Comedy: What Works? (Pt. 2)

Anyone remember a show about a coffee-loving mother and daughter with a comedic delivery that rivals Katharine Hepburn? I know it’s hard, but if you can stretch your mind back seven years you may recall Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) living in the quirky small town of Stars Hollow including other oddball characters like Miss Patty (Liz Torres) with her dancing studio and Kirk Gleason (Sean Gunn), the man of a 15,000 jobs. If their last name didn’t tip you off, I’m referring to Amy Sherman-Palladino’s magnum opus, Gilmore Girls, a series that ran seven seasons and gave me an hour of laughter every day after school. To tie this blog back to my previous one, I will reiterate Tina Fey’s quote, “I know for sure you can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at.”

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Gilmore Girls is far and away one of the most intelligent and witty shows I have ever come across. The brilliance behind its comedy is the appropriate references to pop culture spanning across the last two centuries (and sometimes even further, depending on Rory’s current reading list). Some are deterred from watching the show based on the feminine title while others are put off by the fast-paced delivery of the lines. My advice to those who resist for masculine purposes is to get over it (my dad enjoys it), and the second reason is valid but perhaps you can appreciate the actors and actresses squeezing in 75-80 page scripts versus the usual 45-50 pages for an hour long television show! The pace of the show is meant to challenge your ability to catch the joke and leave you with the satisfaction of deciphering the reference — if not, well, maybe you’ll comprehend the next time around. I personally love it for this reason; as my pop culture database grows, I find new things to bust a gut over in the series.

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Another reason why Gilmore Girls will always be my favourite show is the variety of characters and the comedy attached to them. Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop), Paris Geller (Liza Weil), and Michel Gerard (Yanic Truesdale) possess the cynical, oftentimes dry and dark humour to counter the whimsical and dramatic fantasy of small town living and the American Dream. For the music lovers, Lane Kim (Keiko Agena) and Zack (Todd Lowe) are equipped with obscure references to just about every band one could dream up; for the movie loves, Lorelai and Rory have seen them all; and for fans of physical comedy Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy, before she was typecast) is a clumsy chef whose animated gestures and jokes send her to the hospital a couple of times.

In my opinion, Gilmore Girls works because there is something for everyone. Even if the  comedy flies over your head, the plotline will give audiences something to care about — the characters are just as endearing and well, I’ll be damned if Luke and Lorelai don’t make a person feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. But enough of my yammering! If you want to hear professional reasons why comedy works from the creators of Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids, you should tune into one of my favourite shows on Panhandle PBS, On Story, this Sunday at 5:30!

 

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