Friday, October 1, 2010

A funny thing didn't happen...

by carol
Drama + Comedy = Dramedy

Dramedy has become a television genre that many shows aspire to. But it ain’t easy.
To be successful and entertaining, a dramedy must have a superb cast working as an ensemble, excellent writing, and a director to pull it all together. If the “click” among the actors is not there, the best lines will not ring true and fall flat. Dialogue has been written that could not be saved even if emoted by Sir Anthony Hopkins. And although the dramedy is often very funny, a good director knows the laughs and jokes should not be the point. The TV series M*A*S*H* may be the best example of a dramedy. Entourage is considered a current dramedy.

The light side and the dark are two elements integral to the human experience and bringing both to the small screen requires a keen sense of balance and skill of craft from the writer, the director, and actors.

New Zealand writer Paula Boock (The Insiders Guide, Until Proven Innocent, Time Trackers):  “The whole area of comedy drama is very delicate and can go horribly wrong. The writer should not call the shots but there must be a respectful relationship between the writer and the director. Sometimes actors sell lines and scenes that were not at all funny on the page – they do such brilliant work. This is the ideal model requiring everyone to be experienced enough to know when to pull back and trust when necessary.”

Of course, we all know what you get when the elements don’t jell:  the “dramedy” becomes a “coma.”

1 comment:

  1. Dramedy in Hawaii Five-0 is definitely not a "coma". And they normally do it at an action packed pace too. Alex and Scott (with the writers & directors) nailed this one, with their 'carguments' and their 'Bromance' in general.