Romantic comedies continue to set bar high for relationships

Students are noticing the unrealistic features of the popular entertainment genre


Kassidy Corbin

Many couples are enjoying the act of watching romantic comedies together.

Longing to be the girl whom people write poems about, Skyline College student Maggie Macalisang has raised their standards because of romantic comedies.

“I feel like a hopeless romantic because I’ll see all of these love gestures in movies,” said Macalisang, who has had past relationships. “But in real life, I’m just disappointed in how men are these days. I want that love but I know it’s not going to happen.”

Many people compare their love experiences to those special moments in movies when lovers first meet to the progression of the relationship. . From 2020 to 2021, romantic comedies have sold around an average of 573,659 tickets by releasing 17 movies, according to The Numbers, a website that shows box office history on movies.

“In the span of my lifetime, I’ve watched around 30 or more,” Macalisang said. ”Rom-coms are my favorite genre. It really sets standards super high, but I know in my head that it’s not real.”

Hopeless romantics develop unrealistic expectations due to the influence of the media. There are moments where people wish something were to happen to them because they saw it on a staged TV screen.

“It sets my bar really high,” Macalisang said. “If I were ever to be in a relationship, I would notice the little things, like opening the door or holding hands, which are most pointed out in romantic comedies.”

Romantic comedies usually show the journey of two people who may or may not be ready for a relationship but depict them as “the one” for one another. The movie then portrays that there is usually one love for you always no matter what.

Tania Tam, a psychology professor at Skyline College, believes that the idea of “the one” is misleading. Movies usually begin when someone who doesn’t want to be in a relationship meets a special person and changes then lives happily ever after.

“If someone doesn’t want to be in a relationship, they may have attachment issues and not be someone who is good at relationships,” Tam said. “It’s hard for people to change. Falling in love is less about finding a special other person and more about your own attachment style.”

Romantic comedies are known for their cliches like love at first sight or the idea of soulmates, fate, or “the one.” People are left to ponder if they have experienced some themselves or made someone else experience them.

“Every time I would watch rom-com, I would sometimes copy how they interact with each other,” said Vincent Patrick Llamas, a student at Skyline who has made it out of the friend zone with his high school crush. “I always wanted a relationship like that, and now that I have a girlfriend, I’ve been doing it. When I am with my girlfriend, I feel like I’m in my own movie. Every situation I’m in I feel like it’s one of those special scenes or moments.”

When reflecting on their love life, many ask themselves if they are doing everything right since movies portray love as if there is only one way to love.

“Some people aren’t that romantic and rom-com make you question like ‘oh, why is this person not doing this to me’ or ‘ Why can’t he make an effort like that for me?’“ Lamas said. “But not everyone has the same kind of love for each other due to having different love languages.”

There are five love languages being words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and acts of service developed by Dr. Gray Chapman. Each is communicated differently and has different effects on people. There could be misunderstandings within one another and their needs. Romantic comedies only show certain love languages.

“Rom-com communicate the fact that love exists but could be confusing to people who they’re inclined to more of a different idea of what love is,” said Shanon Maguey, a student at Skyline who has never been in a relationship.

One of the most showcased love languages in romantic comedies is receiving gifts and words of affirmation.

“A man buying a woman flowers, serenading her, buying her gifts and saying ‘I love you,’” said Tam. “These are superficial aspects of love but can form unnecessary expectations. Real healthy relationships involve more mundane and less showy things that involve acceptance and compromise.”

Everyone defines love differently and has different ways of expressing it. One thing romantic comedies have in common is that the bad aspects of relationships, like breakups or miscommunication, are romanticized. It causes viewers to believe that after a toxic relationship they will go back together and everything will be solved. This cliche can be seen in many other scenarios where they always end up having a happy ending.

“I didn’t know that it’s physically painful to go through a heartbreak,” said Maguey. “They always show in movies that they are fine or doesn’t hurt as bad as they truly are. You have spent your time with this person and regardless of whether they were a good partner or not, it’s still going to hurt because you gave this person your time, energy, and love.”

Romantic relationships can’t be perfect as they are depicted in movies. Understanding the false expectations depicted helps create happier moments and heightened appreciation for your partner.