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In the Week 1 module, Richard notes that film scholar Don Crafton describes gags of early slapstick serving "as as a source of narrative 'excess'". In other words, gags tend to be breaks from the plot and traditionally storytelling, intending to be used just for exaggerated humor.

 

What I'm wondering is if there have been gags, either in early slapstick or present-day, where they were crucial and pivotal to the progression of narrative--where the plot simply wouldn't drive forward without the execution of said gags?

 

Buster Keaton--perhaps?--whose gags tend to be forces of nature outside his control, and which very often sets off the circumstances of the rest of his films.

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I guess in "One Week" you could say the gags are the plot. Or you could say that they do interrupt the plot, since he's never successful at getting the piano into his house. And it looks like he's not even successful in building the house, since it's all off kilter and then gets further destroyed by Buster cutting a hole in it, holes being made in the roof, etc. 

 

I think I option #2.

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