Satire in South Park

South Park over the past two decades has evolved into the purest form of satire in television history. South Park has been pushing the limits from the very first day from making fun of celebrities, politicians, religion, and any controversial event.

The four min characters are seen ( Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny) * in no order, with the rest of the characters in the show.

South Park brings satire to the most controversial events in America. For example, in episode “World War Zimmerman,” the death of Trayvon Martin, and George Zimmerman being acquitted from all charges puts South Park to the test with this serious situation. In the episode, South Park satires the Stand Your Ground gun laws in America. Another example, of satire in South Park is when Stan’s little brother has an affair with his kindergarten teacher. In the episode, ” Miss Teacher Bangs A Boy.” The show show uses satire to show the serious issue of child molestation. An example of an celebrity being made fun of in South Park are Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The episode ” The Hobbit,” shows the problem of trying to be perfect to match Hollywood’s standard. Also, the episode makes fun of Kanye for having no sense of humor, by making Kanye in the episode have outrageous outbursts. South Park is the best form of satire in television history because they show no limits in making points of celebrities, politicians, and controversial events. Of course, many South Park episodes have been banned on television. Also, China has the whole program of South Park banned.

Satire in SNL's Debbie Downer

Debbie Downer goes to Disney World Aired 05/01/04

On birthdays she brings up hurricane victims, at Disney she mentions terrorist attacks and mad cow disease, at Christmas she makes Santa depressed, and at every waking moment she’s concerned with feline AIDS (it’s the number one killer of domestic cats) …she’s Debbie Downer. 

Debbie Downer, created and portrayed by Rachel Dratch, is one of the funniest, recurring satirical characters on SNL. The first sketch came out back in May 2004 and included then Snl cast members Amy Poehler and Jimmy Fallon. In one of my favorite sketches- and a great example of satire- Debbie Downer goes to Disney World and brings down the mood while simultaneously making her cast mates completely break (also why it’s hilarious). While Lindsey Lohan is excited to meet Pluto, Debbie says, “It must be fun to work here! Although the biggest drawback to working in a theme park is that you must live under constant fear of deadly terrorist attacks.” She continues to only bring up depressing topics around her excited friends by saying things like, “”By the way, it’s official…I can’t have children!”

This sketch is a fantastic example of hyperbole, irony, and situational humor all working together. It’s ironic that at the “happiest place on earth” all Debbie can bring up are diseases and global crisis. The settings of all of the sketches take a similar approach by centering around birthday parties, weddings, and holidays- seemingly happy times. The entire sketch also exaggerates the “debbie downer” persona by only having her mention sad things for 5 minutes straight with the wah-wah sound of a trumpet after each depressing fact. 

This sketch also represents how satire doesn’t solely function to make fun of people, but instead functions as a form of social commentary and catalyst of change. While this sketch isn’t as politically-charged as more recent SNL ones are, it’s still relevant and satirical. The point they are trying to get across is that people shouldn’t just be negative all of the time. Even though bad things are happening in the world, people should avoid being a debbie downer and try to focus on positive stories as well. I think that while paying attention to world news and being aware of catastrophic events is extremely important, you don’t need to feel constantly depressed by it and bring others down as a result. I think it’s also commenting on how the news in the past decade tends to focus on really sad things. If you turn on the news at night, there are good chances that it will be about death, crime, or global crisis.

Wait, There Was No War?

In Barry Levinson’s Wag the Dog, a spin doctor and a hollywood producer fabricate a war in Albania to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal two weeks before the presidential election. They create a theme song, fake footage of an orphaned girl running through a village on fire, and a POW narrative for someone who they later find out is a convict. The war is a success because the public believes it the entire time even after the CIA tries to shut down the operation and their attention is taken off of the sex scandal. The president wins his re-election and the public believes that the war in Albania ended.

The whole movie is an example of dramatic irony because the American public in the film does not know that the war is fake. Only the audience is aware that Albania is not actually at war with the U.S. A specific example of this dramatic irony is when the orphaned Albanian girl runs through a village of burning buildings to get to safety. This girl is actually an American actress who was hired by the producer to create footage from the war and demonstrate how Albania is being affected. The public believes that this footage is live from the war but in reality it is happening in a TV studio. This specific moment emphasizes the message that the movie is trying to get across, the American public will believe anything that they see in the news. The public is so naive that they believe anything that the government advertises as being true and anything that they see on TV and on the internet. The government made up a war and the public was convinced that people in Albania were dying, even though many people do not know where Albania is more much else about it.

The movie is a parody to today’s society because people still put a lot of trust in the media and believe everything they see in the news. Whatever the government says the people believe since Americans have a large sense of blind patriotism. The movie shows how political leaders can abuse their power and how the American public will not do anything about it. The media is able to exploit the opinion of the people and it is still happening toda

Satire in Netflix's Patriot Act

In the late month’s of 2018, Netflix US released a show called the “Patriot Act” where popular comedian Hasan Minhaj addressed serious issues in a satirical manner.

Hasan Minhaj is brilliant in his work and throughout the show makes what he is saying hilarious, yet also sharp and factual. For every episode of the Patriot Act, Minhaj covers serious world problems and topics ranging from economics to global warming. Minhaj uses his comedic background as a way to communicate facts and information on the episode topic.

The Patriot Act has covered heavy topics such as the stigmas and exposing of health care when it comes to mental health, the darker side of the gaming industry where Minhaj speaks about the hardships gaming companies put their employees through, how the NRA is spreading gun violence globally, and more.

Minhaj uses sarcasm and tons of irony to push his facts and work on creating a more efficient and relatable way. Minhaj’s use of comedic strategies and help enhance the true seriousness of the many topics the show covers throughout the seasons/volumes. For example, during an episode titled: “The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion”, which comments on the new trend of cheaply made clothing that is mass produced and sold online, used different strategies. Minhaj commented, “It’s (fast fashion) is like toilet paper that almost makes you look like Ariana Grande.” Minhaj is able to get his points across (that fast fashion is simply an industry that creates cheap, disposable, and fast clothing) by poking fun at the industry using pop culture references. This could also be considered hyperbole because it’s not as bad as toilet paper, yet at the same time, maybe it is.

Overall, it’s a fantastic show. I may or may not have binge-watched several episodes of this tonight and I plan on watching so many more episodes. In all seriousness, the topics that Patriot Act covers are actually really important and Minhaj’s comedic experience helps convey these topics really well.

The Surprisingly Meaningful Satire Behind Clickhole.com

Clickhole.com is a satirical “news” outlet that publishes daily content ranging from articles to quizzes on seemingly crude and unimportant matters. These images are representative examples of the content one would find there:

It is difficult to believe that this vile stream of content has a purpose more significant to make people laugh, but through these messages, clickhole.com is able to parody online outlets such as Buzzfeed and Upworthy that rely on clickbait to make a living. Clickhole does this by hyperbolizing the various techniques clickbaiters use to attract attention to themselves.

One of these techniques is the classic list. Whether it is “10 things you can do RIGHT NOW to lose weight” or “15 things you didn’t know you could do with an eraser,” lists tend to be attractive because the audience expects to gain multiple pieces of insight in a short period of time that they believe will change their lifestyle. Once the unsuspecting internet surfer clicks on the article and glances at the list, they realize there is nothing there for them to take in. But it does not matter for the creators of the advertisement-infested article, they make money whether the user likes the content or not. Articles like these are hyperbolized to cause internet users to ask themselves, “Who would click on this garbage?” and to discourage them from falling in the clickbait trap.

Another technique used by many companies to attract attention to their content is wholesomeness, or in other words, the “aww factor.” Clickhole satirizes this technique by beginning with a sarcastic phrase (“Absolutely Heartwarming” or “True Love” in the examples above) hinting at wholesomeness only to destroy that feeling with gore within the same sentence. This allows internet users to see how easily their emotions can be played and teaches them to avoid falling for this trickery.

Clickhole has the underlying theme of combating clickbait, but each article also has its own message, usually being that society pays too much attention to meaningless things such as royal families and celebrities and scandals that will be forgotten in a day or two. Despite being a load of fun to play around on and laugh at, clickhole.com was created for a purpose: to educate internet users the ways companies will use them to gain revenue and to waste their time. Unfortunately, Clickhole was bought by Cards Against Humanity and will no longer continue to produce new content as of just one week ago, but I believe that its message will continue to live on.

SNL Skit, "Guns"

Many of us agree we have seen one or two SNL skits. In fact, in almost every episode they seem to have at least one fake commercial. I feel that this sketch in particular is pretty much the definition of satire. The sketch has the same structure as a jewelry commercial. It starts out with moments in people’s lives where love is clearly present (a date, father son bonding, and child birth ). It is even being narrated in a way that makes it look like the product is going to be a sentimental thing. But it turns out to be a gun in every scene even though the commercial continues on with the same tone.

This sketch is one of the best examples of a parody. To start off, the entire thing is prerecorded with the quality similar to a high budget jewelry commercial. If you didn’t know who these actors were it would be reasonable to infer that this is a commercial for Kay Jewelers, that is until you see the guns. The use of guns in every milestone of their lives is similar to showing clips of a woman with a bracelet at many different points in her life. On top of that, this skit also uses understatement considering these people are carrying guns in very public places. One person is shooting one in the air and another shows a pregnant woman bursting into a hospital with a shotgun. If this were to happen in real life, it would be terrifying and fatal but the sketch is making the idea of open carry “normal”.

The entire point of the skit is to call out our current political climate and our issue with gun restrictions. One line from the “commercial” says that guns “unite us” when in fact, they do the opposite. When they made this in the style of a commercial it shows how normalized guns can become if we don’t do something about it. We live in an era where mass shootings have become a common occurrence. SNL is poking fun and adding comedy to the situation to show how messed up our world is.

Satire in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Image result for ricky bobby

Ricky Bobby was a man who was born to go fast. Born in the backseat of a race car, Ricky lives by his dad’s saying, “If you ain’t first, your last”. Talladega Nights delivers more than dark comedy, this movie highlights problems that circle marriage, revenge, social standards, and peace within one’s self.

Check out the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zPcMma_C7A

From the start and to the finish, there are many moments within this movie that implement a variety of satirical methods. One example is dramatic irony. Within Ricky Bobby’s journey to success, he is very concerned with his image and how to deals with others. Especially with his wife and the media, these two things grow and complicate his life as the story progresses and causes dramatic irony to reach the audience. In light of the bigger picture, this movie mocks the idea of marriage and its burdens that come with success. Overall showing that marriage is not as pleasant as it is socially seen.

In addition to dramatic irony, there are many accounts of parody within the movie. On the whole, there is a taste of both tragedy and peace. Specifically, the use of deliberate exaggeration adds the comedic effect to stress the peace of Ricky’s life. As well as peace, Ricky also faces getting revenge on his former partner who stole his wife. Although seen as funny, this moment demonstrates social norms with a twist of comedy. All in all, it is important to view these things as the movie progresses, the bigger than comedy subjects are dealt with.

Overall, this movie points out the stresses of life, taking a comedic turn, and summarizing them through traditional forms of tragedy and comedy all in one movie. From rising to falling, to rising again, Ricky Bobby fights through social constructs and finally achieves happiness.