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Successful Masquerade

Chapter 3 from Romantic Comedy: Boy Meets Girl Meets Genre, by Tamar Jeffers McDonald compared how masquerades in screwball comedies differ from sex comedies. The conventional use of masquerade in romantic comedies made me wonder how accurate of an impersonation of a different culture must be to have a successful masquerade. Within the context of Pillow Talk, how accurately does Brad Allen reflect Texas ranch culture when he poses as Rex Stetson? For example, when Rex says, "Living in Bear country makes you wonder about strange caves," I immediately wondered how many bears live in Texas. According to The Courier, the daily newspaper covering Montgomery County in Texas, states, "The exact number is not known. Estimates range from 20 to 100 bears, but no one knows for sure" (Walls). Perhaps Jan is too enamored with Rex to overanalyze his words, or she may have never met a person from Texas and would not know any better.

People slowly create a new persona, which is not their own when they react to situations around them. For instance, McDonald writes, "...In the sex comedy the adoption of a new persona is carried out by one of the protagonists against the other. Usually, it is the man who puts on a different person with the adoption of an accent and the creation of a new name" (MacDonald 45-46). Although becoming a different person is something someone learns over time, Brad transforms himself into Rex in response to the opportunity to court Jan. He poses as Rex because he feels pressured; he cannot be his true self because Jan does not think highly of him due to his overuse of the party line. Pretending to act like someone they are not for extended periods may cause one to lose sight of the person they are or once were.

A character's masquerade in a romantic comedy usually results in disappointment in oneself because they put a lot of effort into being someone else and still not being liked by another. The inevitable end of a romantic comedy as described by McDonald is that "Man's masquerades and plots are (usually) exposed and the woman, who has not stooped to such levels, is rewarded for her patience by getting the man the way she wants him: legally" (MacDonald 47). Hiding one's real personality may become exhausting and stressful. For example, Brad calls Jan before her dates with Rex and plants expectations about how stereotypical interactions between men and women in Jan's head. Thus, Brad manipulates her into thinking Rex is different from other men because he goes against Jan's preconceived notions. However, when Brad acts as Rex, he showcases the more authentic version of himself, which he still has the potential to develop.

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