Trope of the Week: Offensive Characters

Laying the tropes on you.

break the system

In comedy shows especially, main characters can sometimes be written to be explicitly offensive. Whether they tell off-color jokes or are casual racists, they set the audience up for punchlines that probably won’t sit well with everyone. However, these off-color jokes have a tendency to go to the all-out offensive under the impression that it will be even more hilarious.

family guyWhy this can be bad: Offensiveness for the sake of offensiveness simply isn’t funny. Can it be part of humor? Definitely. But can it be purely humorous on its own? No. Humor isn’t about being as outrageous as possible. It’s about playing on expectations. So if your main character goes around spouting the n-word and laughing about it, that’s not funny. That’s just reminiscent of your racist grandfather. In recent years, Family Guy has gone down this road. It has left offensive humor for being just plain-old awful, and it…

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