Sunday, November 30, 2014

Workaholics and Broad City v. Friends

If you enjoy watching people in their twenties acting like typical young adults drinking, smoking and getting into all sorts of shenanigans, then Broad City and Workaholics are the shows for you!
Workaholics is about three college dropout guys, that are best friends and roommates that hold dead end jobs at a telemarketing company called TelAmeriCorp. They often spend their time both at work and at home pulling pranks on one another and putting together schemes that almost never work out the way they plan it. The main characters are Anders, Blake, and Adam. Anders is the most responsible and mature of the three but he usually goes along with any ideas the other two have up their sleeves. Blake is the probably the most sensible and laid back of the rest of the guys, known for his iconic curly crazy hair. Adam is the small but most outgoing of the three, he’s overly obnoxious and likes to think of himself as being a “juice head” and as a ladies’ man. At work they coincidentally share the same cubicle so the trio usually goof off a lot while at work but are quickly scolded by their foul mouthed boss, Allison. While away from work the three usually partake in some pot smoking and have a weird but close relationship with their frenzy pot dealer Karl.

 
In this video clip, the guys have decided to participate in a pizza eating competition to win pizza for a whole year, but the pizza they have to eat is extremely spicy so they get the “clever” idea to burn their tongues with heated spoons beforehand in order to not feel the burn of the pizza.
 
Broad City is a show about two young twenty something year old girls of Jewish descent living in New York City. The show depicts their everyday lives and their friendship. Abbi is the calmer, and passive one. She works as a janitor at a gym, where she constantly is pulling hairballs out of the drains, when she actually dreams of becoming an instructor and fantasizes about getting to teach her own class one day. She also enjoys drawing and had her work used for a dating website that then turned out to be a “whites only “dating service. Abbi lives in an apartment with her roommate, who never actually is there and her roommate’s boyfriend that doesn’t seem to ever leave and is constantly eating her food. Illana is Abbi’s eccentric best friend who works for a groupon type business, to where she is regularly late and spends her time napping as opposed to actually working. When not busy napping and  cleaning bathrooms the duo usually find themselves getting wrapped up in sticky situations but somehow make their way out of it and even enjoy taking hits of weed in between.
 
             In this clip we see a side by side comparison of the two as they go about their regular day.
 
Workaholics and Broad City although in different settings, the characters seem to have similarities. Illana and Adam’s characters are both careless, outgoing, confident and are always up for anything, while Abbi and Ander’s characters are somewhat more conservative and mature than their friends but always somehow end up getting sucked into their crazy schemes. If anything Broad City is the female, New York version of Workaholics. The characters in both shows are all stuck in dead end jobs but don’t really do anything to get themselves out. They instead spend their time getting high and getting themselves into awkward social situations. At the end of the episodes although conflicts are solved, there is no life lesson to be learned. The characters just go back to “normal” and the next episode they find themselves getting into a new situation.
 


 
Friends although also based in New York like Broad City, is somewhat opposite from Workaholics and Broad City. The characters in Friends work towards bettering themselves. Rachel for example goes from being a barista at the local coffee shop to working for a fashion designer and we see Joey struggle with his acting career. I feel people in their twenties can better relate to Workaholics and Broad City because the lives of the characters on the shows are somewhat more realistic and parallel to that of a typical twenty something year old.
 
 

 


New Girl and The Mindy Project: FOX's Tuesday Night of Quirky

In the past few years the FOX network has devoted Tuesday nights’ 8pm slots to back-to-back romantic-comedy programs. New Girl and The Mindy Project, premiering in 2011 and 2012 respectively, are both single-camera productions that revolve around a quirky, female lead trying to navigate life during their early thirties with the help of their often meddling but sincere friends.
New Girl and The Mindy Project are strikingly similar but also very different programs focused on successful thirty-something women surrounded by a support network of men. New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, is about eccentric, offbeat Jessica Day who after discovering her boyfriend in cheating on her moves into a loft with three bachelors, who only allowed her to live with them because they assumed her model best friend would come over and bring more models. The Mindy Project, created by and starring Mindy Khaling, revolves around Mindy Lahiri and the male dominated OB/GYN office where she works, Schulman and Associates, and where all of her issues are on display and mostly broadcasted by Mindy herself.

Similarities
The similarities of these two shows are typical of rom-coms, including the characters and the plot lines. Both shows feature womanizing bachelors—Schmidt in New Girl, while in The Mindy Project both Dr. Peter Prentice and Dr. Jeremy Reed contend for that position. Both shows also feature a female best friend that keeps these two “adorkable” characters grounded, offering advice when needed but also engaging in shenanigans when the situation calls for it. Ironically, Jess in New Girl is portrayed as a white women with an Indian best friend, Cece; while Mindy in The Mindy Project is played by an Indian woman with a white best friend, Gwen.


Additionally, these shows are also similar and follow rom-com trope of the lead female falling in love with her best guy friend. Although, to be fair these relationships are different in each show. Jess is slow to anger and reluctantly has disagreements with Nick but during their skirmishes they are both still supportive of each other and resolve their issues quickly. Mindy and Danny fight—A LOT. Mindy and Danny are constantly in one argument or another and they are not shy about sharing their true feelings or yelling. They can be mean and hateful to each other but they make up. In some ways their attitudes and disagreements, make their relationship seems more real and genuine than Jess and 
Nick’s.

Alternative Family
 According to Newcomb, “any group that is united by ties of love, of warmth, and of mutual concern can be termed as a family. (Newcomb 51)” The idea of the alternative family, especially in sitcoms, is discussed in Jillian Sandell’s essay “I’ll be There for You,” a close examination of the most well-known alternative family show, Friends. The model of the alternative family is a common theme in which the characters are not a biological family but rather create their own atmosphere of a family unit through the joint resolution of conflict and the support of one another. This reflects the idea that “the ‘families we choose’ can substitute for badly paid jobs and dysfunctional relationship….you can put up with anything, so long as you have your roommates or neighbors to come back to at the end of the day. (Sandell 148)”


 Under these terms New Girl and The Mindy Project both qualify as alternative families, however, the establishment of each family was formed at different paces. In the pilot episode of New Girl, it became clear that Jess and the guys were going to bond, become good friends, and deeply care for one another. This can be seen in the roommate’s reactions to Jess being mistreated. Knowing Jess had gone through a difficult breakup, the guys encouraged her to go on a date to find a rebound man. When Nick, Schmidt, and Coach realize she had been stood up they all abandon a party literally run to her aid, dressed as cowboys and Indians, and upon seeing her alone and crying they all start to sing a song from her favorite movie to cheer up before being kicked out of the restaurant. Although, Jess had only just moved in and met her roommates it was apparent with the first episode how the show would progress and prove “that in the face of heterosexual failure and familial dysfunction, all you need is good friends” (Sandell 142).

In the case of The Mindy Project the creation of an alternative family took longer to form. In the beginning episodes of The Mindy Project, Mindy felt threatened and the need to establish herself as a strong female amidst the other successful male doctors. Much of the first season revolves around the conflicts and arguments that arise between Mindy and Danny but is in episode three of season one that the audience truly begins to see the alternative family that is Schulman and Associates. The whole office goes to a club and Mindy initially avoids hanging out with the group. While Shawna is trying to discuss her feelings for Dr. Danny, Mindy is invited to the VIP section and she abandons Shawna in favor of the VIP. The young, rich sport agent she meets invites to an after party but as she leaves she notices her co-workers struggling to take care of a drunk Beth and she abandons plans to attend the party and decides to help her friends instead.




Work Place Comedy
The Mindy Project has the unique ability to function as both an alternative family comedy as well as a workplace comedy. Although very little actually work is seen within The Mindy Project, the show is centered not only around Mindy and her personal but also her work and colleagues’ lives because the two are so intertwined. Indeed, her work is very much a part of her life. Mindy’s former fling is colleague, Jeremy, her current love is fellow doctor, Danny, her friends and brother-like co-workers are Morgan and Peter, and the office’s arch enemies are the Deslaurier brothers in the floor above them. Mindy and her co-workers are a family, they have conflict, sort through it together, and resolve it. This type of alternative/workplace family allows for a broader spectrum of comedic situations by utilizing the drama often found in the workplace. This kind of alternative work family is also able to appeal to a wider audience because viewers can relate to the bonds form at work and the struggles that co-workers endure together. As stated by Michelle Hilmes, “The work family is a solution to the problems of the nuclear family, integrating work and love within a framework freely chosen and open to all…a utopian variation on the nuclear family more palatable to a new generation and to the quality audience” (Hilmes 217 ). 

Jess v. Mindy
While New Girl and The Mindy Project follow the rom-com trope and the model of the alternative family there are several differences between the two, mainly the central female characters. Jess is a beautiful, teacher who can be a little strange and bust into dance and song at any given moment—by herself or for the entertainment of others. Mindy is a devoted gynecologist and hopeless romantic who is constantly looking for love and going through Hell and heartbreak to find it, she’s also loud, inappropriate, and isn’t afraid to tell you what she thinks.


Jess is undoubtedly beautiful, she is slim and her prettiness is never called into question; the humor surrounded her is more concerned with her bizarre antics rather than her physical appearance. Mindy on the other hand is chubby; she’s very curvy and has a much darker skin tone than Jess. Physically, Jess and Mindy are complete opposites and these differences provide another kind of comedy for The Mindy Project.  A lot of the humor surrounding Mindy concerns her body, her own body image, and her undying love of food. Mindy is simultaneously relatable and inspirational to the female demographic. She shares the same physical traits as the majority of female viewers and also possesses personality characteristics that many aspire to have themselves. As Reddy stated, “the strongest forms of audience identification stem from characters, or relationship, that both represent aspects of our own lives and aspects of our lives we want to have (Reddy 7). Mindy is not shy about the imperfections of her body, she is extremely vocal and very confident about her body. Mindy is constantly telling everyone how hot she is and making remarks like “I don’t weight anything. I’m like a cloud.” Mindy is confident and at least presents herself as confident to others even when she may be a little unsure of herself, a trait many people, men and women, would like to possess.


Production
New Girl and The Mindy Project are both single-camera productions, meaning that instead of the traditional “three-headed monster” style, a single-camera with cinematic shots and angles are used to film the series. The single-camera mode has become much more common the last decade or so and allows for some creative uses during this style pf production. One way that The Mindy Project uses this style is through the narration by Mindy in the beginning of episodes. The opening scene may show the outside of a building, perhaps Mindy’s apartment or the OB/GYN office with an overlaying narration provided by Mindy, however, as the scene transitions the audience realizes that Mindy speaking is not a narration but rather her speaking in conversation. This clever way of narration/preparation of the moment is used frequently and has even featured narration provided by Danny.



The Mindy Project has a found a way to display the conversations and interactions of characters without them being in the same room. When two or more characters are engaged in a texting conversation small boxes displaying both the present and non-present character’s messages will appear on the screen so that the audience can simultaneously see the present character’s reaction and understand the context of it. An example of this can be seen in the episode “You Got Sext” from season 2. Nurse Morgan and Dr. Peter Prentice have found Mindy’s phone and taken it upon themselves to reply to Cliff’s message, knowing that Mindy has a crush on him. Hilarity ensues as the conversation between Cliff and Morgan and Peter becomes more sexual and all the while the text boxes appear to inform the audience of what is being said and the reactions of the characters, furthering the humor of the situation.


Conclusion
New Girl and The Mindy Project are very similar romantic-comedy series. Both are shot in the same style of production and seemingly follow the same plot line but FOX placed these two shows together, back-to-back for a reason, and it was a wise choice. Jess and Mindy are just similar enough to make their shows comparable and yet maintain just enough differences to make them unique. While New Girl and The Mindy Project appear to revolve around the main female characters, both navigating their way through single life in their thirties, the real story of both series is the support that Jess and Mindy receive from their alternative families, and the support they provide in return.


Hilmes, Michelle. “Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Cheers and the Meditation of Cultures,”              Wide Angle 12.2 (April 1990): 217.
Newcomb, Horace. "TV: The Most Popular Art." New York: Anchor Press (1974): 51-52.
Reddy, Maya S., "The Rainbow Effect: Exploring the Implications of Queer Representation in Film             and Television on Social Change" (2014). CMC Senior Theses. Paper 953.
          http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cmc_theses/953
Sandall, Jillian. "I'll Be There For You: Friends and the Fantasy of the Alternative Family.": 142-                 148. 

J.D.'s relationships in Scrubs

Scrubs is a show centered around the interactions of title character “J.D.” (John Dorian) and the relationships and various challenges he faces at Hospital “Sacred heart”. The story spans the course of eight seasons (we don’t talk about the Ninth). The story picks up with J.D. as an intern, then a resident, then a fully fledged doctor. It goes without saying that interpersonal relationships are important to the structure of any show, however in the instance of a show such as Scrubs the relationships are the center point of the show. Scrubs left it to shows like E.R. to deal with the crises that occur in a hospital. Scrubs gets its content from the interactions that occur between crises. The purpose of this post is to analyze the relationships and how they develop over the course of the show of Scrubs. Many of the relationships in Scrubs could be considered “Gendered”, personally I find them a pretty accurate representation of how a lot of communication breaks down. Perhaps that’s because I as a person always assume that people act independently of their gender, that it’s just as reasonable for a female to go through the same problems J.D. does. Or for a male to be as supportive as Elliot or Carla. The point being made is pretty simple, Scrubs has a lot of relationships that are a lot more complex than they first seem. However as a show built around the in between Crises interactions of the characters there are A L O T of relationships to cover. So to save time, and characters, I’m going to be breaking down the four relationships that are core to the show. These are

the J.D. - Turk relationship







The J.D. - Elliot Relationship









The J.D. - Dr. Cox relationship







The J.D. Carla Relationship.








Diving right in we’ll start with J.D. Turk



J.D. Turk is probably the most central to the plot. This can only be argued by the fact that J.D. and Elliot have an “on again, off again” romantic plotline going. However that plotline picks up maybe once mid way through season one and is resolved immediately in the next episode. This means that the focus on J.D.’s friends is their ability to support him. Christopher Turk, we found out, has been J.D.’s best friend since college. It can best be described as a bromance, but the song ‘guy love’ explains their relationship in so much greater detail.





While it’s unfair to pull something so iconic and well known as a staple for this comment it’s the best demonstration of their friendship. Their relationship borders on ‘homoerotic’ which in all seasons and which of them is being more ‘guy lovey’ is constantly bouncing back and forth. In the first season it’s Turk, in the next is J.D. They’re total bros. The audience gets a feel that Turk and J.D. have that once in a lifetime kind of friendship, that they’ll always have each others back. This is exemplified in the first season seen here.



J.D. - Elliot





J.D. and Elliots relationship is largely platonic. While there is a pursuit towards romance it’s largely glanced over in the course of the show. Elliot is ultimately portrayed as supportive towards J.D. it’s not long after their short lived romance that Elliot and J.D. make up and opt to remain friends. Their relationship is often times the “butt of the joke”. Rather coming up as part of the humor, or coming as part of their own individual story arcs Elliot and JD’s relationship can almost be summarized into about five minutes of clips.






It’s like a game of cat and mouse, one constantly chasing the other. The words: “The world was in your hand and you squeezed” are epitomized with J.D. and Elliot. They make decisions that end up hurting one another, they get angry and they support each other. The humor between them is often derived from the conflict they have about their dysfunctional relationship.






That being said, in the end they always seem to just...do it again. Culimating in one of the most memorable on and off again relationships.







J.D. - Cox



There is a gold mine of material for comedy here, where the relationships between J.D. and Turk and J.D. Elliot were supportive. Where the humor is drawn from the relationship of the character. The humor between J.D. and Dr. Cox is almost entirely at J.D.’s expense. Here’s eight minutes of Dr. Cox calling J.D. various girls names just for emphasis.

Eight minutes of only the girl names Dr. Cox has referred to J.D. as, but their relationship is far from antagonistic. Dr. Cox is the father figure in J.D.’s life, the person he wants to respect him. Cox is the mentor in the show and his “tough love” attitude is the source of exorbitant amounts of humor when it comes to J.D. He’s also the moral compass, and J.D.’s only real critic, he’s a source of a lot of realism and in his own way he does support J.D. his ‘speeches’ often give J.D. more direction than the advice of his own friends.



He’s the teacher, and he never stops teaching, in a way it’s easy to see what J.D. admired in Dr. Cox in scenes like the one above. But it’s scenes like these that we just can’t resist:








J.D. - Carla




J.D. and Carla’s relationship is, odd… It’s motherly at parts, but they’re also like siblings. Carla is comforting and enabling where Cox is...well Cox. Carla is in a lot of ways J.D.’s lifeline, we don’t see J.D.’s mother a lot and Carla is the most motherly character towards him. Affectionately nicknaming him “Bambi”, Carla guides him through his time as an intern and even more than that her role in J.D.’s personal life is the order brought to the chaos of his and Turks friendship. She truly is the moral compass, a little humor is drawn from her hispanic background…




but Carla also has some of the most sincere moments of the show. Her relationship with J.D. while not as humorous as the others definitely is the most flushed out.








There is one more relationship I wanted to talk about in conclusion to this project. That is the relationship that is most central to the plot.



The J.D. - J.D. Relationship.



The story of Scrubs is about J.D. and is told often through his own daydreams where he is shown to interact with himself. I said earlier that Cox is J.D.’s biggest critic and that is true, in the beginning J.D. is arrogant in a realistic sense and then grows to be full him and needs the others to bring him back down. Even so his day dreams and inner monologues reflect his view of himself and the world around him. He’s human, you see him go from an unconfident intern, to a confident doctor totally comfortable with everything about his identity. When he falters he picks himself up with the help of friends. He’s not a bad character, the moments where he’s unlikeable he made a human mistake that anyone could make and instantly works to earn back that trust. J.D.’s relationship with himself is turbulent and his self identity falters from on top of the world to a side kick in his own fantasies.






Still J.D. is the title character, he’s the one the story is about. Despite his ups and downs, and the run time of the story. His part in scrubs ends on what definitely could be considered the most realistic high note.

Office US and Office UK Comparison: Byron Orton

Barney Miller vs. Brooklyn Nine Nine

 

Barney Miller is a show about a police department featuring racially diverse cops within its headquarters of the 12th precinct. The racially diverse police force includes an African-American officer, an Asian officer, an Puerto Rican officer, one Jewish officer, one Polish officer and their Caucasian police chief. Each officer has their own individual personalities but constantly make jokes about their stereotypical backgrounds. The show was set in the 1970s after the Civil Rights Movement and is showing a glimpse into an integrated police force. Each character is represented with the ethnic stereotype presented within the era. Like the grumpy Jew, the smart Asian, the hard working Hispanic, etc. This show can be seen as transgressive in pushing the boundaries within regards to race and ethnicity.

 

Like Barney Miller, Brooklyn Nine Nine is a show about a racially diverse police squad at their headquarters, the 99th precinct. However, these officers break their stereotypes and reinforce other perceptions about them through various actions. The diverse police squad include three Caucasian officers, two Hispanic officers, an African-American officer and their African-American police captain. The show is set today, where racial divisions are less of an issue than maturity, gender and sexual orientation. Each character's stereotype is displayed and mocked, an example is the police captain mocking the main character's immaturity. This is also transgressive on the boundaries it pushes with issues of personalities and personal choices.



Barney Miller's main character is the Caucasian police captain, Barney Miller, and the troubles he has in his daily life struggling between his crew and his family in their crime-filled neighborhood. Meanwhile, the African-American police captain, Raymond "Ray" Holt of Brooklyn Nine Nine is not the main character of his narrative, but the most mature out of his fellow colleagues. Like Barney, he deals with the daily struggles of his police crew. However, since he is gay he does not have a family. Both men are constantly saving their crew from the daily complications with criminals. Barney is the stereotypical cop of his times, an older white man whom is stern, stubborn and straight, while Ray is the stereotypical "closeted homosexual" cop, maintaining a manly attitude while hiding his gayness until questioned about it. Both men struggle with their own problems. For Barney Miller, its his worried wife and clumsy crew. For Ray Holt, its primarily one of his crew, the main character of Brooklyn Nine Nine, Jacob Peralta.



The intro of Barney Miller tells of the integrated police force and their personalities. Most of the crew are seen as positive with the exception of the Jewish officer, whom is grumpy. The intro of season one of Brooklyn Nine Nine sets up the characters for the rest of the series, and their distinct attitudes. The officers of Brooklyn Nine Nine seem happy, though stressed with their jobs. Both shows setup the characteristics of their respective crews and the overall theme of the shows. However they contradict by featuring the stereotypes in Barney Miller and just a glimpse of the characters in Brooklyn Nine Nine.

 
 
All of the characters in both shows fit into their respective stereotypes while also breaking away from it. Each character in Barney Miller is sensitive when it comes to their ethnicity but is more focused on their work, helping reinforce the idea that integration is a good thing. Even though there are racial divisions in the precinct of Brooklyn Nine Nine, the show focuses on individual stereotypes that have nothing to do with ethnicity and more to do with personal backgrounds from nationality to sexual orientation to immaturity. The stereotypes do not describe the characters fully as they all have their own personalities in both series. There are multiple other characters that come along with their own perspectives but do not really challenge the either shows look into how the Civil Rights changed the American system or the comic stereotypes presented today. The shows represent two different sides of discrimination in American society.
 

 
 
The shows additionally take different stances on their main leads. In Barney Miller, the clear lead role is Barney Miller himself and his leadership over the precinct. In Brooklyn Nine Nine, it isn't so easy to spot the lead role but the closest is Jake Peralta and his crazy antics and battles against the criminals surrounding his area and the competition with his fellow coworkers. Barney is more stern, strict and wiser than the immature Peralta and uses his wit to outsmart criminals that mess with his district, although he can seem to outwit his wife on key issues of their safety and his need to be the police captain. Jake is younger, stealthier and more fast paced than Barney and leads his crew through his primal detective skills on picking up hints, although he misses key clues, like his captain being gay.
 
Also, although both shows are comedies they relate in different ways. Barney Miller takes a more realistic approach to working in the police force and adds drama and stupidity to its members as well as family ties to make itself funnier. On the other hand, Brooklyn Nine Nine, takes the aspect of general silliness and applies it to the police force, through making a family unit of friends. This allows for Barney Miller to fit more into the "dramedy" (mixing drama and comedy) through its serious moods set throughout certain episodes, while also being funny throughout other parts of the episodes. Frequently, Barney's crew is outwitted in his department and everyone's lives are risked until Barney controls the situation. In Holt's department, no lives are threatened and each officer playfully pulls pranks on the other members to win bets.
 
 
 
The settings affect the shows' narratives similarly because it is where most, if not all situations will occur. The setting of Barney's police squad shows that the officers have a comfortable position and are fine in their daily lives. Its mise-en-scene help identify the era it is in and a few policemen stereotypes. The office is surrounded by 1980s products and each officer has a coffee mug and donuts, a reference to the policeman's favorite things. The setting of Holt's police squad is more closed-in and feels more like cubicles. Its mise-en-scene is more modern, with each character getting their own products, in which corresponds to each characters personality. Barney Miller also takes advantage of placing the domestic sitcom into the overall story to greater develop the character of its lead. However, Brooklyn Nine Nine takes place at actual crime scenes, the streets and small stores.
 
 

The two shows are so different its like comparing The Mary Tyler Moore Show to The Office. Even the shooting style is similar, Barney Miller uses the three-headed monster like The Mary Tyler Moore Show while Brooklyn Nine Nine uses single camera like The Office. Barney Miller like The Mary Tyler Moore is centered on the office and home life of the character, and obviously done in the 1970s-1980s period. Contrastingly, Barney Miller has an actual family when at his home, Mary Tyler Moore is surrounded by friends that are her family.  Brooklyn Nine Nine like The Office is all shot in the office and done in the modern style of graphics. Both also kinda of are done in the documentary style of television-making. Additionally, both are focused on a friendship within the workforce, however, The Office is more about surviving your coworkers while Brooklyn Nine Nine is about enjoy your friends as if they are your family. Neither Barney Miller nor Brooklyn Nine Nine  really focuses on the issue of the nuclear family, but Barney Miller features the issues of marriage and the domestic environment, while Brooklyn Nine Nine are all singles without real family-oriented responsibilities.

Overall, each show fits into its perspective time period while maintaining to change the definitions of stereotypes throughout. Lastly, both shows maintain a positive image of the police force and its diverse aspects on issues of race, sexuality, etc. while being in retrospect completely different in the stereotypes portrayed and the level of seriousness. Barney Miller is in essence done in a regular, more realistic while Brooklyn Nine Nine is over-the-top and silly.
 


First World News With First World Problems


  1st World News With 1st World Problems 


Renee Flores
Jeremiah Marshall
Adrian Lopez
Amanda Jackson
Hannah Chipman
Timothy Rivera
 Cynthia De La Rosa
Trey Seal
  Richard Richter
 Taylor McKenna
  Katie Bykowski

A look at Adam Sandler: Then and Now.

Stand up comedians are a dime a dozen, but good stand up comedians have a way of finding their way into the movie industry and go on to have very successful careers. To name a few: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Tracey Morgan, Chris Rock, and most recently Kevin Hart. But out of all of these, none has done quite as well for themselves as Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler has in a sense built an empire, and has done so by staying true to himself and never really losing sight of how he started out and what made him a success in the beginning.
Adam Sandler came to fame the hard way. He started at the bottom doing nightclub gigs and performing his stand up routines anywhere that he could get in. Here's a clip from his early years on the stage. In it you will find the essence of Adam Sandler. This short clip has everything in it that his movies would draw from in some shape or form all the way up until now, and the movies that he will do.
What is a good stand up comedian without talking about his failed relationships, or his failed attempts to pick up a hot babe. Yet Adam Sandler took this to a whole different level. He used all the things that he had going against him and played off of them to get the hot girl in his movies. In the clip above from his early stand up days he cracked jokes about the snot coming from his nose while trying to talk to the babe on the beach. In a sense he had to pay his dues at the stand up level by never getting the hot girl he was telling the audience about. But when he arrived and started making movies he took all of his "shmuck" qualities that in times past kept him from getting the girl to embracing them and winning over the girl. Take for instance this clip from one of his most recent successes Just Go With It. 

Adam Sandler doesn't just stick to his awkwardness around women from his early stand up days to his movies. He has kept and perfected much more than that, namely his whole persona. As you get ready to watch this next clip pay close attention to Adam Sandler's speech, more importantly how he's talking not necessarily what he's saying. Also watch his movements and his interaction with the microphone and the microphone stand, and lastly how he interacts with the crowd and how he reacts to their laughter.

What I want you to see from this clip is his somewhat erratic speech, and how he kind of stumbles over what he's trying to say without clouding what he is trying to say. He presents himself to the audience as an awkward person who is completely unsure of himself and the stories he shares only backs up the audiences perception of him. Adam Sandler's body movements also reinforce his awkwardness. He fumbles with the mic stand, and the mic itself appearing to not be exactly sure of what to do the mic his arms or the mic stand. His perceived awkwardness is what has made him such a hit with his fans all around the world.
People, especially guys, know how hard it is to talk to a "hot" girl. In today's society men are still expected to make the first move and approach the girl. This is a daunting task and quite frankly a nerve-racking experience as any guy can attest to. Yet Adam Sandler makes us believe that if someone as unattractive, awkward and unsure of themselves as he is can get the girl, then anyone can go out and get the girl.

The most interesting movie that Adam Sandler made, but also in my opinion the worst movie he's made, was Funny People. In it Adam Sandler plays a guy based on his real life, just without a family and he has cancer. When he finds out that he is very possibly going to die soon he tries to go back to doing standup comedy with the help of Seth Rogan who he meets along the way. Like I said the movie, out of all of Adam Sandler's stuff possibly sheds the most light on him, but went away from everything he had embodied in his other films up that point. That's why it's interesting, while it seems to be about his real life, the things that have come to be expected of Adam Sandler, the things we love and enjoy about him, were not there. His awkwardness and un-sureness is gone and replaced by a cocky bravado and someone who seems completely sure of themselves and not in a good way, and definitely not in a funny way.



Funny People is just one of a few Adam Sandler movies that have not done so well in the past ten years at the box office. While Adam Sandler's box office numbers have been down in America according to Business Insider in recent years, overseas they have doing quite well. Business Insider isn't the only one who took notice of these numbers. Netflix recently signed Adam Sandler to a four movie deal where the movies wouldn't come out in theaters, but would just go straight to Netflix.

While speculation over the genre of these four movies isn't too varied, what this deal means and the impact it could have on the future is vast. The four movies are expected to be much in line with Adam Sandler's movies up to date. A family friendly kind of comedy that had made him famous worldwide. Why change success? Adam Sandler has made the same type of movie his whole career in which he plays the immature lead character that winds up with the "hot" girl in the end, after funny and awkward situations unfold along the way.

Speculations on the ramifications of this deal range from whether the movies will flop or be a blockbuster, to as one article points this deal spells out the doom of movie theaters. Either way, whatever may happen, Adam Sandler will continue to build his empire and entertain us for as long as he can.

Adam Sandler built an empire, in the form of a production company (Happy Madison Productions), which has helped produce over two hundred films since 1999. By Adam Sandler having his own production company, it has allowed him to stay true to himself since becoming famous.
He has tried his hand at drama films and serious acting as in his in Click which would have to be my favorite Adam Sandler movie. In it, he receives a remote that can stop and fast fast-forward time and take him to different times in his life. At the end of it he realizes that it's the boring moments and the moments we take for granted that mean the most when our time runs out.

Adam Sandler has delighted us for years. He made us laugh; made us cry, made us cringe, and made us sigh, all while staying true to himself. Adam Sandler has made us believe that anything is attainable, and that it can be obtained while having fun and not changing who one is. The greatest lesson that we can learn in comparing Adam Sandler's early stand up comedy to his latest movies is that he has kept the same things that made him funny and successful as a standup comedian to being a big time movie star. Fame doesn't have to change you. And in the words of the man himself: "My name is Adam Sandler. I'm not particularly talented. I'm not particularly good-looking. And yet I'm a multi-millionaire."

How Louis CK's Daughters Influence "Louie"


As a divorced father of two, Louie follows around everyone's favorite comedian, Louis CK, as he survives as a single dad in New York City.  Louis, serving as writer, director, and star of the show has continued to do much of the work and funding himself to preserve the show's autonomy, which has built a foundation for him to create the show in a way that reflects much of his real-life and stand-up routine, making it anything but your average domestic comedy.  Just finishing its fourth season, the unique format and obscure situations in the show, along with its distinctive melancholy humor are enough to keep audiences always begging for the next episode. 
The things that seem to keep the comedian grounded in life are stand-up comedy, his group of friends, and most importantly his children.  As he makes his living as a stand-up comic, it is easy to see that he finds the inspiration for much of his material from his daughters.  Even though Louis CK talks about how shitty his kids are on stage, how nothing they say is ever important, and sometimes even flips them off when they turn their backs, it's easy to see that his children are glue holding his life together.  In the show, Louis is shameless, immature, awkward and solemn, creating a father figure that many can relate to, but one that has yet to have been seen on television.


In this scene, the look of devastation in Louis' eyes is obvious as he hears those hurtful words come out of his daughter's mouth.  This situation, which most  parents can relate to at one time or another, at first evokes sympathy from us, then makes us laugh even harder with his unexpected and immature response, creating a unique comedic situation in the episode. 
Despite the crass way that he deals with these occurrences, there is no doubt that his daughters are completely necessary to the comic's life and the development of the show.  The girls, Lilly and Jane, are the center of his life.  He revolves completely around them, as he walks them to school every morning, cooks for them every night, and tries to teach them everything he can, despite their frequent reluctance.


His depressive, bemused character in combination with his two happy-go-lucky young daughters and their constant antics creates many uniquely entertaining situations.  The way that he deals with them is incongruent with how many other parents in American culture would deal with similar issues.  While how he behaves in response to them is seemingly inappropriate and sometimes bizarre, it is obvious that he has deep love and care for them.  Despite his exhausted demeanor when he is around them, when they are gone, he seems nothing short of completely lost and clueless.
In one episode after Louis leaves the girls with their mother for a few days, he turns into an aimless wreck.  This set-up creates one of the most hilariously disastrous and stressful situations Louis finds himself in during the entire season, as he goes through great lengths just to fix a doll he bought for one of his daughters.

In the episode, after having an early Christmas with his daughters, Louis notices that one of the many presents that he gifted to his oldest daughter, a doll, has loose eyes.  Even though it went unnoticed by Jane, after the girls left to their mother's house for the remainder of the holidays, one of the first things he does is spend his alone time trying to perfect the doll for Jane.


This entire episode in season three shows just how much of a role his daughters partake in his life.  A few minutes after they depart, he is still doing things for them.  It seems he hardly feels a sense of relief to have a moment to himself even, and doesn't know what else to do besides something for them.  A few minutes forward in the episode, he has a phone conversation with his sister in which he voices his depression and states how he feels in his daughters' absence.

Whether he appears amused by them or not, it is an obvious fact that in the show, the daughters have shaping parts in every single episode.  Even in their absence, they still have quite an impact on Louie's life and the direction of the show.

In a prior episode in season three, after he leaves his daughters at their mother's for the weekend, he calls one of his friends, Pamela.  During the call, when Louie says that he just left his daughters off for the weekend in solemn tone, she contrasts it with excitement.  After a few moments, she seems to convince him that he has a weekend all to himself and that he needs to take complete advantage of it.

WIth a glint of excitement, he seems ready to do exactly what she said after hanging up the phone.  Though within a few minutes after that, not to our surprise, he stops off at a convenient store and purchases pints of ice cream, leaving the next scene to flash to him laying in the middle of a graveyard of Ben & Jerry's pints and New-York-style pizza boxes.

Without Lilly & Jane around, Louis is a total mess.  When they're there, he cooks every night, abstains from drugs and alcohol and manages to keep himself fairly put together.  When they're not, we usually get to witness him in less than ideal and even uncomfortable situations.  Without his daughters, Louis always seems to get himself in trouble.

While many other parents would give anything to have a few minutes apart from their children, Louis' tight dependence on these two young girls makes us view him differently than his appearance would lead us to believe.



As the show is somewhat parallel to his own life outside of show business, the role as an awkward single dad definitely seems to come naturally to him.  Though Lilly and Jane on the sitcom are not his actual daughters, the family bond between them always seems real and believable.  Lilly is constantly being silly, senseless and even annoying, as most other six-year-old girls behave, and Louis' constant, fruitless attempts to understand her and teach her are quite entertaining throughout the seasons.

There is constant tension between Louis and Lilly.  As she is a loud and audacious little girl, she always keeps Louie on his toes.  In an episode in season four, as Louie is escorting Lilly and Jane across town on the subway, he enforces certain rules for his daughters to follow while transferring through the subways in the hectic city.

Easy enough to foresee, Lilly pushes her luck and creates yet another stressful situation for her father.  As the trio is waiting for the right subway to pull up for boarding, she jumps on the wrong one seconds before the rapidly closing doors.  The intensity is felt as Louis and Jane sprint through the subway to fetch the little one in the dangerous city of New York.  Louis has no problem voicing his deep frustrations with Lilly upon finally finding her.

Without Lilly to create all of these frustrating situations for Louis and constantly pushing his buttons, the hilariously awkward responses that create the unique brand of humor in the show would be far less frequent.  Lilly's adorable and perceivable innocence in combination with Louis' burly, intense and seemingly out-of-line responses always give the situations a heightened level of humor.

The way Louis is so affected by a young, silly child makes us laugh at his insignificant attempts to change her.  Louie's immaturity in response to his Lilly is one of the constant and distinctive comedic elements of the show.

Being the father of two young girls makes people view him differently and accept him more.  An example can be seen in the episode where he travels to Afghanistan to perform comedy for the soldiers stationed there.  As Louis is eating lunch with the other performers, a cheerleader who was immediately turned off by his attempts to converse with her, became much more engaged and attentive to him after he mentioned his daughters.

Later on in the same episode, yet another instance of Lilly's mischief occurs, when unbeknownst to him, she actually snuck a few baby ducks into her father's travel bag for good luck.  The other characters in the episode, who would usually see Louis in a not-so-positive light because of his attitude and persona, find him humorous and likable after spotting the ducks and hearing the story about how his daughter snuck them into his bag.  Even the Afghani combatants change their attitudes from hostile to peaceful with the Americans upon hearing the story.



While Louis has been in comedy for decades, his career has just recently began to skyrocket, and it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that his daughters had a lot to with this success.  Since their introduction, his career has only continued to grow and expand as audiences love to watch a single, socially-awkward, middle-aged stand-up comic get by in New York City with two young daughters.

As the daughters promote many of the story lines of the show, create much of the conflict, and add to the awkward and despairing character of Louis, the show could not go on without their roles.  Their roles have opened many doors for the show, and have had a lot to do with making the show what it is today.  Audiences can relate, sympathize and laugh at situations in this show in a way that is distinct from many other sitcoms and domestic comedies. 

By watching even a single episode of the sitcom or hearing a few minutes of one of his recent stand-up routines, it wouldn't take long before he said something relating to his daughters or his role as a father.  Louie's daughters are about as necessary to his current television personality as can be.  WIthout them, his life and flourishing career would not be nearly the same.    


It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - You Have to Play the Game to Get an Award



 Now entering its tenth season, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is one of the few modern live action sitcoms that have been able to sustain a run of at least nine seasons. A few of the other shows: Seinfeld, Friends, Frazier, and The Office. However, despite its noted longevity, It’s Always Sunny rarely, if ever, gets mentioned in the same breath as any of the shows mentioned above. While these other shows have all received national acclaim and a host of Emmy’s between them, Sunny has yet to even be nominated for television’s most prestigious award (save for once, for “stunt coordination”). From the outside looking in, all of these shows have a fairly similar set-up, they are each alternative domestic comedies in which friends make up a family. Does Always Sunny deserve an Emmy? Its rapid fire, back and forth dialogue, seen only by TV critics' most revered Seinfeld, may suggest so, but the area in which they thrive the most may, ultimately, keep that goal out of reach. The gang, as the characters refer to themselves, don’t have any famous comedian friends, they don’t live in New York City, they’re five bar owning, scheming, narcissistic, drunks living in the much less glamorous Philadelphia. They’re not just an alternative domestic/family comedy, no, Sunny brings a whole new element to the domestic comedy, one not seen in, or at least not the calling card of,  the previously mentioned primetime powerhouses: that of the carnivalesque. In the show’s season nine episode, “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award,” the gang addresses their Emmy drought in what is, in my humble opinion, Sunny at their very best and really, one of the most perfect examples of self-referential comedy in television history. Taking a look at this episode, I’ll explain how this oft-irreverent, rarely acknowledged, but nonetheless laugh out loud, hilarious little show has carved its name in to television history as a genuinely original, carnivalesque, domestic comedy.


 
      The cast of Always Sunny In Philadelphia meets Newcomb’s credentials for a domestic comedy as opposed to a situational comedy. They rely on one another, they learn things through problems that they face together, and they work together to establish the narrative and driving forces of the comedy, instead of being mere crutches for the star performer (a la Lucy). As the above picture would suggest, they also certainly think of themselves as family, though they may just be TV’s most dysfunctional. Frank, the closest thing to a father figure, raised Dennis and Dee Reynolds - he was thought to be their biological father through earlier seasons, but it was later discovered that their mom cheated on him and never told – and provides for the gang. He lives with, and pays Charlie’s rent, gets the gang out of financial jams, and makes their more grandiose schemes possible. Charlie, Mac, and Dennis make up the children, not a far stretch at all considering all of their crazy antics and child-like arguments. Finally there’s Dee, I wouldn’t exactly call her the motherly type, but she is certainly more level headed (though not by much) then the rest of the gang, and often tries to point out, to no avail, how ridiculous the guys ideas are.
 Moving on, it’s also stressed that the setting plays a huge role in the domestic comedy, and this is one of the most obvious aspects of the show that set it apart from others like it. Sunny is made to look much more real, more down to earth, than many of the other, more popular shows that received more attention. The settings, in and outside of Paddy’s Pub, are often dark, dirty, and not at all made up to look nicer, or, in other words, more suitable for the audience viewing at home. Just take a quick look at some of the most frequented settings of Friends and Seinfeld in comparison to Always Sunny:

     Paddy’s Pub, where the gang starts almost every episode, is a far cry from two of the most popular hangouts in television history in Central Perk and Monk’s CafĂ©. It’s no Manhattan restaurant, frequented by comedians or Joltin' Joe, nor is it some hip coffee shop, it’s a bar, in Philadelphia of all places, and as such, drives this carnivalesque narrative. Now, I won’t pretend to say that Seinfeld or Friends never crossed boundaries or toed the line, but their setting, both in the world of the show and in their home on television (NBC) could never allow for the sort of off the wall, half-baked, and booze-fueled plans hatched by the degenerates inhabiting Paddy’s Pub. Being on NBC, and striving for a product with mass appeal, these shows just couldn’t quite go where Always Sunny goes, they were constrained, held down by “official” or “legitimate” culture as Bahktin would have it. Paddy’s Pub and a channel (FX and FXX) concerned more with appeasing a younger demographic than with mass appeal,  allow Always Sunny’s cast a place more akin to that of the “marketplace” culture, a place where it’s totally fine for grown men, and women, to drink all day, ignore responsibilities, and eat cat food and huff glue.
 
      In ,“The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award,” the gang finally seems to have realized, or at the very least, come to terms with the fact that their brand of comedy, while up there with the best of them, most likely will never result in that ever elusive Emmy nod…and they’re okay with that. The episode opens, much like any other, with the gang at Paddy’s. While reading the paper, Frank points out the annual “Best Bar” award is soon to be given out. This short promo gives a bit of an idea as to what goes on throughout the episode:

    

      As seen above, the gang goes to visit one of the people in charge of voting for the “best bar”. Here, after trying to bribe him, they ask why they haven’t received an application for “best bar” in the past, to which the man replies, “If I recall, we’ve sent them to you before, but they’re always returned covered in urine, fecal matter, and...racial slurs.” To which the gang replies, “That’s just all in good fun man,” going on to say, “that’s just sort of our humor, you just don’t get it…you’ll get it!”
     This is just the first of many instances in the episode in which the gang is able to poke fun at their approach. They know what they’re doing is funny, but at the same time, they realize that this same, sort of, “carnivalesque”, approach is the very reason they haven’t gotten nominated. After this, they set out to take a visit to the reigning “best bar” in Philadelphia. This bar, a not so subtle jab at today’s more popular alternative family, domestic comedies like The Big Bang Theory, is flooded with bright lighting, bright colors, blaring Katie Perry’s “Call Me Maybe”, and complete with a “drinking bell”, that tells the patrons when to drink. Here, the gang is dumbfounded at the packed house and the staff of the bar, which also includes a “will they or won’t they” couple in two of the bartenders. However, after a few drinks the gang decides they actually like it here and “want to come back next week”.


      Following Frank’s advice that you must “play the game to get an award,” Dennis decides to try and “soften up their image” for when the judges come to Paddy’s Pub. They blast Dee with lighting (in order to make her more attractive), put on their brightest clothes, and try to replicate what they saw at the previous bar. Hilarity ensues as their plan to “put on airs” for the judges comes crashing back down to the same vile, inappropriate, “marketplace” culture that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia always was, and always will be. One of the best moments of the episode comes when Dennis trusts Mac to deliver a joke they heard at the “best bar”, stating that one of their drinks is “better than an orgasm,”. Here’s Mac’s attempt…


      The clip shown above is absolute classic It’s Always Sunny. The video edits out Dennis’s desperate attempt to try and save the situation, explaining how the joke was supposed to be told while telling Mac, “An orgasm is light, what you said just took it too far,”. Here again, Dennis acknowledges that where other shows may be concerned about overstepping certain boundaries, or coming off as offensive to viewers or critics, Sunny won’t compromise it’s comedic integrity and try to sugarcoat something, in order to make it lighter or less offensive. Earlier in the episode, Charlie worked on writing the “best song”, one that he delivered in a Randy Newman like voice, an almost Cheers-esque theme song for the show. The gang ended up locking him in the basement, as not to ruin their efforts, only to have him emerge from the floor underneath a pool table in the middle of the charade. Charlie emerges, high as a kite, face covered in spray paint, as he approaches his keyboard. The gang watches, thinking he may actually save the night with the song he performed earlier, instead, he delivers what I believe to be the crown jewel of Always Sunny. A most fitting Paddy’s Pub salute to all those who believe the show is nothing more than crude humor, a bunch of people yelling over one another, unfitting and underserving of praise. The clip shown is the only one on Youtube and is audio only, but it does the job...

 
     The charade comes crashing down, culminating in Charlie spitting at the critics watching him, appalled, as Dennis, Dee, Mac, and Frank follow suit, chasing them out of Paddy's Pub. A perfect ending to a perfect episode. Earlier in the semester, I wrote that Broad City channeled the essence of the carnivalesque in order to comment on women's portrayed rolls in television. In the same way, Always Sunny uses their glue- huffing, beer- drinking, foulmouthed, "marketplace" atmosphere in this episode in order to criticize what should or should not be considered good, wholesome, "award-worthy" television. After all, as they say in the episode, "I can't imagine anyone doing what we're  doing better, it's just serving up drinks (laughs)," and I don't necessarily think anyone does. However, ultimately, the point is that this episode paints a perfect portrait of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia as a carnivalesque domestic comedy, and the casts' loving embrace of what they've come to be. As it comes to an end and the judges leave the gang to their lovable, filthy home, everything is restored and the lesson learned: don't change who you are to impress anyone. The gang knows they're funny, heck they've been on for ten years, they must be doing something right! They don't have the Emmy's, or even the nominations, but the gang did it their way, and, when it's all over and done with, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia deserves to be mentioned alongside those most revered of the nine season television comedies.