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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

ROM-COM no more love for the classic hybrid?


I've read a variety of articles over the past decade announcing the death of the rom-com after some genre flick flopped (often starring Jennifer Aniston!).

Here's another ... which goes a step further in pronouncing a range of genres as dead and box office buried, but also argues that TV is now the true home of the rom-com, an intriguing point in this era of digitisation and convergence:

The romantic comedy has never been in worse shape on the big screen, either. The quality of its participants is in steep decline; no longer Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal but Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel in When In Rome or Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in Leap Year (both in 2010, both terrible). The romcom portrait of the successful career woman yearning for her childhood fantasy of the perfect wedding to the man of her dreams has become increasingly archaic in the era of Girls. The success of unsentimental sex comedies such as Trainwreck suggests there’s a future for fresh takes on the genre, but TV is where the romcom has found a new home. Catastrophe, The Mindy Project, You’re The Worst, Master Of None, New Girl, Love, Togetherness – all these shows feature diverse ethnicities, body types and flawed characters, ie the exact opposite of what we got from romcoms in film form.Bersntein, 2016 (Guardian) Fantasy epics, rom-coms, sports dramas: why your favourite genres could soon be extinct

Is this accurate? Partially, yes, but it just takes one hit to resurrect a seemingly comatose genre. Could Bridget Jones's Baby be that movie? Have WT run out of rom-com hits?

The picture is mixed: The Boat That Rocked, About Time...

WT are certainly looking to TV as a field for expansion (as are Warp!), and have had success with the About a Boy series, franchising the Hugh Grant hit movie. This is also yet another example of shrewd, successful exploitation of IP by WT, as this is based on a hit Nick Hornby novel. (BELOW: his writer credits on IMDB)

It might have enjoyed limited box office, but Warp's Submarine was a classy, quirky, and typically (for Warp, NOT the rom-com!!!) critically acclaimed social realist (some fantasy sequences too) rom-com.

NB: Always be mindful of this issue with scorning rom-coms, dismissing them as mere cinematic fluff: this is consistently the case with ANY media aimed primarily at a female audience: soap operas, women's/celebrity gossip magazines, romance novels, 'chick flicks' ... all are deemed trashy, and its not controversial to say so. Does this reflect a hidden layer of patriarchy and misogyny in our culture? 

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