Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Genre Analysis: Romantic Comedies

The romantic comedy is a genre derived from the romance genre and the comedy genre. Beginning in the time of Shakespeare romantic comedies were very popular. Most famously Romeo and Juliet a tale of two lovers who were forbidden to see each other. Although it did not have the happiest ending Romeo and Juliet embodied love and that is the basis of the storyline for genre.

Romantic comedies have distinct characteristics about them that make them stand out among the rest. “It fluently stakes out a new and well-organized approach to romantic comedy that is thoroughly versed in the critical literature, well grounded in genre theory, and forges immediate connections to our experience of gender, sexuality, and courtship” (Grindon, 2010). Gender, sexuality, and courtship are all factors that fall into this genre that you need all to complete it.

This genre can be argued to be broken up in the little parts rather than the big picture. “Genre consists of a series of conventions rather than a body of works” (Grindon, 2010). “These conventions often arise in a scene, as a motif, or even a fragment in a film that may be dominated by another genre” (Grindon, 2010). This can include light and or dark imagery and showing opposite points of view like in Romeo and Juliet where we see many different points of view from the two sides of the family and from Romeo and Juliet themselves.

Newer films within the romantic comedy genre tend to involve more sexual based relationships to draw more of an audience. “Deleyto argues that romantic comedy essentially involves three key constituents: a narrative about love, gender, and sexual relationships; a space of magical transformation that frees the characters from inhibitions so they can explore their desire; and humor which establishes a benevolent perspective” (Grindon, 2010). These three constituents make up the basis of the genre all successful romantic comedies include all three.

Another popular convention in this genre is the oh so popular meet cute. “These fundamentals are antecedent to conventions, such as the dual protagonist or the “meet-cute,” which evolve over time as a result of changing social conditions” (Grindon, 2010). The meet cute has become very popular over the years. In movies like The Sweetest Thing the meet cute is what first brings the two first together.

Most romantic comedies usually do have happy endings. “Deleyto contests the view that romantic comedies require a happy ending and as a result are politically backward because they offer a naive endorsement of “one true love” and “living happily ever after” (Grindon, 2010). This can be deceiving for some because their isn’t always a happily ever after.

Grindon, Leger. (2010) Film Quarterly, 63 (4), Retrieved from

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