World Festival of Animated Film /
3 to 8 June 2024
World Festival of Animated Film / 3 to 8 June 2024
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ANIMAFEST PRO | ANIMAFEST SCANNER XI | Panel 3: Humor in Animation

Looking For a Job at the End of the World. Humor in the Adult Animated Comedy Miniseries Carol & the End of the World: A Case Study - Martina Tritthart (Austria)

05/06 WED 10:10-10:40 KIC

Dan Guterman's new adult Netflix miniseries Carol & the End of the World, which premiered in December 2023, features subtle humour that combines situational comedy with self-deprecation and black humour. The absurd storyline, combined with a casual 2D aesthetic, develops a delicate, multi-layered humour that may be understood as a new phenomenon in the context of the current global situation, in particular the wars taking place right now, but also the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. Paul Wells' list, titled as the chapter ‘25 ways to start laughing’ (Wells 1998) could be updated and extended with this example. The apocalyptic ten-part miniseries is reminiscent of Lars von Trier's feature film Melancholia (DK/SE/F/D, 2011) in its portrayal of Carol's phlegmatic character, brought to life with the dull monotonous voice of comedian Martha Kelly. Apart from the similarity in the depiction of the threatening planets Melancholia and Keppler colliding with Earth, there are hardly any other parallels. Whereas in Don't Look Up (US, 2021) the inevitable collision is estimated at six months and 14 days, in Carol & the End of the World it is seven months and 13 days, so people know exactly about the limited time they still have to live. The central importance of friendship is reminiscent of the feature film Seeking a Friend at the End of the World (US, 2012), but without the desire for a conservative heterosexual romantic relationship. In both the series and the film, there is a comparable description of the changed behaviour of the predominantly Western consumer culture, which is abandoning its former working life in favour of an excessively hedonistic lifestyle. The series Carol & The End of the World is an allegory of the awareness of one's own mortality and how one might cope with this understanding. The questions raised are of profound philosophical nature. What do we do with our lives when we are aware of the soon-coming end? The thoroughly moral answer to this question in the series is love for the routine of everyday life, presented with pathos and with a fresh kind of humour that extends the list of types that Paul Wells proposed more than 25 years ago.

Dr. Martina Tritthart works as an artist, curator and researcher in Vienna and Klagenfurt, Austria. She received the Hubert Sielecki Award for her abstract animation film solar mechanix 1.1. Martina Tritthart is on the Board of the Künstlerhaus in Vienna and one of the two curators of its ‘Free Cinema’ program. She completed her doctorate on ‘Light Spaces - Spatial Models of Perception’ at the Graz University of Technology and has been teaching since 1999. She is currently a postdoctoral assistant at the University of Klagenfurt, in the Visual Culture unit.