My wife and I like to cuddle up at home and indulge in the occasional Rom-Com after the kids have gone to bed. We did this Saturday night with a movie I won’t name because I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, even indirectly. Anyway, like most Rom-Coms of late, I found the depiction of two married couples to be more than a bit offensive.
Because of how they decided to portray the families, and in particular, each couple. One of the couples had two kids (ages 4 and a newborn). The wife was constantly yelling and cursing at the husband, while the husband acted like a crass, apathetic fool with no understanding of social etiquette. Their 4-year-old was literally running around the room screaming like he was tripped out on drugs and the baby was somewhere off in the distance, crying and inconsolable.
The second couple had a baby that looked to be about 8 or 9 months old. They were insulting each other at every opportunity and it was more than obvious that resentment had built up in each of them to the point that they just didn’t care anymore if they hurt each others feelings in public.
Now, I’m sure there are couples that behave this way. That’s not what was offensive. What was offensive was the fact that they used these couples to illustrate what it meant to be married with kids as if this was the standard makeup of today’s family. It was the writer’s commentary on the torture of parenting and how it ruins otherwise good relationship, and was used in direct contrast to a couple of their single friends who watched these two couples implode and decided that it was better to have kids without the “inconvenience of marriage”.
This was the foundation of the movie plot!
I had to pause the movie to voice my frustration at what has become an oft-used plot device of making marriage and parenting seem like punishment for falling in love. I couldn’t understand why destructive, unhealthy marriages have proliferated among what are supposed to be ROMANTIC COMEDIES. I saw nothing romantic or funny about this.
My wife, the kind soul that she is, took my hand and attempted to soothe my frustration by explaining to me that the underlying message is that marriages are for more likely to succeed when the two people involved are best friends and not just lovers.
I accepted this explanation, albeit grumpily. I still think it’s in poor taste to bash marriage and parenting. As if we don’t have enough of that POV regularly reinforced by tabloids and other “reality” media.