Essay on Week 2 Assignment Matthew Wilson

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Week 2 – Assignment – Genre Theory
Matthew Wilson
Eng 225
Instructor: Allison Sansbury
Feb 2 2015

Genre Theory

A genre is a type or category of film. It lets you know what type of story you are going to be watching, indicating the theme and providing a baseline idea of what will likely happen. In this essay I will discuss the genre of Romantic Comedy using the film “Knocked Up” (2007). Though the audience can’t know exactly what will happen, they know they can expect events to turn out a particular way. These events can be called elements. “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back” is a staple of the romantic comedy films and can be tweaked to the story that each film wants to tell. I will identify examples from the film to illustrate how it falls into the romantic comedy genre.

Romantic Comedy is a sub-genre, falling under both Comedy and Romance. It takes elements from both categories and blends them together. Romance movies traditionally outline a love story, going into relationship details and character development. Many of these have positive outcomes, although not all of them. Comedies are funny, covering a series of amusing events. Many Romantic Comedies apply the comedy to the main character’s relationship; the main characters may meet in an odd way, have polar opposite lifestyles, or have some surprising connection to each other. Romantic Comedies follow the usual “shapes” as mentioned by Kurt Vonnegut. The film will start as an average day, the character finds something wonderful but then experiences the loss of that something. Eventually the character will regain that wonderful something. Kurt Vonnegut refers to this as “Man in a hole”.

“Knocked Up” is the story of how a deliberately lazy man, Ben Stone (Seth Rogen), who has no real plan in life outside his immediate future meets a very attractive and ambitious woman, Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl), become a couple. They meet at a nightclub, and their one night stand results in a pregnancy; both individuals must deal (in very different ways) with a situation they never saw coming or planned for. Alison has a very successful and lucrative job in television; Ben runs a borderline pornographic website with his loser friends while living off a small settlement. The two begin to try to work it out, but their lives seem too different. Despite the apparent failure of their relationship, Ben does learns from his mistakes, gets a decent job and an apartment, and starts to spend less time with his immature friends. Meanwhile, Alison is unable to contact her doctor when she goes into labor, so she calls Ben, who is the last person she expected to call. He arrives and rushes her to the hospital for the arrival of their child. The two make amends after the birth and move into Ben’s place. The film “Knocked Up” fits into the genre of romantic comedy through its use of two people who are very much in opposite worlds come to find each other through otherwise unconventional means. In all likelihood, Alison would not end up with Ben if normal “rules” were followed. But the film highlights the comedy and romance that are possible when two unsuspecting people who just wanted to go out for a fun night can, through up and downs, end up happily ever after. In this scene, Alison wakes Ben up after their one night stand. Clearly, Alison beginning to question her decisions from the night before and isn’t sure how to deal with Ben. This scene brings into focus the comedy of their incompatibility. (Bed scene)

The romance of this film is brought to life as Ben tries, as best as he can, to show Alison he’s serious about their baby and their relationship. They begin to spend more time together, shopping for strollers and baby books and just hanging out. Alison is pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoys his company and sense of humor. Of course, Ben stumbles…