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About OnionHead

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  1. Honestly, my favorite gag in the whole clip may have been him using the fence as a ladder. That just came completely outta nowhere, and it seems to presage sight gags from Zucker Bros comedies like Naked Gun, Airplane and Top Secret. As for differences between Keaton and Chaplin, I think guys like Keaton and Lloyd took a lot more physical risks than Chaplin. And I also think Chaplin explored bigger themes, and was more of a thinking man's comedian.
  2. I'm starting to wonder if the "idiot cop" archetype will start to disappear the way the "idiot soldier" has since 9/11. I don't remember where, but I recently heard someone talking about how you'd never have something like a "Sgt. Bilko" today, because you just can't play the military for laughs anymore. So many classic slapstick movies and bits would be verboten as well. Sure, when the time is right, someone will come along and do it, and things will return to normal. As someone who loves comedy, and writes it for a living, I hate when stuff gets taken off the table like this, but these are the times we live in.
  3. One thing that struck me in today's reading was the question of how changing technologies affected slapstick humor. Maybe I'm jumping way ahead, but I think CGI is very much destroying it. A good slapstick gag just isn't funny to me when I know it wasn't achieved in-camera. For instance, there is simply nothing funny about this for me: So in a way, there's a certain realism that has to be present for me to appreciate the gag. I'd rather see them use cheesy, floppy-limbed dummies than CGI. But then again, I've always had a special place in my heart for dummies in slapstick. Not sure how that gels with the definitions of slapstick put forth by our masters.
  4. It occurs to me that without context, this film is potentially cruel. I could see it as some rich kid messing with the gardener. Sure, in the one version he gets spanked, so there's comeuppance. But in the other, he just gets sprayed with the hose in return, which probably wouldn't teach him much of a lesson. It kind of has the feel of him "getting away with it." That's one of the things that makes slapstick work: That it happens to the right people in the right circumstances. In this case, we really don't know. Not that it probably mattered to an audience still in awe of the process of film itself.
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