Friday, June 05, 2009
Apparently Australia has not taken kindly to this.
(And TV3's decision to cover the controversy on the six-o'clock news makes me wonder if they're planning on picking up the show.)
It is, in my professional opinion, funny. Actually, after seeing bits of it on the news I was still chuckling in the morning.
More to say on the subject of misunderstanding ironical jokes soon, but here's what I think is happening:
Some people think some things just shouldn't be joked about, perhaps because 'jokes are frivilous'. Terminally ill children are quite likely to be one of those things.
This, and the fact that terminal illness is horrible, is clouding people's judgement on the difference between jokes about something and jokes at the expense of something.
But watching it I'm still bemused the question actually arose.
Actually, I can imagine being flipped over into horror by that last line, which is pretty harsh. But very much part of the whole. It certainly didn't happen to me. I laughed.
To be tedious:
Neither sick kids nor the Make-a-Wish people are being mocked. The sketch is not supposed to be, as the psychologists put it, demonstrating appropriate behaviour. As humour, it relies on taboo-breaking (much like the eulogy song), so the whole gag is that they're doing the opposite of appropriate.
It works because Make-a-Wish is good and everyone knows it.
And the attitude to kids (and to people's dreams) is so recognisable - obvious because it's out of context - that I'll call it satire and accuse the sketch in question of having depth.
I confess to the position that just because it's in bad taste doesn't make it bad comedy. And if you're not allowed to laugh in the face of death, you may as well pack up you clowns now.