I admit it. In the past, I was a Romantic Comedy junkie.

(I still really really really like them but have tried to move on to more adultish genres.)

(I am sometimes successful at this.)

The 80’s and 90’s were a hot bed of Romantic Comedies, and as that paralleled with my impressionable childhood and adolescence, I had all of the fodder my addiction could slurp down.

But a few weeks ago, I realized something. There’s a reason for the decline in the number of new Romantic Comedies.

All former RomCom plots could be debunked by modern technology.

As soon as this struck me, I began going through them in my mind, desperately manic. Like a checklist, every one of them made zero sense in the context of today.

However, I realized I was fully unqualified to do this thesis on my own – I am admittedly a pop culture dunce. So I brought in my friends Jamie and Knox, superstars and brilliantly funny hosts of The Popcast, which has the venerable status of being the ONLY Podcast that I have or will ever listen to (aside from This American Life because everyone should listen to This American Life.)

We decided to do a blog/pod collaboration: They will be discussing this topic on their podcast today, and I will be discussing it here. So after you read my post, be sure to click over and listen to their analysis, which is guaranteed to be 97.5% more knowledgeable than mine.


First, let’s discuss my findings.

Say Anything.

Say Anything

Clearly this scene was severely more romantic than today’s version, which would be gifting a song through iTunes.

“Oh look! He sent me a romantic song. I still hate him.”

Or making a playlist on Spotify and naming it after her.

“Uh, no. Making a playlist takes all of 10 seconds. If you really love me you’d make an old-fashioned mixtape – the kind that you wait all night for a certain song to come on the radio and scramble to hit record before the opening stanza completes. THAT is true love.”




If they were meant to be together, then match.com would have known that and linked them up. Then it wouldn’t have been a movie but just a commercial for match.com. Serendipitous indeed.

…Or worse, their relationship would have become lost in the murky darkness of “Craiglist Missed Opportunities” where decent people fear to tread.

The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride

They knew it was true love before he left the farm, so they would have totally connected to each other on the Find my Friends App. Buttercup would have checked the app obsessively and seen that he was right there and wouldn’t have pushed him down the hill. Without that “AAAAASSSS YOOOOOUUUU WISSSSSSSH”, would it have been such an amazing movie? No.

Also? She would have most likely and quite idiotically not passcoded her phone, and Humperdinck would’ve used it to find The Dread Pirate Roberts even sooner.

No chocolate-coated ball of magic could have saved him from the fate of Find My Friends.

(But Fezzik’s text messages would have been precious.)

Sleepless in Seattle.

Sleepless in Seattle

Pandora doesn’t have call-ins – who listens to national radio shows anymore? And anyway, kids these days don’t know how to make an actual phone call – that’s ludicrous.

…Now the kid might have snapchatted his sad, lonely Dad…THAT’S a more believable plot.

While You Were Sleeping.

While You Were Sleeping

His family would have checked his Facebook Profile, seen that not only was he not in a relationship but that he wasn’t even friends with her, and totally kicked her out of that hospital room.

The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

You may be able to erase a memory, but you can NEVER erase an online footprint. And online footprints ruin all attempts to forget anyone.

Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Bridget Jones

It would’ve been Bridget Jones’ Blog, both men would have found it and totally trolled her. Or if not a blog, then at the very least an old LiveJournal account that a quirky 30-something would cling to.

Sixteen Candles.

Sixteen Candles

Samantha’s family couldn’t forget her birthday because Facebook.

“Grandma Helen and 184 other people wished Samantha a Happy Birthday. Don’t YOU want to write on her wall?”

When Harry Met Sally.

When  Harry Met Sally

Sally would have never called Harry to weep about possibly turning 40. She would have posted annoying downer statuses on all social networks fishing for optimistic lies from her friends from High School.

“I’m gonna b 40. Someday. #lifesucks #oldie #crying”

Pretty Woman.

Pretty Woman

Edward would have just found a date on Tinder.

And who wouldn’t swipe right to Richard Gere?!

You see?


We, as a nation, have outgrown Romantic Comedies.

And as penance for our technological sins, we are left with Romantic movies that didn’t intend to be comedic but actually kind of are – like Twilight.

Be sure to listen to The Popcast to hear more examples of RomComs flushed away by our modern age. And to experience the magic that is Jamie and Knox.

12 thoughts on “Technology Killed the RomCom.

  1. I disagree with one – The Princess Bride. It would still work since it’s set in the past. But that’s the key to a successful romantic comedy now. They need to be set in a time before Facebook and cell phones.
    Which reminds me of a funny story. I was watching Gilligan’s Island with my 11 year old last week, and he was having a hard time understanding how they could all be trapped on the island for so long – why didn’t they just use their cell phones??

    1. I always thought The Princess Bride was in a parallel universe. But you’re right – even being in a parallel universe should exempt it – fantasy helps all suspension of disbelief along tremendously.

  2. I love romantic comedies. I have watched all these so many times it is not funny. But you are right modern technology does destroy the plot of most in today’s world. Oh John Cusack actually did a movie about a couple meeting on Match.com. Must love dogs. I guess You’ve got mail tried to have a modern technology twist on the classic but even that is outdated now. Funny really.

  3. Thank you for tackling this sad, but true topic with us at The Popcast. You picked all the great movies, HOWEVER I got to talk about the jewel that is “She’s All That.” So bad it is good.

  4. I have thought about this a few times recently. The entire Love Actually movie could have been done on facebook or via text. Emma Thompson could have found out Alan Rickman was cheating on her by snooping on his phone, and the little boy could have just poked the girl on facebook instead of running after her in the airport. Notting Hill- Hugh Grant would have never met Julia Roberts selling his travel books from home on his Amazon store. And Retun to Me- David Duchovny would have totally known Minnie Driver had gotten a new heart- her facebook wall would have been full of well wishes, and best friend Bonnie Hunt would have tweeted for prayers.

    Of course, the ultimate rom coms are from the 1940-1960s (even if they were a little more com than rom), in the age of party line telephones and snail mail. Pillow Talk is the ultimate rom com against which i judge all other rom coms. The wretched 2003 remake (or was it supposed to be a spoof?), Down with Love, was embarrassing.

  5. As I have gotten older and more cynical, I’ve given up on romantic comedies in general I will, however, still watch any rom com that contains Tom Hanks, because I have a massive crush on him that goes all the way back to his Bosom Buddies days. Sleepless in Seattle still makes me bawl like a baby. EVERY time.

  6. Aside from Titanic and (if you count is as a borderline chick flick) Last of the Mohicans, my favorite Chick Flick is Notting Hill… and though Spike had to wait til mid-movie to tell people at the pub that Anna Scott is staying at he and William’s flat, in today’s society, he would have tweeted that out post haste… “.@TheRealAnnaScott is at our flat! Rmte @BookstoreWill is keeping company! Don’t tell N E 1” and we would have gotten the brilliant “Ain’t No Sunshine” scene at the beginning… which we wouldn’t have heard, because he would have had it on an iPod, walking to his Travel Books & eBooks store…

  7. I’m convinced that if anyone can write a current romcom, it’s Mindy Kaling. I keep hoping she’ll do it. She does it well on her TV show, and she says she may try it on the big screen. She’s a diehard fan of romcoms like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks vehicles, and her all-time favorite is When Harry Met Sally. So I know she has good taste. Fingers crossed.

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