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How Baby Boomers Killed the Modern Romantic Comedy

We are in a confoundingly complex point in gender relations, as evidenced by the number of books, NPR stories and articles on the subject. But while everyone is talking about the problem, no one has focused on the root of the problem, which is actually quite simple. From the late 1960s on, girls (for the first time in history) were raised to play sports, go to college and become independent, career-focused adults (more like boys). Baby Boomer parents changed the way they raised their daughters, but they did not change the way they raised their sons. As a result women now act more like men, but men are behaving as they were raised, like men–-and so, at present, Americans are undergoing a sexistentialist crisis of Woody Allen-sized proportions.

The very personal/universal nature of the screenwriting process means romantic comedies, by extension, are like celluloid dissertations on the prevailing romantic attitudes, notions, desires, fears, needs, and hopes in America. Between the popularity of the bromance and the inability of Hollywood to make even one halfway-decent romcom, like its most recent attempt, The Other Woman, what we've been witnessing for the past twenty years is evidence of this current gender friction playing itself out on the silver screen.

Judd Apatow and his compadres have been writing a lot of bromances, romantic comedies about the love of two or more men (often) acting out a second adolescence together, and a superfluous woman or two who occasionally make an appearance. Unlike romantic comedies of yore, the guys in these films aren't not out to win the dame, they're out to rescue or win the love of their best friend (see This Is the End as the most recent example). The guys in these movies seem very confused about what do with women, so they've conveniently written them out of or as a sideline to their (b)romances altogether. READ MORE