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Comedic Tragedy

by Isaac Rooks

In CTCS 190, Drew Casper claims tragedy is no longer a valid genre. This is based on a strict classical understanding of tragedy. Tragedy should inspire fear and pity in audiences as great individuals are laid low by human frailty - often by the very hubris that inspired them to seek greatness. A similar description could be given for the comedy Anchorman (of course we ultimately get a happy ending for our objectionable protagonist). This moment in the film is particularly tragic for Burgundy, but its presentation invites the audiences to laugh. The character's heightened buffoonery gives way to overwrought grief. Many viewers will be sensitive to violence against animals - particularly dogs - so the animal is replaced with an absurdly limp puppet. This illustrates why Casper refers to comedy as the most intellectual genre. Everything about the presentation distances the audience from the characters and the situation.

Anchorman - Tragedy as Comedy

Ron Burgundy loses the thing he loves most and we laugh.

from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Creator: Adam McKay
Distributor: Dreamworks
Posted by Isaac Rooks