While I write romantic comedies, I don’t buy into the genre whole-heartedly. I’m very specific about who I’d like to see together. I’m a realist and I’d like to believe in the longevity of the happily ever after. So I guess I’d better explain. I was a psychotherapist for 12 years prior to turning to writing as a tourniquet for my burned-out mind. During that time, I worked with a lot of couples who had come together under a specific set of circumstances. They were physically attracted to each other (a no-brainer, that’s the initial thing for most people) but that’s the stuff of one night stands, you can’t parlay a quickie into something that will last, you have to have commonalities. These folks didn’t. They leapt before they looked. Really looked.
It’s a situation that plays itself out in tons of failed marriages. Look at the statistics—no don’t, they’re depressing. Anyway, when I set out to write Parts & Wreck about an amateur surgeon and his volatile (possibly crazy) assistant coming to terms with each other’s quirky crap amidst a backdrop of repossessing demon-infected transplant organs, I had a few couples in mind.
Annie & Officer Rhodes (Bridesmaids)
While the movie might not have been for everyone, Bridesmaids was quite groundbreaking as far as romantic comedies go. It gave carte blanche to its female stars to be as unapologetically irreverent and vulgar as male comedians—a trait I truly respect. Annie is thoroughly messed up, reeling from financial ruin, involved in an emotionally reckless “relationship” with a guy who has zero interest in her when she meets Officer Rhodes. With Nathan she can be herself, brash, ridiculous and he accepts her, because he thinks in a similar way. We know they’ll end up together and the ride is all the more sweet because they’re so perfectly suited we never question the HEA. I love it for all of the above reasons, but also because the hero and heroine are normal people. They’re not extraordinarily good-looking and it doesn’t matter. It’s genius and very smart.
Amélie & Nino (Amélie)
A romance that plays out a full two thirds of a film without the hero and heroine meeting? Preposterous, right? While exceedingly strange and oddly endearing, Amelie does pulls off that rare trick of believably exploring loneliness and love within the context of obsession. Amelie tracks Nino as he collects discarded passport photos. It’s this quirkiness that she’s drawn to, as well as the mystery of his reasons behind the bizarre hobby. It’s an unusual framework. Both Amélie and Nino are terribly introverted and yet they have so much in common, when they finally come together, their love in undeniable.
The last example is the trickiest, but it probably says as much about me as you need to know to understand my drive toward irreverent premise, dialogue and humor.
Zach & Miri (Zach & Miri Make a Porno)
In spite of the most bizarre premise for a romantic comedy ever to hit the screens, Zach & Miri Make a Porno is surprisingly insightful. It follows that time-honored trope of friends-to-lovers. Though they deny any lasting attraction, Zach and Miri (roommates and best friends) hatch a scheme to pay their bills. They’ll make a porno movie and sell it, somehow. Over the course of the film they become more and more uncomfortable with other people interacting with their friend sexually. Culminating in an incredibly awkward, but oddly effecting scene where the two have sex on camera and it stops being acting and starts getting very real.
What my favorite film couples all have in common is just that, commonalities. They have something beyond their physical attraction that keeps each interested in the other for the long haul. Not merely a hobby, either, but a distinct set of attributes that compliment the other, matched personalities, reciprocal interest. Respect. For a longevity freak like myself (in fact, my wife and I were and are best friends), romance is all about finding the commonalities.
Mark Henry traded a career as a counselor to scar minds with his fiction. In stories clogged with sentient zombies, impotent sex demons, transsexual werewolves and ghostly goth girls, he irreverently processes traumatic issues brought on by premature exposure to horror movies, an unwholesome fetish for polyester and/or witnessing adult cocktail parties in the swingin’ 70s. A developmental history further muddied by surviving earthquakes, typhoons, and two volcanic eruptions. He somehow continues to live and breathe in the oft maligned, yet not nearly as soggy as you’d think, Pacific Northwest, with his wife and four furry monsters that think they’re children and have a complete disregard for carpet.
Entangled Covet | Paranormal Romance | Nov. 25, 2013
Wade Crowson, a brutish and brooding playboy and veteran vivisectionist for the Parts Department, runs into more than he bargained for in new partner, Lucid Montgomery, a quirky beauty with a bizarre secret and a string of psychiatric diagnoses she tries hard to keep hidden. Loving Luce will stamp a demonic target on her back and thrust Wade into a frenzied whirlwind of hilarious misunderstandings and, quite possibly, a stripping gig for emptynesters. Can they withstand the savagery of an exorcism (with or without the split pea soup) and come out alive and …in love?