Comedy is one of my favorite forms of media, whether it be in books, movies, television shows or stand up specials on Netflix, I will always look forward to watching a comedy far more than a drama. However, I have to admit, I have still always seen comedies as less important and profound than tragedies because of the grand reputation that dramas have for speaking on tough issues. Dramas are often moving, and really make the audience think, whereas I have always thought of comedies as an escape from reality rather than something of a magnifying glass. However, this unit on comedy has made me reconsider my ideas about the purpose of comedy.
According to Aristotle, a comedy is a story of the rise in fortune of a sympathetic central character. One of my favorite television shows, Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows this formula, but also adds to it. Brooklyn Nine-Nine stars Andy Samberg as the childish New York City cop, Jake Peralta. The entire series does not necessarily focus on Jake’s rise monetarily, or status wise, but focuses on his character, and its development. From the start of the show, Jake is established as a loveable, but immature character with daddy issues. Throughout the show, with the help of the other characters in the show, he is able to mature as a person and become a better cop. His rise in fortune occurs when the 99th precinct in which Jake is working gets a new captain, Captain Holt, who is very uptight and strict to contrast with Jake. Throughout the show, Holt’s strictness helps Jake mature and become a better cop. Jake’s rise in fortune is the introduction of Holt, which helps him gain what he wants, which is to be a better cop.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine perfectly represents comedy’s importance to literature and media, hence it’s importance in helping us understand our world. Where someone may be turned off by a movie exploring the trials and tribulations of being gay, they may be more inclined to watch a comedic tv series. Brooklyn Nine-Nine stars two openly LGBT characters. Not only is the comedic aspect of their lives as LGBT people explored, the more serious and tough parts of their lives as LGBT people are also explored. Because most people like to laugh, it is one thing that attracts most everyone to comedies, it really expands the bounds of exploration within comedies, and how it can explore issues such as that Brooklyn Nine-Nine explores. Whether it’s through satire or plain old slapstick comedy, it is much easier to sneak in representation and conversations about real issues into a piece of comedic media because those serious discussions are offset by the comedy, which is what makes these shows so attractive in the first place. Thus, because of its wider appeal, comedy might just have even more impact on people’s ideas about the world because of its more subtle ways of unpacking such issues. With these conversations that shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine are having about race issues and LGBT issues, it could truly change someone’s perspective on these issues, and quite possibly change lives.