period of humor: the age of inconsideration

as in history where men had trends in thought and development (think: classical era, medieval ages, the enlightenment and so on), humor must also have ages. and what was funny then may not even afford a sympathy laugh today. although i find aristophanes very entertaining, i cannot imagine anyone today guffawing at any of his comedies. we might say the same for shakespeare, genius that he is.

there was a long stretch in history when comedy was based largely on wit and wordplay. after all, drama was confined to the stage (or paper, if you care to read the play), a rudimentary stage even, compared to spectacles today like in west end and broadway, and there weren’t enough sophistication yet to facilitate much flights of fancy. besides, individual human experience then wasn’t as diverse as they have been in the last hundred years.

but the 20th century ushered in a new medium to bring funny to the masses: animation. one of the greatest things to spring from the human mind. proof of our superiority over other denizens of the earth. pinnacle of our creative faculty. what would my life be without cartoons?!

so here came an onslaught of slapstick comedies where characters are flattened by steamrollers, shoved into deep ravines, peperred with gunshots and exploded by various devices, only to rise again the very next second, to wreak their own brand of havoc yet again.

while some hugely successful cartoons rely almost solely on bash-on-the-head action and very little on story and character development (tom and jerry, road runner show, woody woodpecker show), many have also heightened their creations to have distinct personalities, battling real-world travails in imaginary settings. these are characters who suffer very human frailties like jealousy, greed, arrogance and conceit, characteristics which used to be exclusive for villains but are now evident in heroes and top-billers; they may not be very smart but they are often devious and insanely clever. and they’re always funny. guffaw, split-your-sides funny.

here are my four favorites of that kind:

4. Bloo from  Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket bossy, overbearing and imperious, i can think of no one else so full of himself than Blooregard Q. Kazoo. the resident troublemaker at foster’s, he would readily put the other friends’ well-being in jeopardy just so he could pull himself through his crooked plots. as the bloo baseball card in an episode once described him: BIG, INSENSITIVE JERKFACE. now, you can’t argue with that.

3. Homer Simpson.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket who in the civilized world does not know Homer Simpson, patriarch of the longest-running animation syndicate in television history? How could anyone have missed the many times he has put his family on the edge of their sanity with his harebrained shenanigans? or his mortal annoyance at ned flanders and his family? or the way he strangles bart at the littlest of provocations? or embarrassed lisa, the child prodigy? or took his wife, marge, for granted? in the end though, things always seem to fall in the right places, and our faith in family values is restored. but the next episode will have homer making a fool of himself again. and that’s what keeps us coming back for more.

2. Master Shake of Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket he’s the character you just love to hate. there’s no arrogance nor vanity larger than shake’s. even in the midst of a life-threatening crisis, he would still go into a beauty salon to “see if they could squeeze me in for a perm”. always putting meatwad’s walfare in peril and leaving frylock to clean up after his unholy mess, master shake is indeed the master. of disaster.

1. Daffy Duck.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket he’s the granddaddy of greed, the source of all manners selfish. this character is simply timeless. for decades, long before the above characters have been conceived, daffy duck has ruled all cartoondom as the expert in twisted plans. the epitome of all things wacky, you’d swear he’s a duck on crack. try looking up the word “daffy” in the dictionary. you will find no other word more appropriate for this loon. and he is just plain hilarious at whatever generation you belong.

these characters may have their own indiosyncracies, but they all share a common thread: they are all inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. and we viewers continue to shamelessly laugh at their antics, whether they put lives in danger, crack politically incorrect jokes, or poke fun at our ideals. because this is the day and age where inconsideration is a source of unbridled humor.

so just sit back and let’s all have a good laugh while the age lasts.


6 Responses to “period of humor: the age of inconsideration”

  1. 1 ton May 3, 2007 at 7:29 am

    i too have my dark moments. 🙂

    “but the 20th century ushered in a new medium to bring funny to the masses: animation. one of the greatest things to spring from the human mind. proof of our superiority over other denizens of the earth. pinnacle of our creative faculty. what would my life be without cartoons?!”

    I think puppetry would have been the dark-age counterpart of animation. Likewise, I believe illustrations would have also been part and parcel of many a story-telling, as would-be percursors of the comic book.

  2. 2 ton May 3, 2007 at 8:05 am

    there’s something wrong with your site, it doesn’t update to show that you already have comments.

  3. 3 tessa May 4, 2007 at 3:36 am

    hi ton, that would be true. puppetry, still cartoons and comics did play huge parts in bringing imagination to “life”. but weaknesses would include absence of “real-time recovery” from pain and injury. say, judy hit punch too hard and caused a nasty gash on the puppet. i don’t think he can resurrect as quickly as wile e. coyote 🙂 comics for me was a better diversion, but it lacks meaning from the vocal variety, pitch and soundtrack as only production animation can provide. what do you think?

    i have to moderate comments before they appear on the site 🙂 i’m snotty that way…

  4. 4 ton May 4, 2007 at 5:33 am

    ang yabang mo naman. how do you like the parodies? i got a few lined up. i’m pretty sure it’s not as funny as you make it sound.. hehe..

  5. 5 Dubioz Don May 7, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    Ahhhhh…. Hilig pud diay ka sa Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Nothing to do with water, nothing to do with teens. Maybe hunger, but are they a significant force? 😀

  6. 6 cornerseat May 8, 2007 at 7:37 am

    ah ha…! but the aqua may be carl’s pool; frylock, meatwad and master shake may be teenagers after all. and if you’re hungry, you can eat them… but they are indeed the FORCE.

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