I couldn’t help remembering George Kaufman’s famous definition of satire when reading Noah Forrest‘s post on the acclaimed political comedy, “In the Loop,” which opened last Friday in limited release. I’m a fan of all kinds of satire, but with the exception of “Dr. Strangelove,” “Network,” and a Robert Altman movie here and there, it’s rarely been a commercial success — though from the sound of it, I’m certainly hoping Armando Iannucci’s new film has decent luck.
Here’s a TV commercial for one movie that had almost no luck, Norman Lear’s “Cold Turkey.”
According to Wikipedia, the film was shelved for years by United Artists due to commercial worries. On the other hand, the film’s writer/producer/director wasn’t exactly intimidated and made a TV show that that touched a far hotter button than the cigarette industry. That did a little better, and lasted many Saturday nights.
In nature, the weaker members of a species are often ostracized so they cannot reproduce and dilute the gene pool. Lions, for example, do not keep an omega male around to be the butt of the joke for the rest of the pride, like we humans tend to do. And while that makes sense in a Darwinian way, our way is a lot more fun. It may be cruel, but imagine how boring life would be if we lived in a world without the human equivalent of a punching bag. Admit it: you all know someone who fills this role in your life, and you relish it. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.
The world of television has a near-inverse proportion of punching bags as there are in nature, and this makes sense; it is much easier – and fun – for the writing staff to designate one character as the target for random acts of misfortune and malice, though not necessarily in that order. If you ever wondered why every show features at least one character that the other characters would likely never associate with in real life, now you know.
So bring us your sad, your weak, your insecure; your clueless, your obnoxious, your desperate, your slow-witted, and we will celebrate them for their inherent loserness. Get your boxing gloves on as we present to you Bullz-Eye’s all time favorite TV punching bags.