Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Review

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In Your Face: The Amour Reviews


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Robertsons tour 49 Geary




Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our 'art' links

A red rose leans against the Vietnam Veterans ...Image via Wikipedia
Ugly Buildings

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-ugliest-buildings/1

























What is the most influential piece of modern art??




Duchamps Urinal

The only way to get this very thoughtful article in Philosophy Now without subscribing is to do this search and count five results down .

Their fight to raise themselves above the status of mere craftsman has led artists, since the 15th century, to seek to be seen as intellectuals. In the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci typified the artist as thinker.... Duchamp's idea of the readymade is the final, triumphant endgame in western art's long campaign to establish the intellectual status of the artist (Duchamp, who officially gave up art to play tournament chess, was an authority on endgames). In this, his predecessors are not just Leonardo, but Sir Joshua Reynolds and all those academicians who insisted that theirs was a mental calling.



Pieta


Corbu lounge



Vietnam Memorial



More Corbu



African Art


Fall of Icarus


Piss Christ


Dung Madonna









ugly art



Jeff Koons

MJ and Bubbles


Hanging Heart


Balloon Dog



Koons Speaks


Critics Talk



Hughes and Koons

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-imUiYqybc



ArtBusiness.com logo

People Need Help Buying Art, So Help Them

Remember that fantasy art life you grew up dreaming about, the one the art schools perpetuate in order to make their nut, the one where you get your degree(s) and everything else just falls into place? You're introduced to all the right people... the critics, the curators, the patrons, the power peddlers? The influential dealers and collectors visit you at your studio, see your work, and either buy it on the spot or give you shows while you create and get famous? Yep, that's the one.

Well, now you know better-- that reality indicates otherwise. You know that art is an option, not a necessity. It competes with tons of other commodities in the marketplace, first for attention and ultimately for dollars (just like every item for sale in every store simultaneously competes for your business). You know you've got your work cut out for you if you expect to make a living as an artist, and that convincing multiple individuals to buy your art on a regular basis is not an easy job.

An art dealer once told me, "No art sells itself." And he's right, but that doesn't mean you hawk it like timeshares or used cars. Selling your art is not about tactical maneuvers or strategizing on markets, but rather about capitalizing on those moments when people are impressed enough, for whatever reasons, to stop, look, and maybe even ask you a few questions. You see, some of these people will be thinking about buying, and to increase the odds that they slip you simoleans, you have to present and contextualize whatever art they're looking at in ways that they can understand, ways that transition them from thinking to owning.

People like to believe that they're doing the right thing when they buy art, but since most of them don't know much about art, you have to help them. They need conviction, courage, and understanding because owning art is not easy. Take Joe, for example. Let's say Joe buys a piece of art. He takes it home and hangs it in his dining room. Several weeks later, he invites Mary, Susie and Bill over for a dinner party. So the four of them are seated at the dining room table, rapt with culinary delight, sipping fine wine, chortling it up, and swapping gossip, when Mary points to Joe's art and asks, "Is that new?"

"Yep," answers Joe.

"Where'd you get it?" asks Mary.

Joe's answer has to satisfy Mary, Susie, and Bill.

"Really," says Bill. "Who's the artist?"

Joe's answer has to satisfy Bill, Mary, and Susie.

"That's interesting," says Susie. "I've never seen anything like it. What's it about?"

Joe's answer has to satisfy Susie, Bill, and Mary.

Poor Joe's on the spot, isn't he? He sure doesn't want to look silly in front of his friends, going out and buying art he can't explain. Not only does he have to explain it, but if he's like most people who buy art, he also wants to impress his friends and acquaintances with his discerning taste and sophistication. Furthermore, tonight is only the first of many times that Joe will be required to defend his art. For as long as he owns it, all kinds of people, many of whom know even less about art than Joe does, will ask all kinds of questions, and Joe will want to sound intelligent when it's his turn to talk.

Silly as this sounds, it's what art owners go through, and one of the main reasons why so many people are afraid to buy art; they're worried about being embarrassed by what others might think, say, or ask. Not only do they have to justify their art to themselves, but also to anyone who sees it and has questions. The Joes of the world want to own your art, believe me, but they need your help first. You have to show them how to defend themselves-- give them the ammo, the confidence, the protections they need to fend off doubts about whether or not they're doing the right thing if they buy your art.

The good news is that most buyers need only the basics; you don't have to get complicated. Since most people don't know a lot about art, they don't need a lot of explanation, and-- here's the critical part-- they don't want a lot of explanation because they confuse easily. Consider, for example, the sentence, "My art is about trees." This entry-level statement is clean and simple; it explains an artist's art in a way that anybody understands, and people who don't know much about art will go surprisingly far with it. The artist doesn't have to say how the art is about trees, why it's about trees, where the references to trees lie, or what trees mean to her. Viewers will take those five words, run with them, apply them to the art, find the trees in there somewhere, and feel like they know something (and they will, in their own unique ways). Then they'll turn to their friends, point, and say with complete confidence, "Her art is about trees." See how this works?

Suppose you have no basics, you have no idea what your art is about-- it just happens. Fine. Then talk about what happens, what inspires you, how you start, your process, how you make it, what you use, how you know you're done, and so on. Again, keep it simple. For instance, say "I take scrap wood and throw it against a wall." Believe it or not, this is enough. People digest that statement until they understand it. They look at the pieces of wood in your art and try to figure out where they hit the wall, what they looked like before they hit, what kinds of sounds they made, what the wall looks like now, how they would feel throwing scrap wood against a wall, whatever. All you have to do is suggest, plant the seeds. The viewers will do the rest. They come to their own conclusions, and most importantly, feel confident that they understand the art (and they do, in their own unique ways).

One thing to avoid is being vague, saying stuff like "different people respond to my art in different ways." Of course they do, but so what? Far too many artists use this copout, which does nobody any good-- it leaves viewers wondering whether or not their responses are "right" and it leaves the artists with no sales. People want a little structure; they want starting points. Then when they respond, they feel like their responses "make sense." Basic information also makes art harder to dismiss. It connects people up and gets them involved. Think of how fast you dismiss things as you go about your daily business, especially things you have no information (or too much information) about. You don't want that to happen with your art. You want people who stop and look to stay stopped for as long as possible.

Perhaps the most important key to "selling" art is giving people reasons to care. With all the other stuff out there for people to care about, why should they care about your art? Why do you care about your art? That's a great place to start. If you can convey and convince, in a simple sentence or two, why people should care about your art the way that you care about it-- you make sales.
These same principles apply when showing your portfolio to galleries. For you to get a show, gallery owners have to feel extremely extraordinarily confident that they can sell your art. Just like you, they have to convince their customers that your art is worth owning. Each time you meet with a dealer in hopes of getting a show, that dealer will be listening carefully to everything you say, how you say it, and trying to figure out if or how they can effectively relate that information to prospective buyers. They have to take what you give them and transform it into working sales presentations. Understand? Not even dealers can sell your art without your help.

I see plenty of great art by plenty of successful artists, and one characteristic that the overwhelming majority of these artists share is that they've figured out how to distill their art down so simply and directly that even I can understand it. Sure, these artists go deep when they have to, and they do-- all the time-- but they know that the more people who identify with their art on whatever levels, the more rewarding their art careers will be.
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    • The Art of Buying Art
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Articles and content copyright Alan Bamberger 1998-2010. All rights reserved.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The "Most Wanted" Paintings


DuchampImage by Amigomac via FlickrTheir website



Duchamps

Dutton's TED Lecture
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An Episode of Onion News


NASA Designers Release Flirty New Space Skirt

Opening Scene Medium Cool


5 Broken Cameras


In Shopian


Nuclear Savage


Reportero


Sunday, March 31, 2013

"The following tale of alien encounters is true, and by "true," I mean "false." It's all lies, but they're entertaining lies, and in the end isn't that the real truth? The answer... is no." —Leonard Nimoy, The Simpsons








Anybody can make a documentary















Six Modes

















Fog of War/Errol Morris – Look at all the ‘artistic’ flourishes, and the flashes of documents that suggest he’s done his homework; it’s more than McNamara’s voice.











Powaqqatsi/an “art” documentary? It’s all about Philip Glass’s music. No voiceover.







Vertov/This is supposed to illustrate Type Five.



Borat/Is is what it is. But what is it?








Monday, March 4, 2013

Toward a Definition of Art






Saturday, February 23, 2013

Robertson Continues to Think about 'Amour'

Hiroshima mon amour
Hiroshima mon amour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'll put it this way.

* I continue to think about it, and everyday I think about it in a different way.

* The characters are particular; that is, I think of them as specific individuals, not as types from whom we should immediately generalize about how people should behave. That is not to say I do not judge their behavior and take a lesson from it. But my first reaction is as if they were real, which means they have their own reasons that I can never know, no more than if they were real people glimpsed and overheard. This is intriguing. I have to engage with them before I engage with myself. But you can only do that for so long. Sooner or later the movie is no longer a window but a mirror. (Nice, Robertson. Pretty nice.)

* As a man, I identify with the husband. I find myself asking: At which point does he go too far? At which point should he have ceased sacrificing? And I am not thinking of the suffocation. Having gone that far, he may be doing the correct thing. But I am thinking he should have stopped before that moment.

* Except when I don't think he should have stopped long before that moment. Who am I to second guess him? He's there, and I'm not.

* Except he isn't there. He's words on a page turned into sounds and images, just a construct. You could make the case the whole point of the thing is to force the audience to second guess.

* Every day I find myself asking: What would I do in a similar situation. (But I understand that my situation would only be similar and not the same situation as on screen. The movie is not a moral text.)

* What would I do? Don't know. Can't know. Might not want to know if I could know. I can't decide if the movie is comforting - I'm not a baby; I know this is coming and I will handle it as best I can - or challenging - I'm not a baby; I know this is coming, and I will handle it as best I can.

*I understand the director's intent is irrelevant. I understand The Intentional Fallacy. Variable kaleidoscopic interpretation is the hallmark of art.

* Right?

* If I were 21 and writing about this movie, I think I'd think, "Well, that will never happen to me. When I'm that age I'll be freshened up and turned out with the latest  assortment of fine pig organs. Very worst case my grandchildren will be carrying my brain around in a glass jar like a fashionable Vuitton purse."

 * One thing I do think every day:

    Amour or Amour?


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Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Review of NBC Sitcom The Office from Three Years Ago

A banner promoting Dunder-Mifflin, the fiction...
A banner promoting Dunder-Mifflin, the fictional paper company on NBC's "The Office" hangs outside city hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


12 February 2010
Arts Reviewing & Reporting

Apathetic is the best way to describe my feelings towards The Office. POTENTIALLY GOOD FOCUS STATEMENT. LET’S SEE HOW WELL IT WORKS.

I stopped watching The Office when everyone else did HYPERBOLE OR EXAGGERATION. WE UNDERSTAND IT IS NOT LITERALLY TRUE. IT IMPLIES SOMETHING LIKE: “EVERYONE WHO IS AS SMART AS ME…” —3 seasons ago—after Pam and Jim finally got together.  GIVES A REASON, A DETAIL FROM SHOW, FOR DROPPING OUT.

Well, that statement is not exactly true. HERE’S THE CORRECTION. SETS TONE FOR STORY: SOMETIMES I EXAGGERATE AS A FORM OF ARGUMENT. It seems the show is still going relatively strong with an average of 8.1 million viewers during its 6th season. While many viewers may still be addicted to the mockumentary-style and awkard interactions among employees, that does not mean anything BACK TO EXAGGERATION interesting is still happening in the plot of the show.

WE WILL NOW HAVE LOTS OF PLOT SPECIFICS. SUCH SUMMARY ISN’T THE PLOT KILLER IT MIGHT BE IN A MOVIE REVIEW. TV VIEWERS MAY NOT WANT THE DETAILS OF INDIVIDUAL EPISODES REVEALED AS THE SHOW MOVES FORWARD, BUT TALKING ABOUT PAST EPISODES ISN’T A SPOILER – UNLESS YOU ARE CONSIDERING JUMPING INTO THE SHOW. BUT IF THAT’S THE CASE, YOU ARE FOREWARNED BEFORE STARTING THIS STORY. The love triangle, (or in the case of The Office, it was really more of a rectangle) also the most dynamic and entertaining storyline of the show, VALUE JUDGMENT, AND THAT’S FINE. KNOWLEDGE OF SHOW=EXPERTISE between Jim, Karen, Pam and Roy, was relatively short-lived, only making it through the third season. Between Pam’s thick-headed fiancé and the sexy Karen, TWO GOOD SUMMARY ADJECTIVES there were only so many obstacles that writers could put between Pam and Jim. YES. GOOD INSIGHT ABOUT SITCOM CONVENTIONS. A PROBLEM IN ALL TV SHOWS CENTERED ON A BURGEONING ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP. TO THE DEGREE THAT A SHOW IS ROOTED IN ‘REAL LIFE,’ IT CAN’T POSTPONE RESOLUTION INDEFINITELY. AND ONCE IT’S RESOLVED? WHAT NEXT? Now that they are together, and with a baby on the way, there is pretty much no way one could write anymore drama between the two because they are far too in love with each other do to anything stupid. Hence, boredom ensues. I WOULD HAVE ADDED: OF COURSE, JIM IS ACTUALLY THE CENTER OF TWO RELATIONSHIPS, ONE WITH PAM AND THE OTHER WITH DWIGHT AND THAT ONE, BASED ON WORKPLACE CONFLICT, CAN GO ON FOREVER BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS SOMETIMES IN WORKPLACES. THE JIM-DWIGHT TENSION GOES ON AND ON (8.17.14 HOW WRONG THE WRITER WAS, AND HOW WRONG THIS REVIEWER WAS. JIM'S JOB IN SPORT'S PROMOTION AND PAM'S FLIRTATION - TALK ABOUT META - WITH THE GUY WHO HAD SUPPOSEDLY HELD THE CAMERA FOR THE FAUX DOCUMENTARY INSIDE THE ACTUAL SITCOM - CREATED TENSION)

There is nothing left in the show that is worth investing in. There is no relationship to hope for—no relationship that we hope fails—nothing.  BUT WHAT ABOUT …? WE THINK. SHE KNOWS WHAT WE ARE THINKING! NOW SHE LISTS THE OTHER RELATIONSHIPS ON THE SHOW THAT LEAVE HER COLD The most interesting storylines were between Jim and Pam and, to a lesser extent, Michael and Jan. Jim and Pam, for most obvious reasons, were an interesting duo because of their slightly-less-than-forbidden love and their so-cute-you-just-want-to-put-them-in-your-pocket appeal. CLEVER SHORTHAND. SHE SAYS: THIS IS HOW I FELT. Michael and Jan, on the other hand, were of interest because it was so fascinating to watch Michael actually interact with another human being and have that human being not want to punch him in the face. CLEVER Yet, that relationship also ended back half way through season 4. There was the hilariously creepy love triangle between Dwight, Angela and Andy. Yet, that was short-lived and sometimes hard to watch. WHY?

So what are we left with now? The show has simply run out of angles. BACK TO A BASIC PROBLEM IN LONG-RUNNING SITCOMS
Attempting to revive the secretary-employee affair we saw with Pam and Jim, the writers brought in Erin at the end of the 5th season. Unfortunately, she is simply a less attractive, less captivating version of Pam. And her new love interest, Andy, is a seriously less attractive (both in appearance and personality) and less relatable version of Jim. YEAH. IF THE OBJECT OF A SITCOM IS TO HAVE SOME CHARACTERS WHO ARE MORE ‘REAL’ AND WITH WHOM WE CAN IDENTIFY, ERIN AND ANDY ARE LESS SO. Watching their interactions in no way encourages the viewer to become invested in their relationship. SHE HAS GIVEN SOME DETAIL AND SHE EXPLAINS HER REACTION. I SEE HER POINT.
Michael Scott behavingly awkwardly is not enough. OH YEAH, I THINK: THIS IS THE SHOW’S PIVOT. The show has just lost its shine. It is not painfully funny IN TWO WORDS SHE SUMS UP MICHAEL SCOTT. IF YOU DISCUSS SOME THINGS IN DETAIL, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DISCUSS EVERYTHING IN DETAIL anymore. It is just kind of painful, but not enough to keep the viewer entertained for long. Recent episodes generally have one laugh-out-loud moment, I’D HAVE LOVED A ‘FOR EXAMPLE’ BETWEEN DASHES and the rest of the time is filled with slight awkwardness that is shortly followed by boredom. What made the show so successful, aside from the comedic appeal of a mockumentary-style shooting, was the balance between making the viewer feel so uncomfortable they may have to leave the room and the reward of watching the endearing, semi-depressing lives and relationships between the employees progress. THE PRECEDING STRIKES ME AS A REASONABLE SUMMARY OF THE SHOW’S INITIAL APPEAL, THOSE ‘CRINGE’ MOMENTS THAT SHOW MICHAEL SCOTT’S INABILITY TO UNDERSTAND COMMON SOCIAL NORMS, HIS ROLE AS THE OUTSIDER WHO DESPERATELY WANTS TO FIT IN. OF COURSE, LACKING THE COURAGE OF THE ORIGINAL BRITISH SITCOM – AND UNDERSTANDING THE ECONOMIC REALTIES OF AMERICAN TV – OFFICE/USA GRADUALLY SOFTENED THE ATTITUDES OF SCOTT’S UNDERLINGS TOWARD HIM AND GAVE HIM MORE MOMENTS OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE. I THINK. IF I’M WRITING MY OWN REVIEW, I NEED TO COME UP WITH SOME DETAILS. Unfortunately, all the captivating relationships between the employees have either ended, or ended in marriage. Where’s the drama there? SHOULD THERE BE DRAMA? NICE PLACE TO COMMENT ON FACT THIS SHOW IS ONE OF THOSE SITCOMS IN WHICH WE ARE SUPPOSED TO CARE ABOUT SOME OF THE CHARACTERS, THAT IT IS A KIND OF DRAMEDY, THOUGH MOSTLY COMIC. CREATORS MAKE A DECISION TO HAVE US CARE ABOUT CHARACTERS AND THEN CREATORS RESOLVE THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THEIR PROBLEMS, WHERE DO YOU GO NEXT?


A large contributing factor to show’s dark comedic story IT IS A SHOW THAT GOT PROGRESSIVELY LESS DARK line is the imminent downfall OF the company due to the fact that they sell paper goods in a world that is attempting to go online and, well, paper-less. It has been hinted at since the beginning of the series that Dunder Mifflin was in some kind of trouble. Yet, when a series starts out on the basis of an impending doom, writers can only make so many excuses and surprise turns before the company must receive its death certificate.

The writers of The Office must be on about their fourth write-around in maintaining the Scranton Branch. SOLID ANALYSIS In the most recent episode, “Sabre,” Dunder Mifflin is officially bought out by Sabre (pronounced Say-bur). However the Scranton Branch is allowed to survive because they (somehow) were the only ones making any money. Though this is very hard to believe due to Michael Scott’s incredibly entertaining capacity to not do his job, perhaps this was supposed to be an ironic turn of events to coincide with the several other twists and turns in the show’s past that have been counterintuitive. PRECEDING ANALYSIS SEEMS SOUND. HOW HAS IT LASTED THIS LONG? YOU CAN’T ANSWER EVERY QUESTION IN A SINGLE REVIEW  Or, it could be the network’s attempt to keep the show running in anyway it can in order to preserve its trademarked “Thursday Nights of Comedy”? DUH

While this episode had a few laugh-out-loud moments, including the altered  version of Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” to welcome the new Sabre to the Scranton Branch, and the interaction Pam and Jim had with the competitive preschool teacher, the episode seemed to kind of drag on. It begs the question: how can the Scranton Branch still running? Which then leads to the thought of—why do I care? AND BACK TO THE LEAD

Regardless of NBC’s motivation to keep the show running, it has already surpassed its 100 episode mark and is currently syndicated on three different networks. Thus, it may be time for NBC to let this baby go because they have clearly run out of ways to keep us invested in any sort of plot in the show. We know the company’s going under. We know what happened between Pam and Jim. We know Dwight is always going to be creepy. We know Michael is ultimately helpless. What we don’t know is when NBC will realize all of these things. AS IT TURNED OUT IN THE YEARS SINCE, THIS FINAL ANALYSIS IS RIGHT AND SOME WAYS AND NOT IN OTHERS. BUT HER STORY IS FILLED WITH SPECIFICS AND WITH  SOUND GENERALIZATIONS ABOUT TV SITCOM CONVENTIONS. IT HAS A CLEAR THROUGH-LINE. IT IS BRIGHTLY WRITTEN. I LIKE IT

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

When a Sitcom Jumps the Shark

We talked about the concept in class in the context of "30 Rock" and "How I Met Your Mother." When does a sitcom reach that moment when the rigidity of the format and the necessary stasis of the characters spread over scores of episodes mean there's nothing left to be done that hasn't been done before.

Twice.

I tried to describe the eponymous scene from "Happy Days" that I had so often read about. But, you know, I didn't actually watch "Happy Days," so I wondered if I'd gotten some key detail wrong. Apparently not. I had not been aware that the Fonz - a method actor to the last - would do the scene live on the water in his leather jacket. Oh yes the shark was well and truly jumped.


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Having a Conversation around Comedy

Comedy
Comedy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My comments yesterday were far-ranging and came to no particular conclusion about the most useful definitions of comedy and/or explanations for laughter. Here are some ideas I am going to apply to my comedy-watching as I watch our shows in preparation for reading your retrospective reviews.

Memo to self: You laugh at something.  Stop and ask yourself why you were laughing.  Ask yourself how you would feel if someone heard you laughing at this thing you are laughing at and asked for an explanation.  Even before you attempted an explanation, would you feel embarrassed acknowledging what it was at which you laughed? That laughter was spontaneous. It came unbidden. Where did it come from? Would you be pleased to have an opportunity to explain your laughter?

 My assumption is that laughter can be seen as encouragement.  It is a way of saying, “That’s right. I agree. Carry on.” Ask yourself what specific action you are affirming with your laughter:

* That we are all members of a community of one kind or another from which others must be sometimes excluded so the community can maintain its values?

* That there’s a community from which someone must be excluded unless they learn to conform to the values of that community? That the person being laughed should gain self-knowledge and behave better?  And that’s a lesson out here in the real world for anyone who hears our laughter? That sometimes we must be cruel to be kind? And remember. In a fictional setting, what harm can there be in being cruel to those who deserve it even in the most extreme form since no physical damage ensues? In other words, it’s all make-believe. What harm does a little ridicule do?

* That sometimes it’s good for all of us to play like children in wild and exaggerated word and action in defiance of social norms, and that sometimes all of us out here in the real world should be free and independent of social norms? That even if we are so oppressed by social norms we can never again play like children, laughter helps us endure those norms. (Wait. Unless our laughter is condemnation of childish behavior??? That would be sour, not joyful, laughter. Is our laughter joyful?)

* That human life is a futile, empty endeavor, and laughter sometimes equals acceptance of our imperfections? That the highest intellectual value is a cold-eyed, clear-eyed unsentimental view of life, a view that is invigorating rather than depressing.  We are able to face the void without blinking. This is sour, bitter laughter - but also brave.

Twenty-four hours later:  Having spent 90 minutes last night watching sitcoms - Parks and Rec and a very long Office - I concede that my initial formulation needs some tweaking. What I said seemed to imply that our laughter expresses approval of someone onscreen, of one of those involved in the joke, of one of the sitcom characters. That is clearly not the case. Laughter may express approval of the script, of the script writer (which is an interesting idea since I gather so many sitcom scripts are written, or at least massaged, by a group - hey! laughter supports a creative community). But you may be laughing hardest when everyone onscreen is playing the fool.

And let me be honest about the challenges of this exercise. Once I started "tagging" my laughs and coming back to them, I found it hard - so complicated and overthought it did not seem worthwhile - to tease out why I laughed. My wife said she thought our laughter quite often was expressing "unease." That doesn't sound like much fun. Maybe it's the context that matters most. It's a sitcom. At the end all will be well. Our laughter will not suddenly become evidence against us. So this thread continues to be a work in progress.

Generally speaking, the episodes we watched last night support some of our in-class comments about comedy and how it establishes and reinforces social norms. Parks and Rec ended with Leslie Knope explicit praising her community of friends who had overcome her absence to put together a gala to raise money to build a park that would benefit an even larger community. The Office didn't fit quite so well because, as it winds up its final season, it is creating as many conflicts as possible - Jim and Pam's marriage getting all tense and soapy - but I'm sure it's doing this so all these tensions can be resolved to everyone's final comfort. So we are  back to talking about community, in this case the work family. Pretty clearly this final season is suggesting the value of the work family by tearing apart the Dunder Mifflin work family. I assume comfort will be restored by placing all the principals in new work families.

Will any character be left in isolation and thus chastened? Will we laugh at the expelled individual? I do not think this will happen. This isn't Seinfeld, whose last episode was a piece of crap. You don't celebrate your characters' self interest for that many episodes and then suddenly punish them. It's clever but it isn't coherent. I always thought the last episode of Seinfeld was a thumb in the eye of its fans. But even that finale was better than the end of the Sopran



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