Romantic comedies used to be my go-to movies when we went to the theater or had a girls’ night in. From the Wedding Planner to Sleepless in Seatle to Pretty Woman, I was hooked on happy endings. However, after years of religiously watching, I found myself getting sick of the saccharine BS the genre offered. Here is why I can no longer stomach most rom-coms:
They make it seem like everyone just wants to get hitched. In every single one of these movies, the end goal is for the protagonist to get his or her dream guy or gal and live happily ever after. Not everyone in the world wants romance, weddings, or babies, so why do nearly 100 percent of rom-coms feature wedding bells and babies—or at least hint at it? Even if the main character is against marriage and kids in the first place, she’ll magically change her mind to be with this guy she fell in love with 90 minutes ago.
They never show the ever-after. I wish someone would start filming the sequel versions of all of these movies. Show 10 years down the line when the heroine is no longer thin and beautiful with long, shiny hair. The couple has two kids and they’ve given up on their dreams to be together— that is if they’re still together at all. How many of these rom-com endings also end up in divorce? Probably most.
Being compatible isn’t actually important. Why do these movies always put two people together that have nothing in common and wouldn’t ever fall in love under normal circumstances? They don’t share morals (think You’ve Got Mail), background (like The Wedding Planner), and sometimes they even just flat out hate each other (10 Things I Hate About You and so many more). In the real world, these people would never have got together, much less fell in love and gotten married during the credits.
The coolest characters always end up flat. There’s always a gay BFF or a promiscuous friend or a weird sidekick in all of these rom-com movies. These people are some of the most interesting people in the mix but they don’t get the screentime or the character arch they deserve. In the end, all of them end up as stereotypes that get to sit by the sidelines and watch while the happy main character gets all of the love.
It’s all about the sparks. That bubbly feeling you get when your crush is around isn’t love, but rom-coms teach viewers that’s what it’s all about. It’s make-out sessions in the rain and being unable to keep your hands off of one another. Rom-coms all seem to conveniently forget that those sparks don’t usually last past six months. What happens when it’s are all gone? Since most of the couples from rom-coms don’t have much in common, their relationships probably won’t last much past that point.
They always fall in love, even if one of them is a jerk. I always loved the rom-com Just Friends because it was funnier than any other I’ve ever seen. However, looking back on it, Just Friends features one of the things that bothers me the most about romantic comedies: the jerks. How many of the main characters start off being huge jerks to everyone, including their love interests? 10 Things, You’ve Got Mail, The Proposal, She’s All That… I could go on forever. The jerks get their happy ending, but they just don’t seem to deserve it.
Even poor 20-somethings can afford luxury. Why is it that every single rom-com features a down-on-her-luck 20-something with a beautiful apartment in the middle of NYC or LA? She rarely has a roommate (and if she does, they’re totally BFFs). She complains that she’s broke and underpaid but she still can afford cabs all over town, expensive coffees, spa trips, and a killer wardrobe. Like, how much does it cost to keep your hair looking that hot all the time, girl?
Fight = Sex. Why does every shouting match in a rom-com end up in make-up sex? Fights need resolutions; you either have to talk it out or just continue to be mad forever. And as awesome as it would be, sex isn’t a solution to every problem. Fights should be productive, and while they can end in sex, you should be more focused on resolving the issues that started the fight in the first place.
Stalking is seen as sexy. I know everyone out there is thinking Twilight, but there are others. Loads of others. When the female protagonist tells the male star she’s not interested in him, it’s seen as romantic that he doesn’t take no for an answer and instead pursues her until he wears her down.
A lot of relationship red flags are romanized. Beauty and the Beast romances Stockholm syndrome, Pretty Woman is about a woman who’s paid to change who she is to conform to some man’s idea of beauty, 50 First Dates is about the weirdest, most messed up stalker ever. There are so many relationship red flags that are greenlit and encouraged in these films, it’s impossible to name them all.
They’re all practically the same. Although loads of movie genres all have similar movies, the rom-coms are some of the worst at it. They all have similar characters and they depend more on stereotypes than any other genre of movie I can think of. All of them have the same ending, and all of them have the theme of “love conquers all”—even when “all” includes abuse and incompatibility.
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