Friday, May 24, 2013

Arrested Development sets the bar for modern humour - Creative Excellence Fridays

Double entendre.  As described in Wikipedia -- double entendre is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Typically one of the interpretations is rather obvious whereas the other is more subtle. The more subtle of the interpretations may have a humourous, ironic, or risqué purpose.

Does the term big ass constitute as risque in this day and age?  According to Kmart it does. 
Okay, not exactly sophisticated humour.  But the editing is tight and the performances perfectly straddle the line of believable and etherial.  

Humour is always a gamble. And humour is not a constant. What we laughed at a hundred years ago is certainly different than 2013.

Society has changed and so has its' concept of humour. Even in the last 10 years we've adjusted the dial a bit in what North America considered humourous. Take Arrested Development for example. In a Rolling Stone interview given recently by Ron Howard to promote the Netflix revival of the show, he explains how the humour was a bit ahead of the curve in 2003.

Then along came Ricky Gervais "The Office" to North America followed by "The Extras". Right behind it was 30 Rock and the Steve Carell version of "The Office".

I personally attribute it to cable. And now internet channels.  A late friend of mine, James Graham said a few years back, I don't watch anything below channel 30.  He was referring to the mainstream networks verses the Showtimes and HBO's of the world.  Those networks programmed "intelligent" and edgy humour to an audience that was forced to grow up watching censored, filtered, generic episodes of the Brady Bunch where Greg Brady showing the top band of his fruit of the looms was considered sacre blue.

Once cable networks reached critical mass, larger budgets attracted bigger talents, and creatives yearning to express themselves with real humour that was previously revered in lonely wreckrooms with George  Carling's "7 dirty words" spinning off vinyl.

Now we're blessed with choice.  If you find Leon's cursing vitriol too much to handle on Curve Your Enthusiam, you can flip over to The Bachelor and slowling listen to the sucking sound of your IQ slipping like wax from your grey matter.  Don't get me wrong.  I have my limits of what's personally acceptable.  Louis C.K.'s stand up is too much.  Two minutes on fecal matter is never going to do it for me.  But his show "Louie" is shear brilliance.

My ambiguity about loathing and loving the same stand up must drive programmers to the edge.  What?  An inconsistency?  But the psychographic demo we pulled on your from your Facebook and google foot print shows you clearly should like both.

We shouldn't and hopefully never will be so predictable, our emotional culture becomes predicated by algorithms.  Throw us a curve every now and again.  The David  Finchers and Cronenberg's of the world will hopefully always keep executives guessing, and the not so lowest common denominator entertained.

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

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