I thought about titling this Jobs That Kate Hudson Characters Have Had, but it seemed a little wordy, so I went another way. Certainly, romantic comedies play on aspiration and familiarity. Audiences for these types of films don’t want to learn what a logistics superviser does; they want to see a man or woman working in cool-job and say, “I want that. I want the love, I want the job, I want the disagreeable roommate. I want all of it.”

Which is why romantic comedies almost always feature impossibly cool jobs that pay well and take place in smartly-designed offices. They never feature a dude sitting around on his couch, unemployed and browsing Reddit.

I’m not saying that it has to come to that, but, at the very least, we should put a moratorium on all the hackneyed jobs that characters in romantic comedies have. I think I’m meeting Hollywood more than halfway here. I mean, they even get to keep the sappy speeches at the end.

Event Planner

Offenders: The Wedding Planner, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Nothing is more indicative of the type-A control freak that needs to loosen up than a career as an event planner. It shows that the character thrives on stress and can juggle a million different tasks at once. You know what else can show those traits? That’s right. Thoughtful writing.

This also works well, because the same type of women (and men) that are into romantic comedies are probably also into huge events like weddings and fundraisers and the Catalina Wine Mixer. So, you know, two birds and whatnot.

This job makes sense though, as many women (forgive the generalization) seem to have an unhealthy fascination with event planning and all that it entails. I could not think of a career I would hate more than planning weddings professionally. I understand the allure, but at some point, don't people who aspire to this realize that the novelty would probably wear off? It's tantamount to working at Ft. Knox because you just love gold so much.

Magazine Editor/Employee

Offenders: Devil Wears Prada, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, The Proposal, 13 Going On 30, Confessions of a Shopaholic

Who wouldn’t want to work at a high-profile fashion or lifestyle magazine? Well, unless you’re Anna Wintour, pretty much everyone. Not only do romantic comedies only examine the most interesting jobs in the world, but they fall all over themselves to make those jobs seem like the most interesting things in the world. Sure, being a tastemaker in the media sounds great, but proofing copy until your eyes bleed is a more honest portrayal of the lifestyle.

Working as a magazine writer or editor or whatever also affords chracters the luxury of "investigating" some phenomenon for the sake of an article. Because in real life, Cosmo has a LOT of investigative journalism behind it. Tons.


Offenders: The Kids Are All Right, Simply Irresistible, The Devil Wears Prada, No Reservations, Last Holiday, Spanglish Life as We Know It, Bridesmaids

People like food, and people like restaurants. So it stands to reason that people who make food and run restaurants would be likable, no? No. People who work in restaurants work strange hours and, as a result, often do strange things with coworkers because no one else keeps their schedule. Chefs have gross hands and bags under their eyes.

Essentially, rom-com audiences just want a protagonist that is capable of cooking them a meal, should the character jump off the screen and decide to date them. You’ll want their food, but you won’t want their company.

Small Business Owner

Offenders: You’ve Got Mail, A Lot Like Love, I Don’t Know How She Does It

While I realize that there are a lot of small business out there, thus making this a deep well from which to draw, they can’t ALL be bookstores or furniture boutiques, right? I mean, SOMEONE has to own a company that distributes toner to medium-sized businesses. SOMEONE owns a U-Haul franchise.

There’s nothing wrong with running your own business (obviously), but too often in these films, it’s used to glamorize the careers of the protagonist or simply as a disposable answer to the question, “What does this person do?”


Offenders: What Women Want, Valentine’s Day, Boomerang, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Advertising is the quintessential balance between a corporate and creative career. The only other profession that comes close in the world of romantic comedies is architect. An advertising exec can wow clients with a great ad campaign, all the while wearing a well-tailored suit.

Additionally, watching an ad exec pitch a campaign or an ad to a client is almost always more watchable than watching any other career in action. Never mind that this interaction constitutes only about 1% of a ad man’s time. In films, they simply hop from one meeting to the next, pitching and winning, pitching and winning.

Generic Businesswoman/Man

Offenders: I Don’t Know How She Does It, Management, Whipped, The Sweetest Thing, Two Weeks Notice

Perhaps the worst offense rom-coms commit when it comes to the careers of their characters is “business.” Businessmen and businesswomen are depicted so plainly that it’s almost laughable. Everything is filing, emails, accounts, and dividends. As mentioned before, the point of a romantic comedy is to smother you with the familiar and the comfortable. Teaching the audience what a market maker or arbitrage expert does isn’t in the cards. Just make them very busy, give them a briefcase and a blackberry, and never let the character shut up about “presentations.”

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