Film & Theater Studies

1.         One characteristic of screwball comedy that can be seen in “The Gilmore Girls” as well as in “Pushing Daisies” is the distinction between social classes. The upper class is often portrayed as having too much money and too much time, yet doing nothing important with either. As often happens in screwball comedy, the upper class’s wealthy and rigid atmosphere is not quite as attractive as the working class’s free and easy-going life and certain characters try to find a middle ground between both classes. Another characteristic of screwball comedy evidenced in “The Gilmore Girls” and “Pushing Daisies” is fast-talk and witty retorts between certain characters. The characters usually have quick witty answers to most questions and comments. This achieves the effect of humor and ingenuity. Also seen in “Gilmore Girls” and “Pushing Daisies” is another characteristic of screwball comedy, this time, mismatched couples. The lead couples in both films at first seem not to be fit for each other, but as often happens in screwball comedy, they eventually find happiness together.

2.         One of the results of using fast-paced dialogue and witty repartee is humor. Often the quips and repartee are witty and funny and only last a moment. This makes this wordplay interesting to listen to with the audience eagerly anticipating the humor that often comes with every quip. Another effect achieved by the use of fast-paced dialogue is that of intellect. Witty remarks made by the characters are often ingenious and show some form of culturing. This may be through schooling or through some other form of learning. Finally, fast-paced dialogue and witty quips achieve the effect of drama in the films. The audience is usually awakened when fast-paced dialogue is used, as it shows development in the plot.

3.         The fast-talking dame is often strong-willed and knows exactly what she wants. In contemporary culture, women are inspired to achievement by the dames who epitomize self-reliance and independence. This characteristic of the fast-talking dames carried over easily from classic films as they reached their zenith during the Depression, when women were looking to re-invent themselves. Contemporary fast-talking dames are similar to their classic counterparts in that they are both characteristic of screwball comedy. It is in the genre that they are most articulate and effective. The difference between them is that in classic films, they were often beyond their male counterparts in witty remarks, teaching them the power of speech, unlike in contemporary films where the male counterpart usually has a witty reply too. Fast-talking dames are significant in popular culture now and then because they represent the independent woman in the society who knows what she wants in life.



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