In the year of our lord two thousand fifteen, human adults got really excited about a new dating website for Disney enthusiasts. As someone who thinks it’s weird for grown ups to go to Disney theme parks without children, it’s safe to say I was very unsettled by the idea that such a dating market existed and needed to be catered to. I’m all for every pot having a lid, and fully support the old adage “as long as you’re not hurting anyone go for it,” but this feels different and is worthy of further discussion. Catering to the Disney-obsessed niche, I think, is indicative of a shift towards embracing the idea that chasing a fairy tale is now an acceptable and encouraged lifestyle.
The problem is of course, life isn’t a fairy tale. The love stories put together by Disney and the rest of Hollywood are all fun and games until people start holding their own love lives up to fairy tale or romantic comedy standards. The odds that you’re going to have some incredibly unique love story are very slim, and the fact is, you don’t need one to be happy. But the more a person focuses on getting a big Hollywood ending over focusing on the work that needs go into that relationship to make it work and last, the more people are going to end up in my office discussing their divorce options.
Are Sunday afternoon TBS movies ruining us along with climate change, the gun laws in this country and aspartame? Just maybe. Let’s explore some movies that are setting us up for romantic disappointment, and you be the judge.
While You Were Sleeping
Falling for a guy from afar, saving his life, pretending to be his wife while he’s comatose in the hospital and then falling for his brother does not, in real life, end in a happily ever after with the brother. In real life it ends in a psychiatric hospital after people find out you were lying about being married to a person you’ve never met. You can plead and try to explain while the lithium kicks in, but there’s not really a way out of this one.
This is not an accurate depiction of the sex industry, in case you didn’t realize. White knight saves prostitute with a heart of gold is not how this goes down in real life. In a dangerously unregulated industry full of exploitation and human trafficking, a bloated, bored father of three hires a woman who uses drugs to cope with the unimaginable abuse from her childhood and they never see each other again — that’s real life. Or this ends in Gilgo Beach. Either way – Not. Good.
10 Things I Hate About You
The dark and stormy bad boy will not orchestrate a large musical number to get your attention. In real life, the dark and stormy bad boy will continue to hide his dad issues behind a veil of ~edginess~ until he succumbs to alcoholism – just like his dad!
Hey, YOU CAN BOTH FIT ON THE DOOR. In real life, you both fit on the floating door and Jack dumps you after you get saved because, what the hell you could both fit on there why did you act like it would be impossible? Selfish much?
Every Hallmark Movie Ever
- You will not fall in love with the dashingly handsome, newly widowed postal worker.
- Santa is not real, he will not bring you a wife for Christmas.
- You will not save the family bakery from foreclosure by winning a large cash prize in a pie competition and fall in love with the real estate agent caught in the middle.
- You will not fall in love with the guy who rear ended your car, who also, as it turns out, plays your daughter’s favorite TV show character.
- You will not have a triple wedding with your two sisters, thus throwing a wrench into your parents’ second honeymoon plans.
- Santa is not secretly a total hunk and he will not finally realize he is in love with you and kiss you as it starts to snow, on Christmas Eve.
The odds of you being mistakenly diagnosed with a terminal illness are pretty slim, even in our crumbling medical system. So odds are you’re not going to go on one last big blowout vacation, snag your longtime crush and then find out you’re not dying. In real life, this ends in your unfortunate demise and your family being left with astronomical debt thanks to your last hurrah.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
The idea of being accepted “just as you are” is such a beautiful, if not delusional, sentiment. Yes you should accept people, warts and all, but there is also a limit. There is a limit to zaniness, excessive jealousy and hijinx and real life Mark Darcy would have gotten to that limit pretty early on.
Every Lifetime Movie Ever
- You will not rekindle the spark between you and your high school boyfriend when you lock eyes unexpectedly across a Christmas tree lot.
- You will not fall in love with a young surfing instructor on the 40th birthday weekend getaway your kids planned so you could “let loose for once.”
- You will not frantically plow through boyfriends because your dying mother told you the one will be your seventh boyfriend.
- You will not seal your love forever by murdering the one woman who threatens your relationship. I really, really hope you won’t.
The lie here is that this is allegedly a feel good movie that’s supposed to fill you with cheer and romantic hope. The plot lines are actually not too far from real life as they’re all tragic. Dead wife, cheating husband, severely ill relative getting in the way of having a social life — take your pick. Though in real life the videographer ends up in jail because he is a c-r-e-e-p.
Never Been Kissed
It is possible Josie and Mr Coulson end up together but not until after Josie goes to jail for forging a driver’s license and Mr Coulson maybe loses his job for having an inappropriate relationship with a student. While she was actually a grown up, I can’t imagine there’s no repercussions for him.
Any Movie Starring Kate Hudson or Sarah Jessica Parker
Playing weird games does not lead to healthy relationships, it leads to threadbare relationships built like houses of cards. In real life, if the house of cards actually gets a wedding, it gets a nasty divorce too.
To sum up, the meet cute is not king. The wedding is not the end. No means “no,” not “keep trying to impress a person until you wear them down into loving you.” Do not let movies and the first three Taylor Swift albums brainwash you into thinking the one is Prince or Princess Charming. And for goodness sake go out and see the real world for as long as you can because soon enough you’ll be forced to take your kids to the sanitized Disney version.
James J. Sexton