Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Romantic Comedies: BAD For Your Relationship!

I love when I'm right. It happens so rarely that I need to bask in the glow when it does happen. I saw on TV this morning -- The Today Show no less!! -- that romantic comedies are BAD for your relationship. And this wasn't just Kathie Lee and Ho-ho-ho-ta Kot-bee just talking out of their oversize butts, this was a real academic study. Matt Lauer told me so!

Researchers at Heriot Watt University's Family and Personal Relationship Laboratory in Edinburgh (that's in Scotland you know) found "that problems typically reported by couples in relationship counseling at their counseling center reflect misconceptions about love and romance depicted in Hollywood films," according to a story in Time magazine. The Time story did not indicate if the Scottish researchers were drinking whiskey during the study, or if they showed favoritism towards movies that included bagpipe music during love scenes.

Dr. Bjarne Holmes, who lead the research, said: "...We are saying that it would be helpful if people were more aware and more critical of the messages in these films. The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realize."

By "some of us," he means people with vaginae.

One example from the study: a group of over 100 volunteers watched the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity while another group of the same size watched a David Lynch drama. Viewers of the romantic comedy were found to be more likely to believe in fate and destiny. (They could not determine what the David Lynch group thought. Those volunteers apparently made a pact to jump off the tallest bridge in Scotland and arranged to have their bodies hidden in tall weeds, where they will not be discovered until the 2014 British Open golf tournament.)

Okay, so this notion of Hollywood providing unrealistic expectations (who would have EVER guessed that) might be setting the bar too high for men. That's not a huge surprise. But then I thought more about that point. Unmotivated, miscommunicating buffoons are setting the bar too high? So on the Great Female Relationship Expectation Chart, I'm somewhere behind John Cusack, Hugh Grant and Richard Gere? (Actually Mr. Gere likes me back there. But why does he keep calling me "Mr. Nibbles"??)

Researchers said viewers of the romantic comedies are coming away with the notion that if you are truly with "the one," then you will not have to communicate your feelings, needs, or even the fact that you're running out of milk -- your mate will just "know" what you require and destiny takes care of the rest. And you won't have to use that chalky creamer in your coffee tomorrow morning.

I guess I need to become a bumbling English chap whose hair is unkempt while I wear one black shoe and one brown shoe while struggling to make my friend's wedding on time, like Hugh Grant might do. And then I get to violate Andy McDowell's body. Actually that's a bad example. She's as dull as Hugh Grant, and he would be as satisfied sleeping with the ironing board in his hotel room. But you get the idea: the girls gets the goofball as long as he is adorably discombobulated and makes one awkward attempt to communicate his dying desire to be with her, and only her.

And then they bang.

Maybe romantic comedies are sending just the right message after all.

Well if you excuse me, I have to go get some milk, My soulmate and I are apparently miscommunicating.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope Santa brings you all you hope for. If you don't celebrate Christmas, have a peaceful day. Maybe go to a movie, but not a romantic comedy -- then you'll never enjoy a fulfilling relationship!


J. said...

Listen carefully, Tommy, because this is the probably the ONLY time I will use these words in regard to you: You (and those Scottish researchers) are absolutely right. Romantic comedies (much as I enjoy them) are BAD for relationships, setting up unrealistic hopes and expectations. AND I would add so are fairy tales. Ladies, do NOT let your little girls read fairy tales (unless that means NYT best-selling fiction written by a gay man). It was a huge mistake on my mother's part. As I found out, your prince may be charming, but it's doubtful he does laundry or dishes and quite likely that his castle is mortgaged to the hilt.

Susan said...

I want so much to write something clever but I can't begin to measure up. You make me snort out loud. And look, I even left a preposition for you at the end of that sentence.

Sean and Jami said...

It's hard for me to read something that you have written about movies and actually agree with it. From your love of all (or most) things Eastwood to your disdain for The Princess Bride, you're usually spot-off.

But you are right here. Romantic comedies set up unrealistic relationship ideals. Two other unrealistic things about them:

The nerdy girl merely has to take off her glasses and she's hoochier than the whole cheerleading squad.

Women sing into hair brushes.

Cee Bee said...

Amen brother! I agree will ALL of that EXCEPT the part where you mention "some of us" equals those with a "vaginae". I've known plenty of those with a "penis" to be just as unrealistic. (Not sure why I put that word in quotes, but you get the picture.)

However, I think you forgot to mention how people can change in an INSTANT in the movies! The bad guy who disrespects his girlfriend all the time who FINALLY goes too far (read: she finally wakes up and smells the coffee!)and causes her to break up with him (for the 15th time but this time she means it!) When he realizes that she's not coming back, he admits to being an ass, changes his life around, and goes off to find her and win her back. And it works! People have this ridiculous misconception they can change their partner because of these movies. It's disgusting!

Down with the fairly tales!!!

CV said...

Wait a second...seriously, wait just one minute.

Do you mean to tell me I should stop saving all of my money so one day i can move to the Notting Hill area of London, open a travel bookstore (travel only! - how the fu*k does that survive) and wait for the days mostest biggest famousest hot movie star chick to appear and ignore my morally offensive teeth and overly quaffed hair and join me and my best mates for a dinner where she'll fall in love with me? That's crap. You obviously don't know what you're talking about...also, not sure what you think about fairy tales or whatever, but if Frodo hadn't tossed the ring in the fire, we would've been stuck with George Bush as President for eight years! Wait, what?

...where's my wand? I think I heard Snape and some Death Eaters outside my window...

I LOVE YOU said...