In what is undoubtedly the most important and revelatory study of Scientific Matters released to date, “relationship experts” at an Edinburgh university have proclaimed that romantic comedies are guilty of – wait for it – “promoting unrealistic expectations when it comes to love.“
I know! I can hear your cries of shock and denial! But es one hundred percent verdad, ladies: people who watch – and consider themselves fans of – such high quality cinematic entertainments as “Runaway Bride,” “Maid in Manhattan,” and “The Wedding Planner” do, in fact, tend to have crappy relationships, due to the fact that they believe in “predestined love,” immediate commitment, and the idea that “if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you telling them.”
Now, I know what you are saying: this, along with your mean-spirited photo pick, is pretty sexist, Tiger Beatdown! I totally agree. These films are undeniably gendered, and so is the fact that we are reading a study of their deleterious effects on their (female, duh) audience, rather than a study of how dudes are affected by comedies that promote insidious, relationship-destroying ideas such as “your fart and poop jokes are totally sexy” or “your fear of growing up and having a committed relationship is not at all annoying or crazy,” or “insanely beautiful blonde girls with high-paying, enviable media careers naturally want to end up with dudes who look and act like this.”
Romantic comedies are infantile and gross. That much, regrettably, is true; they take one of the most fascinating topics of all time, the question of how we imperfect human beings can achieve or maintain intimate relationships, and they reduce it to a set of signifiers so limited, self-referential and hollow that they leave you feeling cynical, not only about movies, but about love itself. I mean, is that really it?
Which is not to say that I have not watched two of these three movies (with my mother, on Thanksgiving or Christmas weekends, because I was oh so very bored) or that they were not, in and of themselves, completely adequate diversions. You don’t have to believe in the particular myth of love put forth by romantic comedies just because you’ve seen one or two of them. In the above-quoted article, there is no real differentiation made between people who watch the romantic comedies referenced within it (all of which are dumb enough to frustrate a mildly retarded hamster, should said hamster take them seriously) as entertainments and people who watch them as Works of Art. In an article that is full of mildly insulting statements, that is more insulting than anything else.
*I DO. Get it? I DO?? For the WEDDING PLANNER?????? Oh, my god, help me.