The RomCom Genre on TV: Ranking the Revival
This fall, for better or worse, romantic comedies are having an undeniable revival on network television. Three shows on two networks exemplify the tried and true format we’ve all seen before: Girl and Boy meet, Girl and Boy have quirky jobs, Girl and Boy have problems that are pretty easy to face, Girl and Boy end up together. Now, just because I think it’s formulaic, doesn’t mean that I’m not drawn in by the promises of meet-cutes or the moment they figure out they’re two peas in a pod. So let me make this clear: I love romantic comedies. I miss the days of yore when Nora Ephron ruled the genre and we received true gifts like Heartburn and You’ve Got Mail. Love Actually gets me more emotional than the (real) final scene of Scrubs. Besides, we can’t watch Breaking Bad all the time; we’d be super messed up. So here’s an evaluation of the network’s current offerings:
A to Z (NBC)
A to Z is a cutesy premise-based romcom with Katey Segal as the voice of god narrator who tells us how long Andrew and Zelda will date and helps us delve back into their lives. Cristin Millioti, known for her roles in the Broadway musical Once and for playing the mother on How I Met Your Mother, is always delightful to watch. In this show she plays a hesitant lawyer whose life has shown her that belief in fate always leads people astray. Ben Feldman, most known for his stint on Mad Men, takes a turn as the sweet and romantic nice-guy Andrew, who listens to Celine Dion in his car and works for a matchmaking service. The plotlines can feel a little recycled sometimes, but the chemistry of the actors and the ebullience of the two main characters (the supporting characters are crappy in my opinion) keeps me watching. I want to see where it goes.
Marry Me (NBC)
First off, I have to state my bias here. I love David Caspe, the creator and EP of this show. His last show Happy Endings was amazing and I totally recommend it. Out of all the Friends copycats that have existed, this show truly distinguished itself as unique, of its own voice, and a modern day descendant/updated/possibly better version. Casey Wilson and Ken Mariano star in this show about a couple clearly made for each other yet they keep running into complications when they try to get engaged. Ultimately this show has a great cast and has great promise. It works of the Rom Com premise that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, the characters are ones you can root for, and the comedy is on point. Wilson and Mariano have great chemistry and as two actors who’ve been largely under-utilized and under-appreciated, Marry Me is a good shot for the two to reach a larger audience to show them how amazing they are. The kiss of death for this show is that it runs on NBC, which is focusing less on comedy than ever before. The odds are slim, but like I said, Marry Me gives you something to root for
Manhattan Love Story (ABC)
A cringe-worthy, gendered, he-thinks she-thinks show that lost my attention within the first ten minutes. The girl, Dana, has no depth and the guy, Peter, seems rude and entitled. The only redeemable thing throughout the whole episode was when she says, “think happy thoughts. Free wine, Pixar movies, first orgasm I didn’t give myself.” Other than that watching this show was a waste of my time.