Monday, October 10, 2011

Media Monday--The Art of the Spoof

Today's late post brought to you by the real world--aka, the bank being closed, my paycheck not being direct deposited, my mom's phone breaking...you get the picture. I contemplated skipping today, but I skipped two posts last week, and I don't want to feel like the ultimate slacker--but what to write about?

Thankfully, I checked HBO OnDemand, saw Vampires Suck was available, and was hit by inspiration.

Comedy in and of itself, is, well, funny. But there's something about a spoof movie that just ramps things up, at least for me.

Spoof movies have a long, illustrious history, starting with Airplane back in 1980. The early 2000's saw a rebirth, if you will, with titles such as Date Movie, Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, and of course, the Scary Movie franchise.

A lot of people see spoof movies as the lowest form of comedy, right down there with fart and penis jokes. First, I'm the type of person who will laugh her ass off at a good penis joke, because penises are funny, period. Second, I think all those people need to actually take a good, long look at a spoof movie--because if they did, they'd see just how much work goes into such a film.

You could write an entire book on the art of the spoof. I'll try and compress it to a few sentences.

In order for a spoof to work, you have to have some sort of socially relevant main plot. In the case of Airplane, it was the disaster movies of the 1970s. Scary Movie, the original, took its main plot from Scream,  with a little I Know What You Did Last Summer thrown in to help move things along. Both of these films already had built in knowledge--they didn't need to explain the plot to viewers; if you saw Scream, you had an idea of what to expect in Scary Movie. This is important, because if nobody knows what you're making fun of, nobody is going to get the joke.

Which leads to element two of a successful spoof: the jokes themselves also have to be socially relevant. Vampires Suck plays off by The Black-Eyed Peas and the Kardishians, both things/people that the general population has at least some passing knowledge of. Same goes for jokes about sleep walking, headgear, and high school craziness. Damn near everybody has been exposed in some way, shape of form to these everyday things, and so jokes about them are funny.

Finally, the biggest thing about a spoof: You have to play it straight. That's right. The funniest thing about a spoof is that it's not supposed to be funny, and the people acting in it know this, and play their roles with a level of gravitas normally reserved for heavy hitting dramas. I'll admit, Vampires Suck is not the best spoof movie of all time. But the two main actors nail their roles. I swear, there were moments I thought I was actually watching Pattinson and Stewart, that's how on point the actor are in Vampires Suck. Every twitch, every facial expression, every bit of insipid dialogue, they're all pitch perfect. If they were off by even the smallest bit, it wouldn't work.

So, to all you naysayers down in the front--shush. I'm trying to laugh my ass off here.

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