1. Excellent analysis. I especially appreciate this article because it clarifies my feelings about _The Orville_. I enjoy that show, but it’s humor often strikes me the wrong way. Now I have the word to explain why: it’s flippant.

  2. Steve says:

    A great article. Lots to think about here. Thank you.

  3. audie says:

    I would agree that flippancy can be a problem, but I disagree that it was as much of a problem with Guardians 2 as this article makes it seem.

    The brief Hasselhoff cameo didn’t come out of nowhere, it was set up earlier and based on Quill’s childhood fantasy of the Knight Rider character as his father.

    Death and injury weren’t taken seriously in the movie? I can think of the conflict and only partial resolution between Gamora and Nebula, a conflict based on their past hurts; the part where Yondu tells Rocket he’s not the only one with a past full of hurts; and the part where Yondu acts more like a father to Quill than Ego does.

    • I would agree that not every moment was intended to be flippant. But apart from one character’s death, the prospect of actual threat to our heroes simply did not seem authentic. Where I lost it was when Drax was dragged behind their spaceship, battered and smashed, and simply falls to the ground laughing. At that point the jig was up and I didn’t “believe” (even for the bluff required of any story when you know all will survive) he could be injured.

      In fairness, it’s likely audiences’ reactions to movies that are driving this kind of flippancy. I continue to defend the Marvel movies against critics who praise these stories as if they’re mainly made up of “fun” that is self-aware and un-serious. I’ve even begun to wonder if critics like these movies — that is, superhero movies — for reasons different from their serious fans. The critics seem to appreciate when they feel a movie is “self-aware” and kidding itself, with actors constantly winking to the screen that they’re in on the joke. But I’m not sure that’s what the fans want or why they like the films. Here, the main problem would be if the filmmakers decided that’s what the fans do want, and then they go full Batman and Robin on us.

What do you think?