Help me put together a rom-com bingo game!
December 12, 2010 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me put together a rom-com bingo game!

I want to enhance the fun of watching cheesy romantic comedies with a bingo game.

I’ve seen the one here and it’s a good start, but I’d like to improve it by adding more rom-com tropes.

I’d like to avoid ones like “stars [actor’s name]” – the tropes should be things like common plot devices & clichés of the genre, which you discover by watching the movie, not by reading the cover.

I’d also like to add “bonus points”, for example:

- Heroine attends the wedding of a friend, relative or colleague. Bonus points if she gets drunk or embarrasses herself, or if people try to set her up with eligible bachelors there.
- Heroine eats food straight from a container. Bonus points if she’s in pyjamas, or if it’s either ice cream or takeaway Chinese.
- Love-interest male is a doctor, or maybe a vet. Bonus points if he’s a specialist, especially in paediatrics.
- Heroine is in a high-powered position at work, normally beyond the reach of somebody her age. Bonus points if it’s something “creative”, especially in media or fashion. Or else she’s a lawyer.
- Heroine dumps a love interest who is otherwise ideal, just because there’s “no spark / danger / excitement”. Bonus points if he’s really nice & understanding about it & leaves without any fuss at all.

So, please help me add to the bingo game, by suggesting more corny clichés!
posted by UbuRoivas to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
TV Tropes would be a goldmine of these - e.g. the inevitable Third Act Misunderstanding.
posted by Paragon at 2:25 PM on December 12, 2010

There has to be some bonus system for brand names- shoes, handbags, dresses seem popular items for writers to drop-in a brand name.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:29 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

The best friend is a person of color or/and gay.

Parents of the love interest are of traditional values or/and old money.

An ex-romantic partner shows up becoming an obstacle.

The protagonist has a moment of weakness with ex-romantic partner and realizes what they truly want.

The protagonists is "quirky" and therefore unsuitable to find a partner.

The protagonist has hit a crossroads in their life and is in the middle of changing their goals.

The protagonist spills their heart out to a total stranger during their romantic crisis.
posted by cazoo at 2:38 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Running to catch the other person at the airport.

Makeover montage sequence.

Characters have comically large New York (or other expensive city) apartments.
posted by pourtant at 2:40 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

The woman is forced through circumstance to sleep at the man's house (or vice versa). He shows his caring and tenderness by NOT initiating anything sexual. If she is on the couch, he will cover her with a blanket. If she is in his bed, he sleeps on the couch.
posted by Wordwoman at 2:44 PM on December 12, 2010

Wow, good ones already. Here's another:

Potential couple arguing/yelling at each other right before making out for the first time

Finding a new gf/bf makes one or both realize how good their relationship with soul mate was

New gf/bf is eerily similar to the target soul mate.
posted by parkerjackson at 2:51 PM on December 12, 2010

Heroine is supposedly endearingly shlumpy and considered average-looking by the rest of the characters, but she's played by a gorgeous actress. (TV Tropes calls it Hollywood Homely
posted by castlebravo at 2:54 PM on December 12, 2010

There's a sassy old lady who is funny because she's OMG so old and she says sassy things!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:02 PM on December 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

Running to catch the other person at the airport.

Running period. The running, oh the running. So cliche -- only done well once "I came here tonight, because when you realize you want to be with someone for the rest of your life, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
posted by sweetkid at 3:19 PM on December 12, 2010

Conflict between Our Hero and Our Heroine is based on a misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up, but one won't ask and the other refuses to explain.

Character sings or lip-syncs. Bonus points for empowerment songs such as "I Will Survive".

Our Hero or Heroine comes from a colorfully ethnic family. Bonus if they both do ("Moonstruck")

Our Hero is grieving the death of his wife.
posted by epj at 3:20 PM on December 12, 2010

One or more of the family members are physically intimidating or violent, e.g. Dad is a scary military vet.

An event is ruined by a chase sequence or comedy of errors.

The rom-com couple must pretend to be something they are not (e.g. a married couple), and have difficulty with it (e.g. they hate each other).

During the inevitable third-act misunderstanding, one of the members of the rom-com couple finds the inspiration to do something they always wanted to do (e.g. the guy turns his depression into the impetus he needs to open his dream restaurant).

A character will name something after another character, or a related event (e.g. the aforementioned restaurant may be named after the woman, or the couple may sail away in a boat named after a running joke from the previous 90 minutes of the film).

Travel plans go awry (e.g. the car breaks down, they miss the train, etc).

One of the characters has an unusual skill that comes in handy at a key moment (e.g. the stuffy lawyer turns out to have the cooking skills of a 4-star chef).

An animal displays near-magical powers of observation or recognition (e.g. the dog can reveals the truth at a key moment, or just knows that the rom-com couple is perfect for each other).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:24 PM on December 12, 2010

I completely forgot to list this one: heroine's best friend has no life or relationship issues of their own - their role is purely to support the heroine in her quest for True Love.

With a nod to cazoo, bonus points if the BFF is a person of color or/and gay (in which case they are always a screaming queen, never a lesbian).
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:27 PM on December 12, 2010

The female protagonist is the target of creepy, romantic advances that obviously won't work (e.g. the lounge lizard or the dipshit nephew starts hitting on her).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:29 PM on December 12, 2010

Circumstances conspire to force the love interests together (especially after a fight/break-up). Their car breaks down stranding them together, they're on the same airplane flight, they get locked in the same room.
posted by axiom at 3:40 PM on December 12, 2010

The protagonist lives in a gorgeous NYC/LA/London/etc. apartment that would be completely out of reach for someone with her job.

There is a much older character (elderly landlord, downstairs neighbor) who provides wisdom and serves as a non-traditional parental figure.

She has a crazy, high-strung landlord or neighbor who makes life difficult (but the heroine deals with them with patience and equanimity).

She has a very quirky hobby or pet.
posted by pompelmo at 3:41 PM on December 12, 2010

The Best Friend is there to provide contrast and put the character of Hero/Heroine in sharp relief. You can use this to create many sub-tropes. High Achiever with Regular Joe/Jane. Different body type. Different hair. Different sexual orientation etc.
posted by vidur at 3:53 PM on December 12, 2010

Oh, TV Tropes has a page on Romantic Comedy. There goes the rest of your day.
posted by vidur at 3:54 PM on December 12, 2010

This YouTube video might help. A trailer for "He's Just Not That Into You" promising the absence of certain clichés.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:57 PM on December 12, 2010

Circumstances conspire to force the love interests together (especially after a fight/break-up). Their car breaks down stranding them together, they're on the same airplane flight, they get locked in the same room.

Yes, yes, I was coming here to say that the meet-cute is completely like a free bingo space, so prevalent is it in this genre.
posted by pineapple at 3:58 PM on December 12, 2010

Single female heroine owns a cat who represents her solitude.

Main characters hate each other at first, but learn to reconcile their differences and fall madly in love.

Precocious child, keenly aware of budding romance even before the main adult characters are.
posted by illenion at 4:53 PM on December 12, 2010

Heroine suffers loss/breakage of shoe. Bonus points if Love-Interest caused it.

Heroine's expensive outfit becomes amusingly inappropriate attire as she finds herself in unanticipated situation. Bonus points if her outfit is ruined.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:18 PM on December 12, 2010

Love Interest wins heart by doing something that would get Real Life man arrested
posted by -harlequin- at 5:21 PM on December 12, 2010

The heroine doesn't think the hero is worth her time because he just works at a bar/restaurant/bookstore, but what she doesn't realize is he/his family OWNS the bar/restaurant/bookstore and is filthy rich, yet humble.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:27 PM on December 12, 2010

Hero is Heroine's best friend, who gives her advice on all her romantic problems, while secretly pining away for her himself. Only at the end does Heroine realize Hero is her true soul mate. Bonus points if Heroine realizes this after Hero becomes involved with someone else.

One of the protagonists is divorced or has just ended a really bad relationship and has sworn off romance - at least until they meet Soul Mate. Bonus points if this is the case for both of them.

Hero and Heroine went out on one date, a long time ago, and it was spectacularly bad.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:07 PM on December 12, 2010

I should probably stop adding answers to my own question, but this also occurred to me...

"The protagonist is "quirky" and therefore unsuitable to find a partner.

Or else she's just too [something] eg career-focused, anal retentive or picky. This serves as the total explanation as to why she is single, and the interaction with Hero will help her chill out & remove this excessive [something]-ness from her life.

This "flaw" isn't even a sign of bad character, but something that's normally thought of as a virtue, except that she's taken it to an extreme.

The Hero is the exact opposite to her. Bonus points if the explanation why HE is single is that he's getting over a bad breakup or a bereavement (as others have suggested) but other than that he's all kinds of awesome and completely free of any other flaws or baggage.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:04 PM on December 12, 2010

I don't know how you can work this in, but there has to be a bonus point awarded if the actress playing the heroine has her original face. See: Meg Ryan.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:05 AM on December 13, 2010

- Male character has a fat best friend
- The male love interest initially has bad intentions for spending time with the female character (snooping for an article, going out with them for a bet, etc...) only to later on develop mutually gooey romantic feelings for each other
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 2:39 PM on December 13, 2010

These are all great, and useful for my bingo game! Best answers for all! (I feel like Oprah!)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:27 PM on December 15, 2010

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