Paddy Chayefsky came up with the idea of writing this as a black satirical comedy on a plane to NYC.
What is satire? Glad you asked.
Satire (n.): A literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn.
Chayefsky did it by juxtaposing ridiculousness with reality.
Let's see how he ridicules the hype of war:
ex. EMILY'S HOME, LIVING ROOM
MRS. BARHAM: Emily, well, I must warn you. Charlie's picture is in all the papers, and they're going to build a monument on his grave.
[Reality: Charlie, the coward, is being celebrated as a hero.]
EMILY (studying the Globe): What on earth for? All he did was die. Dear me, we shall be celebrating cancer and automobile smash-ups next.
[Ridiculousness: This is stupid.]
CUMMINGS: He didn't just die, Emily! He sacrificed his life!
[Reality: Charlie is the war's next poster boy.]
MRS. BARHAM: Well, that was very pagan of him.
[Ridiculousness: Who does that help? Warmongers?]
CUMMINGS: He was the first American to die on Omaha Beach.
[Reality: This is a PR dream!]
EMILY: Was there a contest?
[Ridiculousness: What kind of contest are you running?]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: One recipe for satire is to blow up a balloon with human vices, then pop it with ridicule.
The Americanization of Emily (1964)
by Paddy Chayefsky
Adapted from the novel by William Bradford Huie