Flag humor can be too serious for a comedy

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/04/21 13:37 +00:00, original URI: http://www.siao2.com/2015/04/21/8770668856267196384.aspx


Back when it was on, I used to watch The West Wing, a great dramatic show about politics that covered a number of issues that touch deeply on both my professional and personal life and interests.

In particular there was a sixth season episode named A Change Is Gonna Come that gets into the complicated situation of Taiwan and the People's Republic of China and in particular the way that an MS exacerbation led to him unknowingly accepting a flag representing the Taiwanese Independence Movement, and how to defuse a geopolitically sensitive situation before it derails an upcoming Summit between the US and PRC.

In a specific scene, Kate Harper is explaining the circumstances of the complex flag situation to Claudia Jean "CJ" Cregg:

The words go kinda like this:

CJ: So that's the flag we got.

CJ: That's China.

CJ: What's this one?

Kate: Republic of China.

CJ: This is China, that's China.

Kate: Republic of China.

Kate: People's Republic of China.

Kate: Banned in China, used in Taiwan.

Kate: Used in China, banned in Taiwan.

CJ: What's this one?

Kate: Taiwan's majority party.

CJ: Which party flies the Taiwanese flag?

Kate: The Taiwanese flag, not so popular among the Taiwanese.

CJ: They don't change it because?

Kate: China would declare war.

CJ: Good reason.

CJ: These things come with a GI Joe set?

Kate: I play a lot of Risk.

Now this isn't exactly comedy in the strictest sense, but it lightly covers a complex issue that not enough people understand.

A few years later, The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper has a multi episode mini-arc based on his regular video podcast called Sheldon Cooper's Fun With Flags.

Since on occasion almost entire episodes have centered on trying to capture a Fun With Flags podcast, on the surface this particular Flag issue might be perfect, since it took just a few seconds of an hour long show. Sheldon Cooper's political incorrectness has often been great comedic fodder, and this would be a great time to spank him and teach a whole new audience an important lesson.

But it would be a challenge to do it in the shorter sitcom's format, which covers many issues in physics and mathematics and linguistics and nerdiness and racism and sexism and stereotypes and accessibility and so many other things so well. It even covers HR and some actual Flag issues!

Some Flag humor can be too serious for a comedy.


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