Careful satire isn't giving in; it's stepping up for your audience

September 24, 2017, 3:27 PM · Theme parks' devotion to their family audience typically keeps them from anything more than an occasional, gentle dabble into satire. But parks that run after-hours, hard-ticket Halloween scare events get a more adult audience to entertain.

Both Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure at Universal Studios Florida's Halloween Horror Nights and The Hanging at Knott's Berry Farm's Knott's Scary Farm show that theme parks can do bawdy, adult satire as well as any late-night TV show. But, at times, they also show that park entertainment can bomb as badly as a soon-to-be-shunned stand-up comic, too.

I mentioned both shows in my reviews of the two Halloween events [HHN, Knott's], but I wanted to say more about the productions and their use of satire. As some of you might remember, Universal Studios Hollywood canceled its version of the Bill and Ted show four years ago, when it caught flak for a joke that some considered homophobic. Universal Orlando has announced that this will be the last year for Bill and Ted at its event. The Hanging seems to be going strong at Knott's, which has given no indication that the long-running show will not be back for another year in 2018.

Can theme parks produce satire responsibly? And what does "responsible" satire even mean? Because these questions raise some adult themes — issues of sex and politics that we generally do not get into around here — I decided to post my thoughts over at Why theme parks need to punch up their satire.

But since this issue might interest many of you anyway, I am including that link here, along with my invitation to you to click over and read my piece. (You can comment over there via your Facebook account, too, if you are interested.)

I also would like to invite you to follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page and subscribe to my weekly newsletter if you are interested in reading my (usually) non-theme park columns. Even though the topics are wider ranging over there, I still try with each one to provide something of value to you in appreciation for the time you spend reading it — just as I try to do over here at Theme Park Insider. Thank you for reading.

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Replies (1)

September 24, 2017 at 6:44 PM · How about a SNL ride/show on Universal? That'd be awesome!

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