to get angrier with each correction he receives. His satirical technique being an overstatement: breaking a clipboard over his knee, cussing and threatening students. More so, overstating and exaggerating each name. The fact that Key's character messes around with such common white names is what makes his satire effective.

With each name mispronunciation, the students refuse to give into Mr Garvey’s way of pronunciation. By the fourth student’s name Garvey butchers, one would assume that the students would understand the substitutes way of pronunciation and just say “here”. But, each party is unwilling to help the other.  He begins to send a student to the principal's office when the students correct the way he says the principal's name and he reaches his tipping point by screaming to the student Blake or Ba-lak-e, “get out of my goddamn classroom before I break my foot off in your ass,”. The clip uses an element of satire, hyperbole, to exaggerate the substitute's aggressive response of when the student corrects him.

Finally, the sketch ends with Mr Garvey asking for, “Tym-oh-thee”, one would think there would be another correction for Timothee, but the only black student showed just responds with, “present” giving a major sigh of relief to the subsite that someone - finally - understood him.

The skit performed by Key and Peel is not making fun of substitute teachers and their common mispronunciation of students’ names but it unearths a universal truth about the cultural divides and a willingness to adapt or not adapt. In the case of the white students, it is not adapting. With each name, they refused to think of the teacher and the way he would pronounce the names, and would rather fight and correct him rather than adapt. The substitute also didn’t have the willingness to adapt, by denying the students the right to their name, if they were to correct his pronunciation he would correct them back and question their credibility to their own name. This element of the sketch suggests the difference between the 'standard English' and 'black English' dialect. The language is similar, but the way the language is said varies. This exaggerated distinction in the clip represents how dialect should not matter when discussing/referencing superiority over another race. Additionally, the way the names are said may be different (but are not incorrect) for different people due to one's cultural background.

Before learning about satire, I thought the sketch was funny because having substitute teachers growing up, they would mispronounce everyone's name, but the reality is, this sketch took it to another level. It was about a cultural divide and the people's unwillingness to bridge the divide. Their willingness to stick to their guns rather than accommodate others was shown with dramatic irony and demonstrates how ridiculous people may seem when they become too obsessed with the many versions (dialects) there are to express words. Additionally, how absurd that the little differences may be the ultimate concerns that divide us among different races.

Dove Would NEVER Lie To You...

In February of 2017, Dove released a two-page advertisement in UK newspapers the "Times" and  "Guardian" for their new antiperspirant. The ad functions primarily on the concept of "alternative facts," and the humor inherent in them.

The advertisement comes on the heels of the social outbreak over Trump's use of "alternative facts" in his campaigns, addresses, and most notably, when describing the size of the crowd at his inauguration. The ad is a clever example of parody on an actual soap ad, although it is an actual ad in itself. It parodies the advertisements for beauty products that claim to give its customers perfect hair, skin, or whatever it services. This ad cunningly still reaches its intended audience, who are women looking to take Dove up on its beauty guarantee, but it reaches them on a satirical level; it adds humor to an otherwise hostile political climate by hinging on the idea that the consumer will understand the reference and still understand the message from Dove about the authenticity of their own products, which they convey through verbal irony of more "alternative" facts.

On the back page of the ad, it says, "New Dove antiperspirant cares for your underarm skin like never before" with the hashtag #RealFacts. Again, the ad is smart because it still functions on the premise of women embracing their true beauty and authenticity, much like delivering "real" as opposed to "alternative" facts. One would hope our president is just as authentic, genuine, and reliable with us as an antiperspirant would be.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Isn't It Romantic- A Clever Yet Clear Satire

Isn't It Romantic, which stars Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, and Priyanka Chopra, was released on Valentine's Day and is one of the newest satirical movie. The movie is clever in its use of satire by having the plot of the movie to be about Natalie, a pessimist woman, who ends up getting stuck in a romantic comedy. The audience is first introduced to the main character (Natalie) with the opening scene of her as a little girl, watching Pretty Woman. As she admires the beautiful Julia Roberts and the love story that plays before her, her mom dissuades her from believing in "that crap", stating that women who look like they (Natalie and her mother) do not get happy endings or love. Flash forward twenty some years, and Natalie is working at an architecture firm, yet she is still the same negative, anti-love girl she was when she was younger. After being told that Natalie needs to be more open to men, she is robbed by the first man who "flirts" with her on the subway that night after work, and gets so injured she is put in a coma. During her coma, she wakes up in what seems to be a romantic comedy. She is surrounded by love, people falling in love, and cliches. As she attempts to escape this lovey-dovey world, trying everything she can think of along the way, she eventually realizes that she needs to love herself first. Once she accepts her love for herself, she finally wakes up from her coma. She is then able to go accomplish all she needs in her work, be confident enough to stand up for herself, and get the man (the one she's "meant" to be with).

Throughout the movie, the audience is aware that Natalie knows that she is "in" a romantic comedy, and has the goal to get out of it. The audience gets to watch her make effort after effort to escape the rom-com, first trying to get the "dream man" to fall for her, then her best friend (who she is "meant" to end up with), and then finally accepting love for herself. All the while, everyone around her is completely unaware that they are in a romantic comedy. The movie is both ironic and a parody in this way. It is ironic because all along Natalie is aware that she is in a rom-com, yet she continues to have to go along with it all (for the simple fact that she literally can't seem to escape it). Also, while most ironies do not allow the main character or narrator to know what is happening, Natalie is aware the whole time, and it is everyone around her who is unaware. The audience is able to get a laugh out of watching the characters around Natalie do exactly what can be predicted based off the usual set up of rom-coms, and Natalie go crazy knowing that they aren't aware what is happening. It is also a parody because it pokes fun at romantic comedies, using every cliche in the book. While in a typical romantic comedy the characters love the cliches and go along with them (because the movies are cheesy), Natalie gags at them. This makes the movie all the more humorous. It uses the predictable aspects of romantic comedies to help its audience along, allowing them to predict (along with Natalie) what will happen next and then laugh at Natalie as she still has to go through it.

Though Isn't It Romantic is a romantic comedy at its core, with the plot centered around a female who faces hardships (that are mocked throughout), until she eventually falls in love. BUT, the style of Isn't It Romantic is set up so differently, which helps create a more unique and fresher narration of a romantic comedy than most audiences are used to. The movie can be labelled as a satire because it is a comedy that addresses real world problems. Isn't It Romantic isn't the normal romantic comedy, that encourages the audience to root for the "cookie-cutter" female to get the guy. The movie is centered around a plus-sized actress (Rebel Wilson), which creates a different narration for a rom-com from the beginning. While the audience understands and sympathizes with Natalie for having a negative attitude about love because of how society has taught her to feel about her own body, they also cheer Natalie on to break the mold. While Natalie is trying to get her best friend/ the guy she is "supposed" to end up with to fall in love with her in hopes to escape the romantic comedy world, she finally realizes that she does not need him to fall in love with her to escape. All she needs is to love herself. By ending the movie with messages of self love and acceptance, Isn't It Romantic becomes an effective satire. It shows a powerful woman who was previously insecure about herself begin to truly love and accept herself, accomplish her goals in her career, and STILL get love.