Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Love Means Never Watching Serendipity

Good news everyone: a new study has confirmed that romantic comedies are unrealistic, while at the same time demonstrating that studying romantic comedies is a wholly unnecessary scientific pursuit. Two birds, one stone.

From BBC News:

Rom-coms have been blamed by relationship experts at Heriot Watt University for promoting unrealistic expectations when it comes to love.

Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005, and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.

The movies included You've Got Mail, Maid In Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping.



The Family and Personal Relationships lab at Heriot Watt University must be like special ed for scientists. When the scientific community gets together at their annual Laugh At Intelligent Design Conference—ladies get two for one beaker margaritas all night long!—no doubt everyone has to walk on eggshells around the Family and Personal Relationships lab "scientists."

"So what are you working on?" a noted biochemist will ask them, taking great care to speak very slowly.

"Yesterday I identified that the part in The Wedding Planner, where Jennifer Lopez is coherent enough to make a joke and fall instantly in love with Matthew McConaughey after sustaining a slight concussion is unrealistic," one of the family and personal relationships labbers will answer. "Me scientist."

"Yes, yes you are," the biochemist will say, dripping with condescension. "What does that pin on your jacket say?"

"Par-ti-ci-pant! They gave it to me cause I did a good job."

So how did these very special scientists arrive at their "romantic comedies fuel unrealistic romantic expectations" conclusion? Only in the most scientific way possible:

As part of the project, 100 student volunteers were asked to watch the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity, while a further 100 watched a David Lynch drama.

Students watching the romantic film were later found to be more likely to believe in fate and destiny.

Okay, so they ask a bunch of people to watch a movie that might as well be called Severe Suspension Of Disbelief: The Movie, and another group of people to watch The Elephant Man, and then they ask everyone if they believe in serendipity? Uh, thanks for the hard work, science, but obviously the Serendipity people will be more likely to say yes. I bet if you then asked everyone "Do you believe in the elephant man?" the people who just watched The Elephant Man would be much more likely to say yes to that one. Can I work in the Family And Relationships Lab now?

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