5 Romantic Comedy Tropes That Need To Die

I would love to say that I don’t like rom-coms, as I feel that would make me a much better person in general. It’s hard for me to admit that, no matter how many times I watch it, I’ll always get a bit misty during The Notebook. That is just my cross to bear. However, even in the movies I do love, there are just a few cliches that I’m so tired of seeing, I demand that they all jump simultaneously into a roaring fire and be incinerated, never to come back.

1. Everyone is white, unless the storyline is about them not being white.

Unless we’re talking about Tyler Perry movies, it’s a pretty safe bet that the working title for most romantic comedies is “two acceptably quirky white people court each other over a several-week period, overcoming one absurd obstacle, including a musical montage at some point.” Unless your movie is about overcoming racial differences, (I see you Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker), you can be pretty much guaranteed that the love story to follow will look like a gallon of whole milk spilled across a polar bear-fur carpet during a blizzard. Of course, the white people can’t just be any old white people because this is, lest we forget, not your average love story. Because of this, you can be sure that our protagonists will have everything from Asperger’s to Leukemia — anything that could throw a wrench into their falling head over heels — just so long as it doesn’t effect the creamy whiteness of their skin. God forbid.

2. Everything good happens in the rain.

At some point in filmmaking history, there was a staff meeting amongst writers in which they needed to convey in this scene a sense of purity, of rebirth, of a “washing away” of the old, so to speak. It was then that an intern one bad coffee order away from being fired stood up, raising his pen aloft as a ray of sunlight came through the window. “I know,” he exclaimed, “let’s have them publicly grope during a thunderstorm!” And so it was. From that moment on, every climax of every romantic film would have our protagonists find themselves in flash-flood-level rains, standing out in the street somewhere, completely sans umbrella. They would at first bemoan the ruining of their hairstyle, only to laugh at the utter silliness of life and then embrace, there in the rain, showing the world at large the disregard they have for things like weather patterns or that gross feeling when the inside of your shoes get wet. And aside from shirts getting see-through and sticking to boobies, rain kisses give us the added bonus of a sense that the slate has been “wiped clean,” leaving our protagonists to move forward into the hesitant but reassuring sunshine that is sure to follow.

3. Relentlessly pursuing a woman after she has clearly said ‘no’ is the only way to her heart.

Similar to the Taylor Swift school of “you’re only as good as your totally awesome virginity,” there exists this theory in rom coms that women are essentially passive ducks waiting to be tossed a few decent-sized bread crumbs (in the form of romantic attention). If she says no, honey, that’s just phase 1. Phases 2 through 10 are doing everything from playing music outside her window to showing up at her work to sing to her, progressively getting more extreme in your tactics until the “Oh, right, I love him” switch has been flipped on in her head. There exists no stunt too humiliating, too over-the-top, for a woman to not eventually melt over and take you back with open arms. And aside from this trope being irritating and repetitive, there is also the knowledge that any guy who would do this kind of thing in real life likely wears a fedora, refers to you as m’lady, and would kiss the back of your hand in public (why, God, why?). In no alternate universe would guys who look like Channing Tatum or James Marsden spend their free time sending you all of the tulips in the tri-state area because he knows you love him — and frankly, if he did, you would be well-advised to run.

4. There exists no charming cad too muscular to transform with your love.

When women are not getting bombarded with emotional fireworks in these films, you can be sure that she’s teaching a perpetual bachelor how to use his heart muscle with the help of her witty, ascerbic, and refreshing form of courtship. You see, he thinks he wants to be free, be young, sow his wild oats, and knock over a stack of lingerie models like dominos, but that’s not what he actually wants. No, no. Anne Hathaway knows what he wants — and that is to learn how to love. You see, she’s going to melt through his icy-bro exterior with her stinging little barbs that get to what he’s really thinking and challenge him in a way that no other woman is capable of — because every female character in this movie other than Anne Hathaway is just a mobile breast delivery unit — and she will even win the approval of his neanderthal friends. You see, at the end, he’s going to have a life-changing revelation (and subsequent confession, likely in the rain) about how he thought he was happy, he thought he knew what he wanted, but she changed his life. He was going to let her walk away, but he just can’t do that. He just can’t do that.

5. Kate Hudson is still a person that we should pay to see act in movies.

How many movies is this woman allowed to produce before we collectively hold some kind of open forum down at city hall and decide that her getting paid millions of dollars to read a script in front of a camera is an abomination in the eyes of our Lord? I mean, nepotism is nothing new, but just because she sprang forth from Goldie Hawn’s vagina with a similarly adorable shade of blonde hair does not mean we are chained to her face-meltingly bad performances the rest of our lives, does it? I mean, I almost just want to pass around a hat so we can get together a nice severance package to set her up with before we put her out to pasture — I don’t want to be cruel about this or anything. And yes, I have long ago stopped watching any of her films, yet magically, I don’t stop seeing her on posters and in trailers for what appears to be the same exact movie she’s been making — and making poorly — for the last ten years. Can we just cut costs and replace her with an upturned mop with googly eyes on it? Personally, I would have a much easier time believing that the male protagonist was into her with that casting change. If we don’t stop now, she’ll still be doing her ditzy, blonde, quasi-free spirit schtick into her seventies. We can’t do that to our children, we just can’t. TC mark

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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