My expectations for this class were general. As a film major, I have taken many of these classes and they all interest me, equally. I do feel, however that this class has exceeded my expectations for two reasons. First, the lectures were genuinely interesting and always fun to read. I appreciated how little jokes would be sprinkled in while maintaining an informative nature. Second, I very much enjoyed the films we were assigned. Many times, especially when studying comedy, professors will assign obscure films which were once considered funny by critics of the 1920s (I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea) and they just leave you feeling confused and annoyed. Every film assigned in this class was funny, as well as thought-provoking and/or goofy.
I would consider this class to be easy and difficult given the context. It was easy for me to answer the assigned questions because I enjoy watching movies (obviously) and reading about film. It was difficult at times because the questions themselves were designed to make you really ponder the message and theme of the film, which takes time and effort. They were never easy questions about what the film meant, rather what the very nature of the genre suggests. I liked that because I enjoy thinking critically about film.
The most interesting aspect of the class for me was discussing generational comedy and how certain films can reflect not only the visual style of an era, but the feeling as well. In week 11, you mentioned a book titled Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069. You explained the theories posited by the authors about how generations repeat each other about every 88 years or so. I am especially interested in this theory and I immediately went onto Amazon to order a copy (still waiting). I loved how you managed to take a book about the history and analysis of generations and weave it into the theme of period comedies.
My favorite lecture would have to be week 2, when you discussed how comedy is all about familiarity with the construct. This particular lecture was my favorite because it introduced a theory that I hadn't considered before: the notion of transgressional humor. This is the idea that humor can come from a transgression of societal norms, from poop jokes to deep-thinking satire. This came in the form of Idiocracy for me and it was definitely eye-opening.
My favorite films would have to be Be Kind Rewind, The Jerk, Modern Times, Idiocracy, Election and She Done Him Wrong. Every one of these films is brilliant from a different perspective. For example, in Be Kind Rewind, I believed the theme of the film involved community and paying homage to your predecessors through immitation. This is something I love and can relate to. She Done Him Wrong, however I can't relate to at all, but that wasn't the point of the film. This is a movie that challenged societal norms and succeeded in a very funny way; which is just as enjoyable as Be Kind.
As far as required reading goes, I think these will be two books which I will keep. I liked them both for different reasons. While King could be a bit boring at times, I appreciated his intelligent and earnest attempt at analyzing and developing theories of comedy and its history. For Misch, I liked his stylistic and sporadic approach. I especially loved his chapter on the comedy of Steve Martin. Being able to explain his humor in a way for the lay person to understand is difficult, but he pulled it off.
On a more personal note, I will tell you about my time being a professional student. I have had many teachers and professors over the years, some bad, horrible, good, wonderful and brilliant. I just recently took an online history course to fulfil a requirement. I love history and thought it would be a breeze and for the most part, it was. My final research paper for the semester involved me learning about an historical figure and writing about their life.
After researching for a couple of weeks, taking notes, citing sources and eventually writing the paper, I turned it in. When I got the paper back, I noticed that I had recieved a lower grade than I anticipated. The teacher's notes, however were perplexing. He wrote that my grammar was wrong in certain places, that my punctuation was incorrect, that I had used the wrong font in my footnotes and that my bibliography wasn't alphabetical. Okay, but what about the content? What was wrong with my research? When I asked, he said, "There was nothing wrong with it, you did a great job on your biography."
That was what infuriated me more than anything. So, you thought my research, analysis and insight was spot-on, but you lowered my grade for grammar and punctuation errors? But, this is nothing new. I have had many teachers over the years who value a good-looking paper and I really can't be upset about it. My only issue is why they never seem to really care about what actually went into the paper, the actual flesh and blood of it.
The reason I bring this up is because I appreciated how, no matter how many spelling errors or punctuation issues I may have had in my assignments, you never counted off points for it. I'm sure a scholar such as yourself can understand my appreciation of this. All of your feedback was constructive and pertinent to my analysis. You only cared about the content of the writing, not how it looked. Because of that, your insight on the world of film comedy has significanly changed my thoughts on the topic and will continue to do so as I complete my film degree. So, thank you for that and good luck on your PhD.