Adaptational Comic Relief
A character is funnier or sillier in an adaptation than in the original work.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-05-29 20:01:46 sponsor: grapesandmilk (last reply: 2013-08-02 01:42:45)

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This is when a character is turned into Fun Personified or a Plucky Comic Relief in an adaptation. May be a sign of Flanderization or Character Exaggeration.

This trope is often found in Derivative Works that are Lighter and Softer or Denser and Wackier than their source.

Sometimes this new characterization becomes more popular and is later adapted into the original work.

See also Adaptational Heroism. Contrast Adaptational Angst Upgrade.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • In the Fruits Basket manga, although Shigure was often a comic relief character in the beginning, he has a dark side that's evident even in the first volume, and eventually he becomes pretty menacing. In the anime, he's pure comic relief.

Film
  • In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, Merry and Pippin are given funnier moments than the books, particularly in Pippin's case, such as getting into Gandalf's fireworks. After they are taken to Isengard, Gimli takes on more of a comic relief role, still giving one-liners as in the first film but also providing physical comedy. His book counterpart is a much more dignified, well-respected character, although some of his funny moments in the films came from the books (such as his Orc-slaying competition with Legolas).
  • J. R. R. Tolkien described Radagast as a down-to-earth character, but never wrote very much about his personality. In Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, he is an eccentric Cloud Cuckoolander. Similarly, the dwarf Bofur was one of the least-described characters in the book, but was given the role of a cheerful, wisecracking dwarf in the film.
  • In The Secret of NIMH, Jeremy was a comical character whose clumsiness provided comic relief while his counterpart in the original book had more of a 'young and inexperienced' role. The film made several characters darker, which may have influenced this change. Jeremy is also an example of Canon Immigrant since his more whimsical characterization was adapted into the book's sequels.
  • Ralph Bakshi's animated film of The Lord of the Rings turned Samwise into a goofy, incompetent oddball of a hobbit, but in the books, he is brave and loyal. He was meant to become more serious in the second film, which was never made.
  • Whatney Smith in Outlaw of Gor is roughly equivalent to Harrison Smith in the book of the same name, but Harrison doesn't go to Gor and isn't a comic relief character. Whatney is supposed to be funny - YMMV as to whether he is or not.
  • Scotty in the recent Star Trek reboot movies.
  • Many Harry Potter fans feel that was done to Ron Weasley in the films. However, he still had some comical moments in the books and some serious moments in the films, so it's not a complete example.
  • The Jungle Book was intended to be Lighter and Softer than the book it was based on. Baloo became a fun-loving character who has a scatting duel with an orangutan, rather than a serious law teacher.
  • Ian Malcolm in the novel Jurassic Park mainly serves the role of explaining chaos theory and is a relatively serious character, although he still has some funny moments. His counterpart in the film plays up his Deadpan Snarker role and provides most of the laughs.
  • Nigel Bruce as Watson in the Sherlock Holmes films.
  • While he's the main character in most of the movies he appears in, the film version of Iron Man is much funnier than the comic version who tended to be a little more grim (although after the movies, writers have been giving him a little snark lately).

Live-Action TV
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Samwell Tarly is characterized by his extremely low self-esteem due to abusive treatment by his father and continual cruel mockery for his weight, and this never really improves, even after he makes some friendships. In the adaptation Game of Thrones, once he makes some friendships early on, Samwell plays the role of Plucky Comic Relief and even responds in kind to (good natured) mockery by his friends. However, after some of said friends abandon him during the second season's Bolivian Army Cliffhanger, he is more like his book counterpart during the third season.

Theatre
  • The Thénardiers in Les Misérables, while still villains, were made into the main comic relief because the play was already very dramatic.
  • In the opera Boris Godunov, the second act (as revised) has several lighthearted songs for Feodor and the Nurse to sing, adding comic relief to an otherwise almost entirely serious dramatic work based off real life.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • Peter Parker/Spider-Man is usually funny to begin with as a Deadpan Snarker, but the cartoon makes him a Deadpool style fourth wall breaker and foregoes some darker elements, like how he is usually constantly haunted by the death of his uncle, as well as his massive guilt complex/martyr syndrome, in favor of jokes.
    • Another figure of note is Deadpool himself. Though he was always considered a comic relief, this adaptation makes him a great deal Denser and Wackier than his grimmer and occasionally more homicidal self, even though this version is no stranger to killing. In fact, his defeat practically comes about in the Chibi imaginary sequences when Spidey forces Deadpool to face some degree of responsibility for his actions as opposed to avoiding it with humor (which was mentioned in a way in his newer, S.H.I.E.L.D.-related backstory).
  • In Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, there was nothing remotely interesting about Fred Jones. Various derivative works remedy this in various ways, where he is generally less intelligent and more of a Cloud Cuckoolander. Some give him more specific quirks, such as Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated in particular giving him an obsession over traps, and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo having him always randomly blame Red Herring for every mystery.
  • The Super Hero Squad Show does this for most of the Marvel Universe (mostly as a result of being both Lighter and Softer and Denser and Wackier than the comics). Of the bunch, the Silver Surfer probably gets it the worst. He goes from a reflective, serious intergalactic figure to a Totally Radical stereotype of a California Surfer Dude.
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