Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recipe for Romance

While on vacation recently in Colorado, thanks to my friend Jenny and the power of DVR, Heather and I had the opportunity to catch up on some of the romantic comedies we have missed, and I use that term lightly, over the past few years.  There's nothing wrong with romantic comedies; they are generally entertaining albeit very predictable.  For those of you that haven't watched enough movies of this genre to figure it out (and that would be approximately 2), let me give you the breakdown of how a romantic comedy reliably runs itself out.

1. "The Intro": Guy and girl meet.  Guy and girl are instantly repelled by each other's seemingly opposite personality traits.

2. "The Buildup": Guy and girl are forced into several zany situations.  Guy and girl bond, in spite of all of their differences.

3. "The False Summit": Guy and girl realize they have fallen in love.  They are finally coming together as a couple and headed for happily ever after when...

4. "The Crash": Boom!  Something happens to tear them apart.  This can be due to an unsavory act of one of them, or a misjudgment by one of them that leads them to believe the other has done some foul deed.  Often a protagonist is involved in creating or revealing the incident, also known as "the wedge".

5. "The Blues": Guy and girl break up and we suffer through 15 minutes of viewing their utter misery.  One of them is miserable because they have lost their true love, the other suffers because their heart was broken by what the first one did (or was perceived to have done) to them.  A good depressing soundtrack, as well as a montage of time-compressing snippets gets the point across while minimizing our discomfort to the shortest time possible while making us long for the couple to find the happiness they both deserve, and can only find in each other.

6.  "The Comeback": Guy or girl finally comes to their senses and realizes that the misery they are living in is far worse than whatever it will take to mend the broken relationship.  A trusty best friend is usually involved in this revelation.  There is often some sort of dramatic mad dash to find the other party, make amends, and prevent them from taking some life-altering action that will keep them apart forever, such as marrying the wrong person, or getting a sex change operation.

7. "The Happy Ending": Guy and girl are reunited and get married.  The wedge who tried to keep them apart gets their just deserts, unless they made a dramatic turn to support them during "the comeback".  Trusty best friends are there to share in the happiness.  Key up the upbeat music and roll the credits.  Hooray!

That's every romantic comedy you've ever seen, in a nutshell.  The key ingredients to add to the above recipe to create a great movie are like-able lead actors who have good chemistry, snappy dialogue, and well-crafted zany situations to pull the characters together.  But as multiple successful Hallmark movies have proven, even with lackluster writing and subpar acting, as long as you follow the above formula you can satisfy many viewers.  Stay tuned for my next blog, where we will build the ultimate romantic comedy plot together, using the power of the above standard format, coupled with madlib style choices for you to fill in the blanks!