Clueless and Jane Austen

The rom-com genius Jane Austen wrote Emma, where she created a swoony story with love triangles while also calling out her protagonist for her sheltered and blinkered view of the world.

Amy Heckerling, writer-director of Clueless, took inspiration from Austen and created a beloved movie even after 25 years. While the film is famous for its ’90s aesthetic, girlish luxuries, endless fashion ensembles, and nice cars, Clueless still is in a tricky place.

Heckerling, like Auestn, uses irony to show what it looks like when a self-involved person with every advantage realizes she needs to stop thinking she’s right about everything and is entitled to tell others how to live.

Clueless is a romantic comedy, but it is also a story about trying to be a better person, specifically about a privileged young white woman trying to be a better person.

In the beginning, Cher insists she lives a “way normal life for a teenage girl,” but she says this while using a computer to pick out her clothes in an uncommonly large closet. From the very first moments of Clueless, it is evident that Cher’s view of the world is entirely at odds with what it is. Much of the humor in the movie comes from that disconnect.

What’s both problematic and amusing about Cher is her ingrained belief that whatever she thinks, says, or does is correct, which is the very definition of white privilege. She has never faced any actual consequences for her actions and therefore has never been challenged.

The love interest, Josh, gives Cher a different perspective on the world. He constantly calls her out on “rich white girl nonsense” and her lack of curiosity about what’s happening beyond Beverly Hills. Her growing respect and love for him make her rethink her previous ideas.

By the end of the movie, there’s no reason to believe that Cher has changed so much that she stopped her previous activities altogether, but she has taken some positive steps. And even a positive step in a teen comedy can leave a significant impression on its audience, especially those who saw it at a young age.

Heckerling took inspiration from Jane Austen’s Emma from 1815 to create a story still relevant in 1995. Clueless critiques the lack of perspective that often goes with being white and wealthy. In its satirical moments, Clueless acknowledges Cher’s obliviousness while still forcing her to start figuring out how to hold herself to a higher standard.

SNL: The Legacy of Comedy

When you think of comedy, you think of some of the most iconic movies and television shows ever. The Office, Family Guy, The Late Show. Programs like these hold a special place in our hearts and possibly impact our daily lives. Yet, one show has constantly driven the comedy industry, and many comedians and actors have the same goal of reaching there. For 48 years, NBC has reserved its Saturday night timeslot for one of the most iconic programs ever. First aired on October 11, 1975, the program formerly known as NBC’s Saturday Night featured skits and sketches from some of America’s most famous comedians. The show had a high ceiling and drew a large audience early on, and the results of its early popularity have shown as the program enters Season 48. 

SNL, over the years, has garnered a lot of attention for the themes in their sketches. Many have applauded but also criticized their parody of political and pop culture. They portray these figures in a very satirical way, whether it be James Austin Johnson’s Donald Trump or Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton. The preface of SNL is to use satirical humor to connect to an audience and write original skits, showcasing your talent as a comedian. Saturday Night Live is the pinnacle of live comedic television. Equipped with its outstanding list of awards, the reputation and legacy of SNL is one of the best in all entertainment.

Of course, not all good things last forever. The strength of SNL has changed, and the cast has differed year to year, but the show still has a cult following, and instant classic skits arise now and then. One of the most praised segments of SNL today is Weekend Update. With hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che, Weekend Update is set up like a newsroom, featuring satirical drops on current events. The segment has gained the reputation of being one of the most popular on the show and is usually the most replayed part of each episode. Overall, Saturday Night Live will forever be remembered as a marquee program in comedy, and for however long the program continues, will continue to inspire generations of comedians and actors.

The Meaningful Art of Comedy

Dramatic comedy is a powerful and meaningful art form that has been entertaining and enlightening audiences for centuries. It can be seen as a combination of both tragedy and comedy, allowing us to explore deep human emotions while also providing moments of levity and humor. In this post, I will defend dramatic comedy as a meaningful art form and use the example of the television series “Atlanta” to analyze how it enhances our understanding of the world.

First, it is important to understand the definition of dramatic comedy as Aristotle defined it in his famous work “Poetics.” He saw it as a form of drama that deals with humorous and often satirical subject matter, but still maintains a serious tone and deals with important themes and ideas. By using humor as a tool to explore deeper issues, dramatic comedy can be a powerful way to connect with audiences and make complex ideas more accessible.

One example of a long-form comedic work that is particularly successful in enhancing our understanding of the world is the television series “Atlanta,” created by Donald Glover. The show follows the life of Earnest “Earn” Marks, a young African American man who tries to make it in the Atlanta rap scene while dealing with personal and societal issues.

One of the ways “Atlanta” enhances our understanding of the world is by highlighting the experiences of Black Americans in a way that is both authentic and relatable. The show tackles issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and economic inequality, while also providing moments of humor and levity. By doing so, it offers a nuanced and multi-faceted portrayal of the Black experience that is rarely seen in mainstream media.

Another way “Atlanta” enhances our understanding of the world is by using surrealism and magical realism to explore deeper themes and ideas. In several episodes, the show takes on a dream-like quality, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. This technique allows the show to explore complex concepts such as identity, mental health, and the nature of reality itself in a way that is both thought-provoking and entertaining.

Finally, “Atlanta” also explores the struggles of everyday life in a way that is both relatable and meaningful. While the show deals with serious issues, it also presents a realistic portrayal of the joys and struggles of young adulthood. From struggling to pay rent to dealing with difficult family dynamics, “Atlanta” shows us that even in the midst of hardship, there can be moments of humor and connection.

In conclusion, dramatic comedy is a meaningful and powerful art form that can enhance our understanding of the world around us. By using humor to explore deeper themes and ideas, shows like “Atlanta” can connect with audiences in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening. By presenting a nuanced and multi-faceted portrayal of the human experience, dramatic comedy can help us to see the world in a new and more meaningful way.