Satire of The High School Experience and Stereotypes in 21 Jump Street

The movie “21 Jump Street” released in 2012 unveil the stereotypical dumb attractive man partnered with a smart unappealing man and the unhinged high school experience. “21 Jump street” is about two high school classmates Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) who cross paths at the police academy. Their incompetence and inexperience leads them to a undercover operation at a high school to find a drug dealer who’s dealing acid to students.

The film exaggerates the two main characters roles in the film. Jenko, being the unintelligent and strong cop who can’t comprehend simple instructions given to him when trying to find the drug dealer and ends up almost ruining the operation. Whereas Schmidt seems to be planning out most of the operation and has to assist Jenko for more than half of the film. Another aspect the film exaggerates, is the high school experience. It pokes fun at the high school sociological make-up — who’s popular, who’s not, what kids act like nowadays? — has changed over the years. The film manages to change the stereotypes of trouble makers (the intelligent smart kids making the drugs for the kids). At the end of the film they both catch the drug dealer and make there boss proud.

In conclusion “21 Jump Street” is a satirical film that also uses comedy to showcase teamwork to its audience: anything can be accomplished no matter how dumb or weird you can be, have fun and don’t take things to seriously. The film reminds the audience that it’s a journey to achieve your goal as well as putting your mind to your goal in order to accomplish it.

The Simpsons Satire

The classic TV show, The Simpsons is well known for their satirization of ordinary life. The show achieves this by using comedic techniques such as sarcasm, exaggeration and incongruity to criticize different systems. In this particular episode, Bart and Lisa Simpson are taking standardized test in school to determine their best fit future career.

The show criticizes the school system and the purpose of standardized tests. For example, the name of the test, career aptitude normalizing test, stands for “can’t”. The name is ironic and suggests that assessment has a negative connotation or that it restricts students’ abilities. The teacher also makes a comment saying, “some of you may discover a wonderful vocation you never even imagined, others may find out life isn’t fair”. She then goes into detail about how despite her masters in education she ended up babysitting fourth graders while her husband ran away with her marriage counselor. Although she speaks in a serious tone I can identify this as satire because it is criticizing the foundation of the test by inferring that the career you are given does not always work out or make you happy. This test is seemingly a parody of other standardized tests because the questions on the test are general, easy, and worded randomly to disguise the strategy behind the scores. After the test, Lisa’s friend turns to her and says “well that was a waste of time”. Lisa responds by saying school is never a waste of time. Right after saying this, the students are instructed by the teacher to stare at the front of the room for the remainder of the class. By contradicting the statement that school is never a waste of time, the writers of the show are pointing out that standardized tests are in fact a waste of time in schools. Yet the test is handled with extreme precaution and seriousness. I noticed this when the police officers come in and collected the tests in a briefcase.

Another aspect of satire is the arch above the National Testing Center that is engraved to say “controlling your destiny since 1925”. This is satire because it ridicules the idea of a test determining your destiny. Finally one of the last references to satire I noticed was when Bart’s test was being graded and the answers were so bad that it broke the machine. After it is revealed that his test showed that his “best-fit” career would be a police officer. This not only makes fun of the schools’ system of standardized testing but also criticizes another more political system: law enforcement. It points out the little education needed to be in positions of power such as a police officer and by joking about it, people watching the show can understand the reference and deeper meaning. Although this episode may seem like a simple comedic representation of society, the use of satire shows that it goes beyond just that. It promotes change in the way students are tested and marginalized based on scores and it suggests that society as a whole should hold law enforcement officers to a higher standard and degree of education instead of allowing people to get into positions of power easily.

Does Comedy Have to be a Complete Tragedy?

Since I was young, comedy has always been my favorite form of entertainment. I would prefer reading comic books, or shows and movies about comedy over any other genre. However, I have recently realized the movie’s I was always watching rarely had any asian cast members. Even still in the past few years, the movie industry has little to no coverage of Asian culture. As a result, very few Asian actors and directors have been nominated or won academy awards, and also the culture isn’t being honored/celebrated.

The rom-com film Crazy Rich Asians quickly became one of the highest rising and trending comedies. The movie was a huge win for Asian Americans, and particularly significant as it was the first movie in at least 25 years to feature an all-Asian cast. Consequently, leading to an increase in Asian-American representation in Hollywood. The film marks a historical milestone to Hollywood movie production. 

The film focuses on a young couple, Rachel and Nick, who are polar opposites in terms of status and wealth. While the couple is heading on a trip to Singapore for Nick’s friend’s marriage, Rachel soon realizes many women are in pursuit for her boyfriend, Nick. Rachel, who comes from a middle to low class family later discovers that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and successful. While Rachel becomes deeply immersed in the higher-class society, she contemplates whether or not she is built for that life. The movie suggests that people from all different social classes and families can form a connection. The movie is based on Rachel, the protagonist who ultimately determines her and Nick’s fate. Although Rachel chooses not to marry Nick, she was looking out for his best interest since she valued his relationship with his mother. If Rachel had decided to marry Nick, he would have had to lose contact with his family due to his mothers disapproval in their relationship. Ultimately, the happy ever ending takes place- Nick and Rachel get engaged. 

Throughout the film power dynamics and social class are apparent. The ending however carries specific significance since the middle-class woman is deciding the wealthy man’s future- whether the two will stay together. The flip in this binary is also important due to its relevance in  our world today. Typically those in power are those who are more wealthy, but more importantly the men in society usually make the important decisions whereas the women in this instance are. At times, the humor in the movie is portrayed through irony, and helps present gender roles and class. According to Aristotle, the definition of a comedy is a story of a person’s rise in fortune, and two lovers who are separated due to an extenuating circumstance, and this film is a parallel example. Rachel had to make the major choice, despite Nick coming from a family of great wealth and noble status. Crazy Rich Asians is a prime example of a comedy that contributes to real-life meaning and discusses important issues. The deeper and socially related message discusses the issues of gender and wealth, and how society views people following these factors.

Political Satire and Veep

Veep is one of the most iconic satirical TV shows in American history. As in the name of the show, it follows Vice President Selina Meyers (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as she fumbles through her career and makes a mockery of American democracy by caring more about her own reputation and status than her ideology or party ties. The Veep and her staff have no respect for institutional processes and no need for any guiding moral principles. They’re determined, cynical, and indifferent if not contemptuous of the people they’re supposed to govern. The show is a parody of a documentary series, similar to the office, but it is not actually a documentary. The characters make use of verbal and dramatic irony, as well as hyperbole, constantly mocking the American political system with their incompetency and inability to show genuine compassion for the people that they govern and the responsibilities they have. Selina often uses “the president is calling” as her default escape from uncomfortable situations, which is hilarious irony mocking the “useless”  role of the vice president in the American government as she and her staff are aware that he never actually calls.  By focusing on the incredibly unbelievable stupidity and pettiness of these Washington officials, the show makes their chase for and inability to be completely in power even more hilarious. One of the beauties of this show is that not once do they make mention of political parties or ideologies, no one knows whose a conservative or a liberal, democrat or a republican is (although you kinda know). Both sides of the political spectrum are portrayed as equally corrupt, stubborn, greedy, and cynical which allows the show to reach a more heterogeneous audience.  The show began in early 2012 before Obama won his re-election and was a very different time in American politics compared to today. It demonstrates the broader theme in American society of the performative nature and ulterior motives inherent in political activities and how easily idiots can thrive in a broken political system, especially when the show imbecile and clown Jonah Ryan, becomes a front-runner in the presidential election of the last season (veering less from satire and more towards reality in this post-2016 world).

Power and Identity in King Lear

“King Lear” is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare that explores the themes of power, gender, identity, and performance. Through the characters and their actions, the play examines how these themes interrelate and affect the lives of the people around them.

Power is a central theme in “King Lear.” The play illustrates how power can corrupt even the most virtuous individuals. At the beginning of the play, King Lear is a powerful monarch with three daughters. He demands that they profess their love for him, and he plans to divide his kingdom among them based on their responses. However, he becomes increasingly irrational and paranoid as he loses his power. His daughters Goneril and Regan also become corrupted by power, mistreating their father and each other in their quest for control.

The theme of gender is also explored in “King Lear.” Women are portrayed as powerful and influential figures who can manipulate men to achieve their goals. Goneril and Regan use their sexuality to manipulate their husbands and gain power over their father. However, the play also highlights the limitations placed on women in society. Cordelia, Lear’s daughter who refuses to play along with her sisters’ games, is punished and ultimately killed.

Identity is another central theme in “King Lear.” The play explores the idea that identity can be fluid and changeable. Lear’s identity is tied up in his role as king, and he struggles to adjust to life without power. His journey throughout the play is a struggle to find his identity outside of his role as king. The Fool also represents an ambiguous identity, as he uses humor and wit to mask his true thoughts and feelings. The character of Edgar also embodies the idea of fluid identity. He disguises himself as Poor Tom to escape persecution and assumes different identities throughout the play.

The theme of performance is also explored in “King Lear.” The play features a number of instances where characters are performing or putting on a show. Lear’s demand for his daughters to profess their love for him is one example, as is the performance of Edgar as Poor Tom. These instances highlight the idea that people often play a role in society and may not reveal their true selves to others.

In conclusion, “King Lear” explores the complexities of power, gender, identity, and performance. The play illustrates how these themes interrelate and how they affect the lives of the characters in the play. The play provides insights into the human condition and how these themes are still relevant today. Shakespeare’s masterpiece challenges us to consider the relationship between power, gender, identity, and performance, and how we can use these concepts to understand ourselves and our place in society. The characters in the play are not simply figures from a bygone era but embody struggles and issues that continue to exist in our contemporary society. By engaging with these themes, “King Lear” encourages us to reflect on our own experiences and the complexities of the world we inhabit.

Satirical Song Analysis- “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel

One of the most iconic examples of cultural work that uses satire is the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel. The song was released in 1989 and features a rapid-fire list of historical events, pop culture icons, and political figures from 1949 to 1989. The song has become a classic and is still popular today, thanks in part to its catchy tune and memorable lyrics. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is an excellent example of the use of hyperbole and irony in satire. The song’s hyperbole is evident in the way it compresses more than 40 years of history into a single song. The use of irony is also clear, as the song’s chorus repeatedly asserts that “we didn’t start the fire” while the verses list a litany of events that seem to suggest otherwise. The song also uses understatement in places, such as when it mentions the death of Elvis Presley with the simple line “Elvis Presley, we lost him young.” In addition to these techniques, the song also employs parody by using a musical style that was popular in the 1950s and 1960s. The song’s melody and rhythm are reminiscent of early rock and roll songs, which adds to the song’s nostalgic and satirical feel. While “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is undoubtedly a humorous and entertaining song, it also serves as a biting critique of American society and culture. The song highlights the many challenges and crises that have occurred over the past 40 years, including political scandals, wars, economic downturns, and cultural shifts. By listing these events in a single song, the song suggests that they are all interconnected and part of a broader trend in American society. At the same time, the song’s repeated refrain that “we didn’t start the fire” suggests that society is not entirely to blame for these problems. Rather, the song suggests that society is a product of its history and that the events listed in the song have shaped the society we live in today. By pointing out these connections and underlying causes, the song encourages listeners to think critically about the society they live in and to work towards making positive changes.