Bye-Bye Romantic Comedies

The Modern Mrs Darcy is devoted to exploring what it means to be a woman in today’s world, which is why I loved Lisa McMinn’s Growing Strong Daughters.  She eloquently labels the problem–that our culture currently has no answer to the question of how relationships between men and women ought to function.   We no longer have a system to replace the “traditional” gender roles we’ve cast aside.

This is definitely frustrating for the modern woman.  But do you know what else this ambiguity is killing?  Romantic comedies.

I was coming right off my review of Growing Strong Daughters when I caught this piece on NPR about the demise of the romantic comedy.  They just don’t make ’em like they used to, and it’s no secret why not, as this excerpt explains:

Many reasons have been adduced for [the decline of the romantic comedy]. Changing social mores have de-codified the rituals of courtship, removing many of the obstacles that traditionally kept the lead couple apart until the final frame.

I knew it was hard to be a woman in today’s world.  But I didn’t expect to find my proof at the box office.

Are you mourning the demise of the rom-com?  Or are you happy to see them go?  What’s your favorite–or most despised–romantic comedy?


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  1. sarah beals says:

    We love the Dick Van Dyke show. We have been watching it on Netflix this past week, and the dialogue between Laura and Rob always crack me up. Whoever made that show was very intuitive into the way both men and women think.

    • Just Audrey says:

      Yes, yes, yes! I LOVE “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. It’s so much fun! I also love a lot of old shows like “I Love Lucy”, “Get Smart!”, “Perry Mason”, “Hazel”, “The Andy Griffith Show”, etc. I wish TV today was like that.

      As for favorite rom-coms, I again have to say that I love the older stuff better: “The More the Merrier”, “Bachelor Mother”, “Roman Holiday”, “Easy Living”, “Holiday” (1938), Holiday (1938), “The Major and the Minor”,”You Can’t Take It With You”,”The Palm Beach Story”, “The Philadelphia Story”, “The Talk of the Town”,”The Awful Truth”, “I’ll Be Seeing You”,”Random Harvest”, “Charade”, “The Shop Around the Corner”, “Holiday Affair”, “Laura”, “To Catch a Thief”, “Rear Window”, etc. (I could go on! Some of those may not even classify as ‘chick flicks’ but they are all great romantic movies).

      As for newer stuff, I generally lean toward period dramas–I liked “The Young Victoria”, “Emma”(1996), “Anne of Green Gables”.

  2. Laura says:

    I never thought about this before but you’re right! They do seem to be on their way out.
    I LOVE Romantic comedy’s. My sister in law and I go to the movies every week, we have since the year 2000. It seems that more and more, we have to be satisfied with a bit of “romance” (if you can call it that), stuck in the story line of some action movie! That’s just not right. 🙁
    Sure, there are still some “chick flicks” out there but most of them seem to be in limited release so, we have to wait until they come out on DVD.

    I’m going to go predictable with my likes.. “Moonstruck”, “City of Angels”, Bridget Jones Diary & “Harold & Maude”.. an odd choice I know. 😛
    I think that my worst was called The Breakup (I think that was the name) with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. Total garbage. Blah!


  3. Damsel says:

    You’ve Got Mail is probably my hands-down favorite! Oh, and When Harry Met Sally ~ did you know that Rob Reiner’s mother is in the scene with Meg Ryan at the diner? Can you imagine directing her to be MORE! with your MOTHER in the room?!?! Too funny!

  4. Lacey says:

    I completely agree. I used to love romantic comedies (I think we all know the biggies: When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, I even like more recent ones like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), but lately they are just absolute drivel. Horrible. Nothing good about them. I hadn’t thought about it being due to shifting gender rolls but it certainly makes sense. Interesting!

  5. I love a good romantic comedy, and “You’ve Got Mail” tops the list for me too! I haven’t seen a good romantic comeday latey, and the one(s) I have seen (we don’t get out to the movies much) have been so risque, that I’ve been embarrassed to watch. Maybe you can start a cry for good romantic comedies that will change Hollywood’s mind – just a thought.

  6. Anne says:

    “While You Were Sleeping” is an all-time favorite. Like many of the other commenters, I also like “You’ve Got Mail” which is a movie that ties in perfectly with your post because the story comes from an earlier Jimmy Stewart film called “The Shop Around the Corner”

    Also, have you ever noticed that Cary Grant romantic comedies sometimes involve married couples getting back together? “The Philadelphia Story” and “His Girl Friday” come to mind.

  7. Ursa says:

    I haven’t commented before, but I read your blog on a semi-regular basis, and have really enjoyed some of your stuff.

    I have a special place for romantic comedies.

    For most of them, that place is ‘in the fire’.

    Some are OK, and some are quite funny, but mostly they just make me want to bash my head on something, because all of them have the same basic premise. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy and girl like each other, and then…

    Something intervenes so that they can’t be together. And most of the time it’s just them being deliberately stupid/deceitful (see How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), or communicating ineffectively/being dishonest (Sweet Home Alabama, for example). Of course, without the conflict there would be no movie, but there we are.

    There’s a new Disney movie out called ‘Prom’ which is apparently in the same mould as High School Musical (which I also haven’t seen). The plot, so far as I can divine it from the adverts, goes:

    Little Miss Perfect is in charge of the Prom. School Bad Boy (looks a bit like Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You, which I always rather liked) is press-ganged into helping. They bicker, they fall in love, so far so standard.

    But Little Miss Perfect is all ‘I have everything I need for the Prom, except a date. Oh, woe is me, who will ask me?’

    Well…I have two suggestions, dearie.

    ONE: If you like someone and want to go with them, you could ask them?

    And TWO: You could just go on your own or with your friends? It’s not that big a deal. Really. I didn’t have a date till I was 21 and I’m a functional member of society, I swear.

    I’ll stick to movies where lots of things go KABOOM, I think.

    Though…technically Pride and Prejudice is romantic comedy meets comedy of manners in Regency England, so…they’re not ALL terrible. 🙂

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