What is the literary equivalent of falling backwards on a coffee table and shattering it to pieces? If I write about three people on one bicycle riding down a flight of steep stairs will it be as funny as seeing this disaster on film? I could win a Nobel Prize in literature and I could never write anything funny enough to compare with watching a Pink Panther movie. Is it even possible to write in a slapstick style?
The written word has its strengths and film has its advantages. Sure, it is a lot more fun to see a fat guy doing a belly flop on top of a bunch of girls in bikinis but if you read about that same event you have a better understanding of the characters. You would know that the overweight guy began putting on weight as a kid to compensate for not getting enough attention from his parents.
You would know that his adult life has been a roller coaster of weight loss and gain until he finally gives up and jumps off of the top railing of a patio fence on to a group of scantily-clad sorority girls. In the Nobel Prize-winning book version you would know that he pulled this stunt to gain favor with the elite of his fraternity, a group of Aryan males who have thus far excluded him from their inner circle because of his weight problem.
If all you did is watch the video of the corpulent fraternity boy’s stunt you wouldn’t know that one of the sorority girls just got engaged to the dreamiest guy in the fraternity. If you read the book you would know that she doesn’t think it the least bit strange that her fiancé sleeps in the same bed as his fraternity brother. They have decided to wait until they get married to have sex. He decided that.
I am a reader so I prefer the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel Caddy Shack to the movie by Harold Ramis. Sure, Super Troopers was a funny movie but the novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe dealt a lot more with the inner workings of the Vermont State Police hierarchy.
That’s it. That’s all you get for free and 30 minutes of my time.