Rom Coms; a How-to template to create a movie Gary Marshall would be jealous of

Step one: Insert heroine who has had horrible past relationship(s). Either the man she loves(ed) has treated her like crap, cheated on her, died, or she herself screws them up somehow. Heroine must be cute, and witty and charming. Heroine must also have sidekicks (either one very funny girl, or one girl and a gay man, or a group of fabulous, eccentric people who care about her)

Step two: Heroine must realize this horrible matter and go through self pity/wallowing/depression (any, and or all of these will work). This wallowing/self pity/depression MUST be met with booze and or binge eating. (sidebar; these are the songs one can choose to play; Toni Braxton- unbreak my heart, Dashboard Confessional- Screaming Infidelities, Sheryl Crow- First Cut is the deepest, or anything Celine Dion because she’s whiny, or really any chick who is complaining about lost love…bonus if it involves Jewel, Fiona Apple, Lisa Loeb, or Alanis Morrisette)

Step Three: In the wallowing heroine meets a man who is funny, and attractive, and smart, and wants to see that shes okay in her quirky despair (friend, neighbor, random stranger). He helps by one of many ways, picking her up when she’s drunk, buying her the cup of coffee she’s randomly spilled on him and now breaking down about, hailing taxicab..basically anything where he makes a funny quip, and she doesn’t realize how cute he is (but guess what? the audience knows!)

Step Four; With the help of her friend brigade, and her new male buddy( whom she insists is just a friend), she realizes how pathetic she’s been and starts her transformation into being a fabulous single woman who doesn’t need a man at all…she just needs to be fabulous. This must consist of some sort of montage of working out, hair style change, new wardrobe, and her giggling with her friends over dinner/mani-pedis/girls night in..etc. (sidebar-extra credit if you actually SHOW nails being painted…I’m not sure WHY that is liberating to women…but I suppose it sends a message). (Side bar#2; include massive female retribution songs; ie; Aretha Franklin’s Respect, KT Tunstalls Suddenly I see, Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten, or that really cheesy disco song Sisters are doing it for themselves…or the like)(Sidebar #3- During montage some sort of women bonding dancing MUST occur around a living room/dining room/kitchen…cause that’s where we all hang out and dance anyway, right?)

Step Five: More hanging out with her male buddy. It’s so refreshing for the Heroine to have a male friend who is in fact not gay, and not her family member for her to hang out with. He must raise her self esteem level, and then at some GLORIOUS moment of intimacy (perhaps after hanging out he walks her back to her home/car/work/somewhere), she sees him as something more and one of either two scenarios happen; She must 1) kiss him, and he professes how he feels and they do it. OR 2) She realises this and does nothing but thinks about it at home. IF it is scenario 1) you can jump ahead to step six. If it’s the latter, there is more self reflection, where she reveals this to her friends, and they say ‘duh’, and then she run over to his place/he comes to her place and they kiss and do it.

Step six; “the love-making scene”. Since this is a chick flick, we will lay it ALL out on the table. There must be everything that women fantasize about in this scene. Slow, lovemaking with intense eyes, lots of kissing and touching, and yes…the female DOES have an orgasm. OH and there absolutely MUST be some sort of romantic, seductive song being played. Either the Sarah McLaughlin- Winters Night song (which is one of my personal faves..not from experience, but this is MY cheesy chick flick) or Norah Jones, or Michael Buble, or Mazzy Stars Fade Into You…something like that.

Step Seven: The next  few days happily strolling along because she got some….Truly any song will do, as long as it is upbeat and the scene that goes along with it is her finally in the groove of things. Perhaps everything at work is going well, or she goes out on a few more dates with this guy (and if that is the case, the montage MUST include lots of kissing and the scenery must show the beauty of the town/city/scenery she is in…the movie cant all be about her…how do you think London would feel after Bridget Jones, or NYC after any Meg Ryan Movie?)

Step Eight: This the return of the man who broke her heart. He wants her back, or they meet randomly after she looks so fabulous and she agrees to meet with him/help him/something where there is a rendezvous of some type.

Step Nine: There is some sort of negative circumstance with the new man. Either she sees him with a woman, they have an argument, or he tells her something she doesn’t want to hear and she is angry with him and ashes out and says something completely horrible to him that is beyond harsh and bitchy.

Step Ten: The meeting with the ex. After the fight with New guy she is very much into getting him (the ex) back and she goes into this meeting/rendezvous with the intention/expectation of rekindling what they previously had only with out the cheating/treating her like crap. The heroine must honestly believe (even if for a split second) that he has turned over a new leaf…UNTIL….she is royally embarrassed and realizes that he hasn’t changed at all (ie; meets new girlfriend/fiancee/wife or catches him later with another woman)…bringing her back to ….

Step Eleven;   More Self pity/wallowing/depression. But this only lasts until she has a revelation about new guy. Either she realises she was wrong/finds out the other woman was his sister/friends wife/lesbian/not with him at all, and then totally finds out that she is in LOVE….I mean LOVE with this new guy and must tell him. Right now.

Step Twelve; She HAULS ass to tell him how much she cares about him, this is also good when there is some sort of either time crunch (think When Harry Met Sally by midnight run) or there is some sort of extreme weather(torrential downpour, snow, hurricane, tornado…something where any normal person in love would wait but because she is SO overcome with emotion that she could not wait..she braves the weather to tell him no matter WHAT her hair looks like, and lets be honest..its a chick flick…her hair will look good even in a GD hurricane)

Step Thirteen; Our heroine finally gets with the new guy in the rain/snow/whatever and goes ahead with her monologue. This is the monologue where she says that everything she was doing never made any sense until him. That he has made her happy and she finally knows now that she is deeply, terribly, and insanely over the moon in love with him. She even gives him an escape clause (Such as…”I know I am just this stupid, silly girl in the middle of a tsunami, but I had to tell you that I want to be with you, I love you…yada yada yada”)

Step Fourteen; The New man will eventually shut her up and say that he was in love with her form the start and that there is no one else and never will be, etc…..BIG KISS

Step Fifteen; This last step is very important to set up the possibility that there is a happily ever after. It will include; a wedding/get together with their friends (and possibly family)…and all the other likable bit-parts from the movie that you could fit in. The fade out scene must be some sort of motown music of love. Think, Al Greene, Marvin Gaye. Barry White, The Temptations…OR if you want to go other retro, include the Beatles, or Beach Boys or Carol King. Always fade away with the happy couple kissing.

Step Sixteen…Make millions of dollars from hormonal women who will drag their friends/boyfriends/husbands/potential relationships to make them watch and scare the living daylights out of them thinking that this is what women really want.