I’ve been thinking a lot about romantic comedies. Back when I was a kid, I absolutely loved rom-coms. My mom and I would spend afternoons in front of the TV watching all these amazing actors falling in love, falling out of love, and being in the strangest but funny circumstances.
But the world of rom-coms is dead and all those actors who made so much money making people feel good about their lives now focus their time on creating social media brands, doing tons of commercials, working on really lame horror movies, or just fading into obscurity. At some point Hollywood made this executive decision to stop making romantic comedies (and pretty much anything else outside of Disney and bad horror movies).
Recently, it feels like the genre is finally re-emerging from its tireless slumber bringing more romantic stories to folks like me. While they may not be movies (even though that’s slowly coming back), I’ve been seeing it a lot in books. Adult romances with funny little covers and YA romances where complications of school and a relationship are appearing on bookstores shelves. It may not be Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, but it’s there. Authors like Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang are proudly putting out funny yet heartfelt stories not only about love, but about relationships.
I guess you could be upset that it’s the same recycled story over and over, but romance has always been about the journey instead of the destination. If we all understand that they’ll end up happily ever after, then what makes readers continue to read these stories? For me, I think it’s because the approach is always different. If you’re a fan of the human condition, then knowing that the book ends happily doesn’t really affect the process of reading the book. Humans approach the world differently and that includes romantic pursuits and so in reading a romantic story, you’re looking less for the outcome and more for how they reach it. If that makes sense.
And the cherry on top of this beautiful romantic cake is diversity. Amongst the funny stories of boy meets girl, we have same sex couples, interracial couples, and couples of all shapes and sizes. Authors are exploring diversity and expanding the romantic universe beyond the faces it used to see. Even bestselling author Julia Quinn’s historical romance, The Bridgertons, are getting a diversity treatment in its Netflix adaptation with an African American male lead. Despite the naysayers who want producers and authors to stick with the race they’ve determined in their head, this re-emergence of romantic stories including diversity makes this genre much more appealing than many others.
So if you’re currently writing a romantic story or if you’re planning on doing it in the future, I encourage you to do so. There’s a place for romcoms in the world and it may not be on the silver screen. It may just be on the little one you hold in your hand.