Let’s do an experiment.
Imagine you’ve been blindfolded, sat in front of a TV screen and a film has randomly been selected from Netflix.
The blindfold is removed, some popcorn is handed to you and you’re told to watch the film and determine what genre it is, how are you going to know? Is it a horror? A thriller? A period drama?
Well, luckily for you, we’re here to help.
First up, here’s how to tell if the film you’re watching is a romantic comedy.
Everyone Is Either Middle Or Upper Class
There’s no poverty or financial jeopardy of any kind in rom-coms ever.
They exist in this plastic white people’s America, or Richard Curtis’ unrealistic vision of England without the knife crime and sad people eating Greggs on a couch watching Jezza Kyle at 11am on a Tuesday.
You know, the kind of places where leaving your job or flying halfway across the country to stop a wedding is literally no bother at all.
It Probably Has Meg Ryan In It
Or Julia Roberts. Or Jennifer Aniston.
Basically rom-coms function as a kind of semi-retirement home for actresses who are only interested in phoning it in by being attractive and mildly likeable.
Which is fine, but if you’re not careful you’ll end up stuck there and never be able to work in any other genre again. Just ask Kate Hudson.
Frumpily Dressed Women Find It Hard To Get A Date Despite Being Impossibly Beautiful Once They Take Off Their Glasses
Every single romantic comedy does this – some obvious stunner is hidden beneath frumpy clothes and a bad hairdo to be ignored by some unappreciative schlub until Act Two when she makes a grand, post-makeover entrance and the guy’s jaw drops.
Suddenly, he then realises that the ugly duckling who he’d been friends with the whole time is actually a stone cold hottie worth dating.
It’s an awful message, essentially telling guys only to chase after hot girls and women to transform themselves into a ‘hot chick’ if they want a man.
The Couple With The Obvious Attraction Insist On Being Dicks To Each Other Until They Kiss At The End Of Act Two
Are the two best looking people in the film engaged in a kind of tiresome tit-for-tat where they both loudly argue all the time despite obviously fancying the fuck out of each other and cast lingering sexually charged glances at each other whenever possible? Then it’s a rom-com!
For some reason, romantic comedies believe that people have to behave like children pulling one another’s hair in a playground before they’re actually allowed to fall for each other, which is mental.
In real life, if you actively despise someone to the extent that they do in romantic comedies, it’s because the person is a cunt, not because you secretly fancy them.
If you secretly fancied them, you’d go out of your way to ignore how much of a dick they were just to sleep with them, like a normal person.
It’s Just Not Very Funny
Sure, most of them have the romance down – if your idea of romance revolves around fairytale bullshit, like stopping weddings or punching a rival – but very few of them are actually that funny.
There are the obvious classics like Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally (on which we can basically blame the whole genre) and modern rom-coms that attempt to flip the narrative like Knocked Up which are genuinely funny.
But for every one of those gems you’ve got absolute dreck like My Best Friend’s Wedding, 10 Things I Hate About You and The fucking Wedding Planner.
There’ll Be A Cringeworthy Grand Romantic Gesture
Has anyone in the film broken up a wedding (most rom-coms), or done an embarrassing dance (Trainwreck), or stood outside a bedroom window holding a stereo aloft (Say Anything)?
Then it’s definitely a rom-com, in which you can’t just text or message someone on FB inviting them out for a drink.
Instead, you have to become a kind of psycho who treats every potential interaction with your crush like it’s a televised Valentine’s Day reality TV show and you have to do the biggest, dumbest thing possible or risk being voted off immediately.