The rise and triumph of cringe comedy
The painfully awkward laughs now dominating the small screen are relatively new
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Comedy generally turns upon someone who wants to do something, but isn’t capable of doing it. Cringe comedy falls under that umbrella, but the genre specifically bases its humor on the awkwardness of social interaction and people’s lack of self-awareness. It typically features an egotistical protagonist who breaks the codes of political correctness and social norms, and most of the painfully funny moments are derived from how the story keeps the protagonist oblivious to their own flaws.
The genre has been quite divisive, as an older generation of viewers can’t bear to watch the cringey situations unfold, but younger generations absolutely adore watching other people live out moments that make their skin itch.
And yet, despite its cringe quality, the genre has completely changed the course of comedy, producing some of the most renowned works of hilarity known to TV. Click through to learn more about how it changed the landscape of comedy, and check out the shows, old and new, that do it best.