What’s The Deal With Rom-Coms?

Valentine’s Day celebrates the concept of love: defined as intense affection. However, according to the ancient Greeks, there are multiple types of love determined by the different types of attention expressed. For example, Valentine’s Day tends to focus on one type: romantic love (eros). Other types of love for one’s significant other are enduring love (pragma) and playful love (ludus). Furthermore, love for one’s friendships and family could be expressed as affectionate love (phila), familial love (storage), self love (philautia), and selfless love (agape).

With so many types of love , why does Valentine’s Day only celebrate romantic love? It is because of one simple thing: modern American media presents love as a mainly romantic phenomenon in order to accommodate wealth. For example, rom-coms were big money-makers in the 90s and early 2000s with titles such as Pretty Woman ($178.4 million) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($241.1 million). 

Are there recent rom-coms now in 2023? Yes. Are there as many made as the ones 20 to 30 years ago? No. Why? It is mainly due to the fact that the binge-watching model created by streaming networks like Netflix ruined the chances of rom-coms making Hollywood richer. Streaming networks are the main way people access their film. The issue with this is that it abolishes the need for Blu Ray DVD. When Blu Ray was around, rom-coms, which might not have brought in a tremendous sum in the theater, potentially doubled their profits when the Blu Ray came out. Without the Blu Ray, rom-coms just are not practical movies to make if the producer wants to make money. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that streaming networks gain money by bringing in new subscribers. Since they are not going to make money by making one really good rom-com, they make a few really bad ones; for instance when Vanessa Hudgens played five princesses at once in the Princess Switch. 

So, what does one do this Valentine’s Day if there aren’t any new, decent rom-coms and one cannot celebrate eros (romantic love)? Well, celebrate the friendship kind of love with a special celebration called Galentine’s Day. The concept originated from the sit-com, Parks and Recreation, where the girls of the show go to brunch, buy gifts, and tell their friends how much you love them. Therefore, drop the rom-com, and hang with your gals.