By Brian S. Opati,
Hey people, Brian here just hoping to get your minds flexed. I know that most of you reading this might be wondering about the topic.
Philoso-toon-y? What's that?
Well, here's something I like to think of as literary brain-juice: cartoons have a lot to tell us about life and pain. And they come to the same place/conclusion as philosophers have when talking--and commenting--about humor/comedy: What makes us laugh is often what causes us pain.
Take for instance an episode of the Pink Panther or Tom and Jerry; it's easy to take note of the plot and no matter how predictable the narrative formula is, it still makes us laugh when we see the protagonist(s) overcome their cause of pain/trouble and trauma. What's more surprising is how as children we pick up on this but slowly lose interest in this formula as adults...especially when the joke is on us and we become the prime examples of that art-form imitating life.
Speaking of adulting...whether it's South Park, Bob's Burgers or Rick and Morty, it's worth noting that these shows still serve to make same point. But now with a more existential focus than say Ed, Edd and Eddy. But they still make us laugh.
Why? Like the premises of these later "mature" shows, our protagonists are usually (and often grossly) imperfect and they still have challenges to overcome. But they somehow end each episode after having solved the problem or done something even better and become even better than before.
Their pain, while animated remains familiar and somehow puts a smile on our faces. Remember, whatever hurts us is also capable of bringing us joy. It's then and only then that we can truly break through life's Forth Wall like Deadpool/the Joker and look right into the fabric of existence/reality and see the irony and idiosyncrasies that shed light on what humor really is.
Note the example of the narrative arc used in the Pink Panther, 'Fly' episode:
Act One (Character intro)--->Act Two (Secondary character intro'd to push story forward by introducing the problem to the protagonist)--->Act Three (Protagonist and antagonist's tension/clash is escalated to absurd levels)--->Final Act (An ironic simple unforeseen solution is found).
Stay cheery, folks!
By NAICCON on Feb 5, 2019