In this very special episode, the gang takes us through a history of the romantic comedy genre through the lens of its most iconic films and how their representations of women and their relationships have changed overtime. They were also able to sit down with Alex Richanbach, director of the movie “Ibiza,” a Netflix original that is an homage to romantic comedies in more ways than one.

The rom com, the classic relatable and predictable romantic comedy has been in the industry for over 30 years, notably when we were gifted with 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally. Subsequently, the genre has impacted the modern movie industry. In today’s episode, we’ll be unpacking this widely beloved genre, exploring its implications on modern-day life and society, and speaking with a rom com expert and director of the film, “Ibiza,” Alex Richanbach.  

As of recently, Netflix found that between March 2017 and March 2018 over 80 million accounts watched a romantic film. Yet, what does this say about the overall quality of the genre? Generally, the more “bro” films like The Hangover, Stepbrothers, and Superbad acquire an air of respectability when compared to romcoms, but their commonalities go well beyond their comical screenplays. Both rely on plenty of tropes that allow viewers to comfortably enjoy their predictable narratives. While the predictability of bro movies are generally accepted as fun, for rom coms it tends to be a common criticism.

Here, at Arts, Interrupted, we claim that it all comes down to gender. Romcoms tend to be targeted at women only. There is this overall idea in our society that women don’t deserve to experience pleasure. Therefore, romantic comedies are relegated to the guilty pleasure category too often.

In defense of rom coms, the arts’ crew dived deep into the intricacies of each era of romantic comedies: the 80/90’s classics, the girlboss aughts, and the digital age. By exploring the history of rom coms, we can see how society’s view on women has influenced culture and how culture has influenced society too. 

After our brief analysis of the eras of romantic comedies, the crew sat down with Alex Richanbach, director of the hilarious, carefree Netflix original “Ibiza.” Alex spoke about how the classic tropes of rom coms have allowed him to think outside the box and influence his own creative process. Then, we discussed the intricacies of being a director of a project centered around someone of a different experience from your own. In the end, Alex gave us a glimpse into the bright, diverse future that the entertainment industry has to bring. 

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Thank you so much to Alex for taking the time to speak with us and indulging in all of our juicy questions. This episode was brought to you by executive producer Emily Ohl, senior editor Max Rosenzweig, content producers Max Schabel, Sam Goldenberg, and Juan Gonzalez, audio producers Ben Schrier, Sam DuBose, and Will Pederson, and audio engineer Spencer Harris. Thanks for choosing us!

Emily Ohl, the executive producer of Arts, Interrupted can be reached at eohl@umich.edu.