Thursday, October 4, 2007

Newer Comedy?

In the beginning, there was Old Comedy, which centered around a male clown figure, or possibly a pair of them involved in farcical shenanigans, usually in a misguided attempt to resolve a conflict.

Then there was New Comedy, which revolved mostly around love stories (think Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Pride & Prejudice)

Dawn Eden links to "When Harry Met Sal," an interesting article by Justin Shubow on recent trends in comic movies, involving male clown duos exhibiting patterns of behavior that have mostly been reserved for romantic couples. Is this a twist on New Comedy, or another way of combining elements of Old and New?

Shubow offers the following explanation for this recent innovation:

But there might be a deeper reason for the advent of the man-crush rom com. In these extremely unromantic times (Is there anything less romantic than having sex while wearing a condom?), in which serial monogamy followed by divorce-prone marriage has become the norm, living happily ever after has become a less and less believable fantasy. By contrast, “best friends forever” is not just a live possibility, it’s one that is widely lived. And when romantic relationships are impermanent, life-long friendship becomes one of our few consolations. Admittedly, such an interpretation is an awfully heavy take on light entertainment. But if one looks past the full-frontal vulgarity, even the most immature comedies might be capturing a contemporary truth: Outside the family, anyone looking for undying words of devotion might just have to settle for “I love you, man.”

Read the rest of the article here.

For further reading on New Comedy: Ordinary Pleasures: Couples, Conversation, and Comedy by Dr. Kay Young

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