Some rom-com characters really aren’t all that

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rom com. A comfort film after a long rainy day, or bingeing chocolate with friends, the structure of a rom-com seemingly never gets old… boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. But why does the boy ever win the girl back? Grand sweeping gestures wouldn’t fix real life problems, and partners in real life would give up on the first flawed hurdle of a Bridget Jones esque character.

Blockbuster American comedies aren’t the only victims of this crime. There is a major fault in our wee British characters as well. My personal favourite, About Time, is the most quaint, picturesque film. But the ginger-haired protagonist isn’t without his flaws. He forces the meeting of himself and his future wife multiple times by time travelling. I mean, get the hint, if it’s meant to be, it will be. He then meets the love of his life and doesn’t even tell her that he is a time traveller.

With hit songs still sang in pub karaoke’s to this day and wigs galore, Grease has been a cult classic since it’s release over forty-five years ago. But the outdated song lines aren’t the only thing modern audiences cringe at today. Olivia Newton-John’s Sandy is arguably the most flawed of them all. As a virginuous do-gooder that whines for the other characters raucousness, she essentially changes herself from top to toe all for a man who had fooled her from the start.

Let’s never forget Bridget Jones. Although Hugh Grant’s deceivingly charming Daniel Cleaver is obviously the antagonist from the start, we need a serious chat about Mark Darcy. The first time we meet Colin Firth’s awkward character, he is snarky and rude, clearly disapproving of Bridget’s job, friends, and habits. Although his character doesn’t change throughout the films, we’re supposed to believe they are perfect together. I don’t think so.

The thought of how painstakingly awful Julia Robert’s character is in My Best Friend’s Wedding makes me cringe. She started off as a defiantly single and career-driven woman that we all could aspire to be and instead tries to break up her best friend’s wedding and embarrass the poor fiance.

The magnificent Paul Rudd is ageless, but his character in Clueless doesn’t exactly stand the test of time. As well as being a snobby judging college graduate, the man still lives with his ex-stepfather, for Christ’s sake. If the supposed nine-year age gap between Cher and Josh wasn’t bad enough, the fact they used to be step-siblings is even more horrific. Although this film is widely regarded as a cult classic, it definitely wouldn’t be produced today.

So it begs the question why do we keep letting these flawed rom com characters come back? Why is a grand-sweeping gesture after one-hour-and-45 minutes of deception acceptable? But also why do we let women get away with the worst just because they have a gorgeous head of curls? Or because they become sex symbols at the end of the film? Maybe the faults of rom-com’s characters are the thing that draws us back to such films every time.

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