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Skippy Hates Romantic Comedies August 4, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Popular Culture, Rants.
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Children, there is an epidemic in this nation that I need to address. It is the epidemic of romantic comedies. It seems like this summer has seen a lot of stupid romantic comedies—I guess we either get loud, insanely stupid movies, or dumb shit supposedly written for women. What tipped it for me was this:


Fig. 1: Dear God, make it stop!!

I hate romantic comedies. They’re just so damned stupid. They epitomize pretty much everything that I think is wrong with American moviemaking:

1. They’re whiter than white bread smothered in mayonnaise.
Have you noticed that 98% of the “rom-coms” feature white folks as the leads? Oh, sure, there’s the Sassy Black Friend, but she’s usually there just to prop up the stupid, simpering “heroine.” She goes shopping with the Simpering Heroine and occasionally lunches with this intolerable heifer who only talks about and thinks about herself. She’s there to listen and provide comic relief and present the illusion of diversity in an otherwise whiteout of a movie. Yeah, they’ve even started doing the Hip Black Friend—the male counterpart to Sassy Black Friend. His job is to prop up the stupid bohunk. You see them playing basketball together and discussing why Stupid Bohunk a) hasn’t had sex with Simpering Heroine or b) how Stupid Bohunk is now Developing Feelings for Simpering Heroine. Again, he’s there for the Stupid Bohunk and is never developed beyond that. Basically, you can’t have too many people who aren’t white in a rom-com, or else it gets marketed as a rom-com…for non-white people.


Fig. 2: What? Black people fall in love too? Where’s the guns and the violence? Oh, it’s about sports. Whew!

2. They’re formulaic beyond sense and reason.
Even if there’s a rom-com with Black folk in it, it still has to follow the stupid formula of nearly every damned Hollywood romantic comedy:

a) Douchebag Meets Douchebag
Usually these two wastes of skin meet accidentally and sometimes, they take an instant disliking to each other. The female douchebag is usually a go-getter of some sort (and is usually played by Katherine Heigl, who inherited the crown from Julia Roberts) and she can’t stand the sexist pig bastard male douchebag (Gerard Butler or Ashton Kutcher…or maybe even Justin Timberlake), because the sexist pig bastard male douchebag is just so douchebaggy.
b)The Douchebags Must Work Together!
Enter the plot contrivance. Due to work or other unforseen circumstances, the douchebags must work together, or cooperate to avoid some other problematic plot development. Now, these douchebags must try to recreate the on-screen chemistry of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn…which they never do, so they just wind up looking dumber than before. It’s at this point that you should probably eject the DVD or walk out of the theater in shame.
c) The Douchebags Fall In Love!
The idiots have boring, impossibly chaste sex.
d) Something Stands in the Way of True Love!
More plot contrivances occur, usually in the form of misheard conversations, emails not received, or the ubiquitous Evil Ex. The Evil Ex shows up to really fuck shit up. Hell, sometimes the Ex really isn’t that evil, but the Stupid Bohunk overhears Simpering Heroine having a conversation with the Ex and then sees them hugging. Oh, noes! Now, a regular, normal human being with half a gnat’s brain might ask, “Hey, why were you hugging Stupid Bohunk?” No. Not in the rom-com. This will lead to a major blow up and then the relationship is off and then the two idiots go their separate ways and we have to sit and watch a montage of their sad, sexless lives…set to the music of some insipid bastard.
e) The Idiots Find Their Way Back To Each Other
Even more plot contrivances occur to bring the stupid idiots back into each others’ orbits. The Truth of the misunderstanding is revealed, and the two plastic, shiny happy idiots fuck off into the sunset, and white heterosexuality and fantasies of monogamy are preserved and reinforced, as Aretha Franklin or the Temptations or some other Motown act sings about love and happiness and I choke back enough bile to fill a small lake.

3. They’re heteronormative retarded fantasies that reinforce male privilege.
The obvious question is this: if these movies are so awful (they are), then why does Hollywood keep churning them out? First, I think that Hollywood would implode if a studio exec had an original thought. Plus, rom-coms are easy. They’re not big budget affairs, so you can make your money back on the damn thing after one or two fairly decent weekends. That doesn’t bother me so much as this next thought: I think that Hollywood makes these offensive pieces of drivel because Americans love indulging in fantasy worlds where men are “Men” and women are “Women.” Much like the science fiction adventure flick or any episode of “Law and Order,” the romantic comedy gives the viewer a ridiculously simple version of the world. The Men and Women in these movies are overwhelmingly heterosexual—we gays only show up to prop up heterosexuality, much like the Sassy Black Friend or the Basketball Playing Black Friend.

The Men and Women either know or eventually learn their proper place. Like any shitty Tyler Perry movie, the romantic comedy reinforces the “Cinderella” fantasy implanted in girls’ heads by doll manufacturers, the wedding industry, religious institutions, and TLC. Yeah, Barbie can have a job. Yeah, Barbie can be self-sufficient. But we all know that what will make Barbie complete is a tamed man! What Career Barbie needs is “love”—well, not the kind of love that people find in the real world. No, the “love” proffered by these ninety-minute shitfests is so banal, so trite, that it’s hardly deserving of the word. However, that doesn’t matter to Hollywood. “Love” is merely the schtick that is proffered to sell the dreck that is a romantic comedy. It is a fantasy rooted in male dominance, female submission, and the complete assimilation and obliteration of difference into a hazy, Motown soundtrack-backed upper middle-class dreamworld. We go see this schlock and walk away with all sorts of foolish bullshit in our heads that reinforces the foolish bullshit we’ve been programmed with since birth.

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