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  • Writer's pictureRKPROST

Conflict and Character Personalities in the Romantic Comedy

Romantic comedies have a framework, which they follow yet change in response to social and cultural shifts. Historically, females ages 12-55 tend to watch romantic comedies, but men and couples enjoy viewing these movies as well. When I thought about the target audience for romantic comedies, I found the major field of conflict between generations, as well as David Grote’s three personalities of romantic comedies, made an impression on me.

Teen romantic comedies tend to stereotypically target women ages 12-25 because they project and evoke the dream of one falling in love and being swept off their feet by their soul mate. The younger audience can relate to the emotions of the characters through the process of identification. They see parts of themselves, physically and/or emotionally, portrayed in the film character, which allows them to relate to the events. Especially for teenagers, the conflict between generations is one, which they are better able to relate to the romantic comedy’s depiction of fathers as “rigid tyrants who stand in the way of change” (Grindon 3). How do 30-45-year-old women and men who may be parents feel about their societal role represented as the “established order” (Grindon 3)? When they view the film, do they relate more to the film’s parent characters or still be able to relate to the memory of being a teen and rebelling against their parents, given their current stage of life and maturity?

The innocent, fool, and scoundrel are three personalities David Grote identified as commonly depicted in romantic comedies. While watching a romantic comedy featuring the innocent personality, one may reminisce about their first relationship or the first time they were in love as an inexperienced youth before the learning process took over (Grindon 15). When people seem to have trouble finding a relationship or face many rejections, they may feel discouraged in love as others seem to find partners easily. Upon facing several rejections or failed connections using different courtship strategies, they may feel like they are “immune to learning and at a loss in society,” similar to the fool personality (Grindon 15). Over time, one may become cynical of love or desire freedom, which allows them to identify with the scoundrel personality. However, the romantic comedy scoundrel ingratiates themselves with “the beloved as well as the audience,” and love convinces them to give up their uncontrollable nature (Grindon 16). One can identify with each of these personalities, depending on their attitude toward love. The audience can also find similarities between the romantic comedy’s obstacles and the character’s feelings in their own life events.

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