Romantic Comedies tend to follow the same basic premise. We’re introduced to both boy and girl, both living in similarly hectic lives or perhaps one is much more comfortable than the other. Boy and girl meet, boy and girl have amusing back-and-forths, boy and girl fall in love. Happily ever after, right?
But, do you ever notice where and how they meet?
What is a Meet-Cute?
In rom-coms, people tend to meet in overly staged or cute ways. There’s always a power dynamic at play, an embarrassing situation, or a delightful misunderstanding.
It’s called a meet-cute. Simply put, and according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a meet-cute is “a scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time”. The scene and setting of how the two leads in a rom-com meet usually drives the plot of the entire movie in some way or another.
For example, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding our lead meets her future husband when she’s a depressed, badly dressed waitress in her parent’s restaurant. Seeing his handsome visage prompts her to get a makeover, get a better job and she soon meets him again when she’s rocking her new look.
So, with the 2019 Oscars coming up in February, we wanted to help the singles on our website find their own meet-cute. So, what are the most common meet-cute situations? Where are you going to find your prince or princess in the real world?
As we can see it’s most likely you’re going to have a classic rom-com meet-cute at work! Which is great news for American workers who, on average, spend 44 hours of their week at work. Good examples of work meet-cutes include What Women Want where Mel Gibson plays the chauvinistic ad executive unexpectedly demoted under Helen Hunt’s high powered ad director. Work is a great place to meet someone new and typically in rom-coms, the power dynamics of working with someone you like can produce some unexpected but hilarious results. Box office gold in the making.
That’s right, rom-coms can swerve and then swerve again and trip up the audience with no meet-cute at all. How? Well, well in Sex and the City we meet Carrie Bradshaw and the rest of the girls in committed relationships. My Best Friend’s Wedding also introduces established relationships and friendships, there’s no reunions, mishaps or japes that get our leads all starry-eyed. A more modern example is Crazy Rich Asians, the most recent film on the list, which starts with the lead couple already in a relationship – perhaps signally the end of meet-cutes in the future?
A man walks into a bar and meets the love of his life, a tale as old as time. Which is no surprise that it’s high up on our romantic comedy meet-cute scenarios. Famous examples of this include Hitch, Knocked Up and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. That said, the latter could be in a Venn diagram of ‘work’ and our ‘bar’ categories since the titular characters are both simulating their meet-cute in order to get ahead at their workplaces.
Amazingly a reporter’s assignment is the third most popular meet-cute. This isn’t surprising if you read our other study into the most popular jobs held by the protagonists in romantic comedies where Journalist came in at number one for both men and women. So, it makes sense that a lot of rom-coms centre around a journalist doing a story on their future beau. Some examples of this can be found in Mr Deeds, 27 Dresses, Trainwreck and Runaway Bride.
Trust us, this isn’t as creepy as it sounds. There just happen to be a surprising amount of rom-coms where the lead falls in love with current partners relation. In Something’s Gotta Give Jack Nicholson falls in love with the mother of his girlfriend, Diane Keaton. In While You Were Sleeping, Sandra Bullock forgets all about the stranger in a coma she’s supposed to be in love with and instead falls for his brother Bill Pullman.
It’s somewhat surprising that meeting someone online is not a popular meet-cute in romantic comedies. Today, more and more people are meeting online, but as you can see from our full list of meet-cutes, reality doesn’t sell as well as fantasy. Only two rom-coms include dating online. Bringing Down the House stars a classic odd coupling of Steve Martin and Queen Latifah – although they aren’t romantically involved, their meeting definitely falls into the meet-cute category. Finally, You’ve Got Mail is our other online dating love story, a classic ’90s nostalgia blast it almost makes it look like getting email is fun!