Ray; "A good story? Well, that artsy stuff is hard to define. Good stories in the modern sense are a fairly recent invention, maybe...um...maybe only a few hundred years old! Greek and Norse mythology, Homer, Tristan and Isolde, The Death of Arthur -- they're all good stories alright, but they're not good in the sense that "Hamlet" or "The Maltese Falcon" is good."
Betty: "Outside of plays I'm not aware of any truly compelling stories, ones that keep the reader on the edge of his seat wondering what will happen next, till the 1800s."
Montgomery: "Sorry! I have to answer the call of nature! If you can still hear me outside the door, I think that episodic, rambling stories like "Tom Jones" were good stories. Jones was written somewhere around 1750.
Modern stories are more streamlined and goal-oriented but for me they have to have some of the "you are there" feel of Jones or else they feel too contrived. That's why Dickens was such a good storyteller. He had strong plots but he mixed them with the gritty, first-person feel that the 18th century novels had."
Ann: "Ah, we're getting to something interesting here! How does an animated film like say, "Ratatouille", fit Montgomery's criterion? Does Ratatouille combine a real page-turner 0f a plot with folksy, real-life experience like the kind you find in Tom Jones?
George: "Ann, I'm sorry to turn my back on you but you're talking nonsense! Comedy is more anarchic than that. It follows rules that are intuitive and...well... musical! Your Tom-Jones-plus- Maltese-Falcon formula doesn't fit comedy. Either do comedy pure or figure out some way to merge it with the other two things! Just don't water it down!"
Eleanor: "But Ratatouille is a cartoon. Cartoons have to follow structures that lend themselves to funny drawings. Maybe cartoons shouldn't try to tell dramatic stories."