Thursday, March 21, 2013

Compulsive Love: more on the people who are killing romance

One of the reasons I keep harping on the web series Compulsive Love in spite of its minimal cultural significance is its good timing - I was just making a case for why the romantic comedy was dying, as lamented by Vulture when I came across the series via a friend's Facebook page.

My theory is that the people who make "romantic" movies nowadays don't actually like women, or romance, which is why, no matter how attractive the women are, the men in these romances are grotesque self-centered man-babies. Is it any wonder women aren't rushing out to see such "romance"?

And Compulsive Love is clear evidence that the approach to "romance" pioneered by Judd Apatow and the dude-bros of his ilk has trickled down to the people at the lower end of the entertainment industry.

I'm not saying I would enjoy Compulsive Love under any marketing banner but what's truly appalling is that the perps keep promoting it as romanticHere's one of the producers:
... “The show doesn’t trade on irony, cynicism or satire at all. It is unabashedly romantic; in love with the idea of being in love. And the comedy comes from the situations that arise out of that. What I thought the script really got right was that it wasn’t just about a guy trying to have sex with everyone (though there is a lot of sex). It’s about a guy who is completely prepared and excited to invest in every relationship he comes across. He believes each one will change him and fix all his problems. And though each girl he falls for turns out to be a little crazier than he expected, it’s quite clear that he’s the craziest one of all.”
Truly astounding: "unabashedly romantic."

In the first three episodes of Compulsive Love we've seen these scenarios:
  1. The physically unappealing hero Ratface (not his actual name in the series) chases down a random woman on a bike, fucks her and then she becomes a nun.
  2. Ratface is fucking an Asian woman but her mother is always there glaring at him. Asian woman dumps Ratface because Tiger Mom doesn't like him.
  3. Ratface demonstrates that not only is he unattractive and wimpy and has absolutely no interest in anything in the entire cosmos except for chasing random stranger pussy, he's also a mind-bogglingly fucked-up little shithead who gambles against a woman in pool and then refuses to pay up when he loses. And so his punishment is he has to prostitute himself to her by performing $500 worth of cunnilingus. And then something else happens in the episode - I don't know what because I couldn't bear to watch any more-  but somehow I suspect it isn't an adaptation of three minutes of Wuthering Heights.
When Ratface has a "relationship" with a woman we don't get to know anything about him or the woman. Apparently "romance" means chasing pussy, fucking pussy, losing pussy, infinity. Plus the occasional weaseling out of your debts to women. By what Bizzarro World stretch of the imagination would a single millisecond of this web series be honestly characterized as "romantic" by someone not suffering tertiary-syphilis level delirium? And who speaks the English language?

This show "doesn't trade in cynicism"? This show corners the fucking market in cynicism.

Compulsive Love Dude-bros, it's time to face facts - romance is not your forte. You don't get romance. Probably because, like so many quasi-hipster men, you think you're too fucking smart and hip and masculine to commit to an actual romantic scenario, which has the face-losing, status-lowering value of something that women enjoy. Your dude-bro friends would snicker at you if you made something that was sincerely romantic, so you create this crass, oafish, hideous old-style-straight-porno with everything except the money shots.

You need to stick to what you understand - I recommend you market this web series to the audience of Girls Gone Wild, or Ted, or Family Guy. Or, I don't know, do some kind of noir send-up melodrama about a bunch of clowns in a bar. That's where your sensibilities lie. Let your incomprehension of romance remain just a problem between you and your significant other(s), not the general public's.

And FYI - according to the NYTimes the days of lionizing self-absorbed man-babies are numbered. I certainly hope so - and not a moment too soon.