All They Want to Do is . . Integrate.

‘Atmosphere of reconciliation that makes the final marriage possible. As the hero gets closer to the heroine and opposition is overcome. All the right thinking people come over to his side. Thus a new social unit is formed on the stage, and the moment that social unit crystallizes is the moment of the comic resolution. In the last scene. When the dramatist usually tries to get all his characters on the stage at once, the audience witnesses the birth of a renewed sense of social integration. In comedy as in life the regular expression of this is a festival, whether a marriage, a dance, or a feast.’[1]

I was struck by this particular section from Frye, especially the aspects of social integration and comic resolution. I am aware of narrative paths, arcs, and the triumph over opposition however, I hadn’t really thought of a narrative in terms of deviation and reintegration in terms of social integration. As I read the end of Frye’s passage – ‘the expression of this (social integration) is a festival, whether a marriage, a dance, or a feast’[2] I immediately thought of Empire Award nominee ‘Kevin & Perry Go Large’ (2000)

It is the mission of Kevin and Perry to become world renowned DJ’s and just as importantly to lose their virginity. The penultimate scene, which I have included, shows the downtrodden duo as they overcome the obstacles on their path to stardom and . . . non-virginity? The penultimate scene shows Kevin and Perry’s unquestioned entry into a club, the vanquishing of the villainous ‘Eyeball Paul’, the attendance and acceptance of Kevin’s parents, the pairing with sexual partners and playing a set including their own ‘banger’ in one of the biggest clubs in Ibiza, to a foamy crowd. A conclusive ‘renewed sense of social integration’ in the ‘expression of a festival’[3].

There are also other interesting elements within ‘Kevin & Perry Go Large’ which also fit with interpretations by other students for example, Nikki’s choice from Frye ‘Comedy is designed not to condemn evil, but to ridicule a lack of self-knowledge.’[4] Kevin and Perry’s lack of self-awareness is often the but of the joke until their final acceptance and integration. An example of Cavell’s ‘Death and restoration’[5] was also mentioned by Britton regarding Sandy in ‘Grease’ (1978) This transformation can also be seen in the infamous pimple popping from ‘Kevin & Perry Go Large’ as they girls prepare themselves in order to be visually acceptable.

 

Bibliography

Frye, Northrop. ‘The Argument of Comedy’ English Institute Essays (New York: Columbia, 1949), 58-73.

Cavell, Stanley. ”Introduction: Words for a Conversation.” Essay. In Pursuits of Happiness: the Hollywood comedy of remarriage, 1-42. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2003.

Filmography

‘Kevin & Perry Go Large’ (2000) Ed Bye – Youtube.

[1] Frye, Northrop. ‘The Argument of Comedy’ English Institute Essays (New York: Columbia, 1949), 58-73.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Cavell, Stanley. ”Introduction: Words for a Conversation.” Essay. In Pursuits of Happiness: the Hollywood comedy of remarriage, 1-42. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2003.

2 comments

  1. You’ve clearly shown how this social integration, ‘whether a marriage, a dance, or a feast,’ brings the audience relief, resolution, and a sense of community, making this a common trope to follow!

  2. It is interesting how this trope of comic resolution and social integration can be applied to various comedy formats and styles. When considering romantic comedy, one might automatically think of dramatized yet realistic and emotive structures. ‘Kevin and Perry go Large’ encourage the audience to root for the characters’ desires to be fulfilled, whilst developing a farcical spoof that focusses on the down and dirty human impulses.

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