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In the Loop on IN THE LOOP
by Karma Waltonen

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When I'm teaching British Humour, as I am at the moment, I feel the need to try to catch up on the subject. Thus, I sat down this past weekend to watch IN THE LOOP (2009). Armando Iannucchi has directed a brilliant political satire.

The story centers around English and American politicos as their respective nations decide to go to war. To do so, they need a United Nations vote (you can tell it's fiction by the idea that America would decide to follow those rules about things). The American government has a document that argues war is not the best strategy in this case (though the hawks
aren't reading it). The British government is attempting to get intelligence that will back the American case for war.

The macro story is hard to laugh at; the satire seems a bit too spot on. The micro stories of the surprisingly well-fleshed out characters are what make it work. Can someone try to explain a peccadillo by saying that it was perhaps done to keep us out of war? Can you really amend the minutes of meeting so that they reflect what “should” have happened rather than what did? Can one man really use that many expletives at that quick rate without having his head
explode?

The movie is spot on. It's so good that I would watch the first cut of the film, which was apparently 4.5 hours (don't worry; the available cut is normal movie length).

I recommend this highly, but I have to admit that I'd be reluctant to put it on a syllabus. Today's students don't seem to have the knowledge necessary to get enough of the satire.

What am I teaching them, then? SHAUN OF THE DEAD; Eddie Izzard's DRESS TO KILL; RICKY GERVAIS: OUT OF ENGLAND; some MONTY PYTHON; A FISH CALLED WANDA; WALLACE AND GROMIT; ABOUT A BOY (book and film).

We're reading BRIDGET JONES'S
Weird Karma meets Weird Al!

Weird Karma meets Weird Al!
DIARY, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's GOOD OMENS, some essays by Terry Jones, parts of Douglas Adams's THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, and Neil Gaiman's “Chivalry.”

What are the students learning so far? That much of British humour is about embarrassment, that British humor can be much cruder than they expected, and that everything can be traced back to Monty Python.

Before I go for this week, I wanted to share the results of my January. For those who read my last column, you know that I was all in a titter about getting to see Weird Al Yankovic twice. I got to meet him! Here's the picture.

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Denise
Feb 6, 2010 12:54 PM
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I have IN THE LOOP here from Netflix and haven't watched it yet, and now I'm excited to. Thanks, Karma! Also, I'm SO FANTASTICALLY happy for you that you met Weird Al!



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Comedies with Dr. Karma
Every other Wednesday

Dr. Karma discusses all things comic, from the classics to what may become classics. Laugh with, but not at, her, please.


Other Columns
Other columns by Karma Waltonen:

Goodbye -- Dr. Karma

The Dictator and Dark Shadows

Pirates and Whedon Movies: In Theatres Now!

A Touch of Cult

Our Random Favorites

All Columns


Karma Waltonen
Dr. Karma is a silly, nerdy know-it-all, but in a good way. She brings all her overeducation to discuss that which truly matters: comedy. As some famous guy once said: And if I laugh at any mortal thing, tis that I may not weep. Or something like that.


Contact
If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Karma Waltonen by clicking here.


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