Cringe Comedy: Why Must They go There?

© Can Stock Photo / lhfgraphics

There’s a reason why I stopped watching RomComs, apart from the Different Movie, Same Plot syndrome that wore on my patience before very long. The other reason why I stopped watching RomComs is pretty simple: not one of them –ever– has been able to not rely on some element of cringey, awful, terribad quote-unquote “comedy”.

They rely on mortification. They rely on ancient, terrible stereotypes. They rely on crutches that should have long since turned to sawdust, if the world was fair. They go to some long-dead remnant of ‘humour’ that has definitely NOT aged well.

I want to shrivel up and die, every single time.

Which is why I can’t go near the average RomCom. I just know that they’re going to go there. Someone is going to get caught in their underwear. Someone is going to say something way too easily misconstrued as being of a sexual nature. If it’s terribly horrible, someone is going to rigidly adhere to a stereotype so old that only the oldest members would remember it as being funny. Like Stepin Fetchit levels of ancient racist stereotype “funny”.

I honestly don’t know why they do this.

Like… it gets a laugh, but…

I really think it shouldn’t.

We don’t need to rely on these steaming piles of bullshit for the sake of comedy. There’s smarter ways to make people laugh. We sure as shit don’t need to rely on fucking racism to make people laugh.

It needs to stop.

There’s endless realms of comedy at any given writer’s command. Going for the cheap laughs, the problematic laughs, shouldn’t need to keep being a thing. It’s why I rarely actually laugh at RomComs.

My Beloved loves them. They laugh at all the jokes. Even the pathetic ones. I love them dearly, but… I just wish they’d take things at more than face value once in a while. As long as there’s a happy ending, my love can forgive anything.

Me? I’m more demanding of my humour.

I don’t want to watch people being absolutely incomprehensible idiots for my laughs. I want setup-miss-delivery!twist.

It’s simple.

Set up the obvious gag – man with a plank, for example. The audience presumes what’s going to happen. That plank is going to thwack someone in the head at some point.

Miss that joke. Preferably in increasingly unlikely situations. Someone bends to pick up a penny. Someone goes inside a doorway or a side turn just in the nick of time. Drag that out as long as you can for genius points.

Then the delivery!twist. The plank gets caught on something even the audience didn’t see coming and the dude carrying that plank goes for an unexpected pratfall.

Comedy gold.

No racism, no sexism, no rudeness necessary.

If you gotta do the sexy jokes, go for the old-fashioned double-entendre. Especially deflating expectations with innocent explanations. There’s no need to use the (usually) female star getting caught in her underwear by a (usually) male character who may or may not turn up as the romantic lead.

If there’s a cute kid in the formula, one could also add in out-of-context comedy. Where something one character said is taken out of context and quoted by the kid to some other character.

RomComs are not even trying to be clever about their comedy. It’s the same old thing in the same old pattern every damn time, and I’m tired of it. It’s reaching the point where I would kill to see something new and different with the same tired old dross. Anything new and different.

They just need to change something.

Anything.

Please.

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