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How the Demise of the Romantic Comedy Will Affect Women

How the Demise of the Romantic Comedy Will Affect Women

Writer Amy Nicholson takes a hard look at the death of a genre — the romantic comedy — in her fantastic LA Weekly piece “Who Killed the Romantic Comedy?” 

Let’s keep in mind that the romantic comedy was a place where we saw women, where we saw women writers, and where we saw women directors, so the demise of the genre is quite troubling. Think about it — where would we be without Nora Ephron? Nicholson reports that over the last decade the rom-com (as it was best known) went from having five films making over $100 million (in 2005) to 2013 where not a single romantic comedy was in the top 100 grossing films of the year.

There have been so many great romantic comedies and so many women who have had careers because of them — think Goldie Hawn and Meg Ryan. So the question is, if women can’t get writing, acting and directing parts in a genre that was receptive to women, what happens to those women? And what about the next generation? And what happens to those of us who like to see funny women onscreen? Will this mean less women onscreen? And does this mean Hollywood is not looking for the next Bridesmaids and is only focused on the next bromance?

Nicholson has analyzed the culprits and it includes Hollywood’s obsession with teenage boys and superheroes, the men who refuse to see films that are about women or romance, shitty scripts, star money issues, the changing times, and the explosion of the foreign box office. Every single one of these culprits are things that women in Hollywood deal with each and every day.

But let’s be real, the death of romantic comedies will affect women even more than men. Men make comedies. Women make romantic comedies. And Hollywood executives keep chasing the next male comedy star and the next stoner comedy. The article cites that even after Bridesmaids, Hollywood didn’t give a shit about its success (which we all know is true since there has not been another similar movie released in its wake) and started looking instead for the “female buddy comedies” like The Heat

And look what the executives said to director Paul Feig after Bridesmaids

I’ve been lectured so many times by producers and people in power, You don’t want to get pigeonholed in the whole woman thing, Feig chuckles. Do I want to get pigeonholed in the men thing? I want to get pigeonholed in the people thing!

God forbid someone wants to make movies about women. 

The only good news is that women are getting so sick of the way Hollywood is run they are speaking out in ways they haven’t done before. Here’s what Amy Nicholson shared with Women and Hollywood:

While I was researching the romantic comedy, actresses like Geena Davis and Olivia Wilde spoke out about Hollywood sexism in ways that weren’t possible even five years ago. Take Katherine Heigl: When she questioned how Judd Apatow treated his female characters in Knocked Up, the industry punished her for being loud-mouthed, ungrateful and difficult. I think her bravery is another reason why she was scapegoated for killing the romantic comedy. I was fascinated to find out that was a lie — Heigl’s films made money. But the truth is that women aren’t represented onscreen or behind-the-scenes, though statistics prove we buy more than half of movie tickets. That’s a lot of power — it’s time to figure out how to wield it.

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romantic comedies should die, on TV and in movies all they are is organized male bashing by women. They are subtle but extremely polite raciest jokes about nice man who are always "nice" but stupid (not clueless, but really dumb), and the woman always knows what is best for him even though he does not want that "thing"…… show me a TV show where the hard working dad is not mocked and I'll show you a 1 season show. In just about any RC if it happened in real time the end result would be Divorce or better yet for any man that wants to keep his worth abandonment just walking away from an abusive woman and her friends and in most RC his family as well, because men just dont understand…… and ever notice in RC's where the woman is dumb ie making the play for the guy or they guy is not a stud it always seems to bomb in the good old USA but not in Europe?

Jordan Porch

If you want to see females get anywhere in the business, they have to make more substantial work. Nobody will respect women behind the camera if all they do is make pathetic romantic comedies. That is not to say that all romantic comedies are pathetic, but rather that most romantic comedies by women – and men – in the past have been nearly unwatchable. Once there is a Tarantino-esque female filmmaker, a Kathryn Bigelow if you will, women will be able to have a "reel" place in cinema.


I will not miss so-called romantics comedies. I distinctly avoided them because they are insipid and formulaic. I don't care for the films that are aimed at teen-age boys and I'm barely tolerate most superheroes, which are so formulaic. To this day, I've not seen when Harry Met Sally but love The Lady Eve, which starred one of favorite actors, Barbara Stanwyck.

I liked that Angelina Jolie made a tough film about the Bosnian war, In the Land of Blood and Honey and is doing one on the Second World War.

I loved Kristen Bell's In A World, and suspect she will do more and get batter. The problem is that women filmmakers, like black filmmakers, keep expecting the Hollywood system to pay attention to them. They won't. Go outside and the system and make films.

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