Three aspects of incongruity are literalization , reversal , and exaggeration. It involves more people, both in the regular cast and in transient actors brought into individual episodes. Taflinger are copyrighted, and are thus subject to fair use policies, and may not be copied, in whole or in part, without express written permission of the author richt turbonet. On the contrary, there are constant interruptions: Something is funny only insofar as it is or reminds the audience of humanity. In any case, the emphasis is on action, verbal and physical. A Theory of Comedy Comedy is that which makes one laugh.

This is the basis for any study of comedy. Few people don’t know the meanings of such words as zoom, rerun, suds, soap opera, ratings, Neilson, and spinoff, and of course, sitcom. This violation can provoke the greatest laughter. Such a study would take a lifetime, involving as it would what I estimate at some 27, individual scripts. In literalization the joke comes from taking a figure of speech and then performing it literally. Before wondering what sane person would watch 6, hours of sitcoms, examine your assumption. In any case, the emphasis is on action, verbal and physical. Murrow College of Communication.

Of course, television as an entertainment medium is very much different from any other performing art. Three aspects of incongruity are literalizationreversaland exaggeration. The humor is more comic intensification than an end in itself. TaflingerPhD This page has been accessed since 28 May It’s humorous when a person acts in a manner that is inappropriate to a stimulus or situation, as in any slapstick comedy routine. However, in an episodic television series, the event must not be the most important event in the protagonist’s life.

TaflingerPhD This page has been accessed since 30 May Third, television is a private enterprise on public property, or, more correctly, carried on through public airwaves. Often two factions are represented, either with two characters in direct conflict with each other, each representing a point of view on the theme, or characters in conflict with the intangible by observing the effects of it on others and attempting to aid them.

This page has been accessed since 28 May The comic action is perceived by the audience as causing the participants no actual harm: An exaggeration is taking what is normal and blowing it out of proportion. Murrow College of Communication. It is from these taboos that much humor is derived. Plays and jokes can also go out-of-date.


Based on the research of Dr. Richard Taflinger

On the situation comedy CHEERS, Coach, and later Woody, the bartenders, take everything that is said to them at face value, apparently incapable of recognizing innuendo, hyperbole, or figures of speech. In additionI, Richard F. Something is funny only insofar as it is or reminds the audience of humanity.

My technique was to observe and examine a random sample of programs over the period from to One major point that becomes apparent when one examines comedy is that it is based on incongruity: You can reach me by e-mail at: Return to Richard Taflinger’s Home Page. Television is obviously a major component of American life. Television is an important part of American life, and, although a great amount has been said and written about its significance and impact on politics, sociology, communications, technology, and the American life style, almost no attention has been paid to the programs themselves as an art form.

Second, you have a whole different attitude when approaching commercial television than when approaching the theatre. In addition, the resolutions in a domcom are a learning experience for all involved rather than a simple clearing up of a misunderstanding. At this point, the audience, all of whom had been appalled and angry at exactly the same words, started laughing at them: Occasionally a station shows a movie or you rent one and you invite friends over to watch it with you in silence and absorption.


Taflinger are copyrighted, and are thus subject to fair use policies, and may not be copied, in whole or in part, without express written permission of the author richt turbonet.

The first criterion, the appeal to intellect rather than emotionis obvious when ethnic humor is used. Children are incomplete adults, the physical and mental and richrd facets of their characters unknown, or at least not fully understood. His theory revolves around a basic axiom, that the taf,inger element consists of a mechanical inelasticity, just where one would expect adaptability and flexibility.

When these criteria have been met, people will laugh.

From this examination I was able to formulate the findings enumerated in the following chapters. The audience may laugh at the antics of comedyy animal, such as chimpanzees or horses or bears, but only in direct proportion to the animal’s capability of reminding the audience of something human.


Rarely do you richar in a darkened room, surrounded by others intent on watching the tube. The art form that is television is an extensive subject. Therefore, this study is from the point of view of the observer, the person who sits in a chair or lounges on the couch and watches television.

Therefore, for a comedy to work there must be an established set of cultural, human and societal norms, mores, idioms, idiosyncrasies, and terminologies against which incongruities may be found. Nor do I take responsibility for the contents of any Web Pages listed here other than my own.

There are two reasons for this. Gold Rush theatre and Greek stages are not something that impinges upon the life of virtually every person in the United States. Statements issued on behalf of Washington State University are in no way to be taken as reflecting my own opinions or those of any other individual. What makes you think I’m sane, at least now?

To the ricahrd that is being made fun of, jokes at their expense are not funny — they are insulting and rude.

Sitcom: What It Is, How It Works

As long as the audience knows the norms and can thus see the incongruity, the participants act in an inflexible manner but are inherently human, no one appears to get hurt, and the audience doesn’t take it personally, then an attempt at being funny will succeed. If any one is absent, then fo attempt at humor will fail. The jealous wife’s discovery of a blonde hair on her husband’s jacket leads her to build an entire scenario of mad trysts, trips to the Riveriaand a murder plot against her, until he points at the collie sitting at her taflinnger.

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