Don’t you love that feeling when you’re watching a movie or a TV series and you realize that the characters are becoming more than just a moment’s entertainment—they are becoming someone you really enjoy. They are like friends. Not in the creepy stalker kind of way, but in the way that when they’re gone, when the story is over, you miss them.
What is it about them that endears them to us? Is it their good looks or their quirky wardrobe? Maybe at first, but I think there’s more. There must be, in order to keep us intrigued.
I believe the magic happens when the characters become 3-dimensional through witty banter with each other. I’m not talking about the conflict between the hero and villain. I’m talking about the little asides that make the entire ensemble cast real. I’m talking about the way DiNozzo and Ziva bicker and tease on NCIS. It’s the chemistry that happens in the corners of the screen that gives the audience a glimpse into the life behind the story after (or before) the credits roll.
When I watch the classic movies, the clever remarks are peppered through out the films. These days you often have to search for them. I’m not just being nostalgic. Consider the dozens of quotes everyone can recite from classic movies. It’s much harder to quote a film from this last decade of cinema that very many people will be able to recognize or identify. These days a great deal of what passes as humor is potty-talk and innuendo unsuitable for quoting. It’s isn’t funny or clever at all.
Humor that molds a character does double-duty of making that character identifiable to the audience. You can’t love a figure that with whom you have no connection.
What are the movies or TV shows that incorporate wit and humor and make you want to know the characters you watch? Let me hear from you!
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.