They say romance is dead, but I say it isn’t. It’s just that romance in the traditional sense has been given a poor representation by years of senselessly moronic romantic comedy films and TV sitcoms. Whenever I hear anyone talking about these movies, they usually focus on the horrible clichés, including one of the formulaic plot scenarios in the Hollywood playbook. In that scenario, a girl is about to marry a guy who she has a good relationship with, but when some stupid and clearly desperate-looking man comes along and says he “loves her more”, she just goes with him. That sounds to me like the ending of The Graduate, but from what I’ve heard, it’s the basic premise of tons of romantic films trying to copy the successful, cash-grabbing formula.
We know that Hollywood producers are doing this for a reason, and that reason is because they want to brainwash an entire generation of little girls into having low standards, and rushing into relationships that end all too quickly. That being said, I’m wondering why Hollywood targets the worst kind of brainwashing trite specifically at a female audience. We see it all the time, through fashion, pop music, Barbie dolls, trashy entertainment and lifestyle magazines, vacuous TV shows, and of course, Hollywood rom-coms.
For me, the central problem is Hollywood’s aggressive glamorization of marriage, which has only enforced the archaic perception of marriage as the ultimate symbol of love between two people. The other part of this problem is that Hollywood simultaneously attacks marriage, using TV sitcoms to propagate the equally false idea that marriage is somehow the worst thing that can happen to man, or the equivalent of “putting him on a leash”. The old cliché of men being “whipped” by their wives or girlfriends is a big part of the demonization of marriage, but this view is mainly targeted at men, while women are simultaneously brainwashed into expecting marriage. That’s the thing that really puzzles me. Why sing praises of marriage, and simultaneously disparage it in the stupidest way? Furthermore, why does Hollywood send conflicting messages about love and romance to begin with? Is it really is an entity with no value system of its own?
We’re living in the year 2014, and as far as I’m aware, most relationships don’t operate the way they do in romantic comedies or TV sitcoms. Why then, are we constantly being told that they do, and we do we constantly believe and expect these clichés? The only reason these clichés survive is because so many people go to watch these movies (and I’m pretty sure the prime demographic is basically a bunch of middle-aged Stepford wives). Trashy chick flicks like The Other Woman, The Proposal, and Runaway Bride have made upwards of $300 million, despite the fact that they are unintelligent, have no artistic value, and serve only to brainwash a new generation of Stepford wives, and impressionable young girls who might become Stepford wives in the future.
It is inexorably clear that Hollywood is brainwashing generations of people with tired old romance clichés, but it wouldn’t be so bad if any of those clichés were grounded in reality. Instead, we get the same outdated messages that overstayed their welcome decades ago. The fact that people still pay to see these movies is simply baffling to me, especially since, if you know how they’re made, they’re all tired and predictable. You just know that the two main characters are the ones who’ll end up being together in the end, so way spend your wages watching the same thing happen over and over again?
Will it ever end? Considering the amount of money that rom-coms and sitcoms make, it’s unlikely. Will we ever learn? I highly doubt it, and perhaps that’s the saddest part of the whole thing.