Negotiating between the private and public, the past and the present, Hollywood romantic comedy seeks to shape coherent perspectives on love from the contradictory utterances that compose it. Conceptualisations of love may be constantly in flus – along with broader configurations of romance, sexuality, gender identity and marriage – but the genre routinely celebrates it as an immutable, almost mystical force that guides two individuals who are ‘made for each other’ into one another’s arms.

Frank Krutnik, “Conforming Passions?: Contemporary Romantic Comedy” (138, in Neale’s Genre and Contemporary Hollywood, 2002)

Never simply a personal or interpersonal affair, romance is a multifaceted cultural formation that comes to us through a bewildering array of texts, voices and discourses. The struggle against love involves wrestling not just with the poetics of individual attraction, but also with the complex inheritance of received opinion that defines amorous relations. Hollywood itself has played a crucial role as part of the apparatus of intimate culture, its widely disseminated fictions translating affairs of the heart into accessible conceptual and emotional forms.

Frank Krutnik, “Conforming Passions?: Contemporary Romantic Comedy” (138, in Neale’s Genre and Contemporary Hollywood, 2002)

“We need to see popular culture as truly contradictory— not in some glib sense as meaning merely ‘complicated,’ but in the more precise sense that it works politically through disunity, at a number of levels, any or all of which might be in operation at different times, in different places, and in relation to different consumers.”

— Andrew Goodwin, Dancing in the Distraction Factory (175)

“the limitations of some music video analysis lie also in a mutation of textual analysis that is now prevalent in cultural studies. This is the practice of constructing textual readings not on the basis of a theorized relation between text and production, or between text and consumption, but rather between text and theory. This represents an abandonment of the original intentions of textual analysis, which were to illuminate the conditions of production… to engage in ideological critique… and to explore possible reading formations in the audience”

“Text analysis was thus firmly rooted not in the ‘disinterested’ project of literary or aesthetic criticism, but in the sociological (and sometimes psychoanalytic) project of understanding the social production and consumption of culture.”

— Andrew Goodwin, Dancing in the Distraction Factory (20)

(Some binaries are not like the others.)