This country is getting a little ridiculous.
And no, I am not talking about the debt ceiling, I am not talking about the immigration laws that are being passed in Alabama, I am talking about something much more serious.
I am talking about censorship on TV.
Not news censorship.
Censorship when movies are edited for TV.
Not serious, you think? Well, you're wrong!
This lovely Saturday morning when I woke up, the masterpiece Shaun of the Dead was on TV. This is one of my very favorite movies - I know it pretty much by heart and always have a good laugh when watching it. It is brilliantly put together. From the pacing to the acting to the comedy to the tragedy, it is incredibly affective at taking you for along ride.
So, needless to say, I was excited at having it on in the background as I bustled about my morning routine. Listening with half an ear to the hilarity as I cut up my banana for my cereal, I noticed something was wrong. The timing on the jokes seemed off. There were gaping holes that were usually filled with some delicious snippet of hilarity. What was happening?
I turned my full attention to Bryan Jr. (our TV) and realized that it was from the network bleeping out the curse words. But rather than bleep them out with another word (which can sometimes add to the hilarity), they simply removed the word altogether so there was just this awkward silence in the middle of the sentence.
Any comedian will tell you that the pacing of a sentence leading up to a joke is monumentally important. Certain words are funnier than others, words that contain a hard "c" sound for some reason are just more entertaining. The speed at which you speak, what you give and what you hold back all add to getting your audience to chuckle, chortle and gasp for breath.
Let's take an example, an old favorite. The knock knock joke.
We all know the rhythm of that joke, the flow of it. While that is not the punchline, it is intrinsically necessary to begin the joke with these words in the traditional timing in order to get the joke to shine. Knock knock jokes just wouldn't work if they started:
How can I help you?
The simple act of this TV station removing words from sentences completely ruined some perfect comedic moments.
That, my friends, is a travesty.
For example, one of my favorite exchanges in the movie is when Simon Pegg and Nick Frost come home from a night of heavy drinking and Peter Serafinowicz rips them a new one for being loud when he is trying to sleep.
Pete (Serafinowizc): It's four in the fucking morning!
Shaun (Pegg): It's Saturday!
Pete (Serafinowicz): No, it's not. It's fucking Sunday. And I've got to go to fucking work in four fucking hours 'cos every other fucker in my fucking department is fucking ill! Now can you see why I'm SO FUCKING ANGRY?
Ed (Frost): Fuck yeah!
With the censorship, this scene became this:
Pete (Serafinowizc): It's four in the ----- morning!
Shaun (Pegg): It's Saturday!
Pete (Serafinowizc): No, it's not. It's ----- Sunday. And I've got to go to ----- work in four ----- hours 'cos every other ----- in my fucking department is ----- ill! Now can you see why I'm SO ----- ANGRY?
Ed (Frost): ----- yeah!
Not funny, TV. Not funny at all.
The worst editing actually happened just before this scene, when Shaun and Ed were at the bar together, and Ed does his impression of the monkey Clive. At the end of his imitation, he gives Shaun a good, strong middle finger to try and get him to laugh. I thought the censors would cut that part of it out and ruin the joke that way, but no. Instead they CGI's his finger out completely.
What if I had never seen this movie? Suddenly Ed doesn't have a middle finger? It wasn't even good CGI, you could tell he was TRYING to flip him the bird, but WHERE IS HIS FINGER? This raises all sorts of questions! How did he lose his finger? Where is it? Was he born without it? What does this have to do with zombies? Is it the character, or does the actor himself not have a middle finger? Can he get a prosthetic? Has it affected his life in an adverse way by not being able to express his anger both vocally and physically?
And see, I am not thinking about zombies anymore.
I turned it off soon after seeing the Serafinowizc scene butchered by the editing. It just made me too sad.
So, you see, the destruction of comedic genius is much more serious than anything else that's going on.
Come on, don't look at me that way. December 2012 is right around the corner, everything's going to shit anyway. But if we can't laugh while we burn in the fires of our own creation, whats the FUCKING point?
See what I did there?