Dramatic irony is when the viewer of a work or story is given information that certain characters within the story do not know, and thus the viewer understands that character’s every misstep. In terms of comedy, it’s typically done through misunderstanding. Think of a Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu episode where Kaname Chidori sees Sousuke Sagara sneaking around with another girl and gets jealous, but we know Sousuke’s actually getting advice on what to get Kaname for her birthday. Now, I can’t remember that episode ever happening, but now that I’ve said it, you know exactly how it would go. That would fit right in with Fumoffu!
The reason I mention this is I’ve recently noticed a new type of dramatic irony for comedy while watching Schitt’s Creek. I know, a live action TV show; what have I become? There was an instance of dramatic irony in the show, but the audience is never explicitly made privy to the misunderstanding.
They see the mayor’s wife leaving another man’s home in the morning, and of course assume she’s having an affair. It gets worse when the mayor shows up and apparently knows about this, and the only part of it he’s upset about is that he doesn’t get to join in. Now, the other man is apparently jus their son who doesn’t get along with his father and there’s nothing really scandalous about it, but we’re not told that until the same time the characters subject to the misunderstanding are told. But it still at least seems like dramatic irony.
Though we’re not ever told what’s actually going on, we’ve all seen this set up before. The misunderstanding is too scandalous, the details are too vague, the interactions are written to be too awkward and acted as such; we all know how this joke goes. So what I thought would be funny is, what if we didn’t?
What if there was no misunderstanding, and the scandal was reat? It would be played with all the awkwardness it usually has to make the audience expect this to fall into a bit of dramatic irony, but then it wouldn’t. That would play with the viewers’ expectations, which is always a lot of fun, and lie to the audience without ever actually lying. That’s what I want, just once, to see. That would be a lot more interesting.
Don’t Lose Your Way