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Multiple Definitions?: Dead Baby Comedy get usage counts

 1 Catalogue, Fri, 11th Mar '11 9:06:51 PM from where the good times are
A pocketful of saudade.
In an Image Pickin' thread, some members expressed that the current picture for Black Comedy is more appropriate for Dead Baby Comedy.

Now, I might be misinterpreting this, but the way I understood it, Dead Baby Comedy is about "a series which largely depends on controversy". The article seems to define it that way, and the examples, when one skims through them, mention a work as an example as opposed to a particular scene.

However, in the said thread, people seem to take it as somewhat involving actual dead babies, and, curious, I attempted to read the trope more carefully. Now, the Laconic and the Playing With seem to define it differently: as "[t]ruly tasteless jokes." This to me is a definition that is sufficiently different from the one mentioned earlier; chiefly because it doesn't have to cover any series in particular.

In summary:

  • Does the trope mean simply "a tastelessly offensive joke" or "a series which depends on controversy"? Why the schizophrenia between the trope description and the Laconic and the Playing With? Were they written by different authors? Am I missing some subtleties and these definitions can actually be reconciled?
  • If it means "tasteless jokes", wouldn't it be a pretty unnecessary trope, since it encourages Complaining About Jokes You Don't Like?
  • There's also an attempt to differentiate it from Black Comedy in the description: "[s]urprisingly different from Black Comedy, which is funny in a wry, serious way, and juxtaposes humor with tragedy rather than disgust." Now this is another thing altogether: it's not about a series, and it's not truly tasteless either?
  • Where did the trope name come from? It is for me rather misleading, judging from numerous occasions in the forum. I haven't checked articles linking to it, I don't know whether it's used correctly.  *
  • The examples, when we look closely, are also a mix of mostly series and some scenes. I'm led to believe that the scenes example are some sort of a mistake, since most examples are series and if scenes are really allowed there will be a lot more scenes that series (as it is far easier to do this trope once than consistently).

edited 11th Mar '11 9:09:56 PM by Catalogue

The words above are to be read as if they are narrated by Morgan Freeman.
Raven Wilder
My understanding is that Dead Baby Comedy is basically shock humor, where the laughs come from people going, "They did not just do that, did they?"

Although, really, it should be listed as a subtrope of Black Comedy.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 3 Catalogue, Sat, 12th Mar '11 8:55:07 AM from where the good times are
A pocketful of saudade.
But the description reads that it's used when referring to a series.
The words above are to be read as if they are narrated by Morgan Freeman.
Dead Baby Comedy, if I recall correctly, is a series that does not understand the meaning of the word "taste" - a series where making jokes about dead babies would be right at home. In other words, "a series which depends on truly tasteless jokes".

If the laconic and playing with are using it to mean jokes that have zero taste in general, they have it wrong, but if the description says it has to be controversial, we have a problem there as well (although Moral Guardians will see so much controversy in everything they might as well be the same - though I don't know if I've heard of, say, Family Guy attracting much controversy about anything other than its quality).

Not having read the thread, the people in Image Pickin' probably were seeming to use it to mean "actual dead babies" because they wanted a Visual Pun for the image.

edited 12th Mar '11 11:35:56 PM by MorganWick

 5 Catalogue, Sat, 12th Mar '11 11:38:03 PM from where the good times are
A pocketful of saudade.
So we go by the main page's definition? That's my impression too, but I'm being careful here just in case I got it wrong.
The words above are to be read as if they are narrated by Morgan Freeman.
Raven Wilder
Looking at the definitions more closely, I think we should tweak Black Comedy. It says that a Black Comedy will still treat the tragic/horrible topic with some level of seriousness even while getting humor from it, but, in my experience, black/dark comedy is much more broadly used term, referring to any humor derived from a morbid, tragic, or depressing topic.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 7 Catalogue, Sun, 13th Mar '11 4:23:32 AM from where the good times are
A pocketful of saudade.
Yes, but what's Dead Baby Comedy then? If it's just "jokes in bad taste" it should be at best subjective and at worst a moaning trope. I think we should limit it to "a series which does controversy", then fix the laconic, playing with, and possibly name.
The words above are to be read as if they are narrated by Morgan Freeman.
 8 Willbyr, Tue, 29th Mar '11 4:57:11 PM from North Little Rock, AR Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Anime-ted
I tend to agree with defining DBC as "Black Comedy where most of the jokes are really tasteless", with literal jokes about dead babies as the baseline.

edited 29th Mar '11 4:58:20 PM by Willbyr

From the name alone, I've always thought of this as comedy involving lifeless infants.

Looking through the wicks, examples tied to the trope almost always specifically involve babies. Even in the event that the context references Dead Baby Comedy as a broader form of comedy, the only specific examples of it that anyone ever cares to identify involves (and this is a quote from most of the examples) "a literal dead baby."

Sample Wicks

  • 1000 Ways To Die— Embeds the trope as "Dead (Man Dressed As A) Baby Comedy" to refer to a segment in which someone with a baby fetish (or something) dies.
  • Archer— Mentions it as a broader form of comedy, but the only specific examples given are "literal" examples. 50/50
  • Jam— Refers to a lot of non-descriptive "deranged stuff" breaking taboos, but the only specific detail given for any of it is the mention of another "literal dead baby". 50/50
  • Eraserhead— Calls this a subversion whereas a dead baby is actually horrifying.
  • GWAR— Another page only calling this a "literal" trope, though the actual specifics given sound more like an example of Rape as Comedy. ???
  • Neurotically Yours— Language would appear to suggest a broadly defined term but only specifies about "actual dead babies." 50/50
  • Gulliver's Travels— No details whatsoever, it's pretty much just a mention that this trope and Black Comedy are present in the work. X Just X
  • Fido— Refers to something "more like zombie children comedy." Never seen the movie so I'm not entirely sure what this is supposed to entail, and the intent of the original troper who put that there seems unclear to me. Help, anybody?
  • Axe Cop— Just includes a link to this page and nothing else. The page involves babies punching each other.
  • The George Lopez Show— Refers to an apparently comedic scene that DOESN'T INVOLVE ANY BABIES. Thumbs Up
  • Skins— Refers to something called "Osama: The Musical". Thumbs Up
  • South ParkX Just X
  • The Kids in the HallX Just X
  • Stuff Blowing Up— Technically, where in the article its pothole is would count as Natter, but it surprisingly does NOT have anything to do with a baby blowing up... though its use doesn't come off as anything that sounds controversial, either.
  • Robot Chicken— The entire extent of the description of the trope's use are the words "Sometimes literally."

edited 31st Mar '11 1:47:53 PM by SeanMurrayI

 10 shimaspawn, Thu, 31st Mar '11 1:42:31 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Well, there seems to be a fair bit of misuse, and it really looks like there's room for a trope for making jokes about dead babies. I'd suggest just splitting off the dead baby jokes, but making a separate trope without renaming this one is just going to give us a mess because any name is going to be too similar.

I think the big issue here is that outside the wiki the genre is called Black Comedy, but so are instances of it. Which leads us with the job of trying to rename a pre-existing term because people outside the wiki have overloaded it.

edited 31st Mar '11 1:44:15 PM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Dead Baby Joke ("How do you make a dead baby float?" "What's worse than a truck full of dead babies?" etc.) is roughly equivalent in tropability to Knock Knock Joke, I think.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Ideally, Dead Baby Comedy would be a perfect name for a trope about dead babies or cruelty to babies being used for a joke.

But this comedy subgenre that we're trying to define runs into a mess of logistical problems. Aside from having some overlap with Black Comedy already, the details about this form of comedy gearing towards more shocking, offensive, and controversial matters, I believe, makes this sound a lot like The Same but More—as well as toes a line on the more subjective side of things as we try to interpret amongst ourselves what's shocking, offensive, and controversial.
 13 shimaspawn, Thu, 31st Mar '11 2:01:50 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Black Comedy is the pre-existing name for the subgenre. For some reason we're defining that only as moments though, and saying that if it's Black Comedy all the time that the genre should be Dead Baby Comedy.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
^ Currently, the description on Dead Baby Comedy tries to distinguish itself from Black Comedy as being about juxtaposing humor with disgust, whereas Black Comedy juxtaposes humor and tragedy.

Not sure what to make of that though. It doesn't sound entirely right.

edited 31st Mar '11 2:10:51 PM by SeanMurrayI

 15 shimaspawn, Thu, 31st Mar '11 2:26:49 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Sounds like the definitions have shifted since last time I looked at them.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 16 Catalogue, Thu, 31st Mar '11 5:30:53 PM from where the good times are
A pocketful of saudade.
So there are three aspects to this:

  • A genre of works relying on offensive jokes.
  • Jokes about literal dead babies.
  • "Tasteless jokes".

If it were up to me, I'd keep the definition of it being a genre, but will rename the trope. This allows Dead Baby Jokes to go to its own trope, avoiding ambiguity. The third aspect to me is more like Complaining About Jokes You Don't Like, which is highly unnecessary in my opinion.

There's a fourth aspect, like the one Sean mentioned, which is for me a bit too vague. I don't know what to make of it.

edited 31st Mar '11 5:32:47 PM by Catalogue

The words above are to be read as if they are narrated by Morgan Freeman.
^ "The juxtaposition of disgust and humor" is something I'd likely use to define Toilet Humor, which is why I thought it didn't feel right being applied to whatever genre we'd want to think of Dead Baby Comedy as.

The bigger issue is the role offensiveness, tastelessness, controversy, amorality, or whatever else you'd want to call it is supposed to play in this concept. I don't personally believe that any of those characteristics does a very good job of defining a genre. For the most part, the problem is that what's offensive, tasteless, controversial, amoral or whatever is a matter of opinion to every individual; it's a clear-cut subjective matter, simple as that.

I think the best articles, however, that do deal with anything involving controversial or offensive manners is often either one of two things:

1) An objectively identifiable occurrence in media and fiction that has the potential to be something others may be sensitive to (i.e. anything found under the Stereotype page, Rape as Comedy, Suicide as Comedy, jokes about dead babies, etc.)
2) Identifiable reactions either in response to offensiveness, in safety to avoid it, or even in boldness to encourage it (i.e. Too Soon, Refuge in Vulgarity, etc.)

edited 31st Mar '11 6:24:08 PM by SeanMurrayI

 18 shimaspawn, Thu, 31st Mar '11 6:34:38 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
[up][up] Everywhere else but this site the genre is Black Comedy which is part of why the trope is being misused. Leaving it the genre isn't the best option.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Azor Ahai
Confusingly, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is listed under both Black Comedy and Dead Baby Comedy. I suppose it could fit into both based on the amount of sympathy the work displays in the joke, but it's a confusing distinction.
Hodor
I think there's a very clear line between Black Comedy as used outside this wiki, and Dead Baby Comedy as used inside it. Dead Baby Comedy is about shock tactics — Toilet Humor, Refuge in Vulgarity, and defying the Too Soon trope. Black Comedy is about cruel irony. For an example: is the ending of Night of the Living Dead an example of Black Comedy? I think so, even though it doesn't make you laugh out loud. I don't think it counts as Dead Baby Comedy.

A side-note — there seems to be an attitude, both on this wiki and off it, that Dead Baby Comedy (that is, True Art Is Offensive)is bad, and Black Comedy (that is, True Art Is Angsty but also funny)is good. I happen to prefer Black Comedy by a mile, but it seems almost taken for granted that Dead Baby Comedy is somehow immature, while Black Comedy is deep and philosophical.
 
 21 Catalogue, Thu, 31st Mar '11 10:03:28 PM from where the good times are
A pocketful of saudade.
[up][up][up] I was being unclear. What I meant as a genre is, Dead Baby Comedy referring to a whole series. So it's a series which is morbid and controversial. The examples would not be scenes, would not be characters, would not be plots, but series, works. Black Comedy is broader, and can encompass scenes, etc.

Because, frankly, when you separate Dead Baby Jokes from it, and don't make it series-based, then this trope is very vague. Just what is it? If it's only "tasteless jokes" then it's so subjective it's meaningless.

edited 31st Mar '11 10:05:27 PM by Catalogue

The words above are to be read as if they are narrated by Morgan Freeman.
But "morbid and controversial" by what standard? Should proper examples show evidence of a work having offended various Moral Guardians on multiple occasions or have otherwise be shown to have generated actual media controversy? Or is this something that uses particular subject matters and setups that only have the potential to be seen as controversial by some?

How should we be measuring and shaping the role controversy and offensiveness plays in defining an example series?

edited 31st Mar '11 10:38:01 PM by SeanMurrayI

 23 Catalogue, Fri, 1st Apr '11 2:52:52 AM from where the good times are
A pocketful of saudade.
Eventually it would be very subjective, huh. But it's the same problem if we're going to determine whether an offensive joke is deep/philosophical or immature/bad taste.

A more drastic measure would be to migrate every literal dead baby to Dead Baby Jokes and ship other offensive jokes to Black Comedy altogether. Abandon this one.

edited 1st Apr '11 2:53:22 AM by Catalogue

The words above are to be read as if they are narrated by Morgan Freeman.
Raven Wilder
[up] I see a flaw with that proposal that could create the mother of all natter storms: if we create Dead Baby Jokes, would it include abortion jokes?
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
Yeah, this is a pointless trope. Alot of the examples listed here are listed in Black Comedy. This should either get a better definition or be deleted.
 

Page Action: Dead Baby Comedy
14th Dec '11 9:53:00 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:
What should be done with Dead Baby Comedy?
Total posts: 120
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