Editorial Notebook

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Romantic comedies let viewers laugh, cry, and smile

I love romantic comedies, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Through their clever lines and touching character development, rom coms speak to the heart. I’m a sensitive guy, so the constant tension between the main characters drives me crazy, in a good way. Kind of like why people go to amusement parks, I live for the rollercoaster of emotions rom coms offer.

For the uninformed, romantic comedies, affectionately known as “rom coms,” are thoughtfully constructed romances with comedic overtones. They are light-hearted to keep the viewer engaged in between heavy scenes, and in my opinion, that tone is important to character development. Those funny, unique interactions between the main characters make the genre. For me, this makes them relatable. Usually, but not always, the guy main character comes from a lower point in his life and meets this girl who completely changes his life. They hit it off and go into a “honeymoon” period. Eventually, they hit a major conflict or fight and separate. During their time alone, they both realize that they can’t live without each other and reconcile. The end.

I know it seems like I just described the entire genre of romantic comedies. And it seems like rom coms are repetitive. But it’s about the journey, with my final destination assured. The guy always gets the girl in the end. And that’s what I love. I know where rom coms are going to take me. The question is how am I going to get there?

In the words of a close friend and avid rom com enthusiast, “rom coms are perfection.” And I agree, at least with the good ones (we won’t talk about Love and Other Drugs). For example, the comedic back-and-forth tension between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally is gold. In Say Anything, John Cusack’s iconic boombox scene will always have a special place in my heart. And
Semisonic’s “Closing Time” was just perfect for Friends With Benefits (If you’ve watched it, you’ll know what I mean).

Now listen, I like a good romantic drama too, but give me The Notebook or Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I’ll take the latter any day. Don’t get me wrong, The Notebook is a fantastic movie and touches me on so many emotional levels, but without the levity and wittiness of rom coms, it’s too much for me to watch twice. Honestly, I’d rather not cry again (though I know that’s what some people are into).

I know that they’re not realistic. I know that they’re just movies and that everything is just idealized and romanticized. But is that a bad thing? It makes me happy to see how happy the characters in the movies are when getting back together in the end. Those witty lines the guy gives the girl to sweep her off her feet. The way the girl swoons at whatever sacrifice he made for her. Those are the images that are important to me. In the words of my close friend, “Although [rom coms] can’t buy me love, they come pretty close.”