Daily Dialogue — August 22, 2011

August 22nd, 2011 by
“The doctor draws two circles and says ‘What do you see?’ the guy says ‘Sex.’ [everybody laughs] Wait a minute, I haven’t even told the joke yet! So the doctor draws trees, ‘What do you see?’ the guy says ‘sex’. The doctor draws a car, owl, ‘Sex, sex, sex’. The doctor says to him ‘You are obsessed with sex’.’ He replies, ‘Well, you’re the one drawing all the dirty pictures!'”

– Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), What About Bob (1991), screenplay by Tom Schulman, story by Alvin Sargent & Laura Ziskin

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is jokes, suggested by Francisco Madaragog. What About Bob suggested by Teddy P.

Trivia: Leo Marvin is a psychiatrist whose kids’ names are “Anna” and “Sigmund” named after the very well-known psychiatrist Sigmund Freud and his daughter, child psychologist Anna Freud.

Dialogue On Dialogue: What’s challenging about characters telling jokes in a movie is to buy the authenticity of the response of the listeners. There are some movies I’ve seen where it’s painfully obvious what is on film like the tenth take and the crowd response is forced. Interesting here they chose to frame the shot from a distance which makes it easier to pull off the group’s laugh.

4 thoughts on “Daily Dialogue — August 22, 2011

  1. Teddy Pasternak says:

    When I was looking for “telling jokes” scenes it was difficult to find scenes where the joke had a purpose and not just “for laughs.” This particular scene does have a purpose (and the joke is hilarious.)

    There's no better way to show that a character has “won over the crowd” than to have them laugh at his jokes. If someone laughs with you, they're on your side. It shows trust. We've seen similar scenes in many movies where this happens either by telling jokes, leading a singalong, making a toast, buying everyone a drink or something similar. There was one film where the main character was teaching everybody dance steps, but I can't remember what film…

    I didn't think about how the shot was framed, but you're right, it's interesting that it's shown from Dr. Marvin's POV – we learn the situation with him. The classic way of shooting this scene would have been to show Bob and the group in the foreground, then have Dr. Marvin appear at the door, and then show a close-up of his reaction.

    I think the reason for this was to emphasize the disconnect between how everybody else views Bob versus how Dr. Marvin sees him. We know he's right. It's everybody else that are fooled by Bob's charm.

    It's a long YouTube clip but this scene starts at about 7:40 in.

  2. Scott says:

    That's a really good point, Teddy. "If someone laughs with you, they're on your side." And that's precisely the point of this scene in Bob, isn't it? Bob has won over Dreyfus' colleagues.

  3. Saint716 says:

    Oh how I love this movie.

  4. Teddy Pasternak says:

    This would fun to read for the comedy script analysis.

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