Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"You hear that boom...?"

"..., yeah, that's my mind blowing."

What would Alias be without lovable Marshall? Amidst all the danger, underneath all the mystery and drama of Alias is a tiny man, a sensitive man with a caffeine addiction and a photographic memory. Marshall Flinkman has been making us giggle since the pilot with his geeky mannerisms, erratic speech and mind-blowing gadgets. Marshall is Alias' classic character of comic relief, which adds another layer to Alias onion.

Comic relief plays a large part in television drama. Characters like Marshall, with their goofy anecdotes and silly jokes, soften hardcore plotlines to alleviate tension and add variety. Comedic characters are often integrated into the plot in a way that counterpoints and enhances the seriousness of the subject matter. For instance, in season 2, Marshall accompanies Sydney on a mission to London to acquire a copy of Echelon, a system which monitors and records private communications. In Sloane's hands Echelon could strengthen SD-6, and because Marshall has a photographic memory, Vaughn decides it's best to pull Marshall into CIA custody. Marshall, with his lack of field training, mindlessly follows Sydney mumbling in E-wok and nearly passing out from a brush with a tranq dart. This makes for some humorous moments on a mission of very grave proportions.

Weiss, Will and Francie can also be categorized as comic relief characters, making serious characters, like Sydney and Vaughn, laugh and show a sense of humor. This adds a sense of realism and humanity to the show, which can be forgotten in scenes of CIA complexity and international espionage.

Post your favorite comedic moment. What other characters would you consider as comic relief characters? When has Sydney used humor or comedy during serious matters?

16 comments:

srg-alias said...

I like this topic! I love the comedic moments of the show just as much as the dramatic. Some of my favs are:

when Syd beats up all the bad guys that are holding Will in s1 and he looks up and screams so loud! I don't know if that was meant to be funny, but I LMAO the first time I saw it!

When Syd and Marshall are in London and she introduces herself to the building security guy. She introduces Marshall and he says "Hallo" in this extreme British accent, cracks me up!

In the last episode where Marshall is half asleep when Syd calls and he says "sorry baby I can't, I'm married", then walks out of his room wearing the huge fuzzy slippers.

Kiki said...

Those are great ones. I love Will's reaction to Syd too! I just love Weiss, when he and Vaughn are playing hockey and he says, "That's why members of the CIA shouldn't get involved with members of the NCS, don't poop where you sleep." I laugh everytime! I love it. vaughn's really struggling with his feelings and Weiss makes it funny.

srg-alias said...

yeah, that's like when they're out playing pool and Vaughn says "do you think it's possible to be in love with two people?" and Weiss says "no I don't. although I did have the same intense feelings for both sporty and poshe spice" and Vaughn says "yeah, who didn't?"

hehe :)

birdietwoshoes said...

I, too, was thinking of the scene with Marshall and Syd when he says, "Hallo!" Cracks me up! And I know this probably doesn't really qualify, but I absolutely love the part in the bloopers reel from S2 when Syd is talking to Vaughn and she turns and runs into that cage/wall thing. I laugh SO hard every time. I also like the one where she kicks the gun out of some guy's hand and it hits her in the head and she dies laughing. Oh man! Now I need to go home and watch it.

Kiki said...

No, bloopers count. That also reveals the real life qualities of the show. As perfect as Sydney seems to be in the field and on ops, Jennifer is still an imperfect human being. She's playing a part and it's important for us to remember that. Jennifer brings realism to Sydney, with a dimpled smile or a funny laugh. That's very important to a character, the person who plays them.

srg-alias said...

oh bloopers are included?!? Ok, here are my fav bloopers, for some reason I'm only remember the season 3 ones:

when Vaughn falls down the Reed's stairs.

Lauren says "don't laugh at me!"

when Jack's talking to Syd and says "I've got something to show you" and someone plays a zipper sound in the background

Syd punches Lauren and she spits out Chicklets

srg-alias said...

I keep thinking of more funny moments! In season 2 when Sark joins SD-6 and is in a meeting w/ Syd and Dixon. Marshall walks in, Sloane introduces him, Marshall says something like "hi, nice to meet you, don't kill me". :)

jenn256 said...

all great moments. The bloopers are my favorite also. I always end up watching those first as soon as I get the seasons on DVD.

One of the funniest moments for me was towards the end of last season when Vaughn and Syd were on assignment. They were in an S&M type club and were trying to figure out which of their Alias' would like it rough, and Syd says "I thought you liked it rough" at home. They then ask if they are on coms, which they are with Jack and Marshall listening. I had to rewind my TiVo a few times to see Jacks reaction and the face Marshall was making, it was so funny.

srg-alias said...

YES, that was HILARIOUS!!
Syd: "are we on comms?"
Jack: "YES, you're both on comms!"
:-D

birdietwoshoes said...

Oh yeah, that was a hysterical moment! Right now I'm watching the rerun of S4 on TNT where Marshall rescues Syd when she's buried alive in Cuba. I laughed when Marshall is trying to put together some sort of device and he's trying to tell the guy he needs a radio and a screwdriver, but he doesn't speak Spanish very well. Then he tries to "act out" the word radio...He's just too funny.

Kiki said...

I love that episode. One, because Marshall saves the day and two, because Syd and Vaughn dance in the end.

Andrew said...

When Dean called Marshall, "Blinkman" in the first episode of this season.

Marshall's like, "It's Flinkman, with an F. It's really not that hard."

I also loved when Marshall had that whole routine on the drums to propse to Carrie.

And the famous poem we never heard the end of....

"I've lost my keys. Where are they?"

Sarafu said...

Oh, THat was my Favorite!!! I would Love to hear the rest of that poem!!!!
There are So many of Marshalls one liners that I Love I cant name them all but Here are a few....
At the beginning of S4 when they recruit Marshall to APO, they take the bag off his head and he looks at Syd and whispers "Syd, Sloane is Right behind you"

Last episode when he he told Syd he gave her own ring tone. I thought that was hysterical!
Everything else everyone else has mentioned are also some of my favs. Marshall is such a crucial character to the show. We dont realize how much we depend on him for those few seconds of comic relief. Its a good thing he isnt one that is leaving!

Desiree said...

I find it interesting that out of all of the characters in Alias, Marshall is the only one with substance to his life. He is married with a wife who is normal, and has a little son of who he has pictures plastered all over his space. At the end of the day, he goes home to a family who isn't dysfunctional at all but, loving. He may be the comic relief but his strength of character should be brought out more in the storyline. He shouldn't be thought of as JUST the comic relief. He is a defining character in Alias. Without him any operative that Sydney went on would fall apart. Marshall saves the day everytime. Let's hope that JJ doesn't screw with his character at all!

amy said...

yes i LOVED the part where will freaks out when he sees syd in season 1 (a great out-take of that on the gag reel)

LOVE vartan falling down the stairs

when vaughn and weiss come in wearing cowboy hats

vaughn jumping up and down in s. korea on the hillside

i love when marshall whispers to syd..."sloane...." so funny - AND when he thinks he is getting arrested over his X-Box

will's entire alias in season 3 when he comes back - "cheeky lil bastard"

syd running into the cage and vaughn cracking up

there are SO many awesome fun moments -i also love the gag reel and watch it over and over again. it feeds my overall obsession with jennifer g and just reinforces how funny, fun, and normal she seems (:

amy said...

oh another one that i love....


syd: do you always have to sound like such a robetron...????