If you’ve been listening to my podcast, Celibate and the Suburbs, you know that each week I watch a new “Romantic Comedy” and rate them and decide firmly whether or not it’s actually a Romantic Comedy. In this, I started a literal spreadsheet to keep track of all of my rankings of both movies I watch for the podcast, and ones I just watch in my free time.
Part of the spreadsheet is my patent pending RomCom Checklist. In order to be a GREAT RomCom you need to have all four of these checks. If you have 3/4 you can still be very good, but you won’t be great unless you have all of them. Three of them are the classic ingredients for Romantic Comedies, but the final one is what I think makes RomComs, and any movie honestly, great. I based these items, as well as all of my rankings, off of my all time favorite RomCom, and movie honestly, What’s Your Number. It’s the perfect mix of rom and com, and just an all around fantastic movie and romantic comedy.
What is this checklist you may ask? Let me fucking tell you.
- Is there a musical number?
- Does it make you want to fall in love?
- Is it funny?
- Is there a miscommunication?
As you can probably guess, the musical number is the one that brings it over the top for me. I’m not talking about a literal musical number, it can be something as simple as the characters performing karaoke. Or if there’s a hot Bostonian that’s in a wedding band. Cough cough, What’s Your Number. I think it just elevates any great romantic comedy. Romantic Comedies are supposed to be kind of absurd and whimsical, and musical numbers just add to that.
Does it make you want to fall in love? I mean, if a romantic movie doesn’t make you want to fall in love at the end, it’s a bad romantic movie! You should be aching for love at the end of it. Same with, “is it funny?” you can’t have a romantic COMEDY without the god damn comedy! That is simply not how it works. It doesn’t need to be laugh out loud, but it does in fact need to be funny.
Miscommunications in Romantic Comedies are a fucking staple trope. Does the couple break up because of something that could have easily been fixed with one or two conversations? That my friends is a misscommunication. It’s not so popular anymore, but a lot of classic romcoms use this, and a lot of romance books use it. You need some sort of drama in a romance, and miscommunications are almost always the perfect way to do that.
Make sure you tune in every Wednesday to listen to Celibate and The Suburbs, wherever you get your podcasts.