Archive for the “This isn’t an Art School! It’s an Insane Asylum!” (Week Eight) Category

“This isn’t an Art School! It’s an Insane Asylum!”

Posted in "This isn't an Art School! It's an Insane Asylum!" (Week Eight) on June 1, 2011 by John R. Kitch

"Trapper John" (Elliot Gould, left in Hawaiian shirt) and "Hawkeye Pierce" (Donald Sutherland, right in short-sleeve shirt) are interrupted during their golf game for an important assignment in a scene from "M*A*S*H".

The print center is the place where all the “cool kids” hang out.

Of all of the nooks, crannies, and corners of The Art Institutes International-Kansas City (Aii-KC), one will not find another filled with a more colorful cast of characters. The starring cast includes the workers, Shane, Marshal, Ever, Richard, and Anita, with a supporting cast that varies from day-to-day, but usually includes my friends and fellow students, Michael, Shelby, Barry, Valeri, Souradet, Jennifer, Cassie, Ryan, and etc. Special appearances are sometimes made by our instructors, Dr. Pat, Prof. Norris, Prof. Long, or Prof. Glavin, just to name a few.

As far as main characters are concerned, I would definitely say that Shane and Marshal take center stage. They start the conversations and end the disputes. They are funny and witty, but possess courageous characteristics of the hero type. Ever, Richard, and Anita are charming acquaintances to the two protagonists, but are more symbols of authority that try to keep everyone in line without ruining the good mood. Everyone that comes into the print center during the day brings with them the storyline. They create the situations and the dialogue.

Without going into great detail, the humor often comes from what could be considered the “rebellious side” of Aii-KC. The complaints against homework, who has been where and with who, instructors in bad moods, and theories about EDMC’s (the company that runs the school) money pocketing are just some of the topics discussed in the print center that perhaps aire on the side of anti-authoritarianism.

If the print center is anything like a dismal tent known as “The Swamp”, then that makes Aii-KC the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. It may also be suggested that our two heroes, Marshal and Shane, share similarities to army surgeons Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John. In one of Robert Altman’s earliest features, “M*A*S*H”, Hawkeye (a groovy and bespectacled Donald Sutherland) and Trapper (a hairy Elliot Gould) are two surgeons drafted into the Korean War. Although they are very good at what they do, they have no time nor respect for strict army procedures and the over-pious commanding kind of Frank Burns (a younger Robert Duvall) and Margaret Houlihan (hotty Sally Kellerman). The semi-anarchy that Hawkeye and Trapper promote make for situations of comedy, but amidst bone-sawing and blood-soaking surgery, the comedy is absolutely black.

Just like the 4077th, Aii-KC has its rebellious type, the kind that are good at what they do, but don’t consider devotion to authority an absolute must. Honestly, professionals, especially the artistic kind, work better when they are not tied down by rules or when they are not constantly asked to report to a superior.

Perhaps I go to school in an insane asylum, but I am happy to have gotten to know the best of the maniacs.

“M*A*S*H” and all images from it are property of 20th Century Fox.

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