The first film from ZAZ - the comedy team of Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker - Airplane! remains their most concise and memorable effort to conceptualize a world in which every word has only one possible meaning, if only by presenting a group of characters - the crew and passengers on a disaster-stricken airplane - who each inhabit their own separate version of such a world. This quickly opens a whole range of comic possibilities, centered generally around homonyms and misunderstandings, and specifically around the literalization - and visualization - of metaphorical commonplaces, as well as the characters' recurrent inability to distinguish their own names from other words: "Don't call me Shirley!" As the latter might suggest, it's also a psychotic world, devoid of any conception of subtext, subconscious or paradigm of structured depth, as evinced in the recurrent, comic depth-of-field - deadpan foreground, raucous absurdism in the background - whose joke ultimately seems to turn on the lack of depth, the actual commensurability of these two zones. It's this commensurability that transforms deadpan into something more spectacular, as every serious utterance - and ZAZ consciously cast actors more known for dramatic roles (Lloyd Bridges, Robert Hays, Robert Stack, Leslie Nielsen) - takes on a kind of offbeat oblivion, culminating with a series of string-drenched, nostalgic flashbacks that are equally incapable of distinguishing real and cinematic words, anticipating the parodic nostalgia-mode of The Naked Gun! franchise. Devoid of ambiguity, language becomes heavy, forming a physical comedy of its own, as evinced in ZAZ's signature intensification-gags - an insane, idiotic repetition of the same comic structure with increasingly absurd content, as if to emphasise the continuity of the structure itself; or, rather, to suggest that this world doesn't merely possess absolutely unambiguous and consistent word meanings, but syntax and grammar as well. It's an attempt to visualize language, or at least to fuse literalization and visualization, to the extent that English becomes something we can see even as it is being spoken, a kind of English-without-English encapsulated in the subtitled African-American 'jive', or the Italian-American and Hispanic-American 'translations' that suffuse the aircraft; that is, American English, the comic legacy of a culture responsible for conjuring a world of words into a world of images.