Author Topic: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.  (Read 33907 times)

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #150 on: February 16, 2018, 12:31:09 PM »
My other half (who's much more principled and sensitive to injustice than I) really enjoyed the recent Inside No. 9s, but I've tried to gently steer her away from discovering the League because it would definitely tarnish her impression of Shearsmith and Pemberton. Indeed, when rewatching the last series in preparation for the specials, I was struck by how much humour comes at the expense of characters who show signs of learning disabilities - Mickey, Barry Baggs the debt collector, Neds, Dean Tavalouris. And then there's all the Barbara and Herr Lipp stuff which feels a little bit beyond the pale now.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #151 on: February 16, 2018, 12:35:43 PM »
Dictionaries don't flag it as 'offensive' because society in general doesn't seem to baulk at it. If it came back into common usage, and there was a movement against it, and it could be shown that it derived from an unpleasant source, dictionaries might have to reflect that. It could have started as a horrible insult of people with special needs, or it could have been meant in the milder sense of he's a one-off, some mothers do 'ave 'em, a bit barmy, which is how Stewart Lee seems to use it in the link I posted in the thread earlier.


Dictionaries also don't flag it as offensive as they are certain it comes from prison slang so is not case of calling a kid a retard or cretin or special needs-esque derivation of 'Individual Needs', as there is no evidence this was ever a term used for children who are 'a bit mental'.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #152 on: February 16, 2018, 12:38:18 PM »
I never gave it a second thought since I was a kid, but as an adult I've met older mental health/learning disabilities practitioners who found these Harry Enfield & Chums sketches troubling when they aired:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j62xzdNlcFw

daf

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #153 on: February 16, 2018, 12:41:23 PM »
Pamela Stephenson blacking up as Moira Stewart.

And her famous Chinese Janet Street Porter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlUb8jt0WP0

Sirry Irriot!

ieXush2i

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #154 on: February 16, 2018, 12:44:58 PM »
I love the work and comedy framework that the UCB founders have created and established, but the way the female cast members are treated in the ASSSSCAT Special from ten years ago makes me squirm like frig:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1otcGrYVSag

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #155 on: February 16, 2018, 12:55:30 PM »

Dictionaries also don't flag it as offensive as they are certain it comes from prison slang so is not case of calling a kid a retard or cretin or special needs-esque derivation of 'Individual Needs', as there is no evidence this was ever a term used for children who are 'a bit mental'.

I noted the probable prison slang origin, but I meant the origin of its use outside prison. Which is probably ex-cons using it to describe people outside prison... but what sort of people? (Yes, it's academic because I don't think anything can be retrospectively proved now.)

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #156 on: February 16, 2018, 01:03:04 PM »
Really? I think the UCB are having a negative effect on US comedy, far too much reliance on rigid improvisation (theres only one way to do improv, their way), all US comedians now think you need to do an expensive UCB course to be an actor/comedian. And along with podcasts they are encouraging comedians to be lazy, theres very much a 'all I have to is not prepare and turn up and say something and it will be funny' attitude, the work isnt being put into scripted stuff because improv and podcast are very easy to do and earn you money so thats the route people are going. Comedians used to take months or years working an hour of material, now theyre spunking out multiple hours every week on their own and other people podcasts. Not to mention the shitty way UCB treats the people who perform there.

ieXush2i

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #157 on: February 16, 2018, 01:21:22 PM »
I think that's a discussion for another thread

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #158 on: February 16, 2018, 01:31:56 PM »
Can you let me know a time or summarise how the women are treated please?  I really can't be arsed to sit through an hour of improv.

ieXush2i

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #159 on: February 16, 2018, 01:34:52 PM »
Way too many jokes/scenes initiated by the men regarding Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch's looks, and the disparity in their perceived attractiveness.

Hold on I think I've given the wrong link up there, this is the show I was referring to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4HTxmqNTCY

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #160 on: February 16, 2018, 01:51:39 PM »
While I'm not super-prepared to wade into it, I think the Apatow family of comedies are a bit guilty of having their cake and eating it - like, they want you to chuckle along at the rather rotten attitudes of their central male cast members, before giving you a sweet "don't worry, they all learned their lesson" ending. It's been a heck of a long time since I saw "Superbad" or "Knocked Up", but I never got a vibe that the movie considered the cast's attitudes to be wrong.

Or perhaps I'm miles off. I watched those movies, didn't like them and never bothered again, so I'm far from an expert on such matters.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #161 on: February 16, 2018, 02:09:15 PM »
I think that's a discussion for another thread

True, but also kind of applies here in that I used to like UCB and now I think they're problematic, just not for (physically) abusing people or doing abusive comedy.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #162 on: February 16, 2018, 03:01:33 PM »
I think some of you are being too harsh on Superbad. I don't think it promotes "get women drunk so you can smash them", as much as it presents teenagers being stupid about women and sex in a way that is relatable to anyone who's ever been a naive teenager. Like others have said, they learn their lesson at the end.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #163 on: February 16, 2018, 03:14:17 PM »
According to the OED, a 'div' is also an 'evil spirit or demon of Persian mythology; a devil; an evil genius'.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #164 on: February 16, 2018, 03:16:10 PM »
I noted the probable prison slang origin, but I meant the origin of its use outside prison. Which is probably ex-cons using it to describe people outside prison... but what sort of people? (Yes, it's academic because I don't think anything can be retrospectively proved now.)

I imagine anyone that they wanted to say is 'stupid' or an 'idiot' (ignoring that those words were probably once medical terms for the ... very slow-witted, can i say that?). But if you call someone stupid or an idiot or a moron these days, the terms don't imply a mental disability like some other words. I think if 'div' came from prison slang and was used outside, it would just be to call someone daft, silly, unintelligent... the non-problematical ways we insult someone's intelligence. 

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #165 on: February 16, 2018, 03:31:46 PM »
I imagine anyone that they wanted to say is 'stupid' or an 'idiot' (ignoring that those words were probably once medical terms for the ... very slow-witted, can i say that?). But if you call someone stupid or an idiot or a moron these days, the terms don't imply a mental disability like some other words. I think if 'div' came from prison slang and was used outside, it would just be to call someone daft, silly, unintelligent... the non-problematical ways we insult someone's intelligence.

Forum members, can I just say - I apologise for ever bringing up the 'div' thing.  I was under the honest impression it was a disablist word, albeit not the worst one available, and never thought it would derail the chat with this kind of debate...

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #166 on: February 16, 2018, 03:35:48 PM »
Div.

ieXush2i

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #167 on: February 16, 2018, 03:39:21 PM »
I thought it meant "chav"

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #168 on: February 16, 2018, 03:47:18 PM »
I thought it meant "chav"

I'm starting to wonder what other words I've invented a totally imaginary meaning for...?

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #169 on: February 16, 2018, 05:08:05 PM »
I'm starting to wonder what other words I've invented a totally imaginary meaning for...?

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #170 on: February 16, 2018, 05:50:24 PM »
While I'm not super-prepared to wade into it, I think the Apatow family of comedies are a bit guilty of having their cake and eating it - like, they want you to chuckle along at the rather rotten attitudes of their central male cast members, before giving you a sweet "don't worry, they all learned their lesson" ending. It's been a heck of a long time since I saw "Superbad" or "Knocked Up", but I never got a vibe that the movie considered the cast's attitudes to be wrong.

Or perhaps I'm miles off. I watched those movies, didn't like them and never bothered again, so I'm far from an expert on such matters.

I think we are always meant to think that they are men-children (men-childs? man-childs?) but as they are the main characters we have some empathy for them. I think the problem with Knocked Up is how unlikable the woman is. I don't know if it is a scripting problem but I have a feeling that a better actress would be able to do more with the same material and be more likeable

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #171 on: February 16, 2018, 05:57:55 PM »
I never gave it a second thought since I was a kid, but as an adult I've met older mental health/learning disabilities practitioners who found these Harry Enfield & Chums sketches troubling when they aired:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j62xzdNlcFw

I'm sure I saw something somewhere that they regretted that character, much like they are sorry for mocking Tony Blackburn's breakdown in 'End Of An Era'.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #172 on: February 16, 2018, 06:58:19 PM »
I never gave it a second thought since I was a kid, but as an adult I've met older mental health/learning disabilities practitioners who found these Harry Enfield & Chums sketches troubling when they aired:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j62xzdNlcFw

Haha classic British comedy. Harry Enfield is a ledge!

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #173 on: February 16, 2018, 09:02:02 PM »
I agree with what you're saying. I should have specified that I really was talking about Homer's Phobia and Spaced and to a certain extent Superbad. I'd have to rewatch Superbad to be sure though.

My reading of "problematical" is when you feel really uneasy because the protagonist has turned out to be a sex pervert (CK, Allen) and to a certain extent when it's really quite politically incorrect. But the Homer's Phobia example seems very spurious, as if the person completely missed the anti-homophobia message and took it at face value.

They did miss it, and admitted they missed it when the real meaning of the line in question was pointed out to them:

Thanks, now none of the comedy I like is problematic and I feel great about my sense of humour. A fantastic end to anyone's Wednesday.

Have you managed to block me or something?

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #174 on: February 16, 2018, 09:40:17 PM »
I never gave it a second thought since I was a kid, but as an adult I've met older mental health/learning disabilities practitioners who found these Harry Enfield & Chums sketches troubling when they aired:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j62xzdNlcFw

Didn't they drop all the sketches with that character after one episode, due to exactly those complaints? I'm sure I remember there being some fuss about it at the time.

The whole idea of Some Mothers Do Have 'Em is a bit troubling in modern times, the story of a man with obvious learning difficulties cast adrift in an uncaring adult world. Take the audience laughter away and it basically turns into "Walter."

Well, maybe not. But there's been times I've been watching it and thought the way Frank is treated by the various authority figures he interacts with is often horribly unsympathetic and dismissive, and these scenes are pretty much always played for laughs.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #175 on: February 16, 2018, 09:50:16 PM »
I could never stand SMDHE.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #176 on: February 16, 2018, 09:51:14 PM »
Yeah, I remember complaints at the time about the Enfield character - I seem to think it was the 'baby' sketch that really upset people. I think it's not so much the content as the characterisation that makes them seem a bit off - if he was given a different voice and a more confident tone, nobody would think twice about it. In fact, you could almost imagine his lines being said by Whitehouse's 'Brilliant!' character and they would come across as the silliness they were obviously intended as rather then....well, whatever it is they ended up as.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #177 on: February 16, 2018, 10:02:28 PM »
But I can't find any evidence that 'individual needs' was ever used as a term like 'special needs' is. It seems to be used sometimes to indicate, well, individual needs of children but not because they are divs, but because every child is different, etc.
If 'individual' has been used pejoratively, I wonder if it might be more along the lines of "character" in phrases like "You foxy ass piss country whore you are a character".

Broadly, I suppose, just appealing to the idea that the person stands out in a peculiar way?



OED has "In contexts where a group is not specified or implied: a human being, a person. In later use also (somewhat colloq. and frequently depreciative): a person of a specified type or character.", but it's not entirely clear if "depreciative" really refers to unqualified use or not. Not much more to be drawn from it.

Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #178 on: February 16, 2018, 10:19:10 PM »
Harry Enfield started out doing Stavros. Affectionate stereotyping but still stereotyping.

Smashey and Nicey were implied paedos, I thought.

Veep can be sexist and I think some of that is improv. Same actor as in link above.

The word 'cunt' is more problematic in the US than the UK and sometimes I think Veep breaks that taboo intentionally.

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Re: Comedy you liked but now think is problematical.
« Reply #179 on: February 16, 2018, 10:25:39 PM »
Didn't they drop all the sketches with that character after one episode, due to exactly those complaints? I'm sure I remember there being some fuss about it at the time.

The whole idea of Some Mothers Do Have 'Em is a bit troubling in modern times, the story of a man with obvious learning difficulties cast adrift in an uncaring adult world. Take the audience laughter away and it basically turns into "Walter."

Well, maybe not. But there's been times I've been watching it and thought the way Frank is treated by the various authority figures he interacts with is often horribly unsympathetic and dismissive, and these scenes are pretty much always played for laughs.


For the love of Zeus, it's an ancient comic device, Phil.

We're laughing at Frank's naivety and abject stupidity in an authoritarian world, but nevertheless remain sympathetic. A rebel in some ways.

Frank Spencer is a textbook low-status buffoon.

It's commedia dell'arte, it's Chaplin, it's Norman Wisdom, it's Lee Evans' So What Now? it's bleedin' Miranda.

But fuck me yes, it's completely unwatchable now.

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