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Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by talkie3000, Nov 18, 2012.
its interestin how many like the show just for the comedy and care very little about the storys
So how would that have been a bad thing?
You've heard wrong. The "Black card/White Card" scene was removed from the remastered series as an editorial choice of Grant Naylor Productions, much in the way the appearance of Cat's girlfriend in Better than life was. That didn't have anything to do with "political correctness" either. GNP just thought the show was better without the segment in question.
Okay, yes, the removal of the chinese whispers stuff wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, because it WAS a bad joke (watched the episode again last night - honestly have no idea why it was left in). But imagine that they do have a joke, and it's a good one, but it gets removed because there is a possibility that someone somewhere could get a little miffed. It's not meant as offensive, just funny. Say it's an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman joke (which is probably more offensive than wondering if chinese whispers are racist).
As a quick aside, watching F&S again last night, I do wonder if Doug meant to troll us by asking "are chinese whispers racist", then introducing a situation which lots of people thought was racist.
As for the Black card/White card scene - huh, didn't know that. You learn something new every day. Honestly don't know why they removed that - haven't seen the remastered ones since they aired AGES ago. Didn't know they changed the appearance of Cat's girlfriend in Better Than Life either.
Put it this way, if we're being trolled, it ain't the likes of Doug Naylor doing the trolling.
Why did you initially think the black card/white card segment was removed? Surely you didn't genuinely believe they removed it out of fear of offending people. I mean, how would that logic even work? Would they fear that it could cause offence because of the colour of the cards in relation to black and white people? That sounds like something out of a sitcom.
In all seriousness though there are and have been many myths and rumours about this type of "political correctness gone mad!" in this country (which I find extremely ironic) but it's actually really quite rare that any of them are even remotely based on anything factual. More often than not they are exposed as modern day equivalents of old wives tales.
Many are built out of media propaganda and/or bad journalism, some stems from fear, ignorance and misunderstandings. Some sadly stems from genuine hate, and a lot simply comes about via the typical gossip monger mentality we see so much of today. And thus the myths tends to change shape as they do the rounds....not unlike the way words and sentences change shape whilst playing that word game, you know the one where a sentence gets whispered from one person's ear to the other...what was it called again?...Ah yes, Scottish Whispers...
doubtful, its more likely doug thought it would be clever to bring in chinese whispers so it would seem like nothing at the start and people would be wondering where he is going with it but by the end would be what pretty much randomly saves the day
and then he had to somehow figure out a word that could evolve into stasis and chose racist
overall it was the weakest stuff in the episode
well they didn't change her appearance they just removed the scene and done a quick cut which looks abit odd, but yeah i assume the black card/white card stuff was removed because Doug and Ed disliked it and removed it
its one of them things i think doug naylor is occationally really bad at decision making
Frankly if Doug ever has to resort to wheeling out "Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman" jokes then I'd rather the show was permanently retired. I remember I had a book of them when I was a kid and, not having been introduced to a world of stereotypes, found it all quite baffling. Later I just found them dull.
I'm not sure why you think the BBC would be likely to censor jokes based around nationality though. BBC Dwarf has always been full of them from Bulgarian pinups to numerous digs at the French.
Yes but that was 20 years ago.
The Bulgarian Pinup line is from Psirens (1993) but Doug was still having a dig at the French in Series 8 (1999).
Has there really been some sort of massive cultural shift since the nineties though with regards to acceptable humour at the Beeb? I don't think so. Certainly not in the way there was from the seventies to the late eighties.
Little Britain still had Matt Lucas dressing up as a Thai girl called Ting Tong in 2005 and blacking up for 'Come Fly with Me' in 2010, which is way, way cruder than anything in Dwarf. The idea that the BBC would never have allowed F&S's material to air is, in my opinion, incorrect and doesn't stand up to close scrutiny given what they have allowed to pass uncensored quite recently.
At least Doug was trying (if failing) to be ironic.
Let's also remember the BBC is responsible for the recent sitcom 'Mrs Brown's Boys' which represents all that is wrong with the world and it also airs things like Family Guy, which goes to extremes of offense quite regularly.
Depends entirely on context - someone is always going to be offended, you can never please everybody - but you can provide a suitable context which can turn an offensive gag from one that can wound and damage to one that can merely graze and laugh about.
They also air and comission Outnumbered, which suggests they have no concept of human morality.
Some very good points made here. I certainly can't think of any reason why the BBC wouldn't allow the F&S material to be aired either, for reasons bedfordfalls has already pointed out. I also agree that there had been somewhat of a shift some time between the seventies and late eighties/early nineties.
After giving this some more thought I certainly feel that some things have changed for the better (or worse depending on ones disposition), but in other ways they seem to have stayed the same, if not taken somewhat of an unfortunate decline in recent years. As exemplified by such lazily written shows as Little Britain - I say "lazy" because I feel they tend to heavily rely on the "controversial" shock value to get cheap and easy laughs. And sadly I feel this will likely continue across many shows so long as people keep laughing at it, and right now a lot of people are still laughing at this kind of stuff.
I think Goit_84 actually makes a good point regarding context (although I didn't realise Mrs.Browns Boys was considered overly offensive by some, but then I've only seen one episode). But yeah, there are often ways of tackling delicate subjects without causing a great deal of offence...and of course non of us would genuinely want to cause offence...would we?
It can be a difficult task though. I mean, what with us humans tending to have slightly different perception about different issues...for this reason perhaps the Simon Pegg reaction shot I posted in reply to djmcbell was a little harsh. I meant no genuine offence by it. It's just that some of the reactions to the whole "Taiwan Tony" have left me feeling a little...concerned and admittedly slightly uncomfortable - not necessarily the reaction of djcbell though, thus this apology - sorry about that.
But I am talking very specifically about certain reactions on this forum, as opposed to anything in the episode itself now, it kind of went way and far beyond that long ago really, although it's still interrelated of course.
Anyway, as I said before I do think shows like The Young Ones seem quite tame now in comparison to a lot of BBC sitcoms nowadays. Although I do agree that some things have changed since then (1982). But not a great deal in specific relation to The Young Ones....well, other than the following example, which I think is an interesting example fo which perfectly tackles some of the issues in relation to the overall discussion here;
In one episode there is a joke about the police being racist. I think one of the lines spoken by the racist cop is "That's white man's electricity you're burning ringing that bell!" The racist cop, who is wearing dark sunglasses, then goes on to use various offensive racial slurs towards a guy he wrongly believes has dark skin (because of the dark sunglasses apparently). Once he realises he's a white guy he then uses the "n" word in a derogatory manner; "Oh I'm sorry, I though you was a ni...."
Now, even though I'm fully aware of the intentions and the implied social commentary being put forth by Ben Elton here (the joke was based on a ribbing of the police force, much like the Police IQ shocker scene was) I still feel this was a risky move..
And here's one of the reasons why. I remember very vividly watching that episode with a friend of African descent. He was initially very much offended by the very use of the "n" word, and understandably so I think! However as soon as he understood the intentions after watching the scene back again he was much more at ease in and of himself, but still felt it inappropriate to have the character go so far as to use such an offensive term in that context.
And even though I personal find the scene quite funny (because I'm able to laugh AT racist idiots when put into a fictional comedy format), I actually agree that this was perhaps a slightly misguided way to get the point across in a sitcom with live audience laughter. That last point is important by the way, I'm referring very specifically to sitcoms and other types of comedy shows here. If that word was used in a hard hitting, true-to-life drama, that's another story entirely. But again it all comes down to context.
My point being that attempting to tackle difficult subjects like that in a comedy show could quite potentially cause a two-fold problem. One being that such things can be easily misinterpreted and thus can cause offence. And I personally don't think this should be fobbed off as a non-issue.
But said misinterpretation can have another unfortunate side effect too, in the sense that some...misguided folk actually laughed along with the fictional racist cop, as opposed to laughing at the real point being put across (a treatment on racism within the police force). I feel these misinterpretations were unfortunately inevitable given the state of society and social awareness at the time - and still to this day to a degree, unfortunately.
I'm not saying that writers should feel they can't even mention racism, especially when the intentions are to point out how primitive and morally wrong racism is. I'm just saying it's important to realise how easily such gags can be be taken the wrong way when done in such a bold manner as the example above. And as such these issues need to be handled with great care.
Now, some people may look at that example and say "Ah, see that proves that things are more 'politically correct' nowadays." And to that I would restate what I said before, some things have got better, and in other ways they seem to have remained the same, if not taken somewhat of a turn for the worse in certain ways.
Tackling difficult socio-political, national or racial issues in a sitcom is risky at very least. I'm not saying it's necessarily a good thing that we should have to be this careful. In an ideal utopian dream world this wouldn't even be an issue of course, as we'd all be enlightened beings transmitting on a higher frequency, maaan
But back here in the real world, and what with the world and society as it is now, it's just basic common sense to take that extra care when tackling such delicate and complex subject matters as racism, nationalism, sexism, homophobia, etc.
There's nothing wrong with actually giving a smeg about the feelings of others, Or at least making an effort to respect peoples' culture's. There's nothing wrong with wanting to bridge differences, even if that means being a bit sympathetic, and questioning ones own values (and where they stem from) every now and then....and hey, perhaps even learning to compromise from time to time too...imagine that..
And this is one of the many reasons I may sometimes come across as being a tad frustrated when I hear such terms as "PC Police", "Political correctness gone mad!" or "you're just a bloody do-gooder!"....the latter being a term I've been 'insulted' with many times over the years, which is...um, interesting.
I mean, what next? New trendy insults such as "You caring, sympathetic smegger!
*Ramble mode Cancel*
This is a problem with ironic characters like Al Murray's 'Landlord' character. The character itself is a very well observed political satire - skewering a particular type of person I am certain we have all met at some point in our lives, much like Alan Partridge.
However I do get the feeling his success comes mostly from the fact a good percentage of his audience are actually into his act and are laughing with him as opposed to laughing at him. Watch some of his shows and listen to the laughs - you'll find the really cutting clever funny stuff he comes out with only attracts a few laughs but the blatantly offensive, sexist, bigoted stuff gets the biggest belly laughs. They're laughing with Murray but Murray is meant to be laughed AT. It's one of those instances where you wonder what the person on stage must be thinking as they feel they have somehow ended up with an audience they probably cannot stand.
I guess I have been proven incorrect - that being said, I don't watch any comedy really on the BBC nowadays. I think I'm suffering from nostalgia - when the likes of Bottom, Blackadder, Red Dwarf and all the comedies I grew up with (admittedly mostly on video) were replaced with the likes of The Office, My Family and The Royle Family I wrongly assumed that BBC comedy had taken a nosedive. Perhaps, at the time, I was right (in my opinion, of course - I know there must be some people out there who enjoyed these) but that's not representative of what's on there today.
Freeborn - don't worry, I didn't take offence at the Simon Pegg picture. Which makes me want to watch Run Fatboy Run again... quite an underrated film I think.
I guess my concern, given my idea (though with little evidence) of the BBC's home-grown comedy offerings, is that Red Dwarf would become too scripted, too "set-up", admittedly just like the sneeze gag from BTE. In which case, I guess the chinese whispers would be right at home! But really, and remember this is just with my admittedly limited (ie - none) knowledge, I'd just be worried that Red Dwarf would be too controlled, and lose a lot of it's dynamic feel.
In any case, what do I want from the next series?
* free tickets to see it. Go on, I (and a lot of others) deserve them after rapturously enjoying the show through the years
* Starbug back, and with the same cockpit/midsection design as previous series (that's all that's needed)
* episodes that take us places. Not that RDX didn't do this - I loved Trojan, Entangled and The Beginning because the story went different places
* a menacing enemy or two please (confined to their own episodes - no over-arching storylines)
* less "it could be Kochanski" business from Lister please
I would like to see darker plots and feel like series 5. Less wackiness.
The big issue with being overly politically correct is that equality with never exist with it, how can minorities be the same if they are treated differently?.....In that sense I think some degree of political incorrectness is necessary. Issues can't be addressed and resolved if they are swept under the rug, no instead they are letting old wounds fester to the point where the issue itself get more touchy then ever. Nowadays things have gotten to the point where you have to watch everything said (even if unreasonably so) in the off chances someone may find it racist if taken in the wrong context......now that's just condescending. I don't believe being too PC is in anyone's best interest.
Basically, a certain level of political correctness has to be agreed. Red Dwarf, as a whole, has nothing to worry about - there hasn't really been much that's been offensive said in the show.
I will quickly have a look at Taiwan Tony, probably the worst thing in RDX. Was he really offensive? To this I ask a question:
Do Taiwanese people, speaking English, sound much different to Taiwan Tony?
I actually don't know the answer to this. Someone please tell me. Whenever I ring the local chinese takeaway they do sound distinctly chinese, going "Kitchen House" with an emphasis on the "ou" in House, followed by "okay we with you thirty-forty minute, okay bye!". They're very cheery.
What if Taiwan Tony had been replaced with, say, a Yorkshire vending machine, Yorkshire Larry (can't think of a name beginning with Y)? I don't know, maybe it serves yorkshire puddings and gravy (best vending machine ever!) and has a thick Yorkshire accent, and when asked if chinese whispers are racist replies "I don't soddin' know y'wazzock. Y'wanna ask someone else? They don't know nowt!". Which, in my experience living and working in Yorkshire and married to a woman from Yorkshire, and my father is from Yorkshire too, some of them do sound like - and I'm starting to adopt some of the same mannerisms. I don't think anyone I know would be offended by that.
Did Taiwan Tony REALLY overstep the mark? Or conform to a stereotype that actually has some grounding in reality?
Okay, not really a quick look at Taiwan Tony. I didn't see anything wrong and, if people are getting in a huff about Taiwan Tony, what about the French vending machine (serving coffee, having a flirtatious voice and mannerisms) from Dear Dave?
I guarantee that, in a lot of cases, people won't be complaining about political correctness because they're offended, but because they think someone could be offended OR they just want to make a fuss themselves. I had someone try and get me fired from a retail job a few years back because I wished her a Merry Christmas, and she claimed I was "inflicting my religious beliefs on her" (I think of myself as an atheist). Conversely, for some time I lived with a person from India who didn't believe in Christianity and followed his religion (albeit he wasn't devout, didn't go to worship all the time etc) but still bought Christmas presents for others.
Well, I think I understand your point. But you may have to give some specific examples here, as I'm not really seeing how things have become so "overly politically correct" that we now have to watch everything we say. Not when it comes to these kinds of issues anyway.
What is it you feel you're/we're being suppressed from saying? And why?
Also, what do you mean by "political incorrectness"? Are you referring to so-called "casual racism"? Or just being able to say - in a polite manner, and in an agreed discussion - such things as "I personally disagree with some of your religious/cultural beliefs, or views about racism, and here are my reasons..."?
If the latter then I agree. If the former...then Bring on more "political correctness", I say!
"casual racism" is very much an accepted trend in this part of the world - so much so that it's got to the stage where many no longer perceive certain mocking insults towards certain ethnic groups as racist, especially when put forth in a seemingly comedic manner. It's just become an accepted part of our environment via modern Western culture nowadays unfortunately. Certainly here in the UK and United States anyway, although the levels tend to differ from region to region or state to state.
The general rule of modern day acceptance here appears to be that if one laughs after saying something purposely offensive and calls it irony, it just gets fobbed off and ignored by many; "To hell with how other cultures may perceive it! Why don't they think like us!?" It's either that it's assumed the insulted people of other countries, cultures and races will/should just be able to laugh it off as 'we' do. Or that people just don't care how their learned values may affect others. Now that to me is condescending. Not to mention a bit naive and unrealistic.
But yeah, I'm sure one may be able to find a few genuine examples of what you refer to as being "overly politically correct" (personally I call it "social paranoia" and/or "cultural ignorance" - which works both ways! - cause and effect can be a real smegger sometimes) but for the most part, quite frankly I don't think genuine "political correctness" (As opposed to being "overly PC") has gone anyway near far enough at this stage.
Here's an interesting question; Do you think it's possible to say racist things without even realising it to be racist? Personally I would say yes, of course it is. I see it all the time. It's called ignorance (Lack of knowledge and understanding). If I didn't know any better and I said racist or nationally/culturally biased things, that makes me ignorant, but it doesn't necessarily make me an intentional racist or a rabid nationalist. It makes me a victim of my culture.
I was once called "overly politically correct" when a guy I know made an extremely racist joke about black people. The term "bloody lazy N****" was the punchline. The entire joke was based around offensive racial stereotypes and some blatant historical racist lies (this guy was a white, English 53 year old by the way).
After I pointed out that I didn't find the joke funny because I felt it was inappropriate, seemingly callous and rather racist, he then tried to back track by stating; "Well, that's the term I grew up hearing!...It's not meant in an offensive way!...and anyway, you're just being overly politically correct! - Can't bloody say anything nowadays without offending people!" ...which is interesting.
It's not that I can't sympathise with why/how he learned to think this way, but this is the kind of overly defensive, counter-attacking and somewhat dishonest attitude I'm talking about.
However, in this specific case, after some in-depth discussion he then went on to openly admit that he does indeed have a personal issue with black people (he'd actually met very few non-white English people in his life). He then even admitted that perhaps this was due to the discriminatory views and false perceptions the time period/environment, community and parents he grew up with had passed down to him.
My point being that he was able to question his own values, which is all one can expect really. I certainly didn't expect any more than that. My hope was that he would stop passing certain unsavoury viewpoints onto his kids and grandchildren. And thus even though he and I may still disagree about certain subjects (the guy voted for Cameron for smeg sake! ), I was pleased with the outcome of the discussion that came subsequent to his racist joke. He's actually a good guy really, and I have no ill feelings towards him, especially so after that conversation.
There does seem to be more of an understanding among younger generations when it comes to these kind of issues, which is inevitable really. But sadly a lot of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc attitudes still persist because they continue to be passed down from generation to generation, and are still often perpetuated by the media too. And pandering to such views -even if they're unintentionally discriminatory - does not help anyone in my view.
Some people make the argument that "Well, if we're to offend people then we should offend people equally". But for many reasons relating to much unfortunate evolutionary baggage we are not equal in that sense unfortunately, so that is quite simply impossible at this stage. It can't be as easily simplified as all that.
But also, why would we want to do it that way around anyway? Why feel the need to go out of our way to offend people at all? Whether it be via the use of fat jokes, jokes about ones appearance, race, sexuality or anything else. If it's equality we want then why not just treat people equally in a positive manner, rather than making fun of individual traits like a bunch of childish twonks?
Me choosing not to make stereotypical jokes about you being Australian is not "overly politically correct", I just see no reason or point to it, especially given that it may get taken the wrong way by genuine nationalists. And nor would I want to risk unintentionally offending you either. Perhaps you may not take offence personally, but we're all different so I see no need to take that risk just for a cheap laugh or to raise the issue. It's not that I'm giving you special treatment, it's that I respect you just as I do everyone else. It has nothing to do with pandering to people, and everything to do with accepting that we're all different and don't always perceive things the same way.
If you and a close British friend were to trade off a few Australian and British stereotype jokes that would be another matter entirely, as you would both understand that there is no genuine malicious intent there, and thus there is no cultural confusion and little to no possibility of conflict emerging.
But when one is catering to an entire audience - to an entire multi-cultural nation - then surely a bit of common sense and compromising is required here? Making such bold and "controversial-shock-value" jokes as many comedians and comedy shows do nowadays just seems a tad irresponsible to me, as it's bound to have the potential of causing or perpetuating certain social problems. And why would we want that?
Goit_84 pointed out a good example of how easy things can get misinterpreted. In the case of Al Murray's 'The Pub landlord' character, What was initially recognised by many (but not most, in my view) as a clever bit of satire, now sadly seems to have gradually morphed into the kind of desensitized and often quite ambiguous material that tends to appeal more to the very people he initially set out to satirise.
And while he has acknowledged this problem in a few interviews some years ago, after looking into this a bit further it's become clear to me that in many cases he does appear to fob it off and sweep the issue under the rug...thus allowing these issues to fester..
It seems that as his audience began to change, so too did his style and the way he put forth his material. Although to be fair he does sometimes make a one-off gag towards the end of his shows in relation to how this stuff shouldn't be taken too seriously, but again this no longer seems to go down very well with a large portion of his audience, whereas it used to receive great applauds.
And as such much of the initial obvious irony seems to be seeping away now. Gone are much of the funny character traits, and the more obviously ironic material is becoming less and less with every tour. And what seems to be left for the most part is an angry, aggressive character blurting out repetitive insults for a cheap laugh. Which I think is a real shame as I know he's capable of putting the point out there in a much more responsible, effective, funny and less ambiguous way.
This quote is from a review of one of his stage shows from a few years back. It's taken from chortle.co.uk
*Link to page may contain occasional strong language*
However, the reviewer then goes on to say this;
And therin lies the problem.
Is it Al Murray's fault that a large portion of his audience are ignorant? No, I think it would be a bit harsh to put all the blame on him here, but to pretend it's not an issue and to shy away from it is to allow it to feaster, and thus the important issues are never really dealt with.
Please understand that I'm not saying his act should be banned or anything quite that radical, I'm just saying that discussing the problems that such an act can bring about is important...as like you I don't want to sweep these issues under the rug and let them fester.
Another similar example would be the chap who played Alf Garnett (another fictional chacter who unintentionally gained support from racists and the like) Although in this case he wasn't performing directly before a group of people laughing along with the character of course. And he did try to go out of his way to remind the ignorant masses that this was a fictional character. Even going so far as to repeatedly mentioning how genuinely upset it made him to receive fan mail from members of the national front and other such groups.
I personally find Alf Garnett a funny character to laugh at, but I also recognise why it caused so many ignorant misunderstandings, which again works both ways...as well as the letters of praise from hard-line racists, he also received hate male from people opposed to racism, the poor guy was recieving ignorance from all sides.
I used to be able to laugh at The Pub Landlord character in the same way. But I'm beginning to feel that Al Murray has perhaps crossed a dangerous line in recent years. A line I'm fairly certain he never intended to cross initially. But as the review posted above points out he is very good at catering to his audience...and right now a lot of his audience - of whom pay his wages - are not laughing AT the character, but are laughing along WITH him.
Again I'm not saying it's a good thing that some people take things the wrong way, I'm just pointing out a basic fact, and suggesting that sometimes perhaps a little more care should be taken to get ones point of irony across, otherwise the ambiguity can lead to all kinds of additional and unecessary problems.
But all that aside, while I am well aware that there can be a fine line to tread when speaking out about the offence others feel, it must be understood that this is not a case of speaking out "on the off chance a few people might be offended". Truth is there are entire communities feeling offended, many of whom complain in silence but darnt speak out in public in fear of being labeled overly sensitive. *I can offer some specific examples and links if need be*
I feel it's important to be able to question and challenge cultural issues, it's just that I feel these things can be addressed whilst trying to take a little extra care in the way we do it. Surely takling such issues in a civil and responsible manner makes them easier to address, as opposed to this whole attitude of 'lets just offend everyone and hope they see it the same way we do', which I feel is a little naive to be honest, and it can often have the opposite affect.
For true "equality" to come about, we must first learn to accept our differences. And learn to bridge them respectfully and efficiently.
How people sound when speaking another language all depends on the individual and their individual learning experiences. For example, this Taiwanese girl (EDIT: her name of which the forum wont recognise in copy & paste format, but it translates as "Emily") has been to England just the once, but has visited the U.S on three occasions. She has also mentioned in another video that she watches a lot of American movies too.And this is somewhat evident in the kind of accent she's picked up whilst learning to speak the language.
To use another example, some years ago I met a Chinese guy in France. He actually spoke much more concise and clear English than many British-born people I've met. He had never actually been to England however, he had lived most of his life in various parts of China, then moved to France about six months before we met him and his wife.
His wife, who was Taiwanese could not speak English anywhere near as fluently as her husband, but when she did speak a few sentences in English she certainly didn't sound much like the "Taiwan Tony" character - nor did she shout at me in an aggressive manner either - she didn't eat dead Panda stew either - as the accent used in the show was a rather OTT, generic caricature-type accent (to say the least). *EDIT; the reference to pand stew is in relation to the "Endangered Species Stew" as seen on the "Taiwan Tony" machine with the pander pic on the logo*
However, again it all comes down to the individual. Languages such as Mandarin and Hokkien (as spoken in Taiwan) are very different to English, and thus for some (but not all) certain pronunciations can be difficult to grasp, much like I struggled with certain French and Spanish pronunciations at first.
In the very specific case of Chinese/Asian people being mocked by the Western media over the years though, there is a long history of some really quite cruel and mocking discrimination. I think this is gradually getting better though, but as I'm sure you're aware this level of difficulty in pronunciation, along with certain traits based on fictional movies characters (many of which were played by white Americans or English guys in the past), does tend to still get laughed at rather a lot in this country, and indeed in many modern day American movies too.
Whatever one feels about the whole "Taiwan Tony" thing, I think it's fair and reasonable to point out that the accent Kerry Shale used (for whatever reason) was at very least an exaggerated stereotypical accent - one of which is not dissimilar to the kind of exaggerated accent used in some very unsavoury ways and with malicious intent over the years.
I can point out and post some links to some very specific examples as to the unfortunate evolutionary/historical baggage that makes this specific situation give me cause for concern if need be.
Hence the basic concerns some of us have been trying to make clear on this forum. No one has screamed "Doug is a big fat racist!" because, well, he's not. But I had hoped that by now these concerns would at very least be understood and that some sympathy would be shown. I had also hoped that the difference between using any old accent and a specific accent of a particular race and culture would've been understood by now too.
Are we being overly sensitive?...well, I don't think so personally. But I can certainly see why some have interpreted it that way.
Funny thing is that a few of the counter-reactions to my initial counter-reaction to the original reaction on the reactionary episode 2 thread have at time been perceived by myself as being a tad over-sensitive...and counter-reactive
Then again, perhaps we're all a little over sensitive in some ways, and perhaps lacking in sensitivity and/or understandings in other ways...or maybe...I should just stop rambling now.
I did actually begin replying to the other parts of your post too, but if I continue right now I'll just ramble on and on, as I seem to have fallen into that phase again of late. ops:
Wow. Two huge posts! I've given both a quick skim-through, and Freeborn's final sentence stands out:
Yep, this is true. But equality doesn't make good comedy and, in terms of equality, let's face it - everyone's equal in not doing it. We British do dish out stereotypes of several things, some of which that leap to mind are Chris Barrie's Frenchman in Blackadder (as well as probably a few other bits from Blackadder) and the part in Father Ted where Mrs Doyle tries to learn the rules of football, implying women can't understand football. I'm sure other people can think of many, many others.
But conversely, other comedies from overseas dish out stereotypes for we British. The Simpsons implies we all have bad teeth. An episode in Family Guy implies we cannot pronounce words correctly, which contradicts several other comedies stereotyping that we all speak The Queen's English perfectly. Hell, even TV adverts in America stereotype us British. Like the above, I'm sure people can find a lot more.
Though Taiwan Tony was quite a horrible, horrible addition, if he had been funny (and I'm sure some people probably thought he was... someone, somewhere, living in a shed full of axes...) then, if you take away his accent (which was what was supposed to be funny about him) then he wouldn't be funny. Some people may think of that as a Godsend. You can't really turn funny inequality into funny equality - there's nothing funny about it. You're just taking away the inequality.
Which, in some cases, is a good thing - a show shouldn't go out of it's way to offend, because it will just lose all it's sensibilities. Red Dwarf is full of "lad's gags" humour, and nothing more. The vast, vast majority is not offensive in any way, and I don't think Taiwan Tony was meant to be offensive in the slightest. Yes, again as Freeborn said, the accent used is similar to the accent people have used (and still do) to be offensive, so I guess I can understand some people taking offence at it. However, I don't believe it was meant to be - if it had, I think more emphasis would have been placed on it in the episode.
As a quick aside, my wife really likes the Tom & Jerry cartoons. However, she's been trying to get hold of them and only managed to get the new, edited versions where the "owner" (mommy two-shoes, I think she's referred to as), previously a large black woman with a southern American accent, has been replaced with a skinny white woman with a more modern accent, as people thought the black woman was a racial stereotype (lots of people think she was a maid - as a kid I thought she owned the house, she's in there all the time). Isn't taking her out inequality, depending on your perception of what role she played?
And now for another short post from you friendly resident rambler.
Or, if you would prefer - "Spin On!" :arrow:
I completely agree that it wasn't meant to be offensive. Instead I feel there was an intended irony there; The irony being that whilst the Red Dwarf crew were making a fuss wondering if a game was considered racist or not, they naively missed the fact that Taiwan Tony is, in and of itself a massive stereotype (a massively inaccurate, exaggerated one at that).
The point wasn't to offend the audience, it was for them/us to laugh at the irony and the crew's ignorance within the situation comedy. One aspect of this that should be abundantly clear is that of Rimmer expressing his concerns about racism while maintaining ignorance himself. In addition to this it is then later revealed that it's not just Rimmer missing the irony here, but the rest of the crew too.
The entire sub-plot of F&S had elements of intended irony based around the ignorance of the crew, such as the slightly misguided, oversimplifying perceptions Cat and Lister have about Chinese people ("pointy hats", doing laundry, ect). As well as the line "Taiwan is a bit Chinesey", which is a tad politically ignorant to say the least, as I'm sure Doug knows all too well, otherwise he wouldn't have used it as a gag in that context. I personally feel it was a reasonably good line too. It's one of the few that made me laugh in that segment.
The Red dwarf characters are intentionally written to be a bit naive in this sense, always have been to one degree or another, this much must surely be obvious by now. One series 7 gag (that I actually think is quite funny) is the whole "Bent Bob" bit, but again I'm laughing at Lister's ignorance. I don't think he's knowingly homophobic, I just think he's a bit ignorant due to the social environment he grew up in. However, I can totally understand why some may find that scene a bit uncomfortable. I'm also aware that some may laugh for the 'wrong reasons' so to speak. But for me personally the only think I didn't like about it was finding out that Lister is not quite as enlightened as the Red Dwarf fan in me would've liked to believe. But that's my problem, not Doug's.
I don't think it's Doug being naive (although I do think the TT thing could've been handled better). And I don't think it's Doug trying to be offensive. These are naive things said by naive fictional characters. In the case of the entire Chinese Whispers sub-plot, if there was no naivety there would be much less irony, and thus it would be even less funny than it already is. All that would be left is a game of real-life Chinese Whispers...in relation to nothing else.
One thing I'm certain of however is that non of this was meant to be offensive, on the contrary! If anyone believes I think otherwise, then they're simply not paying attention...sheesh, I sometimes feel I may as well be speaking ruddy Chinese!...What!? :P
But hey all this is just my perception of what I feel Doug intended...but I suppose it's possible I could be wrong. It happened once before - it was a Tuesday. I've read what Mr. Ellard had to say about this issue, but perhaps the time had come to ask Doug this question directly, so we can be 100% certain about this either way, and once and for all.
If the irony was intended (I see no reason to believe otherwise), then perhaps it should've been made a little more clear. That's always been my main point surround the Chinese Whispers sub-plot specifically.
If the irony wasn't intentional however then I would wonder why the jarring OTT accent was chosen by the actor (or written or accepted that way by Doug), and why display "Endangered Species Stew" on the front of the machine if the point has nothing to do with inappropriate stereotypes?
I disagree that the scene couldn't be funny without the annoying shouty voice and OTT accent. In fact I'd say that if anything the OTT accent overshadows what could've been quite a funny piece of dialogue about TT having an ongoing dispute with Dispenser 55 because he serves microwave food...you know, the actual scripted lines that could barely be heard and/or understood under the overlapping audience laughter. I certainly never heard that line on the night, and I somehow managed to miss it when I watched the episode initially air on DAVE too. 'tis a shame really.
I mean, come on, lets tune in to Ronny Real here, you don't need such an overwhelmingly stereotypical shouty accent to get some good comedy lines across.
To me it would make absolutely no sense to perform the accent in that way unless;
1. It was intended to be a part of the whole ignorance-based irony that was apparent throughout much of that sub-plot - We're meant to be laughing at the crew's ignorance here.
2. It was merely performed in that ridiculously OTT manner for an extra cheap laugh.
3. It was intended to be offensive.
As I've said I don't believe it to be number 3. And neither do you. The difference being that you seem to feel it was put there purely for the second reason, in no relation to anything else including the crew's ignorance.
In the very specific case of Taiwan Tony, the fact that so many of us can't even agree as to what we think Doug's intentions were, kind of proves that it wasn't made very clear (regardless of who is 'right' or 'wrong' here).
But, no of course it wasn't meant to be offensive... I can't help but feel there are still some fundamental misunderstanding as to the difference between something being intentionally offensive and intentionally ironic.
Anyway, to be honest I think I'm probably best leave that right there. I think I may be done discussing ruddy "Taiwan Tony" now, the whole thing is becoming rather tiresome and I'm becoming a bit repetitive...I also seem to be repeating myself a bit too.
Although obviously I'm willing to reply and discus anything that may be in direct response to anything I've written here - I'm not holding up the black card or anything.
*Oi, don't just skim over my posts - Skip back to the beginning * :!: