That Guy Just Turned Into a Puppet!

That Guy Just Turned Into a Puppet!

Exploring a little-used trope, for better or worse.

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Very enjoyable read. I love the "Smile Time"-episode of Angel (especially as it takes place just before a much darker plotline in the season). I am also big fan of 30 Rock - if I remember correctly, they used the trope once more in a later episode.

The trope can be reversed though

To this day, no-one really understands why they did that.

SARGEANT!!

...make it spin...

Andronicus:
SARGEANT!!

...make it spin...

That's one of my favorite lines from that episode. Also "Smile Time" make me almost fall out of my chair with Angel as a wee puppet man. :D

Admittedly, I had never seen any of those episodes (and never heard of 30 rock before), but I find this to be a very well written analysis of the uses.
Elizabeth, I don't know when you joined the escapist, but I enjoy the things you've posted since.

Used to be my favorite show. I did kinda lose track when it turned into "Angel, Vampire Lawyer" though.

That same Stargate episode ended with a really great quotation by Isaac Asimov that was prefaced by "Science fiction is an existential metaphor that allows us to tell stories about the human condition," and I think the same can be said about stories with well crafted and performed puppets. The Muppets in particular have had some particularly poignant moments. I would like to see more shows able to work in episodes with puppets.

Halceon:
Admittedly, I had never seen any of those episodes (and never heard of 30 rock before), but I find this to be a very well written analysis of the uses.
Elizabeth, I don't know when you joined the escapist, but I enjoy the things you've posted since.

I agree, well written analysis, and I don't know how you manage without 30 Rock - best comedy on the air now, IMO.

Champion Head Boy:

Halceon:
Admittedly, I had never seen any of those episodes (and never heard of 30 rock before), but I find this to be a very well written analysis of the uses.
Elizabeth, I don't know when you joined the escapist, but I enjoy the things you've posted since.

I agree, well written analysis, and I don't know how you manage without 30 Rock - best comedy on the air now, IMO.

Quite simple, geographic distance creates cultural distance.

That is a bizarre thing to examine, but I appreciate the thought you put into it.

This is a lot of the reason that I've never been able to take a Joss Whedon show seriously. Angel, Firefly, and Buffy can never decide if they're a screwball comedy or a deadly serious genre-fiction melodrama. They make for fun distractions and decent entertainment, but when you have an episode where the main character is turned into a puppet, or everyone in town starts randomly performing a musical, or your show about space pirates turns into a western complete with southern accents and whorehouses - I just can't take it seriously and tend to lose interest in the overall scope of the series. Joss Whedon's severely limited attention span means that I run out of patience for his shows pretty quickly.

Serenity is a seriously great movie though.

I like Whedon's ADHD when it comes to his programming, it keeps you on your toes. Too many shows churn out the same basic story week after week - theres a corpse, lets figure out who made it in a serious of interesting yet familiar ways.

Anywho, you've just convinced my to start watching Angel Mcbeal again! I honestly stopped watching after the first season, but only because I got distracted by something shiny. It happens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-CG6gCrPYM

Arnold Rimmer.

He will never be mistaken for Yule Brynner.

From the excellent Red Dwarf.

Funny puppets are why the Muppets are still funny to this day. Just looking at them makes you giggle.


when I was wtaching smile time on tv ages ago I remember being dissapointed with puppet angel for the first few minutes (I usually hate this sort of tropes), but minutes later it grew on me. With the spike scene being the crowning moment. I still regard that episode as my favorite comedic one.

Smile Time was one of my favourites.

"Is there a Gepetto in the house?!"

I love Kenith, but that smile belongs on Dexter, not 3O Rock.

Also "They're looking at the bloody puppet man."
I guess I should go back and watch more of that show. Never really got into it for some reason.

buffy and even more so angel, never took themselves 100% seriously, while never doing anything too sarcastic.
this episode is a good example, yes its funny angel is a pupppet, but it never stopped being as vilanous as any other enemy. it never went corny or cheesy.
throughout both series, even characters with "Comic Relief" printed on their foreheads still had some degree of depth, developement and growth as characters.

I'm not sure that turning into a puppet is considered a trope. A trope is a something that has been done to an excess turning it into a cliche'. By calling it a "little-used (although I do love the pun) trope" creates an oxymoron. In order to be a trope, it has to be done with frequency. Each one of your examples use puppets to portray different tropes (self parody, a character in their "own world", a character metamorphosing into something completely different) but the puppets themselves aren't the trope.

 

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