Term Paper: Popular Entertainment Venues Family Obligations

Pages: 8 (2731 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] How people spend their leisure time is something akin to how the inside of their medicine cabinet looks, it can be a tell tale way to understand who they really are. In these three works, City Lights, Seinfeld and Sex and the City the characters spend their leisure time trying to feel that they belong to a position that they aspire to. In City Lights Chaplin wishes to be a man worthy of the love of the blind girl. In Seinfeld the characters all sit around lamenting on very simple questions of life that make life a mystery, hoping they will find the hard and true answers. In Sex and the City they all sit around wishing they were not single and hoping their actions will bring them to their dreams of family and happiness.

Understanding yourself does not always come easy and often times it is even less likely that the people around you will understand you either. Sometimes the only way to stay true to one's self is through decisions that do not meet other's expectations. The principal characters in the three works, the film The Best Man, the film Breaking Away and the film Getting Out all must make critical decisions that are seen as against the grain in an attempt to stay true to themselves.

In The Best Man the title becomes a play on words when Russell chooses no to participate in the deceptive game that he would need to win in order to receive an endorsement for his campaign to run for president. He stands by his own beliefs and does not win the game. In making that decision, though he does prove himself to be the better man he still loses his shot at putting his personal integrity to work as the president. This decision goes against the accepted style that has become the way to get ahead in Washington, in any race.

Breaking Away is not just another coming of age story. Dave challenges his blue-collar upbringing by living a fantasy, daily. He spends the most of his first year out of high school challenging what other people think he should be doing. His father thinks he should be trying to get a sensible blue-collar job and settling down into what he thinks will be the fate of his life. He on the other hand knows what he is good at and wants to keep it up even if it is futile. The expression of his personality with the pseudo Italian accent, he aspires to street race his bicycle and admires the Italian racing team. The challenge of racing the snobby upper class college kids gives him the affirmation he needs to stay happy, either as a racer or not.

In Getting Out Arlie is challenged by early poor decisions and associations with the wrong sorts of people. When she makes it through her sentence and has to search for her son, who she delivered in prison and was put in foster care by her mother without her consent, she is challenged to both not meet their low expectations and to stay straight, despite the challenges. In doing this she also has to try to stay away from another poorly chosen relationship even if that relationship could help her keep afloat and have a better chance at providing a stable home for her son when she finds him. It seems that her mother above all does not believe that she is capable of hold her own the way she does and those are the standards she meets.

Each principal character in these three films The Best Man, Breaking Away and Getting Out is trying to live out a dream of who they think the should be and in the process are trying to roughly disregard what is expected of them. Each tries to progress their plans more or less in denial of what everyone else seems to think is their reality.

Some of the funniest and most endearing comedies have social and political undercurrents that the main characters are not even aware exist. The joke is often in the fact that they are clueless about the impact they have on the world around them. Three works where this is the case are the film State of the Union, the animated television series The Simpsons, and the animated television series Southpark. While the characters are running around facing their own personal and selfish cares they are impacting their world with either a complete lack of action or with a complete unknowledgeable action that negatively impacts their world.

In State of the Union (1948) film classic, the good guy, Grant Matthews has made some personal mistakes but in an attempt to create an image that will be candidate worthy he tries to mend the loss of his deserted family and really ends up wondering why he deserted them in the first place. He is hoping to come from behind in a political nomination for the Republican Party and is backed by a strong and maniacal female newspaper owner, Kay Thorndyke. These people will stop at nothing to see that Matthews in nominated. Yet, the undercurrent of the film is the both overt and covert political understandings that the characters have. Realizing late into the story what is happening Matthews gets it together and begins to practice what he preaches about, honesty and family values even though he does get the nomination it is a bigger challenge than he thought it would be.

In the Simpsons the issues that get addressed, Bart's homework and Homer and Marge's crazy and one-sided marriage, are not at all what the usual main concerns of the plot are. The plot is almost always based around a national or international phenomena related mostly to class and exploitation. The really common theme is Homer's unawareness of the seriousness of the job he has, at the nuclear energy plant and how blase he and his coworkers are about it. Another very common circumstance having to deal with class is the nature of the relationship that Homer's boss has with both the community and his money. The portrayals are often so stereotypical they are funny.

Southpark like the Simpsons is funny because of the serious nature of the social and political plot drivers yet the characters themselves are almost completely unaware of the implications of the things they say and do or the effects they have on their world. There are many examples of inappropriate behavior between adults and children as well as issues of diversity that are laughed at rather than dealt with seriously. Kenny the character that is repeatedly killed, and does not speak seems to be the symbol of children in general. He is voiceless and therefore helpless to do anything about the crazy political calamities that befall the group.

Though these three works are not all funny, any humor that is found with them is based on the unawareness of the main characters to the serious issues that they are confronting while going about their lives. Each player is thinking of themselves and not understanding that their impotence is an issue nor that they could be doing something a different way until the lines of the script tell the story very frankly and without pomp, sometimes just when the audience thinks it's to late to make a point the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Popular Entertainment Venues Family Obligations.  (2002, December 16).  Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/popular-entertainment-venues-family/5578935

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"Popular Entertainment Venues Family Obligations."  16 December 2002.  Web.  20 April 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/popular-entertainment-venues-family/5578935>.

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"Popular Entertainment Venues Family Obligations."  Essaytown.com.  December 16, 2002.  Accessed April 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/popular-entertainment-venues-family/5578935.