Make Rom-coms Great Again

Illustration for article titled Make Rom-coms Great Again
Image: TriStar Pictures

An upcoming J. Lo film revolving around mistaken identity. A movie starring Drew Barrymore, also revolving around mistaken identity. A romantic comedy starring a woman with the surname Roberts. Either we’ve been transported to the year 2000, or the romcom is back. Again.


For years, critics have been declaring the genre dead, then alive, then dead again, then alive again. But with the charming Netflix movie Set It Up triggering a slew ofromcoms are back!!!!!” takes, it seems this zombie of a genre has risen once more.

In this episode of DirtCast, Megan chats with Jezebel culture editor Clover Hope about this ascendant/moribund genre. Through the late ’80s to early 2000s may be considered its golden age, the romcom never really went away, they argue—it just changed form. So what’s happened to it since Harry met Sally? From teen romcoms to black romcoms to budget straight-to-Netflix romcoms, the hosts discuss what actually counts as a “romcom” these days while sharing some of their favorites.

What role does cynicism play in the direction the genre has taken, and is it bigger or smaller than the role Judd Apatow has played? Why don’t A listers do romcoms anymore? And do we really need a movie that is basically “Romeo and Juliet but with pizza?” (Yes.)

Megan is also joined by Jezebel alum Joanna Rothkopf to discuss the Dirtiest Dirt of the week, including real life romcoms When Pete Met Ariana Then Deleted His Instagram, 500 Days of @SammyMarkle64, and There’s Something About Lindsay’s Club in Mykonos.

DirtCast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, NPR One and iHeart Media.

This episode was produced by Rachel Withers. Mandana Mofidi is our Executive Director of Audio. Our theme music is by Stuart Wood. This episode was mixed by Jamie Collazzo.



There is no way the 80s-2000 were the golden age of RomComs. The 30s and 40s turned out an incredible number of rom cons that are great. The only ones I can think of that come close are Rob Reiner’s films (When Harry Met Sally, Princess Bride, The Sure Thing) and a couple remakes of classic works (Clueless, 10 Things I hate about you). Most of the more modern rom-coms are problematic and give me more of an ick feeling than anything else (See: Sleepless in Seattle).

The best rom coms (IMO) of the 30-40s include (but are not limited to)

The Lady Eve, His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, It Happened one Night, The Philadelphia Story, My Man Godfrey, I Married a Witch, Holiday, The Shop Around the Corner, My Favorite Wife, Woman of the Year, Ball of Fire, The Palm Beach Story, Ninotchka, Trouble in Paradise, The Awful Truth, You Can’t take it with you, Nothing Sacred, Arsenic and Old Lace, Bachelor Mother, City Lights, Flying Down to Rio, Easter Parade...

Even the 50s had some cold classics that beat out the 80s (though many do have their issues)- Some Like it Hot, Roman Holiday, Born Yesterday, Gidget, Desk Set, Singing in the Rain...