Guilty pleasures

Finding the ethical way to act and behave in every party of my life is important to me. I feel we live in a world that suffers because there is a dangerous lack of respect for fellow human beings, life in general and the planet we live on. I’m currently thinking about how to eat more ethically. And I am always contemplating the consequences of my actions and in-actions. Non-violence, pacifism and justice for all are important to me and I don’t think they are lofty and unachievable ideals. Questions of gender, race and class, in my humble opinion, are at the core of the problems of our world. Basically, I’m this really high-minded, starry-eyed idealistic do-and-think-gooder.

And I laugh real loud and real hard when I watch this show:

Broken down by my critical-thinking mind, the first part of this clip is basically two men saying viciously (*hehehe*) hateful things to one another, giving a bad example of how couples should treat each other. And the other part is making light of sexual harassment, which is also not funny. (Don’t know what I mean? Switch the genders in the situation and you get from a situation perceived as humorous to the story of a creepy old guy who can’t keep his hands to himself.)

The show is called ‘Vicious’ and it’s a British sitcom. At the heart of the show is an elderly gay couple, who’ve been together for 48 years. The show focuses on their…let’s say ‘peculiar’ way of talking to each other, where seldom a kind word is spoken. They are portrayed by Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. These two are masterful actors. (I could use more words to say that, but it wouldn’t do them justice.) The two other series regulars are Frances de la Tour (masterful actress) and Iwan Rheon (who is 40 years younger than anybody else on the show and a great actor). The humor is mainly derived from the snappy dialogue between the characters. Freddy (McKellen) and Stuart (Jacobi) are vicious, Violet (de la Tour) is…ehm…horny and inept in her choice of partners, and Ash (Rheon) joins this crowd as the naive, not too bright, new neighbour, still trying to find out what to do with his life.

My mind tells me, I shouldn’t be enjoying this, because these people aren’t nice. But it’s so funny! What to do? Well, we should question why this is funny. If I would witness it in real life, I might be deeply shocked and offended. But when it’s on a stage, I laugh.

You might think that I will try to answer that question now, but I won’t. I’m just posing it, maybe even more to myself than to you, dear reader. But I advise you to check out this blog which is dealing with challenging our culture of violence and follow it:

There you can think more about this question. As will I. But for now, being caught in this situation of thinking that something is not how it should be, but really enjoying it at the same time, I’ll go with Martin Luther: ‘Sin boldly!’ But never do it without knowing!

And here’s another clip:



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2 Responses to Guilty pleasures

  1. First, thanks for the “plug” for my blog. Talk about putting pressure on me! 🙂

    I’m glad you also see that the woman making passes at the man is considered funny these days while the reverse would be much less so (unless well acted and scripted, I think). Personally, I find in situation comedies now that women demeaning men is quite common. It also seems like it is more permissible for women to physically abuse (not particularly seriously, of course) men. Perhaps this is just balancing out from the past when the women were usually the ones demeaned. However, if one thinks about “The Honeymooners”, Ralph always acted like he was the boss, but Alice usually ended up with the upper hand. So perhaps it is not so clear-cut after all. Even with comedies like “The Big Bang Theory”, the less-educated neighbor Penny still gets zingers out on the smart boys. So, it is good to see some balance, and perhaps not get too worked up about a particular relationship and think about how people are portrayed over many shows. Overall, though, I think that the “little woman” who was in need of the man’s strength and intelligence has been replace by the wise-cracking woman with a bumbling, inept man.

    I’d not see this show “Vicious” before. And yes, it is confusing when one finds something funny or otherwise acceptable on the TV that would be unacceptable in real life. That’s another concept I’m going to try to address at some point. In this case, over time, one might perhaps come to realize that the “Bickersons” atmosphere between the male couple is just how they express to each other that they pay attention and remember things about their past. In the first clip, it was funny to me when the young man thought perhaps he should leave due to the arguing and they both reacted immediately with a “why?” – as if there was nothing going on out of the ordinary for them.

    The world, imo, needs more do-gooders and thinkers. It takes people thinking beyond themselves to make improvements and real change.

    Oh, and one of the things I like about British comedy is that they tend to involve people not usually found in US comedies – especially the elderly. What makes comedies work is the scripting and the acting. Because they are comedies, the people are not supposed to be taken seriously as “real” people, but more of parodies of a “type” of person, I guess. The lines tossed back and forth between the two men here is funny because they aren’t serious or real. If one were to use pretty much the same dialogue and put it in a “drama” show where the people were supposed to represent actual people – and were actually trying to emotionally wound the other, it would have such a drastically different result, don’t you think?

    {Oops, got kinda windy, eh? Thanks again.]

  2. Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
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