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.

2 thoughts on “Does Comedy Have to be a Complete Tragedy?

  1. I really like how you elaborated on how comedy is not only a feel-good genre with conventional narrative tropes but the fact that it is a mode of increasing representation. While there is a prevalent use of irony and satirical elements there is also an opportunity to include deeper social messages.


  2. Lucy B

    I’ve seen this before, however, I haven’t considered it in this way. This movie represents that messages shared through comedy can be very impactful.


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