Romantic Comedies are Lies

This particular type of movies has been around since the beginning of cinema. It all pretty much started with Ernst Lubitsch, the one often credited as “the pioneer of romantic comedies”. He was pretty much the first to feed us with the sweetest of lies: love conquers all. He’s had some of the world’s greatest actors to give life to his deceiving characters: Carol Lombard, Jimmy Stewart, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and so on. He made us believe that not only do opposites attract but they actually have a shot at a life together.

Just so you know, Lubitsch was not the only filthy liar around, because then came the fifties and more romantic comedies began to infect the screens everywhere. We had Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, married, in love yet going against each other in court in “Adam’s Rib”, Kim Novak cast a spell on Jimmy Stewart in “Bell Book and Candle”, Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe got into “Monkey Business”, Doris Day practically killed us softly with gems like “Pillow Talk” and “Calamity Jane”, George Cukor kept throwing his funny love stories at us, one after the other until the day he died. I could go on forever but I’m already getting depressed because now I realize why I’m such an idiot when it comes to men: I’ve seen all of these movies and so much more. So much more…

And yes, watching romantic comedies at a very young age does tend to manipulate your perception of the world around you, especially if you’ve already been fed with the Disney Classics. That’s why the first love always hurts so much, because these cinema masterpieces make you crave for things that don’t come so easily and they never really come when you’re ten years old and still making your Barbie kiss Ken. Nothing lasts forever, not even Barbie and Ken.

“Like what, you never saw this coming?”

But cinema didn’t stop the lies in the sixties. Oh no, they kept writing and producing the same bullshit premises over and over until the 90’s came around and the romantic comedy was literally reborn. Of course, they changed the characters a bit, they tried to make them seem more human and less “Hollywood”. The 90’s were great for romantic comedies, if you stop and think about it. We had Richard Gere falling in love with a prostitute Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”, Helen Hunt fell in love with a douchebag played by Jack Nicholson in “As Good as It Gets”, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fell in love over the radio in “Sleepless in Seattle”, then Meg Ryan fell in love with Tom Hanks all over again over the internet in “You’ve Got M@il”, then Julia Roberts fell in love with Richard Gere again in “Runaway Bride”, then Hugh Grant put aside his cup of tea and wooed Andie MacDowell in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and Julia Roberts in “Notting Hill”, then Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles brought Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” back to life in the high school version called “Ten Things I Hate About You” (quick pause to mention that I’ve read the script and it was better than the movie; that, my friends, says a lot about the execution) and so on and so f***ing forth. I’ll stop now before I get diabetes.

“Thank you, Julia. Roberts.”

But I’m not done yet! I’ve barely skimmed through the 90’s! Did you think that that was it? Oh no, my friend, the romantic comedy didn’t stop there, it just got bigger, better and worse at the same time. The 21st century allowed cinema to dig even deeper inside the woman’s psyche, as it is proven that women are most of the demographic here.

“No, not these…”

The ‘00’s brought us a new batch of pretty faces to associate with romantic comedies. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Josh Hartnett, Heath Ledger, Anne Hathaway, Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Grant (what, you thought he’d quit after the 90’s? F*** no.) and so on and so forth and so on and so forth. We had the control-freak chick fall in love with the “I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck” Irishman. We had bright and sweet titles like “Leap Year”, “40 Days and 40 Nights”, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”, “Casanova”, “Two Weeks’ Notice”, “The Princess Diaries 2”, “Confessions of a Shopaholic”, “The Proposal”, “The Wedding Planner” – all best served with a large batch of chocolate and tissues, because that’s what women watch when they’re sad, lonely or simply dumped by their significant other. That’s what women watch at any other time too. Because it is in our nature to dream. And we start doing this at a very young age.

We’re constantly told about the first crush, the first kiss, the first love, the first everything. Well, almost everything. Nobody prepares us for the first heartbreak. Nobody tells us that men are also human. Our mothers tell us to look for men that are smart, handsome, rich and with a sense of humor. That’s our biggest problem: nobody teaches us how to spot the difference between an overachieving asshole and a decent guy.

“Douche. Live with it!”

Romantic comedies are to blame, in fact. Our society used to indoctrinate us with the idea that “the richer, the better”, “the more cultivated, the better”, “the harder working, the better”, “the prettier, the better”. People had standards when it came to choosing a significant other. They didn’t settle for less and they always thought about their own future before jumping in. But then romantic comedies came along and everything just went horribly wrong. All of a sudden, they started telling us that a poor yet beautiful girl can settle with a poor guy just because she loves him – but nobody mentioned the mortgage, the low wage, the high cost of living in general. The poor girl could also fall in love for the prince/rich guy and the prince/rich guy would marry her and they would live happily ever after because that’s what it usually says in the movies, but they forgot to mention his family, his own expectations, her impression of what being married to a rich guy would be like as opposed to what it really was like, his hot secretary included. The beautiful girl COULD fall in love with the ugly guy, they’d be married and live happily ever after and they’d even have a pair of average looking babies. But nobody mentioned the name calling from the guys at work or the hesitation of introducing your loved one to your beautiful and pretentious parents.

“Mom, he’s the right one for me, I know it!”

Romantic comedies just make it all seem so fluffy and possible that we never stop to wonder if it can actually happen or if it’s best left on screen. The setting itself is pretty much idealized – he’s a wealthy pediatrician, she’s a wedding planner who can afford Gucci shoes but can’t afford better furniture, he’s a company manager, she’s a lawyer, he’s a rich consultant, she owns a pastry shop… oh come on, for Christ’s sake, nobody’s going to show us a love story between the garbage guy and the cleaning lady from the fifth floor. In the romantic comedy universe teachers are not poor, they own pretty nifty houses with back yards and they are unaffected by government teachers’ benefit cuts. All women are beautiful and all men are to die for. It’s what Hollywood does best to keep our hopes high. Everyone who’s ever had an influence in our upbringing (parents, TV, teachers) forgot to mention that there’s a completely different thing out here.

“Bullshit.”

They forgot to mention the bank loans, the price increase on gas and food, the extra pounds after pregnancy – which reminds me, they made pregnancy look like the funniest nine months with a quick montage that left out the back aches or the constant trips to the bathroom to pee. They made it look like true love really does conquer all.

Well it doesn’t. He might love you and you might love him. And you might live happily ever after. But he might also not be willing to take this step with you. He might cheat on you and even dump your ass two years after the wedding. He might do that even after you have his children and you’re no longer good for the “singles” market because of an illegal amount of stretch marks. Things can go down, and they can go down badly. He might not even ever bother to see that you actually exist. You might as well spend the next five years sobbing and sighing over him while he goes on to marry the hot PR with big boobs and a Corvette.

My intention is not to disappoint you, nor to feed you lies. I’m only describing the woman’s nature to have more faith in romantic comedies and their happy endings rather than in real life. Because in real life, shit stinks and you can’t sweep it under the rug. In real life we’re often too busy providing for ourselves to actually notice that there’s someone next to us. In real life we dream about the perfect relationship while we continue to manually destroy the ones we already have.

The romantic comedy does not portray the real human nature. It idealizes every single notion about love and it spices it up with memorable statements.

I mean, really, how many of us don’t dream to hear “Shut up, you had me at HELLO!”?

“Oh come oooooon!”

It’s time to wake up, girls. It’s time to stop dreaming about meeting a doppelganger of Chris Pine and it’s time to start accepting and loving the ones around you for who they are. So what if you’re experiencing new feelings for the guy who serves you coffee every morning at your favorite café? Who says he has to be a rich and successful surgeon to make you happy? Go ahead, love whoever you want and live your own life, just remember that every decision that you make will point you in a particular direction.

If you’re looking for a rich, handsome, smart and funny man, you’re delusional. But if you’re just looking for someone to love because you can already provide for yourself, then you might actually have a shot at a decent amount of happiness. Just remember that people change and that the man you love today might not be there for you tomorrow. Individualism is totally underrated and underappreciated.

“And so was the movie <<Blind Dating>>. *sigh*”

Ze Calendar

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