Why Bakagou’s slapstick doesn’t work for me
Below is basically me saying why I don’t like Bakagou’s slapstick. This isn’t me calling anyone out, it's just a view of an opinion. If you find the angry porcupine funny I won’t judge you.
That being said, below does have anti-Bakugou elements and Bakugou Critical. If these bother you, I suggest you spend your time elsewhere.
Let’s get this out of the way; Comedy in itself is subjective to each person. Mineta is a perfect example; some people laugh at him along with his antics, while others don’t. Whether his actions may be funny to some, others who have suffered sexual harassment won’t laugh. (Personally, I don’t think the violence is harsh enough to make his antics funny, but more on that later.)
Nowadays, a lot of people don’t find physical violence funny. I am not one of those people. I love physical comedy—if it’s done right.
These are the official rules of slapstick comedy—Though they come from a mime school, so YMMV;
Pain without real consequences.
Editing to turn a situation more unrealistic.
Those are mime rules, but here’s mine;
The person that receives the pain must have done something to earn it.
The pain must be because of a direct action of the recipient.
Pain without real consequences. (We share this rule.)
There are a few exceptions, as I’ve seen nice characters get hit with slapstick, but because rule three is in play, I still laugh. Like with Courage the Cowardly Dog from the show of the same name. He is the sweetest and bravest thing, but he still suffers a lot of slapstick. Usually, though, the pain goes away right away, so most viewers laugh as it’s “pain without real consequence.” When the pain stays for more than a few scenes, it’s serious.
As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t mind Mineta too much if he received more punishment for his perverted acts and said punishment was more cartoony violent. I recognize his character type as a typical anime trope and because their actions earn the violence, I laugh when they get their just desserts. When Kota kicked Mineta off the wall, I laughed. When Jiro stabbed his eye, I laughed. And so on. As a person, Mineta doesn’t connect to me (though there was potential), when it comes to his slapstick, I’m all for laughing. His pain is funny to me because it’s earned by actions he consciously makes and there’s no lasting damage. Better yet, no one ever just waves off his action as ‘that’s just Mineta.’ More often than not when he acts like a perv others call him out and react properly--usually.
A character I do like that suffers is Monoma. Most of the BNHA fandom hates him—mostly Bakagoustans—but I find his antics funny, as well as his pain. The reason Monoma’s pain is funny to me is simple; he acts like a jackass and is punished for it.
Monoma is Class-B’s Bakagou, but unlike Class-A they don’t ignore his actions. When he does something rude or annoying, Monoma is called out. They tell him straight out that what he's doing is NOT okay, and they don’t agree with him. If he continues, then Monoma is knocked out. Class-B even goes the extra mile and apologizes for him. They acknowledge that Monoma’s actions are wrong then they do something about it.
Now, to be fair most of the scenes played for comedy with Bakagou technically fit the slapstick rules;
Pain without real consequence- Debatable, but we don’t usually see any physical scars from his actions.
Editing to turn a situation unrealistic and impossible situations- During these scenes, Bakagou’s face gets cartoony as hell, and the way he causes pain isn't usually something we see in everyday life.
So, yeah, I can see why some people laugh at him as he follows the rules technically.
This is where the subjective comes in. Now just a reminder, this is all my opinion, therefore there will be a little pettiness. Ye have been warned.
First of all, Bakagou seldom receives punishment for his asshole tendencies. He can yell at people, insult them, and physically attack others, but no one does anything. Once in a while, we’ll get a “knock it off Bakugou” or Class A will be appalled, but that’s it. If Bakugou showed he was irritated by getting ignored, then maybe it would be funny. But no. He yells, he hurts someone, then it’s brushed aside.
Cartman of South Park fame is an asshole, but I can laugh at his actions as the narrative never says that his horrible actions are right. Even when he gets away with it the show states, “yeah, we know this is wrong, but so what?” Because of that I’m not annoyed with the story and can laugh. See, if the horrible action is at least somehow acknowledged in some way, I’m more likely to laugh.
There’s also the fact that the people Bakagou attacks usually have done nothing to earn his ire. Bakagou’s just being an asshole. (Monoma’s an exception, but again, his slapstick is funny.)
Izuku is the most common target of Bakagou’s tantrums and he NEVER does anything to deserve it. He’s just doing his own thing and Bakagou will get jealous before attacking, verbally or physically. And Izuku just takes it! Even when Izuku isn’t even talking to him, Bakagou will attack him!
“But more often than not, Izuku is okay, right? So wouldn’t the ‘Pain without real consequence’ rule come into play?” Not in this case. Why? Because of their history.
I don’t like to throw the word “abuse” around unless it fits. The reason for this is that it takes away its power and seriousness. I also believe that there’s a difference between being a jerk and an abuser. To me, in anime or cartoons at least, a dope-slap here and there isn’t abuse.
I have no idea about the full story and said story seems to be changing to manipulate views, but what’s clear is this; Bakagou bullied Izuku.
I’m not clear when bullying passes the line into abuse (please forgive my ignorance of this at this time), but whatever Bakagou did had traumatized Izuku. I won’t go into it here, but there are several posts out there that prove Bakagou’s actions left lasting mental and emotional wounds on Izuku that affect him and his actions throughout the story.
There’s too much unpleasant history between Izuku and Bakagou for the latter’s actions to the former to ever be entertaining. Bakagou bullied Izuku throughout their whole childhood and belittled him. After so long of Bakagou’s actions being played seriously, I’m supposed to see it as a joke now? Nuh-uh. No way. Nothing’s changed.
Bakagou still jokes about Izuku dying, belittles him, and attacks him whenever he gets a little attention. Just like he always did. Whatever development he may have got, Bakagou is still a brat who throws a tantrum when he’s not the focus.
The only difference is that instead of reacting to it, Izuku’s gotten used to it. He’s numb to it all. That’s not funny at all. It’s sad.
When Izuku was flinching, at least his body was instinctively trying to protect itself. In that subtle way, it was acknowledging that something was wrong. By not flinching, or doing anything to defend himself, Izuku is no longer acknowledging the actions are wrong. The worse thing about it? No one else is either.
Sure it wouldn’t be in character if Izuku yelled or fought back, but others in Class A could. They don’t even have to do anything major, just along the lines of what Class B does.
Another thing is that the people Bakagou yells at or attacks are people who won’t or can’t fight back. Izuku, Fuyumi (who has lived with an adult version of Bakagou all her life), and Shoto. Shoto is a little better because Bakagou never hurts him or bothers him and Shoto ignoring Bakagou’s tantrums leads to the latter getting annoyed which is kinda funny.
All that said, to me Bakagou’s antics always have been and always will be bullying, and they are NOT something I can laugh at.
However, as many others can this just proves that humor is subjective. Take everything I said with a grain of salt.
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The Oscar Worthiness of BLOCK-HEADS By Rowan Tucker-Meyer
In this year’s 31 Days of Oscar lineup (also available on WatchTCM), among all of the classics we’ve watched and rewatched many times, there is one movie that may at first glance appear to be slightly out of place: the Laurel and Hardy film BLOCK-HEADS (’38). Although it is not as well known or acclaimed, I believe that it is every bit as good as most of the other Oscar-nominated films being shown this month.
In BLOCK-HEADS, Laurel and Hardy portray, as the title suggests, two not-so-bright fellows. The film opens with footage of World War I and we meet Stan and Ollie, two soldiers in the trenches. While the rest of the company goes into battle, Stan is ordered to stay back and guard the trench. In a delightfully dark turn of events, the other soldiers never return, news of the eventual armistice never reaches Stan and he dutifully guards the trench… for 21 years. The year is now 1938, and Stan has been subsisting solely on cans of beans. We even see a humongous mountain of 21 years’ worth of bean cans; it is a haunting image. He is discovered and returned to society, and when Ollie sees his friend’s photograph in the paper he decides to invite him over for dinner. Mayhem, needless to say, ensues.
I first saw this film a few months ago and it was one of my most delightful movie-watching experiences in recent memory. I hadn’t laughed so hard at a movie in a long time. With a running length of just 57 minutes, it’s densely packed with great gags which I won’t attempt to describe here. I’ll just say that my personal favorite gag is the one involving a football and leave it at that.
BLOCK-HEADS was nominated for Best Original Score. Marvin Hatley’s score is certainly good (even if it was often difficult to hear over the sound of my uproarious laughter), but it does seem a bit odd that it’s all that BLOCK-HEADS was nominated for, since it’s just about the last thing you think about when you finish watching this movie. You’re thinking about the hilarious performances by Laurel and Hardy – their gestures and facial expressions – the way Hardy reflexively touches his hat and the way Laurel sways side to side when he’s standing around, not really knowing what to do with himself. Or maybe you’re thinking about the script with its brilliant setups and payoffs. But the actors, writers and directors of movies like BLOCK-HEADS would rarely find themselves nominated for awards.
The film’s director, John G. Blystone, was never nominated for an Oscar. Neither were any of the film’s five writers. Laurel received an honorary Oscar in 1961, but apart from that, Laurel and Hardy themselves were never nominated for anything, even though their performances have aged remarkably well. As for their films, BLOCK-HEADS and WAY OUT WEST (’37) earned Best Original Score nominations, while THE MUSIC BOX (’32) won and TIT FOR TAT (’35) was nominated for Best Live Action Short Subject, Comedy. Tellingly, their work was mainly recognized when competing in a category specifically devoted to comedy, which was discontinued in 1937. Although today Laurel and Hardy are beloved icons and many classic film lovers will agree that their films have stood the test of time, those movies simply weren’t seen as worthy of much recognition when they were first released, except in peripheral categories. (I find it amusing that, although BLOCK-HEADS had no realistic chance of getting a Best Picture nomination at the 11th Oscars, it currently has a better IMDB rating than 6 of the 10 movies that were nominated instead.)
Comedies, particularly “lowbrow” comedies such as Laurel and Hardy’s slapstick-heavy movies, are seldom honored by the Oscars. The films of classic comedians such as Abbott and Costello, the Marx Brothers, Olsen and Johnson and W.C. Fields were regularly ignored. And this trend persists to the present day, perhaps to an even greater extent than in the 1930s. Best Picture nominees are notoriously drama-dominated, and the comedies that do get nominated are nearly always “comedy-dramas” like JOJO RABBIT (2019) which have an underlying seriousness at their core. Silliness for its own sake consistently goes unrewarded, whether it’s from Melissa McCarthy, Jack Black, Will Ferrell or Tyler Perry. Whether or not you think today’s comedians are comparable to those of the ‘30s and ‘40s, it is interesting to consider that Laurel and Hardy may have been viewed in their time the same way that critics receive an Adam Sandler comedy today, only for them to become respected decades later.
Great slapstick is really quite beautiful. Its humor is ageless and universal, striking some indescribable chord in our collective human psyche. What is it about Oliver Hardy slipping and falling on a rolling pin that makes us laugh? I’m not sure, but it’s hard to deny that slapstick has a mysterious power. Silliness deserves respect, especially when it is executed as exquisitely as in films like BLOCK-HEADS.
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