Downfall of comedies: An era of humilation (part 1)

Since my return to Estonia is going to take place in two days, I thought about doing things a bit differently this week, therefore the second part of this post will appear on Friday. Mostly because I don’t have time to write a review and secondly, I feel as if this topic is too long for a single post. As the title says, both articles will focus on the downfall of comedies, which is totally my personal opinion. I don’t expect you guys to agree nor do I want to offend those who like these kinds of comedies, we have a right to our likes and dislikes, and I happen to hate 21st century comedies.

Going through my review lists, there’s a clear lack of comedies in there for obvious reasons – for years now, I have been biased to the humor that is making other people laugh. To be fair, this type of humor has been around for a while, just think about Adam Sandler and his entire career, but lately it seems that not a single comedy can go without humiliating at least one character. Before I continue, I do want to point out that I haven’t watched a lot of comedies lately which might cloud my judgment, but all of those I have seen, fall under the category of being humiliating one way or another.

It’s impossible to pin point the moment when the American Pie apple pie fucking and There’s Something About Mary sperm as hair gel moments became unbearable for me. I did love those movies when I was younger but now, as I look back, I feel as if they are horrible with their take on characters. Nowadays, with the addition of The Hangover and Bridesmaids, and all those even more horrible Adam Sandler movies that don’t seem to have an end to them, the comedies are trying to drag out laughs by putting their characters through some outrageous and foremost humiliating situations. And to my disbelief, a lot of people seem to like that sort of thing!

For me those scenes, like puke-angels in Pitch Perfect and taking a dump in the middle of the street in Bridesmaids, not to mention the naked wrestling scene in Borat, affect me negatively and make me want to cringe with horror. Not because I can’t handle them per say, for instance, I have watched Jackass without closing my eyes, but I don’t seem to laugh at the scene that’s sole purpose is to make fun at other people’s misery. Not to mention, those people don’t seem to be as humiliated by the situation as one might think. When they don’t feel bad and others accept it as funny, where’s the limit of taking a joke too far? And that is only the physical downside of comedies, I haven’t even mentioned the awfulness of verbal jokes that are, let’s be honest, mostly driven by sex, alcohol, bodily liquids and endless curse words that make fuck look like an innocent kid.

The verbal humiliation is centrally coming down to the fact that I don’t see it as realistic, I doubt that the final romantic speech in Bachelorette that has a sentence “I put my penis.. into her vagina.. and then took it out and put it back in” is something that a person would say. And his character was fairly normal throughout the movie which is the opposite to most of Zach Galifianakis’ characters. When one plays a character who is an idiot, then those things are in terms of context logical, but putting such words into the mouth of a normal guy is humiliating. In addition to that, the cursing is becoming somewhat annoying for my taste, with the latest American Pie movie Reunion, I had no desire to laugh at Stifler’s jokes. And I’m the kind of girl who swears! Honestly, I have nothing against it in general but I just can’t seem to value the comedic side of extensive cursing.

Needless to say, this humiliation humor is often being used in reality TV as well, but ever since I can remember, seeing people totally incapable of singing and making a fool out of themselves, or drunk Snookie trying to find the beach while running around on the sand, has not been funny to me. It might be the stupidity of it all, the lack of intelligence which, instead of getting a few laughs out of me, makes me angry instead. Yes, I can strongly say that stupid people annoy the hell out of me, and now it seems that everything is about taking a character or a real person and putting them into a humiliating situation, downgrading their intelligence and giving them words that normal people would not say, even if they are socially inadequate like Bridget Jones.

There’s also a third side to the story and that will focus more on the fact how characters are now shown in these popular comedies. Plus, my inner need to connect with characters is something that I have not been able to do with fictional comedic roles for years, which is not pleasant. But more about it in part 2, which will focus on the fact how characters, especially women, are represented in comedies because in most parts they are presented way over the line.

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21 thoughts on “Downfall of comedies: An era of humilation (part 1)”

  1. Totally agree. But, then I ask myself, what kind of comedies–besides the humiliating ones–that can make me laugh out loud? I recalled “The Gods Must Be Crazy” but I think the comedies are also about humiliating other person. Actually I haven’t watched any of Charlie Chaplin’s comedies, if you refer to them.

    1. I actually don’t like comedies anymore but there’s a difference between American humiliation and British humiliation. British are more sarcastic and less outrageous when it comes to those movies I mentioned here.

  2. I whole-heartedly agree. I used to love comedies a lot and now I avoid them whenever I can. They feel artificial, they feel just, uh, wrong. I just think few comedies have quality humour in them nowadays. Humour is presented in more realistic and not nearly as lame way in other movies such as dramas – which, imo, have been getting funnier lately, with puns and all.

    1. I feel like most British comedies have that sarcastic feel to it and instead of involving bodily liquids they make jokes about it. Americans are more.. physical in their humor and I don’t prefer that. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  3. That’s exactly why I don’t even bother watching comedies much anymore. For the most part, they’re all brainless and cliched and uninteresting. I don’t think the genre is dead quite yet though, at least as long as Woody Allen is working. Nice post, I’m looking forward to seeing it continued. Believe it or not, I just wrote a post about the decline of comedy a few days ago: http://wp.me/p2vz6L-eS

    1. OH my! I haven’t gotten to my weekly reading list yet because I have trouble being online all day but that is some freaky magic right there. I wrote my post on Monday to be scheduled today so I’m guessing we both had the same idea at the same time. I’ll give yours a read now as well.

    1. Can’t even recall any latest, Easy A, Crazy, Stupid, Love but both are rom-com categories in a way.. straight forward comedies, from the top of my head, Home Alone? 😀

  4. Wonderful post. I’m in full agreement here… to be honest, I was turned off by “cringe comedies” even in the mid-90s. Didn’t like There’s Something About Mary, couldn’t convince myself to even go to American Pie. Drives me crazy that almost every comedy nowadays is either a rom-com or a cringe comedy — or a stoner comedy. Honest straight-up comedies are few and far between.

      1. I think it’s been a pretty long while at this point… Bruce Almighty was fairly clean, as was Yes Man (and I’m shocked that the first two examples I can think of are both by Jim Carrey, who was one of the early 90s gross-out stars), but those were both several years ago now.

        1. Well, Mask for instance is over the top a bit idiotic but in terms of humiliating, well, it was justified by the mask? Wasn’t it? I haven’t seen it for a while, I was literally scared of that movie when I was little, so.. 😀

  5. Man, I’m glad someone wrote about this. I really don’t like it when comedy films do this. Admittedly, I really enjoy R-rated comedies, but if they have too much of this stuff, I switch off. I don’t get why humiliation is supposedly the only thing people think they can get laughs out of.

    1. I can’t understand it either, lately, I only laugh at TV series and stuff, but movies rarely make me laugh. Even if it’s not offensive per say, it’s plot is kind of cruel. For instance, my hate toward Kick-Ass is because they made a kid kill people as a fun movie, but Hannah I liked because it was taken seriously and made more sense.

  6. For me it’s all right as long as it makes me laugh – the shitting in the street thing did, the puke angel didn’t. The bigger problem for me is how cliche those modern comedies are – always gross sex scene, always weed smoking, always curse words. Again some of it is funny, but I miss good old fashion Notting Hill and Meg Ryan’s movies. What is worse for me is actually something like Girls – when characters are humiliated for some faux intellectual agenda and the creators even win awards for it.

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