Help me identify this cliche
February 28, 2007 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify/find examples of this movie/tv relationship cliche: attractive, intelligent, uptight, bossy woman plus attractive, jocky, loose cannon, cocky-funny guy equals sparks fly, with arguing ?

Maybe like Moonlighting? I haven't seen the show since I was a kid, but it seems right. Maybe also like Baloo and Rebecca from the Disney TV show TailSpin (except sexier and not as, you know, furry)? Maybe like X-Files except Mulder's not flirty enough and Scully's too nice?

Any examples? This is a cliche, right?
posted by lalalana to Media & Arts (57 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Remington Steele
Cheers
posted by iconomy at 1:10 PM on February 28, 2007


Cheers. Ted Danson and Rebecca or Diane?
Who's the Boss? Angela and Tony.
Probably a lot more, too.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:12 PM on February 28, 2007


Star Wars.
posted by trinity8-director at 1:12 PM on February 28, 2007


Romancing the Stone. Heck, Leia/Han from Star Wars. It's definitely a cliche.
posted by xil at 1:12 PM on February 28, 2007


Top Gun
posted by twoporedomain at 1:14 PM on February 28, 2007


Monica and Chandler on Friends
Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog
posted by iconomy at 1:16 PM on February 28, 2007


"toe pick!"
posted by Jazz Hands at 1:21 PM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


every meg ryan film ever?
posted by Satapher at 1:25 PM on February 28, 2007


Bones!
posted by Jeanne at 1:29 PM on February 28, 2007


The Sure Thing.
posted by runtina at 1:29 PM on February 28, 2007


Jessi and Slater on Saved by the bell. Almost a spot on match, except Slater is not a "loose cannon."
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:30 PM on February 28, 2007


Pride and Prejudice, especially the Colin Firth version. So yummy. I wouldn't say he was cocky or funny; more hang-dog to her haughty. But it definitely fits with the sexual tension of the boy meets girl/girl hates boy genre you're exploring here.

Also, Can't Buy Me Love - early Patrick Dempsey.
posted by iconomy at 1:32 PM on February 28, 2007


10 Things I Hate About You (Kat & Patrick)
posted by anaelith at 1:33 PM on February 28, 2007


Also, Addison Shepherd and Mark Sloan on Grey's Anatomy each fit probably 3/4 of those characteristics.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:33 PM on February 28, 2007


Every Tom Cruise movie - it's the formula (think A Few Good Men, Days of Thunder, Top Gun, even Magnolia).

Also, the Thomas Crown Affair.

Miranda and Steve.

High Fidelity.

Good question. I'm out of ideas. But there are lots more examples out there I'm sure of it!
posted by iamkimiam at 1:34 PM on February 28, 2007


Kate & Petruchio
posted by mimi at 1:35 PM on February 28, 2007


Richard and Ling on Ally McBeal
posted by vytae at 1:37 PM on February 28, 2007


Overboard.
posted by hermitosis at 1:38 PM on February 28, 2007


Oh, and Dr. Cuddy and Dr. House on House
posted by vytae at 1:38 PM on February 28, 2007


Seconding Miranda and Steve.
posted by louigi at 1:40 PM on February 28, 2007


The Philadelphia Story

That one has two funny guys, and the great Katherine Hepburn.
posted by sonnet at 1:40 PM on February 28, 2007


These are great. They all fit the bill for sure (though, I think Zac Morris would have a made a better foil for Jessie Spano to truly fit).

Why is this such a thing, I wonder?
posted by lalalana at 1:40 PM on February 28, 2007


Big and Carrie on Sex and the City kinda fit this bill, although she's not really bossy and he's not really jocky.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Look Who's Talking?
posted by phaedon at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2007


White Men Can't Jump?
posted by phaedon at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2007


Izzie and Denny on Grey's Anatomy.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2007


And of course The Taming of the Shrew is definitely one of the earliest notable examples of this cliche. And looking at the above examples, 10 things I hate about you is in fact based on The Taming of the Shrew. I think what we're supposed to believe after watching these relationships is that all women want to be "tamed" by a bad-ass who is mean to her. The really bitchy assertive women are, of course, just waiting for the right prince charming who is man enough to put her in her place.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


In The Line Of Fire

League of Their Own
posted by spicynuts at 1:47 PM on February 28, 2007


Singles?
posted by phaedon at 1:48 PM on February 28, 2007


Everybody Loves Raymond?
posted by phaedon at 1:49 PM on February 28, 2007


Die Hard?
posted by phaedon at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2007


Sawyer & Kate on Lost
posted by jbickers at 1:54 PM on February 28, 2007


The most recent James Bond movie - Bond & Vesper.
posted by SpecialK at 1:55 PM on February 28, 2007


Ghostbusters?
posted by phaedon at 2:00 PM on February 28, 2007


Moonlighting. Hudson Hawk (yes, I've watched it) even more so—Andie MacDowell's character defined "attractive and uptight". Bruce Willis plays "jocky, loose cannon, cocky-funny guy" more than half the time (though not in his best movies, IMO). The women playing opposite that inevitably wind up as the killjoys/voices of reason.
posted by adamrice at 2:00 PM on February 28, 2007


I agree with gauchodaspampas. Most if not all of these kinds of stories are based at least somewhat on The Taming of the Shrew, some (like 10 Things) explicitly. The way the actress playing Kate plays that very last scene is integral to whether one comes away with the sense that yes, "difficult" women can, should, (are just waiting to be!) "tamed," or...well, the exact opposite. And that confusion follows, at least in spirit, every similar story which has come after it.

I don't really think Pride and Prejudice is a good example of this, rather that it is itself a template of sorts for everything that followed. Something like "The Cutting Edge" is like the perfect modern merging of The Taming of the Shrew and Pride & Prejudice.
posted by lampoil at 2:02 PM on February 28, 2007


Ohh, how about Saving Silverman? Not the beginning but the ending... It's almost exactly what gauchodaspampas says.
posted by anaelith at 2:02 PM on February 28, 2007


Most Harlequin romances fall under this category. I had a sociology class in college where the prof loved to read us passages from those. They mostly boil down to: sharp, strong-willed, independent woman meets burly, macho male, they hate each other on sight until eventually he "ravishes" her and she comes to realize that all along she just needed the right man to put her in her place, so they live happily ever after.
posted by dnash at 2:10 PM on February 28, 2007


As if you needed more examples...the Doris Day/Rock Hudson films. Pillow Talk comes to mind, but many followed the same formula.
posted by jpmack at 2:20 PM on February 28, 2007


Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves

Winona & Ethan in Reality Bites?

Molly & Judd in the Breakfast Club.

Genders were reversed for Niles and Daphne on Frasier. And Something Wild. And Harlod & Maude. And some movie with Madonna, I think....
posted by Martin E. at 2:24 PM on February 28, 2007


There's a Malay movie named Lady Boss that was about this very thing, except the guy was more of a clueless naive "village boy". Same idea goes though; "bossy" women are not liked and need a man to tame them. Terrible movie, written by a university professor!
posted by divabat at 2:27 PM on February 28, 2007


Meg Ryan's been mentioned but to be more specific... When Harry Met Sally. Bossy + cocky-funny + arguing, yep it's all there.
posted by torticat at 2:28 PM on February 28, 2007


Kate and Leopold with Meg Ryan & Hugh Jackman
It Happened One Night with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable
Down with Love with Renée Zellweger & Ewan McGregor
Plus Truly Madly Deeply, Sliding Doors, Serendipity with Kate Beckinsale & John Cusack?

There are simply tons.
posted by of strange foe at 2:51 PM on February 28, 2007


sonnet mentioned The Philadelphia Story, and of course there's also Hepburn in The African Queen, but the obvious modern template is Kate vs Spence, amiright? (Woman of the Year, Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike)
posted by rob511 at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2007


Moonlighting actually did a pretty wonderful Taming of the Shrew episode...

That dynamic's also a staple of a lot of broad comedies like Ace Ventura, Zoolander, etc. though in those the emphasis is more on the guy's antics, while the woman sort of primly puts up with/ is nonplussed by the escapades.

M*A*S*H had sort of a variation on this, too, I think...
posted by furiousthought at 3:17 PM on February 28, 2007


How about Michael Scott and Jan Levinson from The Office (US)?

It's Sparks + Argument galore with those two.
posted by numinous at 3:18 PM on February 28, 2007


I like to think with some of these examples that the theme is strong women just want a man who isn't afraid of them, that they finally found their equal, rather than they want to be "tamed" or beat down. Still, both apply.

Josh and Donna from West Wing? Or maybe CJ and Danny.
posted by artifarce at 4:01 PM on February 28, 2007


Joe and Helen from Wings, pretty much dead on.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:12 PM on February 28, 2007


Mr. and Mrs. Smith
posted by alex3005 at 4:26 PM on February 28, 2007


I love trouble with Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts
posted by sneakin at 4:52 PM on February 28, 2007


gauchodaspampas: The really bitchy assertive women are, of course, just waiting for the right prince charming who is man enough to put her in her place.

A more charitable way to read this same idea would be that only stong-willed, independent men would actually be worth the time of a strong-willed, smart woman who is probably sick of sycophants.
posted by spaltavian at 5:29 PM on February 28, 2007


His Girl Friday
posted by mimi at 5:38 PM on February 28, 2007


Futurama: Leela and Fry
posted by exogenous at 7:29 PM on February 28, 2007


The Shining.
posted by OneOliveShort at 11:27 PM on February 28, 2007


The Way We Were, sort of.
posted by thisjax at 12:24 AM on March 1, 2007


Who's The Boss.

I don't think that you could have come up with a better description of the show if you had been trying.
posted by lionelhutz5 at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2007


Scrubs has Dr. Cox and Jordan. Fit your description nicely with a decidedly more evil bent.
posted by ick at 8:45 AM on December 31, 2007


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