Jan 242013
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I was in a superb mood.  Really, truly, fantastic.  Evil plans were coming together nicely, I had plans for the weekend, college was going ok and the parts for my computer were on their way.  Unfortunately I was also near the end of a film; ‘When Harry met Sally’ if we’re being specific.

It’s important to note that my choice in this was limited, I had to watch that movie as homework for my college course.  Sure I had a choice of days on which to watch it but I had to before the end of the week.  Not that I mind the movie – in fact, throughout most of it the dialogue was beautifully written and well executed.

Who am I kidding, the dialogue was brilliant until the very end.

However it still suffers from the one flaw in almost every romantic comedy every (almost added for the simple fact that I’ve not seen all of them in existence and therefore cannot say ‘every’).  The happily ever after.

Now I’m female (obviously), I get the whole desire for things to work out nicely at the end with sugar on top.  For years I loved it and wanted nothing more than to see it end well.  When I found my own ‘Prince charming’ (he would laugh at that) I still enjoyed the movies but there was an added smugness about it; almost like you’d joined some secret club.

Fast forward a few years and I can’t stand them any more.  Not because I lost my prince, but because reality decided to smack us around a bit.  There is no ‘happily ever after’ that carries on forever and ever amen, at least, never as its portrayed in films.  Worse, if you’ve ever had it, seeing films where it remains that way can throw up all sorts of negative emotions you neither asked for nor needed.

Maybe I’m just not their target market any more.  Obviously young, female, and realistic don’t gel well with their audience.  Or maybe I’m just being overly sensitive about this whole thing (it’s been known to happen), but you have to wonder what the actual goal of these movies is.

We’re fed them from when we’re really young.  Much of our ideas about life and love come from the traditional model displayed in these films (Disney too now I think about it, but come on, its Disney).  We grow up thinking on some level that we’ll be swept off our feet, lifted out of whatever mess we’re in, and carried off into the sunset where mundane things like paying the bills and living with choices don’t matter.  This is never going to happen however to a certain extent we’re brainwashed!

And then when it doesn’t work out with our male counterparts we either ‘hate’ men for a while (in a very upset and irrational way), decide that the poor guy wasn’t ‘the one’ (really?), or think that we’ve done something wrong and hope, maybe for a long time, that he’ll come back.  How exactly does that help anyone?

I’m all for inspiring hope but surely it should be hope in something that may actually happen.  Causing misery so widespread that ‘chicks cry at romantic movies’ is a social norm shouldn’t be right.  And yes, some girls cry because they’re so happy and in fact there’s a whole host of reasons.  I still don’t think all those years of watching movies like that and wishing did me, or anyone else for that matter, any good.

What I’d like to know is just how badly this affects the male side of the population?  Oh, and for any of the fairer sex out there (yes, I hate that phrase too), am I nuts?

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  8 Responses to “Down With Romantic Comedies!”

  1. Heather,
    “Real men’ don’t watch romantic comedies- except when they are trying to appear sensitive and caring for their love.
    Actually that’s not true but it is the way it should be. Men want an adventure to live, a beauty to rescue and they do want the happily ever after part also. If they are smart- or they have good parents they know that happily ever after is a whole lot of work. Don’t confuse romantic comedies for reality but you can let yourself go with the fantasy once in a while so long as you remember that they are fairy tales.
    BTW, the only reason I ever watched When Harry met Sally is because the famous pickup scene is at the tennis courts at the University of Chicago where I was an undergrad. It is a beautiful campus but sadly not the location of my personal romantic comedy which is another campus altogether and involves baby blue combat boots and loops..
    Oh, and welcome to the team!

  2. I like romantic comedies, and love Meg Ryan. She’s still great, and looks like she’s even been surgically improved. Back off the Happy Ending. Why do we love romantic comedies, if not for the happy ending. Who want’s to see a drama bout how some relationship has turned to shit, and the ugly-ass divorce that follows. Of course, that’s provided a lot of us guys with a ‘happy ending’ 🙂

  3. “Real men”…at least this one…do watch romantic comedies. I loved “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Last Chance Harvey”, and Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson were fantastic in “As Good as it Gets”, though I would call that as much drama as comedy.

    And yes…we cry at the soft parts of them as well. I think I lost weight from the liquid running down my face at parts of “As Good as it Gets”.

    I think th difference caused by that single chromosome though, is the hangover. When the movie is over men say the movie is over, while women, I think, tend to internalize them and identify with them, and suffer the hangover.

  4. Bob,
    If you think as good as it gets is a romantic comedy, then you are a sick puppy!

  5. Yay late response – I blame computer troubles.

    @Ralph – You’re right in that they shouldn’t be confused with reality, the issue I have with them is that the whole idea of that sort of relationship has become entrenched and perpetuated by the movies and by media in general. People aren’t ‘happy’ unless it’s a happy ending, true, but how can we then take years of that sort of indoctrination and not apply it to our own lives?

    Dangerous things, romantic comedies.

    @Hansi – Meg Ryan’s pretty awesome, it’s true. However I won’t go easy on the genre; maybe the movies led to ‘happy endings’ for a whole bunch of guys (personally I think other sorts of movies get the blood pumping better, but what do I know), what happens a year or so down the line when the effort that’s gone into the romance has faded and she starts wondering what’s gone wrong?

    @Bob – I guess that makes sense, and if you look at the actual messages we receive it can be quite chilling.

  6. I prefer foreign romantic non-comedies, where it usually works out how it really works out: ambiguous and uncertain, with plenty of guilt, and blame enough to share for all parties unlucky enough to be trapped in the circumstances. Gels nicely with what I perceive to be objective reality.

  7. They sound much better Dave, certainly not as horribly misrepresented as a rom com. Any you’d recommend in particular?

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