Nov 2 2009

Love, Indie Comedies and Generation Y: Part 1

hisGirlFriday

In this article, LS2FG writer Benn Hadland takes a look at the social implication of Indie romantic dramedies, and how they reflect the state of relationships and romance with Generation Y. Due to the subject matter (and Benn’s affinity for flowery ramblings), the article will be split into three parts. Part two will be released on the 9th, and the final part will drop on the 16th.


All you need is love. Love is all you need.
Oh, if only, Mr. Lennon, if only love were that simple. And yet, countless pop songs, novels, poems and motion pictures have revolved around that very concept; the idea that love should be all you need, yet for some reason, isn’t.

Art, in all its forms, reflects the culture it was conceived in. Every conflict, every cause, every generation can be seen and heard in the films and songs written in that era. The carefree, gee-whiz approach to love in the Sixties can be heard in Beatles songs, the confusion and disillusionment of establishment during the Seventies was foreshadowed in the The Graduate, the insecurity of the Eighties can be heard from the bellowing lamentations of The Smiths, and the “fuck not given” attitude declared by slackers in the Nineties can be seen in Clerks.

As the days of Generation Y come to a close, one can paint quite an accurate portrait based on its music and film. If you’re confused as to whether you belong in this particular generation, I’ll break it down for you: If you grew up watching The Real Ghostbusters, witnessed the downfall of Saturday morning cartoons and the advent of MySpace, Facebook and texting, and you are still not entirely financially independent at age of 25, you are Generation Y.

Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, the films of Judd Apatow and Wes Anderson, World of Warcraft… so much can be derived about our generation from these pieces of entertainment and pop culture. But I’m not really concerned with Y’s arrested development, or affinity for isolation, or preference for digital interaction over personal. As with every generation, nationality or civilization, love and relationships are one of the cornerstones of a society. If we’re not looking for someone we’re with someone, if we’re not trying to get laid we’re getting laid, if we’re not breaking up we’re making up, and if we’re not out breaking hearts right and left, chances are we’re nursing one of our own.

I’ve noticed a trend in films nowadays focusing on the ups and downs of relationships concerning this current generation with films like Juno, (500) Days of Summer, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Paper Heart. Each film reveals, on some level, a yearning for a sincere human connection while recoiling from it at the same time for some reason. According to the aforementioned films, this results in sex as a quick substitute for something a tad more meaningful, and relationships that reside in romantic limbo and abandon surefire commitment.

Of course, your typical Hollywood rom-com hasn’t gone out of style (count your lucky stars Katherine Heigl), yet this new “indie” rendition has struck quite a chord with twentysomethings across the board. Usually when a story concerning such an intimate topic connects with an audience, it’s because the audience can directly relate to the events and opinions expressed in the story. That, along with the experiences of myself and my friends concerning the wonderful world of dating, has lead me to believe that these films are on to something.

The films of Hollywood’s Golden Age took a very straightforward approach to romance: you meet someone, you fall in love, you get married, and that’s it. It doesn’t get any more simple or secure as that. Dark_passage_trailer_bogart_bacall_kiss

Then again, the films of our parents generation stopped too soon, as films often do, and missed the various wearies and woes of married life, and the consequences of getting married so soon after high school or college. People get locked into jobs they hate, live in a house they don’t want and have kids before they are really ready, all because people are told they need to “settle down”. This usually results in unfulfilled dreams and lives, affairs, alcoholism, anger and eventually divorce, showing those of us entering adulthood that love may not last forever.

Practically speaking, we all know that most, if not all relationships will at some point come to an end, but at the same time nobody likes rejection. No one likes the idea of sharing and opening up to another human being, only to be left behind for some inexplicable reason. Some people just don’t care about this; as far as they’re concerned, it’s just something that inevitably happens and it shouldn’t keep you from finding or discovering someone you can spend your life with. Most people, on the other hand, take this knowledge as a warning and either form disposable relationships with a myriad of people, or avoid the whole thing all together. Today’s indie comedies tackle this concept by revolving around the disorder of the modern day romance and how people today deal with it, revealing the justifications, the flaws, and the outcomes of forming and dissolving relationships.

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