Prehistoric Humour - The Flintstones
I. Caricatures and cartoons
Why do we laugh? Laughter is one of the things we just don’t give ourselves an account to. It just happens, and in most of the cases it is out of our control. (see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077386). We need certain premises – specific situation, specific person (it could be a well-known TV comedian, for instance), even just a word that reminds us of something funny and evokes smile or laughter. We may produce laughter intently or not. The unintended laughter takes place when we don’t really expect something funny to happen. On the other side, the intended one happens when we or somebody else tells us a joke and awaits us to start laughing at the punch line.
Another way of making somebody laugh intently, however, is to show them a caricature. By contrast with jokes, caricature usually is not related with some specific language, i.e. we don’t need to know what could be funny for the English, or the Spanish because caricature shows some common situation which might take place anywhere in the world, with any sort of nationality. The word “caricature” itself comes from Italian and means “loaded portrait”. Initially, it was spread widely in XVI-XVII centuries in the closed aristocratic circles of France and Italy (see http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caricature). There people enjoyed laughing at caricatures which presented well familiar faces with some deformities on them or some exaggerated defects.
The topic I am going to discuss in this essay is related with cartoons, which are form of caricatures. The word “cartoon”, like “caricature”, comes from Italian and means a piece of heavy paper. Cartoon today is a humorous picture with (more often than not) speech balloons or multiple panels, which tells us some short story.
The cartoons that I used here are based on the first situation comedy of the 1960s; it had a great success because till then cartoons lasted only a few...