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Farce
Farce is very broad comedy, generally appearing in acted media. It's characterized by double entendres, misunderstandings, deceptions, and in general very contrived and ridiculous situations. Contrived Coincidence, so far from being problematic, is required in large doses by the Rule of Funny. Farce is almost never leisurely-paced; "breakneck" is more apt to describe it. Look for a lot of doors opening and shutting and characters stumbling upon other characters when they're in compromising situations/situations that appear compromising.

See the Mistaken for Index for all of the many misunderstandings in the genre. See Fawlty Towers Plot for farces specifically based on escalating lies.


Examples:

Theatre

Television
  • Fawlty Towers follows this formula quite closely, most episodes a snowballing sequence of things going from bad to worse via a combination of bad luck and Basil Fawlty's own magnetism for karmic retribution.
  • I Love Lucy (without the innuendo and double entendres)
  • Several Friends episodes relied on this, particularly ones that advanced the various story arcs.
  • Several episodes of Coupling
  • Frasier. Not an episode goes by without awkwardly hilarious crises opening up as characters frantically rush around and juggle lies as they try to hide their messes from each other at break-neck speeds, often causing waves of misunderstandings. Contrived Coincidences also figured prominently into many plots, generally following the format of someone overhearing a conversation or spotting something private, and drawing entirely the wrong conclusion and going hog-wild as a result.
  • Three's Company was so archetypal an example of sitcom farce that many later shows explicitly refer to it when farcical situations are unfolding. It was even the Former Trope Namer for the entire Mistaken for Index, which used to be called simply "Three Is Company".
  • 'Allo 'Allo!.
  • The aptly named Royal Canadian Air Farce had several decades of breakneck political/cultural comedy under there belt before ending in 2012.
Film
  • Burn After Reading.
  • The Fifth Element: has various factions in the movie attempting to impersonate "Korben Dallas" in order to get on a cruise ship to get the cosmic trinket. Hilarity Ensues. Each faction has absolutely no contingency plan, and they end up interfering with each other to such an extent that Dallas manages to slip away.
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Noises Off and The Bird Cage were both based on plays.
  • The Danny Kaye film The Court Jester features double identities, hypnosis, a Gambit Pileup worthy of Death Note, broad comedy, and fast-paced patter.
  • The Pink Panther films: Clouseau is completely unaware of his incompetence. A Shot In The Dark increases the stakes with the growing pile of bodies apparently murdered by Maria Gambrelli and Clouseau's absurdly steadfast belief in her innocence.
    • A Shot In The Dark is also based on a French stage play which originally had nothing to do with The Pink Panther and which was not a farce but a murder mystery with some comic elements.
    • The Oktoberfest scene in The Pink Panther Strikes Again is especially farcical. Dozens of assassins attempt to kill Clouseau and a mix of their competitiveness and the French detective's bumbling lead to them all wiping each other out without him even noticing.
  • ''The Rules of the Game"
    Robert de la Cheyniest: Corneille! Put an end to this farce!
    Corneille: Which one, your lordship?
  • True Lies is a farce, when it's not being a kick-ass action flick.
  • In the Loop
  • The Palm Beach Story
  • Oscar
  • Weekend at Bernie's

Literature

Webcomics
  • The "Dinner for Six" arc in Penny and Aggie involves escalating misunderstandings, mistaken identities, compromising situations and contrived, Slapstick accidents.

Western Animation
  • Futurama: "Into the Wild Green Yonder" hinges on this, particularly in the third act.

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