Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Laughing Out Loud

A couple weeks ago, I had family visiting and we rented a comedy from the video store. RV. It stares one of the premiere comedians working in film today (Robin Williams) and was billed three times on the cover as being "hilarious." Yet, we watched it in silence. No laughter, no chuckles, not even a giggle. Then we followed it by watching a few episodes of News Radio on DVD and laughed continuously throughout.

This experience just reminded me again of how the quality of television today is often exceeding that of film and comedies are a prime example. It is a very rare movie comedy that is able to achieve the levels of humor and consistent laughter generated by television. I don't know why it is that the relationship of Sam and Diane on Cheers is both more poignant and hilarious than just about any of the generic romantic comedies Hollywood offers up. Two hours of Friends and Seinfeld will make your sides ache far more than sitting in a multiplex watching the latest Adam Sandler movie (and I like Adam Sandler). Even when I watch a relatively bad sitcom (like According to Jim), it is usually guaranteed that I will laugh out loud at least once or twice. Compare that to the countless movie comedies I've seen where I sit bored for two hours.

I haven't figured out the reasons for this, yet, but for whatever reason, comedy writers and actors working in television are putting their movie counterparts to shame.


At 4:16 PM, Blogger KMiV said...

Greg, I agree with you on that one. We rented RV and felt it was just another play on the Chevy Chase Vacation movies.

We still get bigger family laughs out of the television shows we watch.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Good point. Though I think I may have laughed out loud once during RV.

Heck, even the non-comedies on TV produce far more laughs than the ones you see at the theater (past example: Buffy; current example: House).

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Sermoniac said...

I worked at a hospital and I was seated in a patient's room to observe him. He was watching The 70's Show and I could only hear the dialogue - no pictures. I must have sounded like a goon trying to refrain from laughing out loud. Instead I spent 20 minutes making those choked squeeks and reverse nasal snorts that can only be made by someone who is trying not to laugh.


I just watched CSI's "Double-Cross" (http://www.cbs.com) and Justice's "Crucified" (http://www.fox.com/justice) this past week and noticed the theme of the crucifiction of Christ. Is this a coincidence or do the producers compete with each other in a certain theme? Just thought I would ask the guru.


At 2:56 PM, Blogger Greg said...

There seems to be a fairly common occurrence of television shows or movie studios producing shows on similar themes (like two movies about Tombstone coming out the same year) or the fact that the new movie about Truman Capote was filmed at the same time as last year's film. I'm not sure why that is the case. In some cases, it may be coincidence; in others, direct copying.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger nhe said...

You know, you all can save yourselves a lot of trouble by going to a website like rottentomatoes.com to get an accurate score on a film from over 100 reviewers (all from national papers and magazines) before you rent it/see it!!!

You sure would have saved yourself the trouble on "RV". I don't agree with any critic all of the time, but when 130 critics weigh in on a film and only 12% of them give the film a "B-" or better, you have a pretty strong case for not wasting your hard earned money.

I would never rent or pay to see a film that I didn't check out first at a site like this - there's just way too much good info out there - people have done the work for us to save us the misery.....kind of a soapbox issue for me.


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