Friday, August 10, 2007

Tripping over my shoelaces

I tried to marathon Azumanga Daioh the other day. This turned out to be a grave mistake as I was in dire need of a break just two episodes in. The next day went a bit better, clearing 10 episodes, but by that point I had come to the conclusion that Azumanga Daioh was one series for which more than two episodes at a time was simply a bad idea.

While slice of life and high school randomness, Azumanga Daioh is certainly not a sitcom. There is no problem that is resolved in the span of an episode, nor is there any ultimate goal other than graduation, which is a pretty automatic process. This early into high school, it's not yet time to stress over university admissions and the general future.

There may be some over-arching theme for an episode but, probably as a result of its 5 minute segment roots, there can be no expectation of continuity within the episode itself. I'm not bored unto passing out, as I have this unreasonable attention span for pretty much anything except lectures, but I begin to get fidgety after continuous exposure.

Lucky Star is structured in a similar fashion, but many of its scenes and gags can be measured in tens of seconds. It's not quite a punch line Gatling gun, but it is a better approximation than Azumanga Daioh, which has a tendency to rely on relatively lengthy still shots to emphasize the point. I think this is the source of my discomfort. Awkward silence is effective only when used sparingly, while abusing it evolves comedic awkwardness into nervous fidgeting or other irritations.

I realize now that there are plenty of other series I've seen that can only be consumed in one or two episode doses, but I have never had cause to try otherwise, seeing as how they're currently airing. If nothing else, it's a garish display of neon green on my part.


peter said...

Hmm, I never thought to marathon Azumanga, and it's my all time favorite show.

Azumanga is a slow, lazy series that maybe you should treat as slowly and lazily as the creators did.

For me, after half the series was over, the whole thing began to ascend and become a thing of beauty ... slowly and lazily, until it became a thing to celebrate and weep over because it ended.

Owen S said...

I had problems with trying to marathon it too, you're not the only one. It's a good thing you mention those still shots, because I felt rather annoyed at them after awhile. They just didn't feel that funny.

Lucky Star works better for me, but maybe that's because it isn't a whole lot of forced humour.