Intelligence and sarcasm

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Intelligence and sarcasm

#1  Postby RayClarke » Jun 02, 2013 10:26 pm

I've often wondered if there's a link between someone's level of intelligence and their ability to understand and/or exercise sarcasm, irony, multiple levels of meaning, and basically the various types of comedy devices used in US and UK sitcoms.

Also, I'm told by friends who speak various languages that when US sitcoms are dubbed into their language a lot of the humour is lost. Is that due to culture only or is it something to do with the ability to grasp the ironic / sarcastic comedy that is so common in such comedy shows?
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#2  Postby virphen » Jun 02, 2013 10:30 pm

US sitcoms have humour?
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#3  Postby RayClarke » Jun 02, 2013 10:35 pm

That's the prevailing theory.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#4  Postby Imagination Theory » Jun 02, 2013 10:40 pm

It isn't the sarcasm that is lost in translation (most people in most languages can "get it") it is what the jokes/sarcasm is about that may get lost in translation. Humor seems to be very culture based.

I don't know how intelligence plays a role in sarcasm. I'll watch this thread to find out.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#5  Postby james1v » Jun 02, 2013 11:18 pm

:think:
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#6  Postby murshid » Jun 03, 2013 4:37 am

Some humour cannot be translated. Puns, for instance.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#7  Postby Ihavenofingerprints » Jun 03, 2013 5:06 am

RayClarke wrote:I've often wondered if there's a link between someone's level of intelligence and their ability to understand and/or exercise sarcasm, irony, multiple levels of meaning, and basically the various types of comedy devices used in US and UK sitcoms.


Yeah, that' sounds really plausible.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#8  Postby hackenslash » Jun 03, 2013 6:14 am

virphen wrote:US sitcoms have humour?


The evidence suggests not (although I have a secret penchant for The Big Bang Theory, but I suspect that's just because of the nerd gags).
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#9  Postby Mike_L » Jun 03, 2013 6:39 am

There was plenty of clever humour in Frasier... including irony, sarcasm, double entendre, puns, etc.
The excellent Seinfeld relied mainly on comedy-of-the-absurd.
But most of the American sitcoms seem to rely on innuendo as the chief mechanism for humour.
I think it's a generalisation to suggest that American sitcoms are somehow lacking. But yes, they're certainly different to British fare.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#10  Postby LucidFlight » Jun 03, 2013 6:49 am

hackenslash wrote:
virphen wrote:US sitcoms have humour?


The evidence suggests not (although I have a secret penchant for The Big Bang Theory, but I suspect that's just because of the nerd gags).

The Big Bang Theory? Really? It's been recommended to me by various friends and acquaintances. I've watched it and I have no idea why people have recommended it to me. I noticed lots of nerd references, but as for the humour, I didn't find any. The IT Crowd is more my style.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#11  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 03, 2013 7:23 am

murshid wrote:Some humour cannot be translated. Puns, for instance.


Yes, this. A vast amount of humor relies on unique features of a language and/or culture, and as such a large chunk of non-slapstick stuff is literally lost in translation.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#12  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 03, 2013 7:27 am

Mike_L wrote:There was plenty of clever humour in Frasier... including irony, sarcasm, double entendre, puns, etc.
The excellent Seinfeld relied mainly on comedy-of-the-absurd.
But most of the American sitcoms seem to rely on innuendo as the chief mechanism for humour.
I think it's a generalisation to suggest that American sitcoms are somehow lacking. But yes, they're certainly different to British fare.


I think British stuff tends to distinguish itself from American stuff with more of a focus on awkwardness.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#13  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jun 03, 2013 7:53 am

Mike_L wrote:There was plenty of clever humour in Frasier... including irony, sarcasm, double entendre, puns, etc.
The excellent Seinfeld relied mainly on comedy-of-the-absurd.
But most of the American sitcoms seem to rely on innuendo as the chief mechanism for humour.
I think it's a generalisation to suggest that American sitcoms are somehow lacking. But yes, they're certainly different to British fare.


American sitcoms rely on basic primitive humour and as you say plenty of innuendo.

British sitcoms vary so much. Some of the junk on BBC3 is so Americanised.

BBC 1 still manages to keep a good standard of comedy. Lee Mack's "Just not Going Out" is a good example.

Comedy never translates well. Tommy Cooper and Benny Hill did well here but they did not have that much dialog and were very 'visible' comedians. The Dutch dont do satire very well. I think the same can be said about the Germans.

One type of comedy that is seldom seen in Britain is 'cabaret'. The Dutch love it and it has been popular since the '50's.
It is full of sarcasm.

Hier is a fairly long article but it does describe it well.

http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/_low001199301_01/_low001199301_01_0034.php

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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#14  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 03, 2013 8:18 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Mike_L wrote:There was plenty of clever humour in Frasier... including irony, sarcasm, double entendre, puns, etc.
The excellent Seinfeld relied mainly on comedy-of-the-absurd.
But most of the American sitcoms seem to rely on innuendo as the chief mechanism for humour.
I think it's a generalisation to suggest that American sitcoms are somehow lacking. But yes, they're certainly different to British fare.


American sitcoms rely on basic primitive humour and as you say plenty of innuendo.


It depends on the sitcoms. Keep in mind that the stuff that makes it overseas (from any country) tends to be the least-common-denominator stuff that is able to appeal to people outside the national cultural context. What people tend to regard as intelligent humor doesn't tend to make it across cultural or language borders.

Things like Friends, Big Bang Theory, The Office etc are what tend to travel well.

Other shows like Arrested Development and The Venture Bros rely on a lot of cultural familiarity to "get" and as such they don't make it as far.
Last edited by Loren Michael on Jun 03, 2013 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#15  Postby Animavore » Jun 03, 2013 8:20 am

Best - Thread - Ever!
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#16  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 03, 2013 8:22 am

I'm kind of curious as to South Park's international appeal and perception. Is it popular around the world? What kind of show is it regarded as?
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#17  Postby chairman bill » Jun 03, 2013 8:24 am

I do wonder at the US tendency to want to make US-specific versions of British comedies. Did The Office, or Being Human really need to be Americanised? How come we get Frasier, or The Simpsons, but the US needs our stuff re-done for a US audience? I really don't get that.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#18  Postby Loren Michael » Jun 03, 2013 8:32 am

chairman bill wrote:I do wonder at the US tendency to want to make US-specific versions of British comedies. Did The Office, or Being Human really need to be Americanised? How come we get Frasier, or The Simpsons, but the US needs our stuff re-done for a US audience? I really don't get that.


I don't know about Being Human having never seen any version, but as I noted above, a lot of British humor is a lot more awkwardness-based, and a lot of Americans (and non-British people generally) don't appreciate that as much as British people. Remaking the franchise allows for keeping the stuff that works with Americans and eschewing the stuff that might be regarded poorly.

The Office has a setting that works in many, many cultures, and as such it's both easy and desirable to export. If I recall correctly, there's a The Office-style show in quite a few countries.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#19  Postby trubble76 » Jun 03, 2013 8:34 am

LucidFlight wrote:
hackenslash wrote:
virphen wrote:US sitcoms have humour?


The evidence suggests not (although I have a secret penchant for The Big Bang Theory, but I suspect that's just because of the nerd gags).

The Big Bang Theory? Really? It's been recommended to me by various friends and acquaintances. I've watched it and I have no idea why people have recommended it to me. I noticed lots of nerd references, but as for the humour, I didn't find any. The IT Crowd is more my style.


I agree. I find TBBT to be lazy stereotyped comedy, using the same joke templates ad nauseam.

Here are some geeks, they are clever but have poor social skills. They live next to a worldly blonde with nice tits with whom they share communication difficulties.They like comics and video games. There's a jewish one that lives with his overbearing mother, there's an indian one who's painfully shy with an uncertain sexuality and so on and so on.

It's like the writers were all given The Big Book Of Cliches for their birthdays.
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Re: Intelligence and sarcasm

#20  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jun 03, 2013 8:37 am

Loren Michael wrote:I'm kind of curious as to South Park's international appeal and perception. Is it popular around the world? What kind of show is it regarded as?


Never made it here. People could not relate to it. It was a very minority watched programme on a minor commercial station.
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