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Daniel Smith

I don't know what will become of the future of marriage. In many ways, this turn of events was inevitable (but still lamentable) as more people moved to the cities and renounced traditional religious beliefs if for no other reason than convenience.

However, as bleak as that sounds, humanity runs on hopes and dreams. If the perfect marriage is a fantasy, we will still hold to that fantasy as our ultimate ideal. RomComs may become a smaller share of Hollywood budgets but they will never go away completely any more than humanity can continue to exist apart from notions of love, hope, purpose, and destiny. These are deep things at the core of our being and we won't, we cannot give those up or live without them.

Rob in L.A.

I'm reminded of "Intolerable Cruelty" (2003). That Coen Brothers movie spent most of its time cynically shredding the idea of romantic love as irreconcilable with today's legal machinations. By the end of the movie, when George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones tear up their pre-nup and declare their love for each other, the whole idea of romance has been torn to bits, making their declaration of love unsupported by anything that had gone before. It's like the movie had set out to demolish the rom-com and then tacked on a happy ending out of keeping with the rest of the film. There's a lesson to be learned there. I'm just not sure what.


How about a a day-long pre-nup/marriage counseling seminar whose therapy exercises dredge up deep-rooted issues that affect the relationships of those attending. Naturally, two separately-betrothed folks meet during this soul-baring process and fall in love.

Ourdia Hodge

Wow! That's certainly food for thought.

As much as I like the idea of the next generation of rom coms reflecting society's evolving approach to marriage, I can't help but think that rom coms should still have that fairy tale, happy ever after element.

If we enter into a marriage as we do into a car leasing contract, then why even bother to get married?

The magic of entering into a marriage comes from believing that it will last forever, that we have found that special person/connection. As unealistic as that hope is, I think entering into a marriage with an end date in mind kills the magic of the wedding if not the relationship.

Yes, I realize that hoping in light of today's divorce statistics that your marriage will last forever is utterly unrealistic. But that doesn't mean we don't want to believe/yearn for longevity in ours.

Who wants to go to the movies to see two people fall in love and at the end agree to reassess their relationship/love in two, five or even ten years? I should don't.

Ourdia Hodge

Of, course my last sentence was meant to say " I sure don't.
Damn happy fingers:-)


I'm with you, Daniel, and I fully expect the basic ethos of the romantic comedy genre - i.e. the idea of love as a positive transformative power - to carry on. I'm merely advocating the idea of a modern-day rom-com that at least acknowledges (and perhaps directly speaks to) the changing mores in our present-day culture.

Rob: My takeaway was that Coens (whom I generally love and admire) had let their sour cynicism get the better of them; the characters played by Clooney and Zeta-Jones were never real enough for their creators to have taken them seriously, and thus... a movie with no emotional "there," there.

Scott: This sounds like a more comedic variant on the recent "Hope Springs," and actually... Go ahead and pitch and/or write it, dude! The concept has potential.

Ourdia: I agree. And/But... [repeat comment to Daniel, see above] Plus: "Marriage" per se doesn't necessarily have to be the go-to ending for a romantic comedy, I don't think. I guess what I'm looking for is a happy ending that reflects "where we are now," even if it ultimately does come down on the side of "it's you and me forever, kid."

There are, meanwhile, a number of rom-coms that end on a "Well, who knows where this will ultimately go?" note, and yet manage to be emotionally satisfying; it's the ones that blithely ASSUME the marriage-happily-ever-after package that are beginning to seem a bit suspect, and like pure fantasy. Personally, I like a rom-com ending that at least acknowledges the, um, CHALLENGES in a "last forever" union - call it "reality-based fantasy."

Rachel Hauck

Ban this, ban that? From a liberal? Who made her god? :)

There are some things good and needed for society to work.

There was a Hindu man who traveled to America in the early 1900s to see why we were so successful. His conclusion? Monogamous marriage. Because there women had rights and safety. (as a whole) In India, women were property.

He concluded women and America was successful because of the structure of the family.

The more we tear that apart the more we unravel society. The more children are not safe. There is no such thing as painless divorce.

If you enter something lightly, it will fail. If "you" don't think the marriage will last, don't get married.

Don't take away from those who want a long lasting relationship, the beauty and pageantry of a wedding and all it stands for.

Long live the romantic comedy! :)

By the way, it would be a GREAT comedy of a woman was trying to google the man she just bumped into but he was no where on the web or social media. It happens! What a great conflict. Dibs!


Ourdia Hodge

Agreed, Billy. The non prposal of Hugh Grant to Andie Macdowell at the end of Four Weddings and a Funeral was very satisfying in in character with his character.

Judith Duncan

Hey Billy,
This post got me thinking as usual(thank you) At first my little romantic heart was bleating,what... noooooooo. It makes love sound so matter of fact,as Ourdia mentioned like leasing a car,however after thinking about it I see your point.I also think that a lot of fun and highjinks could be had in a rom com looking at these ideas and then working out HOW to find the romance in working out a modern love contract. I agree with Ourdia that true and lasting love only exists in fairy tale or paranormal romances now,perhaps a reason for their success,at least with women.I did my honors degree in fairy tale, as I wanted to research original storytelling and am actally going to a fairy tale symposium tomorrow. After reading your post I was looking through the art of one of my favorite artists,a surrealist,Remedios Varo,her work called The Farewell,shows two lovers walking away from each other down different streets,but their shadows reach back along the street to kiss. A practical decision that leaves the souls of these two people crying.Perhaps a good place to start a modern romcom?


"Hope Springs" or "License to Wed"... but surely there's room to do better than the latter...

As for entering into a romance with an expiration date being problematic? Tell that to two people who've both been given weeks to live and *really* hate each other. But because in some ways they're like the last two people on earth - no one gets their plight like the other - they *have* to make it work because it's their last chance to find any joy in this life before they leave it.


Rachel: You've got dibs, and I agree that you've got an intriguing premise - somebody who's not Google-able?! What kind of mysterious, even dangerous oddball outlier is that?! Go for it.

Ourdia: GMTA (Great Minds...) I was thinking of 4 Weds when I wrote my response to you. And there are many others.

Judith: I love that "shadowy" start. And yes, the "how" of how a contemporary couple-to-be navigates today's conflicted coupling landscape is very much what I'm thinking about as rom-com material. Don't know if you're a Louis C.K. fan, but his (just-finished) third TV season reflected these shifts in values (i.e. What are the rules when the old rules are gone?), and was very funny - and very moving.

Scott: This, too, sounds like a viable and intriguing rom-com premise (also reminds me of the recent, not-so-great but interesting "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World").

Rob in L.A.

Re: "How Technology Has Ruined Romantic Comedy"

Danny Manus: "A good love story may still transcend time, but these days, if your characters don’t even have cell phones, how genuine to real life could they be?"

What if one of your leads is Amish?

Meta Sant

"Takes the fun out"? Hmm...maybe yes, maybe not. Being online for more than a decade. Digging deep into sites that promise alliances I ain't sure one can find someone so easily.

Facebook at times seems to pinpoint the loneliness by very virtue of the associations/relationships it portrays. You are friends with someone who is friends with another and everyone looks happy and wonderful and yet...where's that one?

Am sure there's a story or two or thousand within the technology real. And outside too. Trying to find someone you can connect and be happy. Hopefully.

With wishes, aspirations being more fed by hype, with life lived more and more by what's cool, it's harder.

I find most of my tech-savvy pals struggling. Great in finding people by Google and Facebook. But...where do you find what makes them what they are and well, where do you find yourself to have some perspective on things?

I guess when things are harder, in a way, more the opportunity to figure out stories that help connect. Well okay, that's really hard too.


I've got an idea. Remember "The Awful Truth?" Post-divorce comedy. Falling in love again after your marital contract runs out. It could work.

Gail Byers

It is never easy to write things out. There are instances when what you wrote are interpreted the other way by the readers. The writer should be as convincing as possible that those things are happening in reality so that the readers would feel for it.


Meta Sant: "Figuring out stories that help connect" sounds good to me.

Jennifer: From the 1930s to 2012... Good ideas never get old.

Gail: Can't argue with that, because one can't really argue with a spam-bot.

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