On the latest episode of our Show Your Work podcast, Duana and I, pegging off Vulture’s recent series about rom-coms, talked about the romantic comedies we miss and the ones we look forward to watching. Yesterday, pegged to Valentine’s Day, Vox listed “7 reasons Hollywood doesn’t make romantic comedies anymore”. The rise of YA movies comes in at #2. Because for some reason, Hollywood won’t let us have both. Movies targeted for women can only be rom-coms or YA adaptations – that’s, apparently, all the space we get, while men have always enjoyed a buffet of movie options, including whatever f-cksh-t Adam Sandler keeps making.
Did you know that one of the most enduring romantic comedies turns 30 years old this year? And that it was actually more than a rom-com because underneath the summer love story was a story that “championed safe abortion”?
That would be Dirty Dancing, released August 1987. Last week HuffPo spoke with Eleanor Bergstein who wrote the script for Dirty Dancing to talk about the reaction to Penny’s abortion at the time the movie came out and how, in 1987, some people were questioning whether or not it was relevant. It was relevant then. And it could not be more f-cking relevant now. Baby danced in the water and flew up the stage and fell in love that summer but she also found out about class, consent, race, and what happens to women when other people make decisions about what they can and can’t do with their bodies – and all of that was presented to us, quite seamlessly, in a romantic comedy. Which has ostensibly become a lost genre. I guess that just means we’ll have to keep watching it over and over again.
Yours in gossip,