14 November 2011 | tlo1221
Don't Understand It? I Completely Sympathize With You
Look, I completely sympathize with people who don't understand why this show is getting a 10/10 rating. I, along with most people, had to be ushered into this form of art. It is a form of art that most people aren't accustomed to. I want to try and make sure you, the reader, see that it is actually a very sophisticated form of art. I want others to like it because I feel understanding all forms of comedy are important and crucial to understanding what makes comedy what it is.
One thing I always tell someone who is unresponsive to T&E is to look at other forms of art that reflect similar goals. To look at Picasso and say it is not a good form of art, or look at the classical pianist Boulez and say he isn't making music is the same as saying T&E is not good comedy. There are many sophisticated, higher forms of art that have a point, but to the untrained eye, look completely bogus and not properly managed.
T&E tends to go one of two ways. One way is to make the watcher feel extremely uncomfortable. This is similar to approaches that amazing shows such as The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Louie take. These shows tend to create awkwardness by using society and it's lack of clarity in order to create a situation we cringe at the thought of being in. T&E do this, but achieve it in a very unique way. They can create awkwardness through disturbing contradictions. This can be seen in sketches such as the obviously-on-steroids bodybuilder talking about becoming a mother, or a very pregnant woman singing an attitude driven song (bub-bubs bounce if anyone is familiar). There are more, but these two skits show what awkward humor T&E are getting at. I cringe at socially awkward situations performed well in other shows, but I actually had to try a few times before making it through some of T&E's awkwardness. They do it best... in the most disturbing way possible.
The other part of their humor (and the two directions they go in are always overlapped), is based off of low budget absurdity that can be found on any small town public access shows. Public access is legally established by the government to give more expressive rights to people. T&E point out that not all the time is this as great of an idea as it sounds. Most of the time it is taken up by weird people such as Casey and his brother or Richard Dunn with any of the talk shows they have given him. Some of them are showing how absurd similar real life experiences are (see the Paynus Brothers sketch and then watch Entertainment Tonight talking with someone like the Jonas Brothers... They are saying something, not just saying "PENIS" and hoping someone laughs). The absurdities are definitely unique, and if they weren't, Nick Swardson's pretend time or all the dozens of other shows that try to approach absurd humor, would be loved by everyone. Those shows lack what T&E established: creativity. Whether you enjoy it or not, most people would agree it is something that they didn't see coming. That, to me, is the definition of creativity. A Absurd humor is difficult to become accustomed to, and much harder to create. Criticizing T&E is just like looking at a piece of artwork by many great artists and saying "It looks like they just threw paint on a canvas and called it art. I can do that!". That's fine, I did that too. It's somewhat of an acquired taste and the rest is just understanding what is good and what is not good on an almost instinctual basis. The only way to specifically demonstrate that is by analyzing it on a frame by frame basis. If any show makes me think something new, does something I don't think I could have done without a lot of hard work, and there is the ability to analyze on a frame by frame basis, I consider it a well made piece of art. T&E does just that. Like I said, I sympathize completely, but I really need to assure you that it does hold value and only on a subjective viewpoint can you learn to love it. No one I know that likes T&E "got it" from the start. If you don't get it, you can with some patience and hard thinking.