Our Gang, by the Zman

There are a lot of very unimportant people out there pretending to be important. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:

In the Depression era Our Gang comedies, a recurring gag was for the kids to get adult sized costumes and put on a show. The joke was the sight-gag of the kids wearing the oversize clothes, but trying hard to play the roles in their show. It was made in a time when there was a clear line between childhood and adulthood, so the audience understood that it was not just using kids for cheap gags. It was also a way to make sport of current issues without being too obvious.

The man behind the Our Gang series was credited with using children in a natural way, so they came across as real kids, not adult actors playing children. The authenticity of the roles, a group of poor children in the depression, often pretending to be adults or what they imagined it was like to be adults, allowed the adult audience to laugh at themselves and the foolishness of adult pretensions. The best comedy is that which allows the audience to approvingly laugh at themselves.

It makes for an interesting contrast to the modern day. The most popular movies in this age feature adults dressing up as children’s comic book heroes. They engage in the sorts of fantasy stories featured in comic books. These movies are not made for children, but for adults. The median age of the American comic book consumer is 34. The point of the movies is for the adults to escape anything resembling adulthood and engage in the sorts of flights of fancy normally associated with children.

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