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Sonic & Humor


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We've talked about plot, we've talked about characters. Today we're going to tackle the humor of the series through the years and how its been presented.

 

Before I get into that however, I wanna divide the concept of humor into sub-categories for the sake of specifying this analysis. 

 

 

Alright so in my eyes, there are three types of humor: Subtle Humor, Exaggerated Humor, and Unintentional humor:

 

Subtle humor as the name suggest, is more subdued with its humor. The humor comes from the situation the characters are in and how they react to it. It helps flesh out a character's personality while still getting a laugh. Its the type of humor adults can enjoy because of their understanding of the character's situations. However because its subtle, it can be easy to overlook and probably won't be understood by a younger audience.

 

Exaggerated humor comes from the (over)emphasis on a particular trait to the point of absurdity. With Subtle humor, you're laughing with the characters, but with Exaggerated humor you're very often laughing at them. This type of humor can from anything and as a result a lot easier for people to understand and laugh at. Its a joke with an obvious punchline. Or slapstick. Exaggerated humor however suffers from simplification; because its so easy to understand, it makes the joke a lot more shallow. A lot of people call this 'dumb humor" This type of humor is generally found in more children orientated series.

 

Unintentional humor is making the audience laugh, but without the intention of doing so. Unintentional humor comes from many things: well two concepts contradict each other, or(and this is probably the most common for Sonic) taking your work too seriously with overuse of cliches and shoddy writing but still trying to come off as deep and compelling. This type of humor isn't bad per se, but can be in excessive doses because then your audience can't take you seriously despite you wanting them too.

 

 

 

 

Now that that's out of way, let's move onto Sonic. Ok, so the series is no secret to humor, its been trying to make you laugh since day 1 just in different ways. The series tends to generally use exaggerated humor; designs and characters are exaggerated and distorted beyond the normal perception. You have loops, corkscrews, statues with exaggerated expressions. With the characters you have personalities like: The braggart who excessively loves to talk about himself, the naive little kid, the hot-headed muscle head, the overly-attached girlfriend. All of these are just jokes in their most basic form. We laugh at how absurd those things are. 

 

However, everything changed with the introduction to the Adventure games. The entire setting was grounded more in reality; the environment, the characters, and of course the humor. Things got more complex, the humor was derived less from how exaggerated and fantastical the characters and environments were and more from how those elements were presented. This where the series adopted subtle humor. To give an example; When Eggman tricks Knuckles into fighting Sonic again and the events leading up to the deception. Sonic berates Knuckles for getting tricked again while he gets all defense trying to pin the blame on Sonic. The situation is funny less because Knuckles was tricked but the characters acknowledging that he was tricked and his refusal to admit it. It adds character; It shows Eggman's deceptive side, that Sonic is incredulous at Knuckles ineptitude, and that Knuckles is too prideful to admit when he's wrong. Its not as Lol worthy as some of the exaggerated humor, but you can appreciate the character it adds.

 

Sadly, things would degenerate. By the time Shadow rolled around, the series had abolished any attempt at humor in favor of playing all of its tropes in the straightest way possible. But between really bad writing and voice direction, the series had managed to probably  be the most humorous its ever been, but for all of the wrong reasons. Let's take Shadow the Hedgehog as an example; the story is setup as Shadow finds the mysteries of his past and generally advertised as a quest for identity and redemption. However, somethings don't make sense, like this:

 

400px-ShadowTheHedgehog-M1911A1.jpg

 

 

So remember when I said all of the Sonic characters had exaggerated personalities and looks to appeal to kids? Well what do think would happen if you took that and gave it realistic firearms. Shadow using a gun makes absolutely no sense at all. Sure, it was a gameplay mechanic but from a narrative POV, it makes no sense. There's no reason he has to use a gun, he just does because that's what Americans like. Keep in mind that the game still expects us to take it seriously despite this.This is how its unintentional comedy; its such a far cry from the series norm, but still expected its audience to take it seriously. This image is supposed to make Shadow out to be "the badass, edgy, Antihero" but because of how ridiculous it is, it gives the exact opposite effect and loses its original meaning. Basically its like Exaggerated humor, but without the intent of being funny.

 

 

 

After 06, the series would go back to the exaggerated humor route with hints of subtle humor here and there. There's a lot more slapstick, the environments have gotten arguably more exaggerated, and the characters are vehicles for gag related humor. Unleashed was more of a hybrid of exaggerated and subtle humor; the humor isn't as toned down as back in the Adventure titles, but still manages to give the characters some personality; things like Chip frantically panicking about his amnesia only to abruptly stop and claim he's hungry or Prof. Pickle being concerned about how his food was prepared than being kidnapped are examples. Both are exaggerated and easy to laugh at but leaves room for some character insight.

 

Then there's Colors. We're full on in exaggerated humor again; colors are overly bright, the environments are even more absurd than before and the characters are exaggerated to a basic trait; Sonic spends a lot of time mouthing off, and Eggman is even more hammy and over the top. 

 

With the announcement of Lost World, it seems we're going back to the exaggerated style; the Motobugs look almost cute, the environments are simplified and brighter, and of course the designs of the Deadly Six.

 

 

 

The humor in Sonic has definitely been a topsy turvy ride, and varied through the years. So what do you think about all of this? Which  brand of humor are you a fan of and would prefer for the series? Do you wish for some type of hybrid? Got your own analysis worth mentioning. 

 

 

Man this was a long rant ^^`

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Ignoring all the unintentionally hilarious stuff like bad dialogue/animations because if I didn't Heroes would be the funniest game in the series.....SA1 to 06 had the odd scenes where there the occasional gag of some sort, but I don't think it's worth mentioning.

 

Colors was the first focused attempt at humor, though to be quite fair Unleashed was where you started to see the seams of what Colors would try to go for, all the scenes with Chip being the prime suspect. Dude has a affinity for sweets, would act like Scrappy Doo during boss cutscenes, and even have some visual gags like the "ghost chip" bit, as well as a ton of cartoony sound effects related to it. I never found it funny in the slightest but at least they were going for a light-hearted tone. What I DID find funny however was Eggman and Orbot's antics, Orbot stealthy attempts at one-upping Eggman were pretty darn hilarious and Eggman himself was a entertaining ham as well.

 

Back to Sonic Colors, like I said the game was where they wanted to make the series into full on slapstick and the results were....hit or miss. Full stop, everything having to do with Eggman, Orbot, and Cubot are great. Eggman's boastful banters in the cutscenes coupled with the PA announcements are a pure joy to listen to as not only does it give great humor but also good character insight on what kind of deranged dude Eggman really is, it's just great. The Orbot and Cubot stuff are entertaining as well, Orbot traded in his sass for butler-like sarcasm and his new buddy Cubot goes though a bunch of funny sounding different voices until he arrives at his real voice, and the punchline is solid to me. As for Sonic and Tails......ehhhhhh. Okay the good stuff to me are a couple of scenes. First, the scenes where Sonic and Tails are talking directly to each other and there is attempted humor is generally fine (Tails one-upping Sonic on the fact that he made all the plans, Tails catching Sonic talking to a dead robot, and Sonic listing off all the things that are going wrong near the game's climax in speedy fashion) and there is also Sonic himself having one-sided banter with the bosses, which some people didn't like, but I found pretty funny and spoke volumes about Sonic's cocky character, my favorite visual gag being Sonic stretching before a boss and telling him to just deal with it lol, and of course I can't fail to mention the brilliant "copyright" line. The translator jokes however, are pretty fucking awful. Seriously, the only attempt at humor here is that "ohhohohoho funny word that wasn't meant to be said!" and it gets old REALLY fast, seriously "Underwear worn by Salad" gtfo with that shit.

 

in Gens they tried to do the same thing, such as with the mirror scene but like everything else related to Gen's writing and story that fell to the wayside pretty god damn quick until it came back again with the Eggman scene. Limp dicked attempt guys!

 

As for Lost World, I want to see some of Colors flair come back, but NOT to the point where it overtakes the plot and we have to put it on hold just to have a mediocre comedy skit that just wastes time.

Edited by Soniman
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I've never been a fan at the attempts of humor in the games. Most of them are just stupid.

 

Hell, even the unintentional ones are pretty crappy. I can only hear "THAT DAMN FORTH CHAOS EMERALD XDDDD" or "THAT TORNADO'S CARRYING A CAR XDDDD" so many times before by synapses burn out.

 

Colors is the first time I legitimate laughed at the humor. And even then fucking Sonic fans run the goddamn copyright joke into the ground about as much as fucking Reddit shits advice animals out on a daily basis.

Edited by Solkuririn
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Eggmans P.A.'s were one of the rare moments where I would actually laugh genuinely at the dialogue in a Sonic game. I just LOVE those things! Although its mainly because Eggman in general is a pretty funny character IMO.

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CrownSlayer’s Shadow

This series can do better with humor.

 

Personally, I like a mix of the subtle and exaggerated humor, while unintentional can sometimes work against you even when giving people a good laugh.

 

Mind you, this series hasn't been all that strong on humor in all but the unintentional category. Adventures did a passable job with it; Heroes...er, no; ShTH and Sonic 06 need no explaination; Unleashed actually tried and put effort into it, so I can give it more credit than the Adventures; and Colors kinda went too far with the exaggerated humor at times while Generations was a bit too lacking with it.

 

Given the writers we have now, I'd love to see them let off the leash and go to town in trying to blast us away with humor (I'd also like some tension and seriousness when appropriate, but that's for another topic). But only time can tell how this will fare out as far as the delivery goes.

 

EDIT: Forgot about Eggman's PAs in Colors. Now THAT was probably the series best attempt at subtle humor.

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonîc
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Sixth-Rate Soma

I'm going to place myself in a minority and say that the only real attempts at humor I've been impressed with were Eggman's PA stuffs and Orbot and Cubot's antics. I'm not really sure how to explain what I find wrong with the most recent attempts (mostly Colors) in concise wording, but I suppose I might say that the delivery is off. Most interactions feel as if they try too hard to "BE FUNNY," (in voice acting, sound effects, etc.) and thus come off as a bit cheesy or cringe worthy. It's that sort of uncanny joke valley where the joke isn't funny enough to be laughed with but not bad enough to be laughed at. I dunno, maybe someone else can explain it better, but I gotta get to bed.

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I'm going to place myself in a minority and say that the only real attempts at humor I've been impressed with were Eggman's PA stuffs and Orbot and Cubot's antics. I'm not really sure how to explain what I find wrong with the most recent attempts (mostly Colors) in concise wording, but I suppose I might say that the delivery is off. Most interactions feel as if they try too hard to "BE FUNNY," (in voice acting, sound effects, etc.) and thus come off as a bit cheesy or cringe worthy. It's that sort of uncanny joke valley where the joke isn't funny enough to be laughed with but not bad enough to be laughed at. I dunno, maybe someone else can explain it better, but I gotta get to bed.

 

I think its more of a psychological thing really; before Colors we were basically seasoned to see the characters a certain way, but then Colors goes and changes all of that shit. Eggman has always been a comical character from the get go, but never has Sonic ever tried to be funny. I personally think its because the writers really don't have a grasp on Sonic & Tails and how they're supposed to act which is understandable because the series has never really had consistency as far as personality is concerned. Eggman is the only one who generally stays the same between games so we're used to him being the comical one, but we aren't for Sonic.

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Thirsty Pocket

I feel the same way about the recent Sonic games attempts at humor as I do with the old Sonic cartoon: Eggman is the only legitimately funny thing in the series.

 

I'd love to actually laugh with/at the good guys once in a while, but they feel too corny to me. I feel like they could do better by putting the "cool" characters in more awkward/embarrassing situations instead of just having Sonic berate the bad guy or playfully joke on Tails...

 

That or more Sonic face plants. I guess I enjoy a good Sonic face plant too. But where's my Shadow/Knuckles/Espio face plants?

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SenEDDtor Missile

I'm still surprised that there have been no jokes about Sonic's tendency to faceplant into the ground, something like:

 

"It's just like you to plow headfirst into things, as USUAL."

"Well, you've definitely made your mark on the world...far too many times to count."

"The number of times you've fallen, I'd have expected that bloated head of yours to be smaller by now."
"I see all those faceplants haven't made you any less reckless, you blue buffoon."

"It's hard to forget your face when it's been plastered all over the countryside after your little skydiving adventures!"

"You ended as you started - face first in the dirt!"

 

Or even mocking his tendency to say "Long time no see!", although I can't think of any jokes right now.

Edited by 743-E.D. Missile
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Chaos Warp

I can definitely comment on Eggman's P.A. announcements, they were some of the funniest things in the series. As for the series in general, I think it should go with more subtle, with some exaggerated thrown in. I think Colours was too much on the exaggerated side, I didn't really find any of it funny. I'd like to see the current writers try more subtle, less "dumb" humor.  

Edited by Chaos Warp
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Huge fan of the subtle humor type in Sonic games. The type that isn't overly prevalent yet is amusing despite that. The running gag of Sonic faceplanting most of the time always has me guffawing. I'm still lightly amused by how SatSR seems to lampshade this in the CGI sequence that shows Night Palace rising into the sky and Sonic lands in the scene, coming this close to faceplanting but correcting himself for the sake of rule of cool. SatBK's intro was the best use of this gag next to Unleashed (Which used it in the 'bookends' way, the faceplant being shown at the beginning of the story and the end) and what sealed it was the chili dogs XD. I almost always giggle at the way Sonic flails his arms about in vain in some kind of effort to slow himself down 'cos he knows it's going to hurt :lol: SatBK has the most genuinely hilarious intro in the series.

 

Owned-SonicFacePlant.gif

 

I still love this because it is an active acknowledgement of Tails' motor mouth propensity and is extremely in-line with Sonic's character with makes it so amusing;

 

deadpansoniclol.png

 

I freakin' LOL'd at this because it's good natured-jesting that comes off as comical as well as getting across that Sonic is pretty chill about the situation which is pretty in-character;

 

2vvl6xi.jpg

 

And this was just charming in it's light comedic-ness, brought a big smile to my face;

 

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Eggman's PA announcements in Colours were by far the most hilarious thing in the game and without a shadow of a doubt the funniest portrayal of the doctor in the series, being even better because like the other instances of humour from Sonic himself, it was brilliantly in-character, isn't at all forced and shows just how apathetic he is about attendee safety whilst attesting to his exuberant child-like excitement considering he's so boastful about his rides and such. The rest of Colours?....No, just no. What was wrong with Colours 'humor' is that it was unsubtle, shunted aside the other things that needed to be considered in the plot to shove itself at the forefront, sidelining other plot points in the process and largely consuming Sonic's characterization which contributes to his flanderization in the game but most important of all, it just wasn't funny.

 

I liked the sense of humor in-level dialogue had in the two Storybook games. Especially between Sonic and Caliburn. Shahra was not exactly a slouch either on the 'funny lines' front, even asking Sonic in a teasing manner if he can swim in Dinosaur Jungle.

 

So yeah, subtle and genuinely funny humor is my cup of tea regarding Sonic. Unintentional funny such as in Shadow the Hedgehog and '06 just comes off to me as a sad thing rather than a funny thing.

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Spin Attaxx

I still love this because it is an active acknowledgement of Tails' motor mouth propensity and is extremely in-line with Sonic's character with makes it so amusing;

 

deadpansoniclol.png

 

I freakin' LOL'd at this because it's good natured-jesting that comes off as comical as well as getting across that Sonic is pretty chill about the situation which is pretty in-character

Pretty good animation considering the rest of them are dumb facial expressions, exaggerated lip movement (or in Eggman's case, none at all) and talking while moving 180o for no reason.

 

And those can either be awkward, funny or scary. I'm not sure which.

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For me, my problem comes how the humor tends to either: contradict prior characterization leading to disconnect with them, or overblown to the point of "Dude, Not funny" territory.

 

To use my own example from the OP; alright, Knuckles is tricked by Eggman again but after I laugh at the situation, I'm left wondering why he would bother trusting Eggman again after he had just tried to blow up his island and steal his Master Emerald. He then fights Sonic on the assumption that he has the Master Emerald. The conflict loses meaning somewhat because its based on flimsy reasoning. The punchline is good, but then I'm left wondering why the fuck Knuckles would trust Eggman and then randomly start a fight with Sonic, especially after he said he'd talk to Sonic beforehand. Its more stupid than funny.

 

With something like Sonic Colors, Sonic never. shuts. up. at all. I understand that he's cocky, and that's what I love about him. He taunts his enemies to get a reaction. The thing is, most of the time the objects of the taunts can't respond back and make no attempt to do so. This makes Sonic look stupid because he constantly goes on, but nobody is listening. I like that they acknowledged this when Tails calls him out on this and I wish the game was spent acknowledging how odd it is for Sonic to be doing this. Sonic is the type of person who needs other people to bounce off for his brand of humor to work; Sonic brags to Tails about how he won a bet they never made and Tails acknowledges this, leaving Sonic to dejectedly walk off to fight the boss. hilarious. Sonic talks to a smashed up robot, and Tails calls him out on this which causes embarrassment in Sonic. hilarious. Sonic speaking in a run off sentence describing how bleak their situation is in complete deadpan, hilarious.

 

 

Basically for both styles; they need to make sense within the context of the character's personalities and actions and they need interaction with the world around them to give their humor more weight.

Edited by Azure Yakuzu
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Stuff like Sonic's rather dry tone in some of his lines in the Storybook games such as;

 

Caliburn: "What is the problem!?"

Sonic: "I think I'm holding it"

 

Merlina: "He was blessed with noble knights and praised by all.....however"

Sonic (With a very dry-sounding voice): "He got a little sidetracked?"

 

Sonic (In response to the wall-climbing enemies in Deep Woods not attacking him efficiently whilst he's on the horse-drawn carriage): "I think it had a better chance when it was on the wall"

 

Caliburn: "I really hoped for more time to train you"

Sonic: "Yeah? Well I hoped for a better SWORD!"

 

And some of Sonic's responses towards NPC questions in Unleashed;

 

Brenda: "Who is Dr Eggman?"

Sonic: "The world's fattest man" or "My real father"

 

Not only correlate with Sonic's own propensity for deadpan snarkiness but are also what I find pretty amusing personally. Sonic is a really quirky, versatile and whatsmore lighthearted character who can be put into a variety of potentially comedic situations without having to make him look like a cheesy dumbass in order to do so (I.e convening with mute robots time and time and time again). You can derive some humor out of his body language and expressions without them being expressed in an over-the-top manner (Sonic looking at Tails in a very "Thank you captain obvious" way when the Egg Carrier transforms). You can combine lines and voice acting tone to make him funny (Such as in that story recap screen in SA2 when Sonic is jokingly commiserating if he should hand over his fake emerald in exchange for Amy when he's under the impression that he holds all the aces and is going to let Eggman destroy the cannon himself. Ryan NAILED Sonic's tone there) The games have proven these two aspects to me, which is why Colours' "humor" is such a step backwards.

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Sonictrainer

I like the Exaggerated and unintentional humor.

 

When I watched the Lost World Trailer, I thought it was funny how the the animals reacted to the Deadly Six and how the Deadly Six reacted to Sonic.

 

-the animals have a freaking heart attack

-the Deadly Six are so mad to see Sonic there, as seen with the split screen

-even though Eggman probably told them about Sonic, their methods of stopping Sonic are dumb: The Pink guy and Green Girl try to grab him, the Yellow guy tries to ground pound him, and the Red guy tries to punch him. Fastest thing alive, remember?

-when Sonic dashes from the Pink, White, and Old D6 members, Sonic almost knocks the old guy off his crane, the White one jumps out of the way, and the Pink guy's like "Wait, where'd he go?"

 

The facial expressions are perfect.

Edited by Son1ctrainer
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Colors I felt had really good humor with Eggman's P.A. announcements. Yeah, I know a bunch of people have already said that, but it bears repeating. They were just such a good example of humor and so in line with his character.

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I'll be honest, I think SA1 had more unintentional humor than any other kind (the sometimes off line delivery, the ALWAYS off facial expressions). I think the best moment in terms of intentional humor in that game is Tails' Captain Obvious moment, after which Sonic glares at him.

 

Outside of Sonic's "BBBE" line in Colors (that I saw in a review), I never really laughed at the series' attempts at humor. But then I don't laugh a lot anyway.

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MisterMacanulty

I've rarely found any attempt at humor (or serious drama for that matter... in fact anything to do with plot or dialogue in general) in any Sonic game that worked for me. I like Eggman's PAs and I like Orbot --though I liked him much better in Unleashed than in Colors-- but I despise Cubot, Chip, and every other comic relief character they've ever come up with. I do think Sonic games should be funny, but it should come from Sonic's own sense of humor and his reactions to the other characters. Sonic is a clever, witty, funny guy and there are great opportunities for banter between him and Eggman, Shadow or Knuckles; any of the other characters that take themselves too seriously. Orbot and Eggman had a similar relationship in Unleashed.

 

In my opinion comedic dialogue works best in pairs. (In otherwords, Eggman+Orbot > Eggman+Orbot+Cubot!) That's not a hard and fast rule, but it just makes things easier. Eggman and Orbot made a great comedy team in Unleashed, where Orbot points out the flaws in Eggman's plans and he over-reacts. I think Sonic and Knuckles have great potential for comic banter which the writers have never really made use of. I'd love to see Sonic take advantage of Knuckles' short temper more often. I do think that Sonic and Tails were well handled in Sonic Colors and it was great to see how their characters played off eachother, it's just too bad the scenes were so awkwardly timed and most of the jokes were so horrible.

 

There's also plenty of room for zippy slapstick humor in Sonic games. One of my favorite moments in Sonic's history comes --surprisingly-- from Sonic 06. That opening scene where he takes out all the robots attacking the princess in a big flashy whirlwind only to lightly tap the last one off a ledge with his toe and silently watch it fall over? Classic! More of that, please!

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Salamander

I think the attempts at exaggerated humour have been too exaggerated to actually be funny.  They come across as trying far too hard; it's forced.  I think the humour I've enjoyed best has seemed to arise more naturally from the circumstances of the plot; that is, when jokes aren't shoehorned in, but the events of the plot are commented upon in an entertaining way.

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I did laugh at SA1 and SA2's unique brand of humor when I was younger, but even back then it was kind of forced.  The problem with the games' humor from SA1 all the way up to Sonic Free Riders is that its humor lies purely in concept, and not in actual execution.  Amy has an obsessive crush on Sonic, much to his annoyance... but that's it.  She never says anything funny.  She never does anything funny except maybe have a violent temper with a hammer.  Other than that, though, it's not really that funny.  It might still get a chuckle out of me in a "Hehe, cute" sort of way, but not in a "hahaha wow funny!" sort of way.

 

Another problem with SA1 and SA2's form of humor is that it relies heavily on visual cues and said visual cues just plain didn't work with the graphical style that was prevalent in games back in the day.  Perhaps, actually, there wasn't a sufficient visual cue.  The joke was obvious, but the way it's introduced is wrong.  For example, the cutscene whereby Gamma and the other E-100's confront Eggman after capturing what they believed was Froggy could have been moderately funny... and we see why it could have been funny.  All the frogs were the wrong color and didn't even have the tail that Eggman described only ten minutes prior.  There's a small amount of funny to be had with the concept that despite being a super-genius capable of building flying fortresses capable of decimating entire cities, his plans often go awry thanks largely to his inability to create half-way compotent robotic minions.  That could be funny if it weren't for the fact that it's just presented as is.  There's no comedic dialogue (unless you just like hearing Deem Bristow shouting "DUMMIES!  DUMMIES!  DUMMIES!" which is fun don't get me wrong), no emphasis on just how wrong the other E-100's are, or anything.  The humor relies solely on the fact that they're the wrong frogs.

 

Now Riders and Riders: Zero Gravity (not sure about Free Riders since I haven't played it) had some decent humor.  Not hilarious, mind you, but at least the joke was clear and backed up by manniersms.  It could easily pass for "anime-style" humor.  Jet's self-destructive temper generates a few laughs.  I love the part where he literally kicks his desk across the room.  Wave and Storm's bickering can conjur a tiny bit of laughter as well.  "Your skills just suck!"  "S-s-suck?!"  The characters played off each other fairly well, and that's why it works as well as it does.  It's still not great, but the humor is attempted in both concept and execution.  On the Hero side of the story, however, you get much of the same as SA1 and SA2, except it was a little better because Amy using her hammer in a cartoonish fashion is genuniely sort of amusing.

 

Fast forward to Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors and I think they're getting there, but they're not quite there.  Almost.  I think Cubot and Orbot are to die for!  They're genuinely hilarious and play off each other very well because of their contrasting nature.  They each possess a strong advantage that is foiled by a crippling disadvatange, and those said advantages and disadvantages are swapped for each character.  Orbot is an intelligent, level-headed robot who probably has what it takes to get the job done... minus the actual desire to do it.  His laziness acts as a foil to his actual ability.  On the other hand, Cubot is a largely active robot who isn't one to slack off. (I may be wrong about that, but I don't recall him ever deliberately slacking off in any cutscene)  However, his lack of intelligence impairs him from doing the job properly.  As such, the two contrasting mindsets often lead to great exchanges and generally fun moments with the characters.

 

Other than that, the only character that I think has impressed me with his humor is Eggman.  His puns, his dialogue, his breakdowns, all of it is incredibly endearing and hilarious!  Don't even get me started on his P.A. announcements in Colors.  They take the idea of the "genius with dumb inventions" from SA1 and make it work.  As for the other characters... ehh, hit or miss.

 

Azure said it best when he said it was more of a psychological thing.  What made Sonic and Tails initially funny in Colors was that we weren't used to seeing them act that way.  There are some good jokes here and there ("All right, Tails!  Pay up!"  "... We didn't bet.") and probably an equal number of if not even greater number of contrived jokes ("No copyright law in the universe is going to stop me!"), but none of them are haha hilarious.  I think that's something that can only come with time as they experiment with character chemistry and what generally works and doesn't work for each character.  Until then, I guess I'm content with the fact that they're no longer trying too hard to be dark and brooding, but I'd like to see a healthy balance of both subtle and exaggerated humor in terms of dialogue, action, and animation.

 

Oh and uh... Sonic landing face first in the dirt.  Always funny.  Always.

Edited by Akito
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well since this video kinda covers most of what I covered in this topic, I feel it should be posted here:

 

http://rogerregorroger.deviantart.com/art/Sonic-Dissected-13-1-379316549

 

Warning: Contains critical opinions on Colors` writing. If you're somebody that's enjoyed the writing for that game, don't watch this video, its only gonna piss you off and/or make you sad.

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Well since this video kinda covers most of what I covered in this topic, I feel it should be posted here:

 

http://rogerregorroger.deviantart.com/art/Sonic-Dissected-13-1-379316549

 

Warning: Contains critical opinions on Colors` writing. If you're somebody that's enjoyed the writing for that game, don't watch this video, its only gonna piss you off and/or make you sad.

 

They kinda alienated me when they started prattling on about extreme complexities that Sonic game humor doesn't need to strictly abide by. I do agree with their feelings on the translator jokes in that any comedy value they'd have is completely and utterly undermined by the translator coming out with things not even remotely contextual to what's really being said.

 

But then it's not Colours' brand of humor being unsubtle and immature that is the only issue and they fail to acknowledge the way it has similarities to Shadow the Hedgehog's problem in how it puts the tone before absolutely everything else that needs to be given gravity in a story. That is one of the biggest problems with Colours' story. Plot point development? Shunted sideways to foist 'comedy' into the limelight and the hammering of one joke into the audience.

 

It also leaves the characters very little room to show the other aspects of their personalities because they're being foisted into largely comedic roles. And that's why I stand by my opinion that Colours' humor doesn't meld with the story and characters, it detracts from it and them to a large degree. Orbot and Cubot are well-suited to this kind of comedy though I think. And the PA announcements were still absolutely hilarious.

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Dr. Detective Mike

I do remember the first time I played through Sonic Colors. I did find what was being said generally amusing at first but there was always this air of either confusion or distaste I had concerning the way the characters acted and the context behind what was being said in general. That never crept up for me when it came to Eggman though. His lines were funny than and I still find them funny now.

 

Now that I'm here in 2013, I'm convinced that what I was admiring about the exchanges Sonic and Tails themselves had was that the dialogue was allowing the two of them to speak to each other like actual friends rather than the usual stilted exchanges they had previously when talking about what needed to get done. The problem comes in with the context behind their words and how it can even range to a level of being down-right insulting. Hearing the game constantly re-explain the plot was grating. Seeing that the game never wanted to let a joke die was annoying. And seeing the game feel the need to exercise it's active duty to have the characters explain the jokes they were making, just made me feel sorry for any child who had this as their first fare into the tone that the Sonic series has to offer. 

 

The reason it works more with Eggman is because his jokes are much more catered to his character as something he would generally say on a natural basis. It flowed more because I could actually see Eggman naturally reacting and speaking the way he does there and it really only takes a certain handling of the script to make it happen. I'm not saying Sonic and Tails wouldn't say some of the things they were saying. The problem with Sonic and Tails, for me, is that they weren't letting it flow. They were forcing all their jokes and measures out for the sake of getting the two of them to say smartass, snarky dialogue that covered up what was supposed to be going on in the plot WHILE they were busy explaining or re-explaining the plot. That's why most, if not almost all, of their scenes are done with them standing around and talking and explaining. Nothing ever happens and when things DO happen it gets over and done with quickly or there are no consequences for what took place.

 

People remember the Eclipse Cannon for the devastation it caused and the power it got to display when it blew up half of the moon. No one's going to remember Eggman's Mind Control Cannon for anything other than a large cop-out. A robot part from the very first boss in the game got lodged in it's side and made the thing blow up. Sonic didn't really need to go around destroying those generators. The second Eggman flipped that switch after that very early point in the game, his ambition would've crumbled upon itself regardless. But I bet the writers just hoped you'd find what they were saying too hilarious to notice. I guess for a lot of people it worked though.

Edited by Crystal Chaotix 3
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I think my problem with the current writing is how much it treats its viewers like idiots. They HAVE to insert a joke into every opportunity, they HAVE to beat that joke into the ground as if saying to the audience "ARE YOU LAUGHING YET?" And they do this at the expense of any sort of plot or characterization it could have.

 

The games have become parodies of themselves, bad ones at that. Sonic constantly talks about the inevitability of his victory, and how much Eggman is going to lose. This would normally be seen as a sort of Meta Joke on the conventions of the series but here in lies the problem; the games JUSTIFY Sonic's attitude by handing him his victories on a silver platter; In Generations, Eggman does NOTHING to hinder Sonic's progress at all aside from drop him in a white void. He flies around, roars and just disappears. And in the final confrontation, everyone thinks Sonic is just so awesome that he just goes Super and all is well, no tension or anything, its humiliating to Eggman as a villain, and makes Sonic come off not as a hero who wins by virtue of his actions but just because the plot said so.

 

 

I find the current writing a real problem with modern day kid`s shows actually, the writers treat their audience like they're idiots by using "Wacky humor" as a cover up for bad plotting and characterization, and it pisses me off when writers do this because nobody likes being treated like they're stupid. And what's sad is  that this type of writing is being encouraged given the praise of both Colors & Generations, and what's worse is that its not even on its own merit but because its not "Hedgehogs using guns" or "Hedgehogs killing humans".

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A few of the above replies reminded me of a problem that a lot of shows with a long lifespan seem to have:  The writers only acknowledge their base personality.

 

(Note - I'm not a regular viewer of The Simpsons so I may have no idea what I'm talking about)

 

What made the original Simpsons so great was its ability to tell a surprisingly complex and relatable story in a humorous way.  The episode "Bart Gets an F" is a great example of this.  If you're really worried about spoilers for an episode that is God knows how old, then, fear not!  I've put it in spoiler tags!  But then, if you're really worried about spoilers, you may want to skip over this post anyway because I'm going to be using a couple of examples from different shows.

 

Bart Simpson is a troublemaker.  He's like a more malicious version of Dennis the Menace, often prioritizing in doing fun, careless things with his friends over his academic performance.  After his teacher threatens that he'll have to repeat a grade, Bart makes a genuine effort to pick up his failing grade, a solid F, as he puts all his time into studying.  When it is time to take the test, Bart submits his test with hope, confident that his hours of preparation have yielded him a better grade.  Unfortunately, his hard work does not pay off and he still receives a failing grade.

 

All throughout this episode, shennanigans ensue, as you would expect, but not only do they not detract from the experience, but they comment on the experience as it is happening.  There's no "joke break."  The jokes turn out to be part of the episode.

 

As I disclaimed earlier, I don't regularly watch the show, so maybe this is a bad example of a typical Simpsons episode, but I think it's a model of good humor.  The plot is relatable, even if you've never been in Bart's shoes, as well as understandable, and the jokes are the sprinkles on the plot, not the plot the sprinkles on the joke.  Many of my friends who are Simpsons fans criticize the newer episodes as the reverse, devolving Bart not into a person who has eccentricities and problems, but a troublemaker whose sole purpose in life is to cause as much trouble as possible with no motivation or contextual purpose aside from what the plot dictates (if he's lucky).  The same can be said for Sonic Colors' brand of humor.  Sonic is the hero, Tails is the sidekick, Eggman is the villain.  That's the premise, now make stupid jokes about it!  The entire experience is based off the jokes, with the plot being the luxury, not the other way around as it should be.

 

Another example is the 2001 series Teen Titans and its recent reboot, Teen Titans Go.  Now, I'm just going to say now that I'm not trying to start a flame war and I'd appreciate if people abstain from using this as an opportunity to lampoon upon all over TTG's blunders without any analytical basis.  I'm just going to say right now that a lot of people have completely the wrong idea about TTG and I don't understand it.  I respect their opinions, but I think they're looking at it the wrong way.  For some reason, they seem to view TTG as a "spiritual successor" to the original Teen Titans, when it is clearly a satire.  It's not made to continue the series, or otherwise revive it to its former "glory."  Is it a very good satire...?  Well, yes and no.  It has some good ideas, and it has some bad ideas, but all those bad ideas stem from one common problem:  The show is based almost entirely on exploiting a single character trait, and not the overall character traits or their bad choices.

 

The original Teen Titans was a show whereby the character dealt with a plethora of emotional conflicts as well as stopped bad guys.  For example:

 

In the episode "Switched," Starfire wishes to know her friend and colleague, Raven, a little better, but finds that she is self-absorbed and dull.  Raven, on the other hand, wants to be left alone and finds Starfire to be hot-headed and annoying.  One night, Robin, Beast Boy, and Cyborg are trapped in wooden puppets of themselves by the villainous Puppet King.  Raven and Starfire manage to avoid being turned into puppets, but a malfunction from the Puppet King's device causes them to swap bodies.  The episode centers around Raven and Starfire attempting to stop the Puppet King, rescue the boys, and return everything to normal, all hindered by the unfamiliarity and discomfort of their contrasting bodies and personalities.  Through this experience, they learn each other's motivations and that though they're both drastically different, their personalities play a huge role in their abilities and how they work together as a team.  As a result, they learn to accept each other's differences, which develops into a mutual respect, and finally a friendship.

 

Again, jokes are sprinkled throughout the episode.  Starfire and Raven, now in their opposite's bodies, provide some great comedy as they attempt to adjust to the other's powers and abilities.  Starfire must learn to keep her emotions under control, a near impossible task for someone as vocal and optimistic as her, and Raven must learn to unleash her emotions, a near impossible task for someone who has spent much of their life sealing her emotions away.  During a particularly funny moment, Starfire teaches Raven how to fly, using the Peter Pan method of "thinking happy thoughts" before leaping into the air.  When she finally learns at the end of the episode, Starfire asks her what she thought about that finally enabled her to fly, to which Raven responds unceremoniously, "You not talking."  It's funny because it shows that the word "happy" is relative and the meaning differs depending on who you ask, just like their superpowers and most importantly their entire personalities.

 

TTG has some humorous satire moments.  Long-time Titans fans will remember the dead-serious Trigon arc from the orginal...

 

whereby the titular character literally ends the world.

 

Teen Titans Go surprisingly satired him well by...

 

Making him a stereotypical sitcom father.  It's not an original joke by any means.  There should be an entire sub-genre of satire labeled "dumbing down complex issues."  But what makes it work is how it acknowledges how cruel and demanding Raven's father, Trigon, was in the original.  He is depicted as a terrible person whose only joy comes from the suffering of others.  In TTG, however, it humorously degrades him into an otherwise nice guy.  He's not a bad person, yet at the same time, he is a bad person!  It satires by way of contrast, which is brilliant when done correctly.

 

And on another hand, you have the episode whereby Robin takes driving lessons...

 

...after getting his license suspended when he destroys the Batmobile.  It works because it showcases his arrogance and his know-it-all attitude, which he displayed plenty of times in the original, as well as his reckless demeanor.  Again, it satires with contrast.  It shows him doing what he would do in the show, but in a real world setting.  Again, hilarious, if done right.

 

But their first blunder is sadly enough their first episode.  Beast Boy and Cyborg have been shown in the original series to be obnoxious from time to time, however what made their obnoxiousness funny was the same thing that made Cubot and Orbot funny:  Their contrasting mannerisms.  Beast Boy is often oblivious and is sort of awkward, whereas Cyborg is a little more level-headed and is a bit better in a social circle.  This is shown in the episode "Nevermore" where Beast Boy attempts to apology to Raven, whom he is scared of, by knocking on the door.  When he does not receive an immediate response, he tries to leave, but is stopped by Cyborg, who tells him to knock louder and demonstrates.

 

In TTG, however, the writers apparently did not see the contrast to their mannerisms and instead decided to simply show them being as obnoxious as possible, hoping to get a laugh for recklessly exploiting a single character trait with no charm, charisma, or relatability in the slightest.  Beast Boy and Cyborg like pie, let's make that an obsessive theme!  Oh and something about Cyborg's birthday and Beast Boy's attempts to buy him a present, but whatever.

 

Again, the same can be said for modern Sonic writing.  Sonic is the hero, Tails is the sidekick.  That's the meat of most of their jokes... and it's really not that funny after the tenth time.

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