Monday, September 1, 2014

Comparing Common Cartoons and Film Clips

When comparing clips from Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley-Do-Right, and other silent film clips, there are certain commonalities that can be seen in the way that these clips provide entertainment. Not only are their similarities in the plotlines--a girl being tied up on train tracks in both the silent film clip and in Dudley-Do-Right--but I have devised 4 pivotal similarities that exist in each story.

  1. There is a hero, a villain, and an objective/goal in each story. A damsel in distress or a female love interest are also common characters.
  2. Exaggerated behavior on both the "good" and "bad" sides provides comic relief.
  3. The hero always manages to get out of the scrape they’re in. The hero also usually takes a long time to complete a relatively simple task.
  4. Each story has a happy ending… Or does it?
Rocky and Bullwinkle are clearly the heroes in their story, while Boris is the villain. Likewise in the case of Dudley-Do-Right and Snidley Whiplash, as well as the Sheik vs. Captain Jack. Exaggerated behavior as well as physical characteristics of each character are clear; for example, the “hero” in the silent film shares Dudley-Do-Right’s handlebar mustache. The hero in each story also manages to escape from a pretty sticky situation relatively unscathed. However, I also find it interesting that in each of these stories, the idea of a happy vs. unhappy ending is examined. This is addressed explicitly in the case of Rocky and Bullwinkle. In the other stories, it is more implicit. Dudley doesn’t end up catching Snidley in the end of his story, and in “The Sheik’s Wife”, the narrator points out the moral of the story at the end as being to never flirt with a sheik’s wife, or you’ll have to be stuck with her, alluding to the captain’s inevitable sticky end. These stories all resemble stage plays as well in that behavior is often exaggerated for the purpose of humor. Also, in Shakespeare’s plays, often the happy ending is not quite as happy as it seems, like in “A Comedy of Errors” or “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, in which the characters are often falsely lured into believing that their situation has been resolved, negating all of the other drama that occurred to resolve it. All in all, looking at melodrama in each of these stories pointed out various characteristics that exist in commonly told stories for the purpose of entertainment.

-Meg Airey

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