Pretty in Pink

November 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

The problem with the ubiquitous Duckie vs. Blane argument is that it’s irrelevant. She should have ended up with neither of them. Blane was a freaking pansy who screwed up irreparably, and if their relationship lasted four more months, he would have cheated on her his first week at Dartmouth. As for Duckie, you can spout all the lines you want about how he was the one who really loved her, was always there for her, would never let her down . . . but all of that conspires to ignore the very relevant fact that she just didn’t like him. Wasn’t attracted to him. Thought of him as a little brother. Harbored vague suspicions that he might actually be gay and all these protests of undying devotions were just overcompensating. It doesn’t matter how much he loved her; that she didn’t love him is still an important part of the equation that no amount of lacy dresses and synth pop can overcome. The choice between a lily-livered richie rich and the dude you’re embarrassed to be seen with in public is no choice at all.

Andie, sit tight. Go off to art school in the fall, and I promise you’ll meet lots of chain-smoking, flannel-wearing assholes that make your heart go pitter-pat.

Male screenwriters and directors of romantic comedies, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here that will prevent you from having to run back at the last minute and slap a re-written ending on your movie when the original doesn’t work. That lesson is not, as director Howard Deutch argues, that teenage girls always want to the lead to get the cute guy. It’s that teenage girls do not find the emotionally manipulative steamrolling of the lead into a relationship with a guy she doesn’t even like terribly romantic. Sorry, writer/directors, but teenage girls don’t care about your unfulfilled adolescent geek-gets-the-girl fantasies. They care about their own unfulfilled adolescent fantasies, which generally do not include winning the heart of the guy that creepily rides past their house on his bike multiple times a day. Weird, huh?

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