Couples Retreat and Social Responsibility

Couples Retreat is a silly comedy. We should laugh at its antics, not concern ourselves with the implications of the plot. Right?

Not so much.

Spoilers for Couples Retreat (like you couldn’t guess the ending).

In CR, four couples head to paradise for a fun Sandals-style vacay. But wait! This is a couples retreat with MANDATORY therapy. HIGH-larious. Good thing too, because these couples are all in real trouble–mismatched lifestyles, poor communication, infertility induced stress. One couple hates each other so much, they spend the entire trip trying to cheat on each other.

How do Mrs. and Mr. McCheattyPants overcome this serious obstacle? Surely it takes months of therapy and hard work.

Or, maybe, it happens in 45 seconds, as the Mr. and Mrs. seduce their cheatees.

They spot each other about to cheat and confess that neither wants to be the kind of person who lives their life alone, eating at Appleby’s by their lonesome self.

After spending 90 minutes trying to cheat, they fix their doomed marriage in 45 seconds.

Even for a silly comedy, that is fucking irresponsible.

Movies don’t exist in a vacuum. We internalize the stories. Even adults. Even people who tell themselves it’s just a movie.

And, often, we aren’t even sure where they came from. But we know we are frustrated that our relationships aren’t working like those people in the movies. We expect men to behave like sictom dummies and women like controlling bitches. We expect no to means yes. We expect Prince Charming to rescue us. We expect marriage to end our happiness.

As content creators, or aspiring content creators, we need to be aware of the effect of what we write. Do we want to use our skills to reinforce damaging stereotypes? Or do we want to use them for social change? Responsible and funny are not mutually exclusive. The best comedy is always two steps ahead of us, showing us the absurdity in our behavior.

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