The Impact of Comedy in Aggretsuko

Aggretsuko is a Japanese animated comedy (available on Netflix) centered around a 25 year old girl named Retsuko (the “Comic Hero”), who grows tired of her boring office job and hostile boss as she struggles to balance the responsibilities of adulthood. Throughout the 5 seasons of the show, there is a common theme centered on the idea and ugly truth about capitalism and how difficult it is to merely provide for even a simple lifestyle in today’s environment.

Retsuko is commonly getting into rough situations, such as needing to repay the debt for accidentally backing into someone’s car while parking, being overworked by her boss and given an excessive amount of paperwork to complete in little time, struggling to afford proper food due to her shortage of money after making too many online purchases, more. While these events are portrayed in a comedic light, the show does so in a way that doesn’t necessarily undermine or brush off these common struggles that many people today face, but it’s able to present it in a way that’s relatable and something that people can learn to laugh about instead of so much letting it ruin the joys we have in life. This can help the audience feel more seen and lifted up rather than succumbing to the harsh reality of how to sustain a decent lifestyle in today’s society, and through seeing the characters learn to manage and work through their struggles, they can learn to apply those skills to their own lives and well-being.

Animaniacs and Satire

Animaniacs is a popular cartoon created by Tom Ruegger, originally airing in 1993 and the reboot airing in 2020 on Hulu. The show consists of 3 toon siblings named Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner. They regularly do skits/sketches that comment on celebrities, ongoing issues, politics, etc, but do so in a way that’s more comedic and for all audiences to enjoy and poke fun at. In season 2 of the reboot, there is a sketch that features the Warner siblings recording a video for Youtube that fits the infamous “apology video” concept in today’s era. Apology videos are most commonly done (badly) by influencers whenever they say or do something controversial, then attempting to either excuse their actions or cry on camera often for pity. While there have been some genuine apologies for wrongdoings, the majority of apology videos done by influencers are forced or faked just to deny accusations, and the Warner siblings are very much aware of this problem.

This skit utilizes irony, hyperbole, and parody to draw attention to the problem with apology videos, emphasized by showing exactly what shouldn’t be done. They use dramatic voices, overly sad expressions, not taking responsibility for their mistake, not directly addressing the issue and instead repeating the same things, fake crying, all clearly being a hint that they are faking the whole thing. By using dramatic acting and over-the-top gestures, the audience is able to laugh at how poorly the “apology” is handled, which is unfortunately the reality of many influencers doing apology videos.

Women in Power in King Lear

Something worth noting in Shakespeare’s play King Lear is the way that women, more specifically women in power, are represented. Regan and Goneril, 2 of Lear’s daughters in which he gives his land and power to, are portrayed as corrupted and vile as they plot against Lear and end up dismissing him out into the storm at the end of Act 2, Regan going as far as stabbing and killing a servant without hesitation in Act 3. This feeds into the idea that women in power become malicious and only desire that given power for evil reasons. Cordelia, on the other hand, was the only daughter who wasn’t given land after being banished for refusing to declare her love for her father. Though a naturally kind character, Cordelia is portrayed as precious, forgiving, and pure, who is coincidentally the only powerless daughter.

Another example is at the closing lines of Act 3, Sc. 7, 122-124:

Third Servant

If she live long

And in the end meet the old course of death,

Women will all turn monsters.

The servant claimed that if Regan was able to get away with killing the other servant, then all women would supposedly “become monsters”, portraying the future of all women as corrupted just by the actions of one. The servants see it as a threat if women start to yearn for power instead of just letting the men receive all the power and not intervening, and the play in general seems to only focus on the power/land given to Lear’s daughters when the other men are present, more specifically their husbands.


In her hit single, “21“, Gracie Abrams sings about the pain and heartache of lost love. She mourns a recent breakup, feeling a mix of regret and thinking of what could’ve been. Although it is unknown what caused the two to separate, Abrams utilizes strong poetic language to express just how much of a toll it had taken on her, physically and mentally. She later commented that this song allowed her to say everything she had to say that she was unable to do before, allowing her to release her bottled up feelings, much like poetry itself. Abrams writes

I’m sorry if you blame me, if I were you I would
Thought you’d see it coming, but you never could
I still haven’t heard from your family
But you said your mom always loved me

Abram’s use of AABB rhyming scheme helps pull the reader in to the story she is telling. Her song is directed towards the person she is missing, while also being able to resonate with a general audience of listeners who may have gone through a similar experience. This makes the song more real, diving more into the aftermath of a breakup that involves not only the severed bond between those dating, but to the other’s family as well.

Just because you’re hurting doesn’t mean I’m not
If it doesn’t go away by the time I turn thirty
I made a mistake and I’ll tell you I’m sorry

Her use of “Hurting” here goes both ways, both for the other person and herself. She shoulders the blame and regret, which people may use as a way to justify the pain she is feeling. But it goes beyond that, showing the weight of a breakup and how it affects both parties, no matter how big or small.

When the night is over
Don’t call me up I’m already under

Abram’s multidimensional language used here is the many interpretations of “under”. She’s at her lowest underneath, out of reach of those around her. She feels crushed under self-loathing and past mistakes. Someone going under is another way to say that they are feeling defeated and overwhelmed. It all ties back to her central theme that inspects all layers of her pain, from the surface level to the furthest depths. Along with this, she utilizes contrast with two opposites by following “up” with “under”. She feels submerged in her misery, unable to reach the surface or free herself of drowning guilt that would plague her for years.

Meursault and Matthew: One in the Same?

Upon reading the novel The Stranger and watching the movie Trust, the similarities of two important characters in these two different stories are hard to ignore: Meursault and Matthew. Their own names bare a resemblance (both starting with “M”) as does the names of the women they take a liking to: Marie and Maria. They also both play a significant role in the lives of those around them. Meursault getting Marie to fall in love with him and propose to him, and Matthew showing up in Marie’s life and changing her outlook on her future and what she wants to do with it.

Despite their similarities, they also have their differences. Meursault doesn’t seem to fall in love or have a desire for love with Marie the way that Matthew does towards Maria, Matthew even going as far as wishing to marry her on a whim. Matthew also seems to be more expressive and emotional, showing frustration and anger towards Marie’s mother taking advantage of her. Meanwhile, Meursault lacked the ability to cry at his own mother’s funeral or show any emotion at all.

This demonstrates the various ways that lifestyles can differ from person to person throughout fiction and real life, no two people being exactly the same.

The Moral of Sisyphus

After reading the compelling tale of Sisyphus and the unexpected satisfaction he has in his own eternal torture, one could raise the debate on whether or not this way of thinking is one to embrace or reject. Should we adapt to this strange lifestyle to lead a more fulfilling life?

I do believe it’s important to feel in control of your future, but having complete certainty of your entire life ahead doesn’t always work. Don’t get me wrong, there is indeed satisfaction in certainty and having everything planned out. However, this doesn’t automatically lead to pure happiness. Sisyphus is able to control his fate of rolling the rock up the hill over and over again, but this could also lead to an empty and tiresome life devoid of excitement and hope. While not always entirely good, uncertainty can lead to exhilaration and joy from being able to try a new experience without worrying so much about how it will turn out in the end.

“The Elephant Vanishes” and Symbolism

“The Elephant Vanishes” is an incredibly interesting story, full of mystery, connections and revelations. It further pushes the depth of its storytelling by demonstrating a connection to the real world and the balance, or rather imbalance, between human beings and animals today.

In this short story, the aged elephant had been adopted and taken care of by this town, despite the debate about it beforehand. Crowds would gather to admire the elephant during the day, while the zookeeper would stay at night to keep it company and clean the living space. The elephant especially grew close to the zookeeper, affectionately putting its trunk on the back of the man while he was working. Even the narrator acknowledges the clear bond of trust between the two, despite any exchange of dialogue.

In reality, the bond between humans and elephants isn’t as warm. The rate of illegal elephant poaching each year still ride high, an estimated 30,000 African elephants being poached yearly. Hunters only see elephants for their expensive tusks, rather then the life it belongs to.

Jessica Benjamin’s View on Independence

Jessica Benjamin argues that true independence comes from recognizing the other person in a relationship, rather than attempting to be the dominant person in an attempt for control. A healthy relationship requires balance and mutual respect, not one person having too much or too little “power” that would instead create a divide between them. If one person aims to secure more authority or control over the other person, whether it be a romantic or platonic relationship, the bond is weakened and they both end up being harmed. The relationships that we have with others plays a role in our identity and how we continue to grow as people. Benjamin also brings up the fact that people need to feel distinct yet connected to others. Even though this pattern can be difficult to maintain, being associated with others can help a person grow and learn.