Sunday, July 19, 2009

Essential Ingredients of a Romantic Comedy

I should probably preface this post by stating that I DO, in fact, enjoy watching romantic comedies.

Note: I do, in fact, enjoy watching romantic comedies.


Now, I have watched a number of "Rom-Coms" (as they are despicably called) in my day and it is because of all this watching that I have noticed a pattern in most, if not all, of these types of movies. It seems that filmmakers see romantic comedies as a fine entree that needs certain ingredients in order for the public to accept it as palatable - when, in reality, a change of ingredients would be quite refreshing every now and then. . . mmmmm. All this romantic comedy talk has gotten me hungry, one moment please. . .

. . .Ok, I'm back (with a ketchup stain on my shirt) and I'm ready to continue.

As I was saying, below are a few ingredients that have somehow found their way into almost every romantic comedy that you can think of:

2 Cups Corner Office

If you're a character in a romantic comedy, chances are that you work in advertising and/or journalism. These are, apparently, the only jobs available in a big city like New York. Sure, one of the characters may work with animals, the homeless or children, but the other one will inevitably be trying to make a deadline with their latest article or trying to win a big advertising campaign.

1/2 Cup City Life

Most all romances (with some accompanying comedy) take place in a big city. This is, of course, because that's where all the jobs are at. If they're not taking place in Los Angeles, New York or Seattle, then they're dealing with someone from the big city who has ended up in the country and has to learn about what life is really all about.

2 Cups of Mutual Loathing

When two people meet for the first time, they're going to hate each other. At least, that's what romantic comedies want us to think. But it's not a completely bleak outlook on life, because the two people that once hated each other will inevitably love each other at the end. So take note, faithful readers, that person you hate right now is probably going to end up as your significant other.

2 tsp. Support

What is a new relationship if you don't have anyone to talk about it with? That is why writers always find space for a supportive best-friend-type for the girl (and sometimes the guy) to give them advice along the way and be there for them when things go horribly, horribly wrong (and they will, oh. . .they will).

A Dash of Quirkiness

Characters in romantic comedies must have odd families. Or they hang out with older people who are quirky and/or blunt. These screwball characters will keep the laughter rolling in with their misunderstandings. A funny and loving family makes any character more endearing. And if the quirky family accepts someone, then the audience accepts them as well.

1 Tbs. Bad Luck

True identities will be revealed, the perfect plan will fall apart, and your real reasons for getting into the relationship will be uncovered JUST as you were really starting to fall in love - thus is life in a romantic comedy. A friend brought it to my attention that relationships, for some reason, must always be entered into under false pretenses by one or both parties in these types of movies. The main character is unable to keep their secret for long - only for about the first 76 minutes, or so, of the movie.

1/2 tsp. Apologies

Someone has to say they're sorry in a romantic comedy, and it usually is the guy. Even if the female character was in the wrong and has completely ruined the male character's life, the male still must be the one to apologize. I, personally, think that this could be one of the reasons why women love these kinds of movies so much.

1 Big Scoop of "Suspense"

Ah. . . the obligatory ending chase scene. This happens in practically EVERY romantic comedy. Near the end of the film, one person will ALWAYS be hurrying as fast as they can to get to the other person. Usually it is to stop the other person from running away, taking another job in a far away land, marrying someone else or doing something else drastic. Sometimes they catch them, sometimes they don't, but for some reason there must be someone running (or driving) after the other person.

On a large screen, stir ingredients together until blended well. Add Matthew McConaughey or Julia Roberts, if needed.

Place promotional ads in People Magazine and during daytime talk shows. Let simmer.

Distribute film during months closest to Valentine's Day.

Recipe yield: $34,000,000 to $240,000,000 lifetime gross.

Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

--jeff * said...

along with horror movies, romantic comedies have the simplest genre qualities, and it's as much fun to deduce them as it is to watch them--> nice work, mr. 786. i enjoyed it.

for the record, i think the quizno's "sponge monkey" (i.e. "dead hamsters") campaign is one the best things i've ever seen. i'm a serious fan.