Wednesday, May 4, 2016

simply embracing the ridiculous

now that life is so busy, what with three kids, a full time job, and a house that unfortunately doesn't clean itself, i find myself watching more comedies than dramas. i still love a good drama, but it's too hard to find the time to watch them. and at the end of the day i find that i want to laugh more than i want to experience high stakes tension.

i still love modern family and the big bang theory, and watch them regularly. but i also watch a whole host of comedies that are less grounded in reality--you might even say they are downright weird. and sometimes i don't know how i feel about that as i watch.

take the last man on earth, will forte's end of the world comedy is hard to describe. because in many ways this show is not at all a comedy. it's a deeply weird, deeply disturbed post-apocalyptic drama except for the fact that it is presented and acted out as a comedy. it's funny, sometimes. it's disturbing, more often than i can count. but it's also strangely compelling, which is why i keep coming back for more. even as i think there is no way to redeem these characters, you can't help but wonder where they are going to go next.

or what about the unbreakable kimmy schmidt? i love ellie kemper's all-in performance as the aforementioned kimmy. she is a delight. but the show is not without it's problems. like how there's a white actress playing a native american character in the most cringe-worthy way possible? or how a black actor dons yellowface and it's supposed to be okay because the asian people protesting are won over by the performance? people play up stereotypes all the time and call it comedy, but tina fey should know better than that. and it's upsetting to realize that she doesn't see where the show crosses the line. if kimmy weren't so endearing it would be easier to ignore the show. but i loved kemper as erin on the office, and i love her here too. so i keep watching. even as i'm not sure how i feel about anything that happens on the show.

then there's the mindy project, which i was loving until this season when dr. danny castellano took a turn from adorable co-worker with fine dance moves to asshole misogynist. to be honest, actually, i always had mixed feelings about this show. i loved mindy and danny. but then i also hated the revolving cast of
supporting characters. i especially hate ike barinholtz's morgan, in small doses he can be funny, but mostly he is weird and creepy and i always feel slightly grosser for being forced to sit through his scenes. this is a show that in some way felt half-baked when it first started. so as it has evolved on the screen it seems like the writers have workshopped their original concept. but sometimes i wonder if they've workshopped it too far from what made the show originally enjoyable? ultimately mindy is the writer and the star, and she is a delight. but sometimes i wish there were someone in that writer's room who'd help them see that it needn't always go so far into the absurd.

in the end i keep watching these shows because they do provide light hearted entertainment, even though sometimes i feel conflicted about it. sometimes you just have to shrug and embrace the ridiculous for what it is. right?

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