I’ve been living in this country for more than a year now, and don’t have a clue what ‘Life’s Too Short’ is about. I’ve only heard the title, out of context. I’ll take people’s word for it as we’re meant to write our opinion before we watch the programme and / or read any comments about it. Seems like it’s a TV series by Ricky Gervais et al. (don’t you just love academic language…) where there’s something going on with little people and there’s communities and parents of little people who are offended by this. Now, since I haven’t watched anything yet, I don’t want to discuss the programme itself. But let me try and express an opinion about comedy in general.
In my view, the moment you start watching a comedy show, you need to take everything with a grain of salt. It is not a genre where the producers’ main idea is to be factual or objective (even if some productions have this as one of their secondary aims). A lot of comedy shows are based around the idea of ‘What if’?’. What if there was an animated family with yellow skin and strange haircuts where children never grow up and they somehow always manage to be funny in their most mundane everyday lives? Someone created a multimillion business out of The Simpsons, out of a simple ‘What if?’ question. So I don’t see anything wrong with coming up with a comedy show that is revolving around the ‘What if?’ question and little people.
Specifically, if we discuss a comedy show with and about little people, I think it is as normal as having a comedy show about a single mum or a divorced dad. Little people are part of our society, as are single mums, divorced dads, radical christians, people with lots of pets and so on. If we do want to live in a society where people are treated equally, we should be able to laugh about situations in little people’s lives the same way as we laugh about situations in families with lots of kids.
I think something can finally be called ‘normal’ if we can laugh about it. We shouldn’t be creating artificial taboos and mysteries around things that happen every day. I think if we can understand something, we can laugh about it – and if we can laugh about something, it is easier for us to understand and accept it in our lives.
Because in the end of the day, little people are just people who are not as high as everyone else. It doesn’t make them any less human, and I think if you ask them, most would tell you they prefer to not be noticed (and attract unnecessary attention) in their everyday lives, so they can simply live like normal people. Most people who have some level of dignity prefer not to be treated differently, would happily live through the struggles normal people need to live with, instead of constantly being belittled and regarded as ‘not able enough’ to live their own lives. If I had something that was unusual in the way I look (because, let’s face it, most of the things that make people uncomfortable is how someone looks), I’d prefer for people to not make presumptions about me based on what I look like, but try and get to know me and then hate or love me. Some people are genuinely frightened of people that look different. I think they are just scared of the unknown – because they just don’t know enough to feel comfortable around them.
So if a comedy show can find a way for people to laugh about – and in the process to get to know more about – the life of someone who looks a bit different, maybe they’ll realise there’s just as many funny situations in their lives as in anyone else’s. And that we’re all the same people.