30 September 2011

Rom Com

Found here, and I heartily recommend.
It might surprise some people to learn that I really like romantic comedies, but I do. I like the genre, and I like a format in which we laugh at what's really a huge concern for most all of us, and then - when it's done well - really feel the emotional tug of the narrative at its climax. As I've said before, high and believable stakes make for the best comedy.

The trouble is, most "romantic comedy" by conventional Hollywood standards misses the mark for me, and there may not be much worse than a bad "romcom" that's neither funny nor emotionally effective. Such misses just end up making us feel trivial, having wasted two hours of our time on something superficial that purports to represent us.

Now, this is not a Harold & Maude argument, or anything like that. I love that movie, but it tends to get plucked as an example of an unconventional genre movie, one that proves its case by being the exception from it. I like far more conventional fare, like My Best Friend's Wedding. Of course, that one defies convention in certain ways, but the mechanics are true to the genre. Others I appreciate include Charade, When Harry Met Sally, and Punch Drunk Love.

I'd like to do a romantic comedy of some kind, possibly even a web series. I think it's a format that's perfect for that kind of story, especially if you're looking to build a longer episodic story. Mine would have two people who really need one another (not just pretty faces that you want to be) with intention, less misunderstanding and more genuine conflict, and it would probably use New York City for its backdrop. (Just to ratchet up the difficulty of filming, I suppose.) I'm going to do some thinking on this.

And you? What would your romcom consist of?

2 comments:

Davey said...

I hear you on the less misunderstanding thing. Why is it that so many movies seem based on the idea that one person misconstrued a situation or snippet of conversation? Have Hollywood writers actually been in a relationship? Yes, these things happen, but then you explain and move on.
XKCD 734 is about a zombie outbreak that is stopped with patient zero and then becomes a RomCom. I'd watch that.

Jeff Wills said...

It's a pretty classic comedy set-up, but done better by some than others. One could probably write a pretty interesting dissertation on the relationship between the concept romantic recognition and it's influence on comedy, 1590 - present. (Someone other than me.) But yeah: mostly lame. Much more effective to use the "I know something you don't" approach in terms of reasons for people not getting it on right away.