Thursday, December 29, 2005

Displacer Beast, Blink Dog, Beholder...

Had a email from Branko Ruzic, which read:

Dear Ken*,

Just one question: What is a broken comedy? BBC in their submission guidelines say:

Sitcom, broken comedy, sketch shows, family entertainment.

While I'm familiar with other terms (who's not familiar with sitcoms) I've got no idea what brken comedy is

I'm ashamed to say that I too, have no real idea what 'broken comedy' is. I've heard the phrase, alongside stuff like 'visual grammar', and the trick is to nod politely, whilst internally reciting the names of Dungeons and Dragons monsters, and eventually the nasty people will go away.

I suspect though, that it's a description of a slightly stylized type of television comedy, where everything's slightly broken up, by editing, or visual effects, or using that weird acting technique where you stutter a lot, and have long awkward pauses while Social Embarrassment Accrues.

Chris Morris's Blue Jam is supposed to be 'broken comedy' I think, although I doubt he ever referred to it as that himself, and I never saw it, so I don't know. That BBC thing 'Man Stroke Woman' looks like the sort of thing where someone read about 'broken comedy' and said 'hey kids! Let's do it like that! Right here in the barn!', which is why although I like the perfomances, and some of the writing, I would have liked it more if they were just allowed to go for the funny. Like the pool-playing droopy girlfriend, which was very good.

Basically, 'broken comedy' feels like some term someone came up with for a Sunday Supplement, sandwiched between a Nigel Slater article on mud ('Mud! I'm crazy for the stuff! Whether reheated from the previous night, or smeared all over a linen gimp mask, there's nothing nothing so gloopy, or, well, muddy as mud!') and some overpaid hackette whinging about her au paire, and now people think it's some big new thing. But then people are wankers.

Hope that helps.




NOTE: If anyone actually knows what it means (google and wikipedia unusually unhelpful), do please comment below.



*That was my favourite bit, obviously.
 

19 comments:

patroclus said...

Anything to avoid doing some actual real work:

Channel 4 (in answer to the rather blunt question: "What do you want?") defines "broken comedy" as "sketch shows, animation and performer-led vehicles." But then, I have no idea what a performer-led vehicle is. I'm kind of imagining a circus strongman pulling a kind of glorified milk float with a couple of lions in it. Close?

james henry said...

From now on, that's what it means to me. Lion-based comedy will be all the rage in 2006. You heard it here first...

patroclus said...

I'm intrigued about Dispacer Beast. Is it so named because it paces up and down in Dis, the Underworld? Or is it a typo?

james henry said...

The displacer beast, as any fule kno, is a magical creature that resembles a puma with two powerful black tentacles growing from its shoulders. Their main advantage in combat is their magical power of displacement, which allows them to appear to be some 3 feet from their actual location. Anyone attacking a displacer beast does so at -2 on his attack roll.

The practical disadvantages of which are detailed here. Although it won't make much sense if you haven't read the rest of the comic. And even then, that won't make much sense if you don't know D&D. Me and the other three guys reckon this to be the best webcomic ever though.

james henry said...

And yes, I did miss the 'l'. It was a typo. Ahem.

patroclus said...

*Patroclus slowly becomes dimly aware of a strange other world whose existence she had not even suspected*

Err, so, um, what do the tentacles do?

patroclus said...

No, forget that, I know all about the tentacles now. Clicking on links helps.

Norbert Trouser-Quandary said...

Ah. So 'broken comedy' really means stuff that seemed like a good idea in the production meeting, but then actually turned out to be something everybody blames everyone else for.

james henry said...

With lions.

woot said...

And tentacles.

suzanne said...

awww.
happy new year, ken!

Canbush said...

Problem comes when the comedy's not broken but they still try to fix it

Piers said...

It means sketch comedy.

No, I don't know why they don't call it sketch comedy.

Piers

smoo2 said...

How's Barbie, Ken? Well, I hope. Going on her first diet of the New Year, no doubt, after gorging herself on Christmas food.


vmguva: A combination of interesting ingredients mixed into a New Year cocktail...and much regretted the next day.

Pashmina said...

Oh it's all your "broken comedy" these days but it'll be something else next week. "Funny comedy", hopefully.

Speaking of which, when are those Green Wing re-runs happening anyway? (rhetorical question only, unless you've started moonlighting in the C4 schedulers' office)

james henry said...

I reckon they'll have to start at beginning of Feb at the latest, if they're to end with the release of the DVD in April.

I'm all for 'funny comedy'. It could be the next big thing. BBC types are already wandering around pronouncing the death of LB-style grotesquerie as if they were wise soothsayers, rather than say, the same people who tried to take LB and similar down to the lowest common denominator and got caught out.

patroclus said...

I hope they're simultaneously predicting the glorious birth of lion-based comedy.

james henry said...

Yes, we need to spread the word on this one. Maybe flash up giant pictures of lions on BBC TV centre, that kind of thing...

Steve Dix said...

Coming up next on BBC 3.75 :

"Aslan : The Student Years" - The whacky escapades of a lion attempting to come to terms with his god-like powers whilst attending a magical university.

Whilst over on BBC 2.1414 :
"The Adventures of Parsley".