There’s nothing worse than a cliché. They were obviously invented for a good reason. Sometimes you don’t feel like explaining something the old-fashioned way, such as using logic and meaningful words, so it’s easier to just use a cliché.
The problem is people use clichés much too frequently, causing them to A) lose their poignancy and B) get really annoying. Even the word cliché has become a cliché, which has caused a recursive lapse in the time-space continuum – similar to what would happen if you were to make two mirrors reflect each other. Thank goodness no one has ever tried that.
Even more annoying than clichéd words and phrases are film elements, such as plot lines, endings, actors, and characters. Today we will focus on the latter.
On a side note, the price of movie tickets has gotten really, really, ridiculously out of control. Why are we complaining about gas prices? It costs just as much to take your date to a movie as it does to buy the dang DVD. And popcorn I think is up to about 39¢ a kernel.
Focus. These are the top 5 most annoying character clichés in comedy films.
#5. The Cougar
Watch any teen comedy these days and you’re sure to see a scene with a middle-aged lady desperate for sex. In fact, I will guarantee you right now that the next teen comedy you see will feature a 40-something woman married to a rich guy she doesn’t care about. She’ll drink throughout the entire movie and make at least one pass on the main character, who will undoubtedly be a younger attractive “innocent” guy.
I’m going to use Wedding Crashers as an example a lot since it has most of the clichés on this list. Why did they throw in that scene with Ms. Cleary where she flashes John? It wasn’t funny in any way. John’s reaction wasn’t even funny. I’ll tell you why: the screenwriters obviously have delusions about the sex drives of menopausal women. Or maybe it’s actually like that on the west coast. I guess that’s a possibility. Either way, please stop putting this scene in comedy films. It was already annoying 30 years ago when it was in American Pie.
#4. The Talking Baby/Animal
Women have an obsession with babies. Each time a woman has a baby, other women naturally flock to her, put her on a pedestal as if she’s the first woman that has ever given birth to a child, and then savagely fight over who gets to hold her baby. Some call it “love”. I call it “sick obsession”. Anyway, I guess that’s what the directors have in mind when they include scenes with talking babies. They think just having a baby on screen with no logic behind their decision other than pure eye candy for women is a good idea.
Actually, it is a good idea and it can work (John and Kate Plus Eight). However, I must point out a crucial difference. Making a baby talk by digitally moving its mouth and adding voice-overs effectively ruins any (alleged) cuteness of said baby. Babies are cute because they can’t talk (or so I hear). If you were holding a baby and it started making some smart alec comments to you, it would no longer be cute. Some of you are still thinking that it would. You are probably the same people who think it would be fun to only eat chocolate for a week if only you could get away with it. You obviously haven’t read The Chocolate Touch.
By the way, this also goes for animals. You may not realize it, but animals are cute because they’re dumb and can’t talk. If cats could actually talk, we wouldn’t have LOLcats. If walruses could talk, we wouldn’t have LOLruses. If dogs could talk, we wouldn’t have LOLdogs… actually that one wouldn’t be so bad because LOLdogs are completely unfunny. So stop making things talk in movies that aren’t naturally blessed with the ability. (No, it doesn’t include the Narnia movies. We’re talking comedies here.)
#3. The Gay Uncle/Brother
There doesn’t have to be a gay person in every movie. Only 1-3% of our country’s couples are gay, yet there is at least one gay person in every comedy. And they’re always way too over-the-top and creepy. This is probably offensive to homosexuals because they are stereotyped this way in every movie. It is also offensive to me because I don’t agree with people living homosexual lives.
So if it’s offensive to gay people and straight people, that makes up all people. Which means no people will think it’s funny*.
So why do they keep putting really annoying gay people in movies (and sitcoms)? I’ve thought about this and I’ve come up with an explanation. All comedy movie directors are homophobes. Their way of dealing with something that threatens them is to make fun of it, sort of like a bully. Their defense mechanism is to laugh at it. So, they create a gay character, cast them in a bad light in their movies, and make all of us laugh at them.
Please stop doing this. I’m tired of the gay jokes. I’m not in high school any more.
*This list excludes high school boys.
#2. The Angry Kid
Would you please watch this video and tell me what is so funny? Why is the kid so angry? I… I don’t get it. I feel scared and alone.
First of all, are kids really this mean? The answer is no. Second of all, are kids really this mean to strange adults they just met? Absolutely not. Thirdly, is there any ounce of comedic effect present in this gimmick? Hell no.
The disturbing thing is I just knew this kid was going to be this way as soon as the scene started. I remember not being surprised that he was acting this way. Why? Probably because I’ve seen this in so many other comedies. There are waaaaaay too many scenes with angry, know-it-all kids stomping on adults’ feet or punching them in their “adult” places.
What are the directors thinking?
“Hey Bob, I got an idea.”
“Lay it on me, Jeff.”
“You know how people hate spoiled kids? And you know how no one likes to be kicked in the groin?”
“Does the Pope wear a funny hat?”
“Well, what if we created a scene in our comedy with BOTH elements?”
“You are the smartest man in existence.”
#1. The Hip, Vulgar Grandma
This one’s got everything: unfunny, offensive, unrealistic, and disrespectful. That’s why I had to put it at the top of the list. And yet again, it is present in Wedding Crashers.
My grandmas are real nice ladies. My wife’s grandmas are real nice ladies. My friends grandmas are real nice ladies. In fact, I’ve never, ever, ever, ever met a grandma that behaves inappropriately. People get nicer, mellower, and more boring as they get older. It’s science.
It only follows that every comedy should feature a grandma who curses like a sailor and hates everyone in the world, right? Wrong. Not only is it disrespectful to stereotype old people like that (you’re gonna be one someday) along with being unrealistic, it is also offensive.
But the most important thing to note here is that it’s not funny. A grandma at a dinner table spouting obscenities is not funny. I’ll tell you what it is: shock factor, because the audience doesn’t expect it (because it doesn’t happen in real life). Think about it, what do bad stand-up comedians do? They try to get their laughs by shocking the audience. A good stand-up comedian has originality and lets his jokes stand on their own merit.
Yes there are those few cases of ornery old grandpas that are losing their minds and say ridiculous things. And yes, I’ll admit, sometimes it’s a little funny. But is it really necessary to fill the cracks of comedy movies with them? No, I say more actual funny jokes! Stop the laziness!
The next time you go see a comedy, count the clichés and report back so I know to never see that movie. Of course, Wedding Crashers has 4/5 of my top annoying clichés, and I would watch it again in a heart beat. So, was this article even necessary then? Let me answer your question with a question: are any of the articles I post necessary? If you know what the name of this blog means, you know the answer.