Brenda Gonzalez ASSIGNMENT #1
There seems not much to say about any genre besides what we clearly and distinctly realize and understand at face value, but upon delving deeper into the subject of genre theory there is a new world to think about when on the subject of any text. When you watch a movie, read a story, go to a play, or view a piece of art you expect to know what you’re going to get out of it unless you intimately, deliberately, and intricately get involved with the piece of work, in which case you may be surprised at what you find. Focusing on the genre of comedy what comes to mind first would be laughter, enjoyment, and feel good stories – but looking deeper into a text of that genre it’s possible to find other genres within it and a deeper perspective that the author was perhaps attempting to portray.
The film Pineapple Express, Dir. David Gordon Green. Prod. Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg.(DVD)
In the very first scene of the film the viewer is brought to an underground, classified government facility in 1937 and there’s an experiment being done on the effects of marijuana smoking. This scene has a serious vibe and appearance except for Private Miller who was the test subject and high indeed – he was extremely animated with obscene hand gestures and singing and dancing, but very funny. This scene seems more of a political satire than anything else and perhaps that was the underlying substrate the writers wanted us to hold on and attach to. Dale actually makes a few arguments in the movie about the legalization of marijuana and it’s apparent to see he sides with the idea, if you didn’t already get that. On the radio he says “If marijuana is not legal within the next 5 years I have no faith left in humanity period. Everyone likes smoking weed, they have for thousands of years, and they’re not going to stop anytime soon. You know? It makes everything better…” This definitely reflects ideological concerns of today’s youth. Economically as well as morally people feel that legalizing such a drug like marijuana would not harm our societies but only make them better.
There seems to have been a kind of comedic revolution in such films since The Forty Year Old Virgin. In “An Introduction to Genre Theory” The Problem of definition, by Daniel Chandler states “genres change over time; the conventions of each genre shift, new genres and sub-genres emerge and others are ‘discontinued’.” When thinking of classical American comedy what comes to mind are The Three Stooges, The Honey Mooners, Charlie Chaplin, and even Mel Brooks. But what do they all have in common besides the fact that they made everyone laugh? ‘Their demarcation is always historical, that is to say, it is correct only for a specific moment of history’ (Bordwell 1989,147). I don’t believe such a film would have been accepted in the 30’s or 40’s, but perhaps the 60’s.