Netflix ‘Rom-Coms’ Are Problematic

Sydney Hershberger, Staff Writer

From shy girls to “I’m not like other girls”, Netflix has recently made it a priority to release a romantic comedy at least twice every few months. These “rom-coms” focus on creating narratives for the girls that were never really heard from before in mainstream media, such as the nerd girl, the chubby girl and most recently… the tall girl?

With the most recent announcement of Netflix’s rom-com “Tall Girl” I believe it’s important to look over why most of these movies ultimately fail.

Let’s start out by looking at the good ones. When I think of a good Netflix rom com, I think of “Dumplin.’” It is the story of the daughter of a pageant queen, who is bigger than most of her peers and refuses to take part in her mother’s lifestyle.

This movie works for me because it focuses on the development of the main character while also being inspirational for any overweight girl. It doesn’t come across as overly preachy and the characters are believable.

Combine this with an excellent cast of funny characters, a male love interest who isn’t a total creep (and it actually realistically attractive) and a lovely soundtrack featuring Dolly Parton, and you’ve got yourself a great movie.

For me, this is the perfect formula for a good romantic comedy, and if Netflix kept this going they would’ve had a good couple of rom-coms.

But they didn’t.

Enter “The Kissing Booth.” That movie was Netflix’s start to a downward spiral. The Kissing Booth takes place in a high school setting where a boy whose name I don’t care to remember and Elle are best friends. But surprise, surprise, the male best friend has a hot older brother.

The best friend really doesn’t want Elle to date the hot older brother, so he explicitly states that it is not allowed.

With how close this friendship is, surely Elle wouldn’t betray her best friend’s trust, especially when the older brother is frankly kind of a creep.

Of course the movie doesn’t treat him this way, but the brother follows Elle around and tells boys at school that no one is allowed to date her, or he’ll beat them up.

This is a common trope in teen rom coms that I frankly can’t stand. The idea of the boy who “does what’s best” for the girl is overly done, and honestly tiring.