Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Two And A Half Wars

As anyone reading this blog can quickly see, I don't do comedy. But this doesn't stop me from discussing it. Oh no. Especially with my genius son. [who luckily for him actually wants to write comedy or else I might have to cull him from the herd before he becomes competition]

Anyhoo, we were discussing the differences between Two and a Half Men [one of our favourite sitcoms] and The War At Home [one of our meh...s'okay sitcoms]

So mini-me comes up with - It's because I like the characters better in Two and a Half Men. Charlie and Alan are flawed but they know they are, it's played for laughs and we like them for it. The Dad in War at Home is a total knob but doesn't know he is. And they don't play that for laughs. So he's just a knob who says some funny things.

Little bastard. He nailed it.

It's like in drama where you can have a protag [and even an antag] who does some very bad things, but if you understand why and how he comes to do them then you can empathise if not sympathise.

Look at Sin City. People doing very, very bad things. But you still knew and rooted for the 'good guys' no matter what they did. Saw the guy's legs off and leave him to be eaten by dogs? Yeah, why not. And it works because the character 'shitwork' had been done and done well.

Someone once told me that Drama was just Comedy without the laughs. Or vice versa I can't remember now. He was very drunk. Or I was. But I think that makes a lot of sense. Because if you don't like or empathise with the characters, drama or comedy, you've got an uphill battle.


TonyB said...

Don't worry, i don't think your son's analysis is as all encompassing as it appears (no offence!).

Some (or even most) of the best comedy arises from people who are total knobs but don't realise they are - the audience is in on the joke yet the character isn't, and the dramatic irony that arises generates the comedy.

Dad's Army, the Office, Fawlty Towers, Extras, Alan Partridge etc etc.

English Dave said...

No offence taken Tony.

I think the difference is that in the shows you mention the writer/actor makes it clear to the audience that they are in on the joke.