Mainstreamed Marginals: A New Cycle in Romantic Comedy & "The Little Things"

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Fraser, Diana Mary
romantic; comedy; romcom; narrative; structure; mainstream; chick flicks; marginal; cycle; subgenre; indie; independent; cinema; film; happy ending; romance; love; syntax; semantics; Crazy; Stupid Love; Silver Linings Playbook; Don Jon; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; David O. Russell; Steve Carrell; The Little Things; short film; first-person; 360 degrees
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Mainstreamed Marginals: A New Cycle in Romantic Comedy Within the last five years radical subgenre thematic content has determinedly crept into mainstream romantic comedy's syntax and semantics as theorists' last cycle indicators became outdated. With the concentrated addition of gritty and hushed subject matter, the romantic comedy is entering a new cycle, one that I classify as the "Mainstreamed Marginals." While my three case studies could situate themselves in a hybrid cycle, their tendency to follow Leger Grindon's marginal films renders them separate from mainstream plotlines and other cyclical categories. I posit that this particular group is dependent on the pillars of the genre, but also derives strength and impact from experimenting within that structure. This mixture produces untraditional storylines that drive characters toward a variety of recuperated partnerships, which in turn challenge the romantic comedy's status quo. As the genre moves forward and the Mainstreamed Marginals' thematic narrative changes continue to grace the big screen with bittersweet hopefuls and jarring relevance, I believe it will be worthwhile to pursue the nuances of the new cycle's success outside of the romantic comedy's structural arrangement and content distribution. "The Little Things," (6:33), a narrative fiction short Summary: When Claire broke up with her college sweetheart she thought she kissed her happy-ever-after goodbye. But after fate throws them together again she is forced to ask herself what consistutes "happy-ever-after," and, more importantly, can she hold onto hers?" "The Little Things" serves as my contribution to both traditional and more current romantic comedy genre conventions. It integrates the female-driven stories of the late 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s into the "Mainstreamed Marginals" cycle and lends itself to the thematic trends of alternate romcom narratives. By adopting a marginalized female-centric plotline while exploring an adjusted partnership as the Happy Couple's "happy ending," Claire is allowed to be an independent, modern woman and the everygirl we remember from the days of simplistic romantic comedy. And as we discover what her happy-ever-after looks like, we might just see a glimpse of our own.