Gastvortrag Peter Y. Paik: "Cosmic Horror in Rick and Morty: The Challenge of Writing Comedy in an Age of Identity Politics and Political Correctness"
12. Dezember 2017 18:15 – 12. Dezember 2017 19:45
Wilhelm-Röpke-Str. 6 A, Raum 08 A 07
Peter Y. Paik (Associate Professor; French, Italian and Comparative Literature; University of Wisconsin):
Cosmic Horror in Rick and Morty: The Challenge of Writing Comedy in an Age of Identity Politics and Political Correctness
Is it possible to have a situation comedy that is able to enjoy a universal appeal in an age of identity politics and political correctness? The Simpsons and to a lesser extent South Park were able to succeed as entertainment that could cross political lines and ethnic and racial divides, but the worsening of political conflicts and the dominance of identity politics would indicate gloomy prospects for any show to follow in their wake. Indeed, The Simpsons is now being criticized for being racist in its depiction of Apu, the convenience store- owner from India. But the show Rick and Morty has defied such expectations to achieve widespread popularity. It manages to be provocative while not being offensive - how does it manage such a feat? In this talk, I will examine the source of humor in Rick and Morty, which arises not only from its hyperbolic plot-lines but also the uniqueness of having a main character who is for all intents and purposes omnipotent. The scientist Rick has godlike powers, destroys entire worlds, and can thwart the devil. But what does it mean when a society turns to a figure of nemesis for laughter? I will focus in my talk on how the show manages to locate taboos we did not suspect we had, and by breaking them, confronts us with a surprising view of our permissive yet unsparing society.
Peter Y. Paik