The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group discussion

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General Chat > When is comedic (AKA, campy) dialog OK?

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message 1: by Eduardo (new)

Eduardo Suastegui (esuastegui) What ruins a TV show for me the quickest? Campy dialog intermingled into a dark or suspensful subject. A few shows do it right, but most come across as levity thrown in for the sake of comforting the audience for fear they will over-stress with all the suspense and killing and all.

Example: Intelligence (CBS). I generally like this show. It has a strong concept/premise, generally good plotting and character development... interrupted when anyone (and I mean anyone -- this isn't just one character being his/her usual funny self) switches off into comedian mode.

It occurs to me this sort of cleverness can also ruin the dialog or interactions in a novel or short story. What say you?


message 2: by Annette (new)

Annette Macintyre | 70 comments I say you are correct.


message 3: by David (last edited May 06, 2014 06:33AM) (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2233 comments I think comedic dialog works in serious situations if the writer demonstrates long before then (as in very early in the book or show) that such exchanges are common between the characters.

You can't have two characters who are serious for the first 20 pages (or 20 minutes) suddenly turn into Martin and Lewis when they find a dead body.

And remember, too, cops have a 'gallows' humor that the employ to cope with the horrors they see.

Castle is one TV show that does it well. The light quips the characters exchange in less dramatic moments sets the viewer up for similar quips delivered in more serious ones.


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