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BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.

Jim Dixon 04 Jun 02 - 09:16 AM
GUEST 04 Jun 02 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,oisin1125 28 May 02 - 09:56 PM
SharonA 28 May 02 - 03:11 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 28 May 02 - 12:28 PM
CarolC 28 May 02 - 12:23 PM
Rick Fielding 28 May 02 - 12:21 PM
CarolC 28 May 02 - 12:14 PM
Rick Fielding 28 May 02 - 11:16 AM
CarolC 28 May 02 - 09:08 AM
Pied Piper 28 May 02 - 08:58 AM
CarolC 27 May 02 - 02:08 PM
CarolC 27 May 02 - 02:00 PM
Celtic Soul 27 May 02 - 01:40 PM
Pied Piper 27 May 02 - 01:04 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 May 02 - 06:16 PM
Celtic Soul 26 May 02 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Bullfrog Jones (on the road) 26 May 02 - 03:53 PM
Rick Fielding 26 May 02 - 02:22 PM
Liz the Squeak 26 May 02 - 09:50 AM
CarolC 25 May 02 - 08:45 PM
Jeri 25 May 02 - 07:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 May 02 - 06:31 PM
Celtic Soul 25 May 02 - 02:21 PM
katlaughing 24 May 02 - 05:41 PM
Kim C 24 May 02 - 04:46 PM
katlaughing 24 May 02 - 04:01 PM
SharonA 24 May 02 - 03:38 PM
katlaughing 24 May 02 - 03:38 PM
Mudlark 24 May 02 - 02:15 PM
Rich_and_Dee 24 May 02 - 01:50 PM
CarolC 24 May 02 - 01:24 PM
GUEST 24 May 02 - 01:15 PM
CarolC 24 May 02 - 01:10 PM
GUEST 24 May 02 - 01:07 PM
CarolC 24 May 02 - 01:02 PM
Peg 24 May 02 - 12:26 PM
Nigel Parsons 24 May 02 - 11:45 AM
Nigel Parsons 24 May 02 - 11:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 May 02 - 11:23 AM
Jeri 24 May 02 - 09:42 AM
GUEST 24 May 02 - 09:26 AM
JedMarum 24 May 02 - 09:20 AM
katlaughing 24 May 02 - 09:09 AM
GUEST 24 May 02 - 08:49 AM
CarolC 23 May 02 - 09:01 PM
GUEST 23 May 02 - 08:44 PM
DonD 23 May 02 - 08:07 PM
Rick Fielding 23 May 02 - 07:57 PM
greg stephens 23 May 02 - 07:44 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 09:16 AM

When you say something ironic to an American, and he acts as if he doesn't get it, how do you KNOW he doesn't get it? Maybe he's just being ironic.

We Americans have a sense of humor that's just too subtle for some Brits, I guess.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 12:01 AM

We have verbal irony
And situational irony (lots of this)
And of course dramatic irony
(this the "audience" or "insiders" know but the characters to not)

Lets' call this last one Max and the Buds


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST,oisin1125
Date: 28 May 02 - 09:56 PM

Ahem...Alanis Morisette is Canadian, Mr. Stephens.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: SharonA
Date: 28 May 02 - 03:11 PM

An Pluiméir Ceolmhar: Nope. The definition of "filk" was given earlier in this thread. Click on the following link to go right to the post I refer to: Nigel Parsons's post of 24-May-02 - 11:43 AM in this thread


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 28 May 02 - 12:28 PM

quote:

"Filks"?

I really DO poof-read

Is "filk" a new American slang word for a homosexual ;-)?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 28 May 02 - 12:23 PM

Ha! You got me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 May 02 - 12:21 PM

How ironic...I feel like a putz!

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 28 May 02 - 12:14 PM

Actually I probably use a number of yiddish expressions...

I bet you do. Here are some more words of Yiddish origin that are commonly used by English speakers (at least in North America anyway): schmaltz, chutzpah (khutspe), schmuck, kvetsh, shlep, shtick (shtik), klutz, schlock, and tushie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 May 02 - 11:16 AM

Hi Carol. "Bupkis...Drek"....both Yiddish eh? Holy cow, I've finally got an ethnic culture!

Actually I probably use a number of yiddish expressions...for the same reasons that I appropriate people's accents when I'm relaying something they've said...kind of a "monkey hear, monkey repeat" thing.

Back when I was playing the Northern Ontario bars, I would use expressions like "Eh" and "Geez", when talking to the locals. That's where the concept of "Reg, Reg, and Reg" came from (although they seem to be part of Catspaw's immediate family now)....probably a self-defence technique, so that they wouldn't know I was really a left-wing City-boy, agitator type (who co-incidentally loved and sang country music)

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 28 May 02 - 09:08 AM

Dr. Who has been airing in the US since at least the mid to late 1970s. It's still being aired on some public broadcasting stations even now. They start with the first Doctor and run right through all of them until they get to the end, and then they start over again. I've probably seen most of them at least two or threee times.

I make no excuses. Even if I had a life, I'd still probably watch the Dr from time to time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Pied Piper
Date: 28 May 02 - 08:58 AM

So Dr Who went to America after all. I must of stopped watching by then (going out to the Pub I suspect). Aaagh Time Tunnel I'd forgotten about that one thanks for reminding me Celtic Soul. We had the "The Twilight Zone and "The Outer Limits" here in the UK too, great programs. Do you remember that cold war thriller "the Invaders"; "David Vincent architect, a man to long withuot sleep overacts into his wind shield to avoid the use of expencive special effects. Alien biengs (Russians) travel across the vastness of space in sofisticated spacecraft and make replica human biengs to inhabit. the only fly in the ointment is their compleet in ability to copy that most sophisticated part of the body; the little finger. All the best PP.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 27 May 02 - 02:08 PM

P.S. Both "bupkis" and "drek" have Yiddish origins, and are not, strictly speaking, colonialisms.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 27 May 02 - 02:00 PM

Dr. Who addict here. I admit it! Don't ask me why, because I have no idea. Sometimes I don't even like it. But I watch it anyway, or at least have it on in the background. I think maybe watching Dr. Who is the closest I'll ever come to having any sort of ritual in my life, strange as this one is. I don't think Dr. Who stands out as being particularly ironic though.

Pied Piper, Sylvester McCoy came here to the US a few years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 27 May 02 - 01:40 PM

Pied Piper...while you watched your black and white from behind the coach, I watched mine from in front with pillows in my face for the scary stuff. I loved shows that you might think were drek (one mans drek is anothers treasure, I am sure).

I watched classic Trek when it was a new show. But I also watched "Time Tunnel" and "Land of the Giants" and thought them great (though, to see them now, I might get a little red in the face having admitted that). I also loved "The Twilight Zone and "The Outer Limits".

I am sure that there are cultural reasons why I do not connect with Dr. Who. My lack of understanding as to the draw for this show, and my opinion on it's being drek in no way means I think I am "right". :D


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Pied Piper
Date: 27 May 02 - 01:04 PM

"Drek" that's the second time I've come across this colonialism, the context makes the meaning clear. I guess you had to be there; at the age of 5 in nineteen hundred and frozen to death, watching from behind the couch the flickering 405 lines black and white 12 inch screen, as the Cyberman choked the life out of some innocent victim. Used to scare the bejesus out of me. Dr Who is very very British and a part of my mental landscape. Strangely enough Star Trek had a similar effect on me at a later age. Of cause he never visited America so you're probably just jealous. All the best PP.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 May 02 - 06:16 PM

I tried putting my iron on the TV but it just melted the plastic case and made a mess. I had to but a new one.

Since then I have watched a few more recent shows - Father Ted, Black Books and Game On to name but three which were not made by the beeb and were still very funny and possibly a touch ironic. Well, to me anyway. Irony does not have to be political satire or old UK comedy shows. It does need to be ironic. Whatever that means...

But what do I know?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 26 May 02 - 05:17 PM

McGrath, I think you may be mistaken as to how much has been borrowed by British TV and Cinema from their American cousins (see above post by Jeri, and I remember reading about more, but don't remember which ones they were).

Also, many Americans *love* imported TV much better than the Americanized re-writes. PBS has blessed us with years of Monty Python, Black Adder, AbFab, Are you being served?, Fawlty Towers, Red Dwarf and more. Additionally, HBO imported the 80's Robin Hood series that helped the whole Clannad popularity to occur (and anything that helps folk music as that influx did is alright by me).

I am curious to know how much American TV gets imported, though? There have been decent shows along the way that are every bit as good as what we have been blessed to have imported from the Isles.

The one thing I will *never* understand is the fascination with Dr. Who. I know this is tantamount to sacrilige, but I think it the worst drek ever brought across the Atlantic for American consumption.

(donning my asbestos knickers now...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST,Bullfrog Jones (on the road)
Date: 26 May 02 - 03:53 PM

Rick -- Ab Fab, Yes Minister, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Tony Hancock, One Foot In The Grave, Blackadder, Red Dwarf, Till Death Us Do Part, in fact just about every British comedy mentioned above, had one thing in common. They were made by the BBC, hence no advertisers, no sponsors and no one to please except....er...oh yes, the audience!

BJ


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 May 02 - 02:22 PM

Just had a LONGGGGG chat with a UK buddy who admits he watches way too much TV, and he's convinced that there are some dire signs that the "special" British sense of humour is soon to go the way of the dodo. He figures that when something really edgy, and funny (read: potentially offensive, folks) gets a ton of hate mail, the Brit officials have always just chucked the complaints in the waste-paper basket. He asks whether Canadian or American networks or sponsors are a bit more easily spooked. My feeling is yes. The wondefully written Sopranos, has certainly been forced to come to heel a few times by the Italian anti-defamation league, and I have no doubt that a lot of 'single issue' groups, have kept a pretty tight rein on a lot of other shows. They're pretty scared about 'sponsor boycotts'.

Heather and I were huge fans of "Ab-Fab", but sadly most of our friends found it 'vulgar, in bad taste, and in some cases...sickening. Have their been sponsor boycotts in the UK?

There were a few panicked peeps when Rick Mercer's "Talking To Americans" was reducing people to stitches (if you're not familiar with this bit of mischief...check it out on the net....especially the episode where the Governor of Arkansas officially congratulates us on the opening of our "National Igloo"!!)

And then of course there's Michael Moore (as has been mentioned)...he may have been on cable, but he was ON.

It kind of boils down to 'mild humour' and 'bitter humour'. I can sure enjoy Andy and Barney, but I gotta have a dose of "Yes Minister" or "Ab Fab" to keep focused.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 26 May 02 - 09:50 AM

High Noon IS set in the Yorkshire Dales, they just call it Emmerdale now....

Or is that Heartbeat...?

Waiting for God is fantastic and I want to be Diana Trent. Simpsons and King of the Hill have overlapped, when the Hills appeared as audience members when Bart was the football team anchor man (forgotten the episode name, was on UK terrestrial TV last week), again two brilliant shows. Seinfeld left me screaming for less and Cheers is about as funny as piles. At least Roseanne (in the early days) had some caustic and amusing moments... but I think my all time favourite has to be the line from Friends - Rachel screaming down the hall after Ross - 'it isn't that common, it doesn't happen to every guy and it IS a big deal!!'

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 25 May 02 - 08:45 PM

I can watch Red Dwarf two or three times a week on the three different PBS stations I get here. I get WETA out of DC, Maryland Public Television, and West Virginia Public Television. (btw, I'm with you on Ab/Fab.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Jeri
Date: 25 May 02 - 07:04 PM

IMO, Absolutely Fabulous was very funny. We did an American version of the show. (I can't even remember what it was called.) It was still funny, but the two main characters were made a lot less...erm - "dysfunctional." Took a lot of bite out of the humor.

I liked the American "Sanford & Son" better than the British version, but it may only have been because 1) it included humor about things more familiar to me, and 2) Redd Fox.

I LOVE Red Dwarf! Is it still on? I haven't seen it on TV here in the US in quite a while.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 May 02 - 06:31 PM

A bit of thread drift here, but it had started already.

Remaking foreign programme/films, and even English language ones, and setting them closer to home seems generally to be pretty well only done by the American industry. (Golden Girls being the only exception that I can think of for British TV).

It seems a strange idea. For example, I try to imagine people remaking High Noon, but setting it in Yorkshire - no, it just doesn't seem right. Or trying to relocate "Cheers" in an English pub... I find it hard to imagine remakes of American programmes set over here attracting as many viewers as the originals. (Well High Noon in the Yorkshire Dales might attract some viewers as a novelty.) And yet since presumably the people who do this know their business, it must mean many Americans actually prefer to have such things domesticated, which I'd have thought takes half the fun away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 25 May 02 - 02:21 PM

British and American TV not only have their own drek, they seem bound and determined to borrow one anothers as well.

The American "Golden Girls" series was remade in England. But it doesn't just go from here to there...don't we Americans have the Brits to thank for "3's Company"?

And we sometimes try to borrow each others successes with spectacular failure.

The American version of "Red Dwarf" was a complete and total waste of film, time, and money.

In my mind, it is not about any particular "American" condition, or any particular "British" condition. It is a human condition to both succeed and to fail.

You'll find the good, the bad, and the ugly no matter where you go.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:41 PM

Oops! You're right, Kim! Thanks. Now I remember being amazed that I liked a show as well as "King of the Hill" while hating his other show so much...*bg*


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Kim C
Date: 24 May 02 - 04:46 PM

Kat, King of the Hill belongs to Mike Judge, creator of Beavis & Butthead. The Simpsons and Futurama both belong to Matt Groening. To my knowledge neither one of them has anything to do with the other's shows. I could be wrong about that, though!

Waiting for God is a SCREAM. I loved it when they started the Dangerous Sports Club and went go-cart racing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 May 02 - 04:01 PM

Here's a complete list of SCTV Alumni and those of its predecesor, The Compass Players which included Alan Alda and Ed Asner!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: SharonA
Date: 24 May 02 - 03:38 PM

I'd thought that Jane Curtin was Canadian also, but no: she was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

michaelr said, "...Bill Maher just got fired as host of ' Politically Incorrect' for being, well, politically incorrect..." Actually, the show itself has been canceled, which is to say that it will not be renewed for the next TV season which begins around September. No word as to when the last "Politically Incorrect" program will air... but I'm amazed that it has lasted this long on network TV, particularly after Maher's outspokenness on September 17th of last year. I found an article on www.calendarlive.com wherein Maher is quoted as saying, "I don't mind at all losing my job.... If it came down to a choice between losing my job and losing my soul, I'm glad I lost my job."


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 May 02 - 03:38 PM

Bill Murray was from SCTV wasn't he? And, Dan Ackroyd?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Mudlark
Date: 24 May 02 - 02:15 PM

I still remember with great fondness a sendup of Katherine Hepburn that Martin Short did years ago on SNL (also one of synchronized swimming)...wish I had a copy now... He has become, largely, a parody of himself now, but in the early days he was a very funny man. And I really miss John Candy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Rich_and_Dee
Date: 24 May 02 - 01:50 PM

Hi,

I may be wrong, but I believe of the SCTV group, only Martin Short went on to appear on Saturday Night Live. Most of the others (including Short) have appeared in countless films. More recently, Andrea Martin has a standing gig on Sesame Street, which she plays a much subdued Edith Prickley character.

Don't know if Dana Carvey is Canadian, but Mike Myers certainly is.

Rich


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 24 May 02 - 01:24 PM

Martin Short was on both. He was in the SNL crew with Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer (also of Simpson's fame).

I'm having some difficulty separating the SNL crew with the SCTV crew also. Were Rick Moranis and Andrea Martin ever on SNL, or were they just on SCTV? What about Dave Thomas?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 02 - 01:15 PM

Right! Was Martin Short on SNL or Second City?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 24 May 02 - 01:10 PM

Martin Short, John Candy, and Katharyn O'Hara are three that come immediately to mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 02 - 01:07 PM

Yes Carol, Lorne is Canadian. And if I'm not mistaken, is also the producer of Kids in the Hall. I know there have been other Canucks on SNL, but can't remember who now? Is Dana Carvey Candian?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 24 May 02 - 01:02 PM

Speaking of SNL, I believe the creator of that show, Lorne Michaels, is Canadian. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.) And of the early cast, I believe that Dan Ackroyd is Canadian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Peg
Date: 24 May 02 - 12:26 PM

The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Malcolme in the Middle, Futurama, that Sunday night FOX line-up is hard to beat for a night of down and dirty sarcasm and parody...excellent microcosmic commentary on contemporary society.

I miss The Vicar of Dibley which was on the Brit/PBS line-up for a while (with Ballykissangel, both of which are gone and Blackadder has been removed too). But they have brought Fawlty Towers into the mix. Not fond of May to September but I do love Waiting for God and One Foot in the Grave...also I watch As Time Goes By almost every night at either 7:30 or 12:30, if I am home!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 May 02 - 11:45 AM

Sorry, my system said this had been rejected!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 May 02 - 11:44 AM

Rick Fielding: "Filks"
either search for it in the Digtrad, or do a full Google search. This is (simple version follows) the Sci Fi version of folk music.
If you can't find enough, PM me.

IF ANYONE NEEDS MORE, I'LL PUT A "FILK" BOOK IN THE AUCTION!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 May 02 - 11:23 AM

"Irony isn't the only form of humor. I much prefer a wickedly sarcastic wit". Is it possible to be sarcastic without being ironic as well? I'd class sarcasm as a subdivision of irony.

Irony with people in the British Isles isn't primarily a form of humour, it's a habit of speech and thinking. It seems to me that when it comes to humour, for Engish anyway the quintessential form is nonsense and buffoonery - the Goons, Monty Python, Faulty Towers, Carry On etc etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Jeri
Date: 24 May 02 - 09:42 AM

Jed, I don't really think things have changed all that much. All In The Family had a boatload of political and moral humor, The Andy Griffith show had a lot of episodes of right vs wrong - not political but moral - just like Maggie Simpson but more subtle. Remember "Get Smart?" That seemed to be loaded with cold war political satire. I do agree it's more "in-your-face" these days and MUCH more apt to be one-sided. (Less "we all think this is funny no matter what we believe," and more "if you think the same way we do, you'll think this is funny.")


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 02 - 09:26 AM

Whoa there Jed. If you read through this entire thread, I think you'll see that people here appreciate many types of political and non-political humor. I think you are being a bit dense here. It is easy to take cheap shots at the politicians of the day, hence the popularity of lampooning politicians. Same is true of stupid male behaviors. Michael Moore didn't title his latest book the way he did for no reason.

As to your complaints about "politically correct" sexual humor, I just don't see that. Maybe you are one of those thin-skinned white guys so many people are always joking about, hmmm?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 May 02 - 09:20 AM

What's wrong with humor? Why do I have to get a spoonful of political messaging with every laugh? Even the British sitcoms are moving toward the political correct messaging with every episode. American sitcoms generally suck. I can't watch moments of them without being blasted by some as*hole's political message. Why do I need Maggie Simpson to teach me a lesson on homophobia? Why does the King of the Hill have to prove to me the flawed underpinnings of male behaviours? Why does Seinfeld have to be the one to point out the utter stupiduty of sexual constancy?

At least Al Bundy made me laugh for NO other political point. I hate these silly, trite American sitcoms. I know there are moments of humor that work, and some talented (and usually pretty) people working them, but I just can't stand watching them. Just like TV doesn't happen without Advertizers selling their stuff, Network TV shows don't happen without someone using them to push their political message.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 May 02 - 09:09 AM

Colin Mochrie is another Second City Canadian who has shared his wicked wit with the rest of us on Whose Line Is It, Anyway, first on BBC, then the American version with Drew Carey. He and the others are always slinging stuff back and forth about his nationality and I know what you mean about that look, Carol. he and Ryan Stiles have it down to a science.:-)

Maybe American humour is more direct because the early ones had to be sure King George III "got it" when they said they didn't want any more tea?!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 02 - 08:49 AM

I agree with you about the Canadians CarolC. Some of the best American comedians are Canadian. Kids in the Hall, many of the Chicago Second City and later SNL folks are Canadian, etc.

There are definitely culturally different ways of using irony, in no way limited to Jewish humor. In fact, I wouldn't typify Jewish humor as ironic at all, but that's the way I perceive it.

I've never thought that the British and Irish were better at irony than other cultural groups, but I will agree that they think they are!

But thankfully, irony isn't the only form of humor. I much prefer a wickedly sarcastic wit, and a good well-aimed parody, myself. Not abusive, Don Rickles stuff, though. Is that more "American" because it is more direct? Maybe. But Americans certainly aren't the only ones in the world who use that for humor.

Perhaps the British need to get out in the world more and experience more kinds of humor than their beloved "default" ironic mode?

Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: CarolC
Date: 23 May 02 - 09:01 PM

The impression I'm getting, in keeping with the idea that there are different kinds and levels of irony, is that irony found in television shows in the US tend to be more of the hard-hitting variety, the Simpsons being one example of this.

I think British TV shows have a fair share of this. I think Fawlty Towers would probably fit into this category, except when it's being downright sarcastic. I see quite a lot of more subtle and elegant irony as well. I think in its first season, Red Dwarf was packed with subtle irony along with the goofiness.

I'd put Canadian humor right up there with the best of them when it comes to subtle and elegant irony. I haven't seen it, but from what I've heard about it, it sounds to me like This Hour Has 22 Minutes would probably fit into this category.

Some of the most subtly ironic people I've ever seen on US television shows are Canadians. The funniest TV show I've ever seen was ABC World News Now (late night news) when Mark Mullen and Thalia Assuras were the co-anchors. Mark is American, but Thalia is Canadian. Just the looks those two used to give each other could send me rolling on the floor with laughter. Lots of incredibly subtle and ironic double takes and side glances. (I think there can be non verbal irony.)

A lot of the people who were involved in the production of ABC WNN used to be Canadian as well. I don't know if that's the case any more. It seems like most of the best people are gone now, and the show isn't very funny any more. I guess it was Disneyfied when Disney bought ABC.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 02 - 08:44 PM

Reading this reminded me of the old Bill Cosby gag about Brits:

"I say, I say" - and then he don't say nothin!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: DonD
Date: 23 May 02 - 08:07 PM

Am I creeping to thank Rick in his original post for introducing this New Yorker to those unusual Canadian terms: "drek" and "bupkis'?

Any discussion of humor, especially US vs British, reminds me of the tale of the staid Brit visiting the American Midwest for the first time , and seeing vast fields of corn stretching to the horizon, asked the farmer: "My, word, what do you do with all that corn?" The farmer laconically replied, "We eat what we can, and what we can't eat, we can."

Several days later the Brit saw the light and chuckled, and on his return home was eager to retell the comment to his chums:

"By George," he said," when I asked the farmer chappie what they did with all that corn, he said, 'We consume as much as we're able to, and what we're unable to consume, we tin.' Ripping, what?"

Americans, laugh now, Brits, post a *G* on Sunday.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 May 02 - 07:57 PM

Forgot about Larry Sanders....Damn that was funny! Same with Fernwood tonite.

The oft repeated crack about Americans lacking irony (around here) may well come from one 'Guest' type person, but a lot of it comes down to not seeing the expression of someone's face when they make a comment. I think McGrath's comment about Brit's ALREADY being in 'ironic mode' is probably pretty close to the truth,

Oops..got a student

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Irony on American TV? Quite a bit.
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 May 02 - 07:44 PM

Very much agree with McGrath's previous comment:American Jewish humour is based on complex levels of irony no Brit would ever aspire to. And my mention of one kind of irony being the habit of saying the opposite of what you mean was just that: a description of one kind of irony. Of course it's not a definition. Irony is obviously based on the juxtaposition of opposites, but in a huge variety of ways.


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