Episode 620 - losers are human too
Jan 30, 2023
My idea was to talk about social pariah characters, people who it's socially acceptable to laugh at, despise, or even hate. They can be the uncool people, the dorks, the dags, the idiots, the overweight, the ugly, the old, the out of touch, the over the hill… On the extreme end they could be monsters and criminals. Generally they're written pretty two dimensionally as a collection of cliches, but when the writing goes beyond that to lend them humanity is when it goes to the next level.
Topics and Show Notes
I'm not talking about underdogs or members of minority groups because people should already know better than to write them as stereotypes or to laugh at them for being what they are. I'm not talking about “punching up” or “down” or sideways either.
A good example would be one of those Mansplaining “M'Lady” characters: a fat, young white guy with a thin goatee beard, in a black stingy brim fedora hat and black trench coat, worn over a t-shirt and cargo shorts. It's socially acceptable to universally despise that person, and it can even feel good to have someone like that who everyone is allowed to laugh at. Other examples are the Boomer, the Karen, the angry vegan woman, nerds, pervs, trainspotters, Furries, Bronies, and Treckies.
My conjecture is that an ordinary or bad writer just uses them as is and leverages the popular social derision surrounding them for humour. While a really good writer goes beyond the cliches and gives the character some humanity. Dwight in the US version of The Office started out as a character we loved to hate, but as the show wore on and he gained more humanity he became an immeasurably better character. King of the Hill is a show entirely dedicated to the sort of people pop-culture gives us permission to mock and deride and yet it shows us their vulnerabilities which makes them so much better than the characters in Family Guy who are similarly despised people but with no other dimension.
One of the main faults of the second Knives Out movie, Glass Onion, is that the characters are mostly all built around cliches we're supposed to despise, and they don't go beyond that. I liked the film but it wasn't as clever it thought it should be.
By all means start off with a boomer, Karen, angry vegan lady or a Mainsplainer, pick the low hanging fruit jokes, get all the easy laughs, but then turn things on their head. Go deeper. Show them as more than a simple cliches, more than a cutout! That will enhance your story supremely, make your characters more interesting, the drama more effective and your jokes funner.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Prince of the Moonlight Stone - Mysterious sounds of the cold, snowy, moonlit, pine-forest… Percussion heats up and leads us down into the steaming jungles in the valleys below, away from the cry of the wolf and the savage bite of the cold mountain winds.
Topics and shownotes
Explorer Chronicles - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/jan/24/featured-comic-explorer-chronicles/
Prince of the Moonlight Stone - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/_Prince_of_the_Moonlight_Stone/ - by KillerSandy, rated M.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
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