OLD SOUL: The Ironic Lives Of Our Laughter

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By Maria Rodriguez

Romcoms. Hard-core comedies. These were my and most of the world’s comfort genres (with this assumption based on Netflix’s weekly movie rankings) in the lonely years of quarantine. Whether it hails from  Hollywood, Korea, or from your home country, it was a frequented genre  (such movies like “You’ve Got Mail” and “50 First Dates” then those one-of a-kind, laughable TV shows “The Good Place,” “Seinfeld,” “Loud House”) throughout the fairly young history of cinema — even in the years before the quarantine. During some of my lockdown Netflix binges, I would sporadically lose my supposedly stalwart interest in a comedy series when the situation they would satirize reminds me of a painful memory formed somewhere in my one and a half decade-long existence.  

While it is not a new realization that some aspects of comedy can be hurtful, I have grown curious as to how this method of making people laugh through others’ faults and falls remained to be the core of this so-called  “comedy gold” standard (“that was comedy gold!” was something I would often hear from Luan Loud whenever she manages to capture one of her siblings’ mortifying moments throughout different episodes of  Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House”). Although it does make acceptance of the past easier when we make fun of it, using someone else’s possibly mortifying memory brings select viewers much pain —despite the possibility of it making the film a box office hit. Some iconic film moments may have only been born in the mind of the maker, albeit it may be coincidentally true to a complete stranger’s experience. Whilst developing a  movie rating system that bases the suitability of movies on each viewer’s memories would protect us from those dreaded flashbacks, this effort would  be far too tedious (and fairly unreasonable). With this unending and repetitive push and pull between creators and watchers (what to hide, what must be seen, what must be advocated, what must be said, and what is already known), authorities try to quench each party’s thirst. But is that what must be done? Is it necessary or simply fatal? I don’t know. I’m only 15.  Oscar Wilde once said: “I love acting. It is so much more real than life.”  Though it may not be one of his most eloquent quotes, it certainly does hold a good enough amount of truth. Even if plays, books and movies may 

take part in imaginary worlds where impossible characters exist, it still does  reflect the writer’s inner thoughts, deepest desires, as well as wishes… In a  creative effort for a not-exactly-true-to-life but subtle homage towards human nature and life.