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Now, I've been noticing a bit of a prejudice against comic-relief characters, like they're considered an insult.
"Ugh, it's just a stupid comic-relief character" "This comic-relief character is ruining the emotional impact" "It's like turning (insert a supporting character) into a comic-relief character!"

And it's not without good reason, because comic-relief characters generally are VERY difficult to do right.

But the problem isn't so much the comic-relief character themselves, but the fact that the writers seem to have no idea how to use them.

Generally, writers seem to have this idea of a comic-relief character to just be some idiot who does something funny simply because that's what they're made to do.
Other times writers have the idea of a comic-relief character as just a character written specifically so people can say "Oh wow, look how much more badass the protagonist looks with that comic-relief character next to him as a comparison."

But either way, they tend to suffer from the exact same problem; their lack of depth.
They're one-note characters, only doing what they're "supposed" to do, that being to make people laugh.

It seems people have forgotten that the point of a comic-relief character isn't just for them to be funny, but to also be the ones to pick up the audience again after a very heavy plot-arc.
It isn't about JUST being funny, it's also about them being the characters that you can count on to liven things up so people wouldn't be completely depressed.
It's called Comic-RELIEF after all.

With that in mind, you also have to realize that just because they're the characters made to liven up the mood, they shouldn't be excluded from the serious parts either.
Yes, some people might think it's for the better, but that's just hiding the REAL problem of their comic-relief character; the fact that they can't be anything BUT funny.
They tend to write their comic-relief character SO ridiculously that they outright ruin anything serious the moment they're on screen.
This is what I mean with the lack of depth.

The best comic-relief characters can still very easily fit in the dramatic scenes, hell they could be THE characters that end up GETTING the best dramatic scenes.

Here's where I'd point to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead again because anyone who knows me probably realizes that it's my all-time favourite story of all time, where Rosencrantz, the character who for most of the story kept mishearing poor Guildenstern's instructions and initiates all humour, ended up being the one who performed the amazing soliloquies "Life in a Box" and "Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death".

But let's take a more mainstream example: The Genie from Aladdin.
Yes, he's voiced by the late Robin Williams, quite excellently I might add.
Yes, he constantly spouts modern jokes which hilariously make no sense for the move's supposed timeframe.
Yes, he transforms into funny caricatures all the time.
Yes, he's at times more like a magically induced Looney Tunes character than a typical Disney character.
But you know what, he also played a role in the big turning point of the movie that kickstarts the climax, the moment Jafar used him to become the new Sultan.

Oh, what, does he become a hilariously incompetent evil minion?
No, he transforms into a giant dark genie who's enslaved to do Jafar's every bidding.
Oh, then does he suddenly spout black comedy about how much fun killing is?
No, he's filled with guilt and looks very distraught about not being able to do anything about it.

And even outside of that, guess what, the Genie isn't stupid.
He's silly, but never stupid.
Hell at times he's playing the sane man to Aladdin, being the one who's outright telling him to tell Jasmine the truth rather than continuing with the Prince Ali charade.

And none of this is completely jarring, because it was written into his character from the get-go that he CAN have those insights and emotions.
The biggest breakthrough Aladdin had with his relationship with Genie is how he's the first one who actually asked HIM what HE would wish for.
He didn't answer in a "hilarious" manner, he was honestly surprised that Aladdin asked and actually starts giving a heart-filled speech about his one and only wish he'd ever have, which is to be free from the lamp.
And when Aladdin finally said that he needs the third wish as a back-up instead of using it to free the Genie as promised, he truly was heartbroken.
Not in a "haha, look he's mad" kind of heartbroken, truly in a soft-spoken manner where the audience really feels for him.

A good comic-relief character should not be a weaker person than the main character just to lighten up the mood when the story so desires.
In fact, most of the time they should be a STRONGER person than the main character because they should be the ones who HAVE the ability to bring light back to the story after first-hand experiencing the darkness themselves.
They should be the characters who go through the darkest of moments WITH the main character, and be the ones to pick the main character back up and say "Hey, it's okay".
They don't even need to go through character development (though that would be interesting too, but not mandatory), they're there to help the main character get through THEIR character development, even if it's as simple as making them (and the audience) smile again after the the most heartbreaking or most terrifyingly darkest hours of the story.
  • Listening to: Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime (by Nena & Kim Wilde)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Thief
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks
After seeing the new Jurassic World Trailer I kinda got hyped into dinosaurs again and rewatched the original Jurassic Park Trilogy.
I have the Ultimate Trilogy DVD Collection :P

And after watching them, I kinda noticed what was missing from the sequels that made the first one so much better.
Is it the amount of moments where you're supposed to go "ahhhh" and "oooh"? Well... yeah...
Is it the magical adventurous feeling throughout the movie? Yeah... that too...
Is it the fact that the first one simply is the most competently made one? Yes, yes, of course, but I'd like to point to a more specific thing about the first one that made it better.

It's the moments where the adventure is compared to every day life.

The other two movies are all "We have to do this and this and this to survive, let's go!" and all the talking, while somewhat emotional at times, are usually there to move the plot along.

Now you might be saying, "Wait, isn't dialogue MEANT to move the plot along?".
Well, it's ONE of the things it's supposed to do, but far from the only one.
The first movie got it right, adding dialogue that don't really add to the event at hand, but add so much to the scope of the movie.

There's a scene where John Hammond, the creator of the Jurassic Park, is simply sitting at a table, telling Doctor Sattler, one of the main characters, about how he once made a flea circus.
He talks about how the flea circus wasn't actually filled with trained fleas, it's just an illusion made with automated machinery that makes the children go all "Look Mommy! Do you see the fleas?".

On one hand, yes, it's simply giving us backstory about John Hammond and why he wanted to make Jurassic Park.
But there's so much more to it. Besides just being a backstory, it's a great comparison of the whole idea of the movie, that the true illusion is thinking humanity has control over nature.
It turns down your scope of expecting dinosaurs and compares them back to the relative sizes of fleas, making the adventure they're in seem that much grander.

The sequels don't have those moments.
Well they do, but they're so barebones in comparison.

The second one has the ending where John Hammond talks about how the Dinosaurs should be left alone rather than have humans helping them out.
Which is fine as a message, but it's told so blatantly. It doesn't make you think about it, you just outright hear him say "These creatures require our absence, not our help".

The third one has Jack Kirby, the father of the kid character in this movie, talk about a fishing trip they had.
This is in relation to the fact that they just escaped from the Spinosaurus, which is a Dinosaur that attacked them in the water.
Now in terms of how they tried to do it, was actually fine. That's a great comparison of something they just witnessed and comparing them to a much more small scale event.
But now it's the message that's kinda odd. What are they trying to say? That the Spinosaurus fight was dangerous?
Well... yeah... but that's not anything to think about, that thing just tried to eat you, it's pretty damn obvious isn't it?
It's just there to emphasize one single event rather than emphasizing the whole message of the story, which when I think about it, I can't even think of what the hell Jurassic Park 3's main message actually IS XD

I think if anyone wants to learn this technique, they should take a look at the ending of the first movie.
It's just a scene of Alan Grant, the main character, letting John Hammond's grandkids sleep beside him in the helicopter as he looks out of the window and sees some birds flying.
No dialogue, just visual story telling.
It shows the end result of a character development in a heartwarming way and the shows the actual descendant of real dinosaurs, evolving thanks to nature rather than genetic experiments.
It shows that life DID find a way for the Dinosaurs to survive, they simply evolved to smaller animals that have an actual place in the world, instead of the genetic monsters that ended up destroying Jurassic Park.
It reinforces the message of the story, that nature shouldn't be controlled, without any pretentious speeches about it.

THAT is how you end a movie.
  • Listening to: Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime (by Nena & Kim Wilde)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Thief
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks
So this weekend I showed the terrible Freddy Got Fingered movie to my good friend :iconcrescotheeko:

I have to say that I've personally never seen him that pissed off at a protagonist XD

But it did make me question something; how many unlikable actions can a protagonist do before he ends up with no hope for redemption in the eyes of the audience?
Because at the start of the movie, both me and him found him annoying, but not enough for us to completely give up trying to hope for him to redeem himself.
It's somewhere at the halfway point when the movie is at the start of it's 3rd act (you know, the part where everything goes wrong and sets up for the climax where everything will be made right) where :iconcrescotheeko: got REALLY mad and kept repeating the words "This COULD've been a good scene, if it were someone other than HIM!".

But the thing is, as annoying as the event that triggered that reaction was, in hindsight it really isn't any worse than any of the protagonist's earlier actions in the movie.
Which made me realize it isn't so much how unlikable the single action was, but the frequency of those unlikable actions.

There's a trope called "Villain Protagonist" were the Protagonist is MEANT to be the evil guy, or at least ends up as the evil villain through character development.
Obviously that character is MEANT to do evil and unlikable things, yet for some reason it usually doesn't make the protagonist unlikable. It just makes you sympathize with them, and look at them as a tragedy.
That's however because a good Villain will never SEE themselves as the villain.
Even when a Villain outright SAYS they're the villain, in their eyes they don't see it as the wrong thing to do.
In the Dark Knight, the Joker pretty much parades himself as the villain, but he also says things like how he's "ahead of the curve", implying he truly believes that he's the "true face" of Gotham. That deep inside everyone is a monster like him and he just wants to be the example.

So what exactly does the main character of Freddy Got Fingered do wrong?
He's annoying, he's unsympathetic to others, he does actions that he himself believes are the right things to do.
He does pretty much everything a Villain Protagonist does, and yet it ended up making him more hated than even the likes of the Joker.
What does he do wrong?

Well the thing is, he ISN'T a Villain Protagonist. He's a regular Protagonist and the plot is written to show that his actions are the "right" actions.
Karma doesn't work for him. For every bad action he does, no bad action happens back to him. And even IF a bad action happens to him, they're just there to punish someone ELSE while he just sulks for a bit and then goes back to his usual self of annoying others.

The thing is, when you write a Villain Protagonist, you make the audience KNOW you're not supposed to root for them. You make it CLEAR that their actions are wrong.
Even if they make GREAT arguments for it, even if they even make you realize how bad the world really is, you're still supposed to be encouraged with the thought that "But still, their actions are wrong".

When writing a regular Protagonist, it's different.
A regular Protagonist has to be relatable. Even if what they do is TOTALLY different from what more than 50% of the audience is doing, they still have to be written in such a way that people would be able to think "Yeah, that's what I would do too if I wanted to do what he did" or at least "I understand why he would do it".
And you're supposed to root for them to reach their goals.
For all that to happen, the character has to at least have some qualities that you can admire or sympathize.
Give them at least a few small scenes that show that the character at least means well, or that they are learning, or that they are at least making an EFFORT to do the right thing.
Make them fail, and fail HARD, make them fail in such a way that you can honestly say "Wow, I feel their pain", instead of making them seem like whiners for giving up when a small failure happens to them.

So back to the original question; How mean/bad/evil can a protagonist be?
The answer; As mean/bad/evil as how kind/good/heroic that same protagonist can be.
It's as simple as that.

The kinder your character is, the more you can at least forgive them for doing a terrible unlikable deed.
You can forgive a character who once murdered an innocent man for money if that same character ended up feeling guilty about it and helped the man's family grieve over his death before the end of the story.
It wouldn't negate the deed as a terrible deed, far from it, but it would at least give the audience something to think about how the bad action ended up turning the character into a better person.

The character becomes unlikable the moment there's nothing to hold on to reason that "at least he/she means well".
If a movie has hundred small events that show how unlikable the character is, there should at least be two hundred small events that show how likable the character is.
It's not even that difficult. Just adding a scene of the character thinking about making his girlfriend her favourite dish after he hit her for being annoying.
It doesn't even matter if he ended up not doing it, the fact he at least THOUGHT about it would give enough of an indication that he DOES care.

Again, you can make the character do the most terrible of things, as long as they do equally great things in return, they'll be relatable as Protagonists.
  • Listening to: Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime (by Nena & Kim Wilde)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks
Yes, I'm ditching the Rorschach's Journal stuff, joke got old for me XD

Anyway, I'd like to talk to a song called "Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime", originally by Nena, but the version I'm talking about is one performed by her and Kim Wilde.
You can listen to it here:

Holy crap, I only happened to hear this song on the radio, but now that I've looked it up, I just can't stop listening to it!

Okay, from what I've looked up about the song, the original German Lyrics from Nena were quite different from the English parts that Kim Wilde sings. 

Nena's parts are still the same as it originally was, which are kinda more surreal, talking about building a castle of sand, wheels of fire and talking about the future and all that.

The Kim Wilde parts are in general a bit more down-to-earth, turning it into a more normal kind of love song in a way. Nena's love original love song seems to be more surreal like I mentioned above.

So is this a case a weakening the song for English speaking audiences?

Well I can imagine some Nena hardcore fans feeling this way, and I wouldn't blame them, but this is my interpretation of it.

I think the key to my interpretation is the lyrics: "You don't speak my dialect, but our images reflect".

If you look at Nena's outfit, it's some kind of Biker Girl outfit, while Kim's outfit is a bit more typical, like an adult woman.

I think this song is not about two people loving each other despite not sharing a language, but in fact it's a song about loving yourself.

Nena and Kim Wilde represent someone looking at themselves in the mirror, not identifying with how they look to who they are on the inside.

If you consider Nena to be the reflection, she's pretty much telling the person looking in the mirror to not worry about the dissonance and that she's there to help them, building a castle of sand to keep them warm. Hmmm, could the sand also add to the symbolism of reflections? I mean sand is used to create mirrors, right?

On the other hand, if you consider Kim to be the reflection, it's a tale of a delinquent who want to escape the world they're in and longs to lead a more conventional life. This may be why the video cuts to this guy who uncomfortably looks at the environment he's in. At the end he walks to the light, but gives one last look, seeing one of the guys who was at the party he was in. It could symbolize that no matter what new life you lead, the past will never completely leave you. Sometimes instead of regretting it, you must simply learn to accept it, maybe even love it.

The lyrics about belonging together, anyplace, anywhere, anytime could represent how no matter how much you try to escape from everything, you'll never escape yourself, always finding yourself in reflections and whatnot. It could even be enforced by Nena and Kim constantly doing the same poses opposite each other.

Am I over analyzing this? Maybe.

But you know what? That's how I interpret this song, and why I'm still listening to it as I post this.

  • Listening to: Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime (by Nena & Kim Wilde)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks
Now, I've been noticing a bit of a prejudice against comic-relief characters, like they're considered an insult.
"Ugh, it's just a stupid comic-relief character" "This comic-relief character is ruining the emotional impact" "It's like turning (insert a supporting character) into a comic-relief character!"

And it's not without good reason, because comic-relief characters generally are VERY difficult to do right.

But the problem isn't so much the comic-relief character themselves, but the fact that the writers seem to have no idea how to use them.

Generally, writers seem to have this idea of a comic-relief character to just be some idiot who does something funny simply because that's what they're made to do.
Other times writers have the idea of a comic-relief character as just a character written specifically so people can say "Oh wow, look how much more badass the protagonist looks with that comic-relief character next to him as a comparison."

But either way, they tend to suffer from the exact same problem; their lack of depth.
They're one-note characters, only doing what they're "supposed" to do, that being to make people laugh.

It seems people have forgotten that the point of a comic-relief character isn't just for them to be funny, but to also be the ones to pick up the audience again after a very heavy plot-arc.
It isn't about JUST being funny, it's also about them being the characters that you can count on to liven things up so people wouldn't be completely depressed.
It's called Comic-RELIEF after all.

With that in mind, you also have to realize that just because they're the characters made to liven up the mood, they shouldn't be excluded from the serious parts either.
Yes, some people might think it's for the better, but that's just hiding the REAL problem of their comic-relief character; the fact that they can't be anything BUT funny.
They tend to write their comic-relief character SO ridiculously that they outright ruin anything serious the moment they're on screen.
This is what I mean with the lack of depth.

The best comic-relief characters can still very easily fit in the dramatic scenes, hell they could be THE characters that end up GETTING the best dramatic scenes.

Here's where I'd point to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead again because anyone who knows me probably realizes that it's my all-time favourite story of all time, where Rosencrantz, the character who for most of the story kept mishearing poor Guildenstern's instructions and initiates all humour, ended up being the one who performed the amazing soliloquies "Life in a Box" and "Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death".

But let's take a more mainstream example: The Genie from Aladdin.
Yes, he's voiced by the late Robin Williams, quite excellently I might add.
Yes, he constantly spouts modern jokes which hilariously make no sense for the move's supposed timeframe.
Yes, he transforms into funny caricatures all the time.
Yes, he's at times more like a magically induced Looney Tunes character than a typical Disney character.
But you know what, he also played a role in the big turning point of the movie that kickstarts the climax, the moment Jafar used him to become the new Sultan.

Oh, what, does he become a hilariously incompetent evil minion?
No, he transforms into a giant dark genie who's enslaved to do Jafar's every bidding.
Oh, then does he suddenly spout black comedy about how much fun killing is?
No, he's filled with guilt and looks very distraught about not being able to do anything about it.

And even outside of that, guess what, the Genie isn't stupid.
He's silly, but never stupid.
Hell at times he's playing the sane man to Aladdin, being the one who's outright telling him to tell Jasmine the truth rather than continuing with the Prince Ali charade.

And none of this is completely jarring, because it was written into his character from the get-go that he CAN have those insights and emotions.
The biggest breakthrough Aladdin had with his relationship with Genie is how he's the first one who actually asked HIM what HE would wish for.
He didn't answer in a "hilarious" manner, he was honestly surprised that Aladdin asked and actually starts giving a heart-filled speech about his one and only wish he'd ever have, which is to be free from the lamp.
And when Aladdin finally said that he needs the third wish as a back-up instead of using it to free the Genie as promised, he truly was heartbroken.
Not in a "haha, look he's mad" kind of heartbroken, truly in a soft-spoken manner where the audience really feels for him.

A good comic-relief character should not be a weaker person than the main character just to lighten up the mood when the story so desires.
In fact, most of the time they should be a STRONGER person than the main character because they should be the ones who HAVE the ability to bring light back to the story after first-hand experiencing the darkness themselves.
They should be the characters who go through the darkest of moments WITH the main character, and be the ones to pick the main character back up and say "Hey, it's okay".
They don't even need to go through character development (though that would be interesting too, but not mandatory), they're there to help the main character get through THEIR character development, even if it's as simple as making them (and the audience) smile again after the the most heartbreaking or most terrifyingly darkest hours of the story.
  • Listening to: Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime (by Nena & Kim Wilde)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Thief
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks

Journal History

deviantID

XNinjaRed
Huy Minh Le
Artist | Student | Film & Animation
Netherlands
:iconapinkishblue::iconxninjared:

Favourite genre of music: Pop/Rock
Favourite photographer: My father?
Favourite style of art: Manga
Operating System: Windows XP
Favourite cartoon character: The Grim Reaper
Personal Quote: "It's not Survival of the Fittests, it's Survival of the ones who dare to cheat."
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:iconcrescotheeko:
CrescoTheEKO Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
:w00t: :party: Happy Birthday!! :party: :w00t:
Reply
:iconxninjared:
XNinjaRed Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Student Filmographer
Thanks, buddy :D
Reply
:iconcrescotheeko:
CrescoTheEKO Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
You're welcome! ;3
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:icon64supernintendo:
64SuperNintendo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Happy birthday!
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:iconjannoo:
jannoo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012
Hmm, it's a long time ago you uploaded something.... When will you upload something new? =D
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:iconlanprowerkopaka:
LanProwerKopaka Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011
Hey, I've tagged you!
[link]
Hope that's okay. :D
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:iconsimmszs:
Simmszs Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank u much for the dA watch :dummy:
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:icontsuki-soraruki:
Tsuki-SoraRuki Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:icongroupjoinplz: :iconcreation-inspiration:
we're so honored you join this group
here are a things you need to know about CI
more information is here
for the rest I wish you a great time at Creation-Inspiration
and feel free to upload your creations anytime ^-^
regards, Crew Of CI
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:iconnekorandomnessqueen:
nekorandomnessqueen Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday! :dummy:
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:iconxninjared:
XNinjaRed Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011  Student Filmographer
Ah gee thanks, didn't think anyone on Deviant Art would notice.
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