If I had to choose a scene from a romantic comedy, I would pick Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher arguing over a coffee table in When Harry Met Sally. Years ago I walked the Upper West Side in the pouring rain to immortalize myself in front of their house and then took refuge in Café Luxembourg where Kirby says a line that stuck with me like cat hair: “Pesto is the quiche of the 80s.” When I first heard it, I didn’t know what it meant, but it sounded about as adult as discussing side furniture. Jess and Marie are the real heroes of the movie. They like each other instantly. It takes Harry and Sally 12 years and three months to recognize the obvious. They are not role models. I’m certain they had a shocking divorce, while Jess and Marie are still in love and playing Pictionary.
They say romantic comedies are dead, I doubt it. As soon as pumpkins disappear from the shop windows, TV networks rush to replace their movies about killer nannies with stories of female executives finding love in snowy Vermont towns. Filmmakers such as Ernst Lubitsch and Nora Ephron and their rapid-fire dialogue may be gone, but the need for vicarious romance remains. This is seen in the inordinate attention that is being given to the relationship between Taylor Swift and NFL player Travis Kelce. Supposedly serious media are analyzing their body language and the NFL has made the couple its star attraction. This interest is reciprocated by the public. Even more serious media try to analyze why their relationship attracts so much interest. I don’t think their investigation will win them the Pulitzer, the answer is simple: sometimes it is nice to see happy people.
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