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  1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Intentionally cheesy

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by marcusl, Sep 30, 2009.

    Last weekend, I played through a computer game called The Secrets of Monkey Island.

    *Spoiler alert*
    At one point during the game, the protagonist said something like, "There's something I learned from all this - never pay more than twenty bucks for a computer game."
    *End spoiler *

    I thought that was pretty funny, but I've never seen anything like that when reading a novel. So, I wonder if being cheesy in a book would work, if it's obvious that you're doing it on purpose? I'm interested in hearing everyone's thoughts. Many thanks.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm... Purposeful cheesiness.

    I have made use of it, but only in dialogue. And when I did, it was a purposefully embarrassing moment for the character in question; hence, it served a purpose in the story.

    It was not gratuitous.

    Gratuitous anything is to be avoided at all costs.
     
  3. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I suppose it can work in nonfiction. A few jokes here and there can help you keep the reader's attention. A little humility can go a long way, too. . Depends on the topic and tone of the book.

    In novels or movies, I think the equivalent would be the comic relief character, who destroys any sense of reality or authenticity in favour of cheap/cheesy entertainment. That works, too, though I don't care for it.
     
  4. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Monkey Island happens to be a cult classic. I think the cheesiness in it is wonderfully executed.

    Monty Python were being deliberately silly, but I wouldn't say that diminishes their genious. Considering your avatar, Wreybies, I think you'll agree.

    I would say that gratuitous cheesiness works as long as it's funny.

    OP: If you need a novel as reference, see 'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy'.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree to an extent. The extent lies in the definition of cheesy. For me cheesy is not the same as silly or funny at all.

    *adopts hushed tone of reverence*

    Silliness is a fine art.


    For me, cheesiness is the poor execution of funny or silly. There is no usage where I would allow the word cheesy to have a positive context.
     
  6. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alright, semantics to blame once again :)
     
  7. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Lol, my thoughts exactly.

    "Not again!":rolleyes:
     
  8. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Intentional cheese, when done properly, is great to have.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    What you're calling "cheesiness" (for some....strange....reason.....) is actuallyself-awareness or metafiction, making the nature of the medium apparent to the reader (erm, player). It can be used for comedy, as in your example, or to undermine the author, to call attention to the artificiality of art, to create emotional distance, etc etc etc. Its a device that became commonly used by Postmodern artists/writers, and is most associated with them.

    Cheesy? Really?
     
  10. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I remember reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, where the author, Mark Twain, would sometimes talk with the reader. Mark also referred to himself sometimes. I guess that's the kind of thing I'm referring to.

    Tom Sawyer is an old book, so I'm not sure this type of approach would be acceptable anymore. I can understand why some people would hate it. It takes you out of the story, but sometimes, I don't mind that. To be honest, when I'm reading a novel, I know it's fiction, anyway. Hopefully that made some sense.
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    That kind of approach has only grown in popularity, not diminished. As I said, its called metafiction (well, that technique in Tom Sawyer is called an overt narrator, but its part of the same sort of thing) and its usage became more widespread from the 80's on as Postmodern literature came into promenance.

    And the whole idea is that it takes you out of the story and reminds you that what you are reading is artificial, and draws attention to the formal and aesthetic details of the work. It stops you getting focussed on insignificant things like worlds and characters when what's really important is the words. At least that's the idea in theory.
     
  12. B-Gas
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    Cheesiness can also work when it seems funny but then isn't. In Conker's Bad Fur Day's ending, the final xenomorph boss jumps back into the airlock after taking the usual three hits, the game "crashes," and Conker blackmails the tech department into giving him a weapon rack and getting him out of the space station and into the throne room. He then kills the xenomorph and gets a victory chant from the various characters you met along the way, only to realise too late that his girlfriend- who he's spent the whole game trying to find and rescue- is still dead, he had a chance to bring her back, and he will never have that chance again.

    Despite the comedy and fart jokes of the rest of the game, the ending is dark and gloomy, with Conker saying, "Just goes to show you- the grass is always greener. And you don't know what you've got till it's gone.

    Gone.

    Gone."

    So, cheesiness can be used to set up some real mood whiplash, when people realise that the humor is gone but the events really did happen and are still happening.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Can we please stop calling this "cheesiness"? It has a proper name and has nothing to do with being "cheesy".
     
  14. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    We're talking about cheesy metafiction- Lampshade Hanging, if you are a TVTropes junkie. The times when, instead of picking up the camera and pointing it at something, the characters wink at the camera and pull a big grin.
     
  15. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    What's cheesy about that? It's funny I guess, but cheesy? Maybe we just have different opinions on what cheese is...
     
  16. Trevor
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    Family Guy, the T.V. show often utilizes this technique at the end of episodes. The most memorable being when an entire episode was based around Stewie following his mother around in attempt to kill her.

    At the very end of the episode, it turns out it was a virtual reality machine that created the story. The characters then discuss how uncreative it is and how it was but one step up from 'it was all a dream'.
     

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