Jewish World Review
August 26, 2011
/ 26 Menachem-Av, 5771
Chick flick spoiler alert
Both of the girls were home the other night and someone popped
in a romantic comedy. I dozed off, woke up midway and realized it
could have been one of a dozen movies. Romantic comedies adhere
to a similar fashion.
First, you take a good looking female lead character and knock
off her parents. Statistically, the odds of this happening are infinitesimal,
but it is nearly required in the romantic comedy. Somehow, the fact
that she has lost both parents has no long-term effect on her. She
is not depressed or scarred; if anything, she has emerged stronger,
perkier and happier. (Sometimes the lead female can keep one or
both parents, but if they are alive, they must be remote and uninvolved
in her life.)
Next, you introduce a drop dead gorgeous male character that
has no way of ever, ever, ever getting together with the beautiful
female lead character because heís (a) already taken, (b) mean or
(c) has the IQ of tree bark and does not notice that the attractive
female lead continually throws herself at him.
The two characters are then hurled by fate into a preposterous
situation due to an accident, power outage or colossal misunderstanding.
Forced to spend a few days together, they hate each other with a
new vengeance. The catastrophe averted, one of the lead characters
leaves and the remaining character realizes that this person is
really the person he or she was destined to marry. Commandeering
cars and cabs, maneuvering impossible traffic jams and diverting
helicopters and planes, the one pursues the other until they are
reunited by a long lens with a soft focus filter.
The person that was despised, scorned and loathed only a short
72 hours ago is now the person the lead character wants to spend
the rest of his or her life with.
In real life, people like this should be medicated. Or in counseling.
Romantic comedies make relationships look virtually effortless.
There is never a shortage of people of a compatible age, height
and interest, in the local coffee shop, on the beach or at the Laundromat.
You donít have to work at cultivating a social life, people simply
materialize out of thin air.
The other problem with romantic comedies is that everyone in
them is extremely good looking. In real life, most people are somewhat
average looking. Most people may not crack mirrors, but most people
arenít going to wind up on the cover of Vogue either.
In the romantic comedy, somebody almost always has to grovel
in front of somebody else or create a scene in public. Most people
donít enjoy groveling and most people avoid scenes.
The hazard of romantic comedies is that they skewer expectations
of reality. Eye-makeup never runs, sweat never smells, and everybody
looks good wet. Most people just look matted when theyíre wet, not
unlike a golden retriever that has just emerged from following a
ball into a pond.
Romantic comedies make relationships look easy. They are not.
Relationships are often difficult. And finding the one lasting relationship
may be the most difficult work of all.
Relationships of all sorts and stripes take time, diligence and
effort. That said, romantic comedies do serve a purpose Ė 90 minutes
of escape from the hard work of reality.
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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Catching Christmas" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
© 2009, Lori Borgman