An Earnest Soapbox

Where I get things off my chest!

July 25, 2014 at 2:39am
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The Unity Engine

The Unity Engine

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Anonymous said: Mermaid Man is dead, right?

His original VA (Ernest Borgnine) died at the age of 95 at 2012. The character is still in the show, he’s just voiced by someone else now.

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July 24, 2014 at 11:53pm
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Oh God…

Oh God…

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"The Gripes"

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Crisis averted

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If I can’t find a DL to this episode, I won’t be able to give you an imageset.

If I can’t find a DL to this episode, I won’t be able to give you an imageset.

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Thinking about the Gumball comic made me think about my own opinions on slapstick or comedy. And I guess the point I’m trying to make, is agency.

Characters getting hurt in comedy have of course existed as long as the craft. So why is it that it’s funny sometimes, but not not funny some other times?

I definitely think it has to do with the amount of agency a character has. Which is how much a character can react to the abuse being piled on them. So I’m going to use The Amazing World of Gumball as my example.

Lets take a look at Anais and Nicole Watterson. Both of them have had their fair share of lumps and abuse in the show. But at the same time, slapstick works better with those characters.

Anais Watterson is a genius. Even if she’s stuffed into a shoe, or punted like a football, she’s still a genius at the end of it all. She can come up with ideas and plans to get what she wants. That lets her react to her environment.

Nicole Watterson is very strong. So even if she gets tazed, or has a restraining order put on her, she can use her physical strength to get what she wants. She has agency, because she can use force to solve her problems.

Gumball(this especially applies to his S1 iteration), has very little agency. He struggles to solve his own problems. He’s not smart enough to come up with effective plans. And he’s too weak to use violence to solve his problems. So he is at the mercy of the writer’s whims to solve his problems.

S2 and later Gumball, received a boost to his intelligence, and starting acting in a more rude manner, because slapstick works better with characters who deserve it. And it’s fine, because he still shows regret for bad actions he does, and tries to correct it.
S1 Gumball can be summarized by this picture.


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The Future

I suspect that in the future, almost all cartoons are going to be moved online. Overall viewership for the major cartoon networks continues to decline.