Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Yes, that was deliberate.
And there are likely more than 4 things but we’re going to start there.
So I took this Buzzfeed quiz on the top 100 rom-coms of the 21st century. And I am sorry to say I pitifully failed.
I got 27 out of 100. My mother will be turning in her grave.
So it occurred to me that if I call myself a romantic comedy writer, I should up that number considerably.
So I started to watch as many of the rom-coms on this list that I could.
And all I can say is – Gag. Puke. Vomit.
I love love LOVE romance. I love comedy. But pretty often these films are neither romantic nor funny.
Which follows then that I need to unpack what romantic and funny mean to me.
And funny to me is a mean little ascerbic cow.
And romance is weird, smelly and up to its ears in dirty laundry but still smiling from ear to ear. Because we have a feeling. Do you know what I mean?
But more on that in another post.
So I’ve isolated a few things I just hate HATE HATE about traditional no-deviations-from-tired-tropes, why-the-hell-am-I-watching-this romantic comedy.
- Color monotony.
I’m guessing if you’ve been around my blog long enough, you can see this one coming a mile away.
It would seem that only white people fall in desperate love, usually with other white people.
Right. That’s why India and China are the most populous countries in the world. Sure, that may not be due to love but I’m going to say at least some of it is.
2. Sun-kissed beautiful people
Not only are there only white people in romantic comedies, 99% of the time, they are unlike any other white people I’ve ever seen. They roll out of bed, looking like movie stars (which most of them are).
There isn’t a single pimple. No boogers. No overactive bladders in the winter. They aren’t ALIVE. They are simply characters.
Which brings me to my next point.
3. There is no darkness anywhere.
Now I’m not saying we should be documenting their pee and poo trips. Only things that move the plot forward, right? However the plot often does not deal with the real meat-and-bones of romances. The fact that the lady is a hooker isn’t really what’s at stake here. It’s conservative values. Can, will and should someone give up a lucrative profession to spend the rest of their life paying off their mortgage and raise their 2.4 children?
The question that the meet-cute raises is often not really explored by the rest of the movie. Which makes it quite unsatisfying.
4. The lovable beautiful klutz trend.
Can we stop with that please?
She doesn’t have any real baggage – no PTSD from an abusive relationship or – heaven forbid! – refugee status, no depression, no anxiety, no psychosis, no anorexia, no bullimia, no complexes or mental health issues of any kind.
But physically she isn’t perfect right? Freckles? Only exactly the right amount to be aesthetically appealing. Pimples? Slightly more than 2% body fat? A huge unsightly birthmark on her bottom? Nope. Nope. And nope.
But her life? Her life has got to suck? Not really. At most, she has surface issues that most of us deal with on the daily, in addition to the numerous complexes visited on us by our minds, bodies, genetics, families, environments, privilege or lack thereof, etc.
Except for one thing. She’s really clumsy. It’s like she’s a grown-up toddler.
Hmmm. Now which man would like to date a grown-up toddler?
Men (it’s almost always men) who would like to be adored. Men who want to set their partner’s moral compass, to be the originator of every thought in their head, conscious or not. Men who are insecure enough in their personhood that they can’t stand to relate to an adult.
Did someone say that romantic comedies are WOMEN’S films?
That’s the end of this list for now. And I have a feeling there’s more.