Romcoms have constantly changed to keep up with audience sensibilities, but how will romcoms change to entice Gen Z as they come of age?
In this article, we will look at Gen Zs attitudes towards romance and relationships. How the genre may have to change to incorporate attitudes reflective of the current generation. And we will recommend some recent romcoms that have endeared themselves to younger viewers.
Who Are Gen Z?
So what makes Gen Z different from other generations? Well Gen Z have grown up as digital natives. With smartphones and other rapidly advancing technologies being constant features in their lives. They are also much more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexuality. They are additionally incredibly aware of social issues and are more likely to demand solutions and more from social institutions.
Regarding relationships, Gen Zers are more likely to delay long-term relationships to achieve career stability or discover more about themselves to put them on better footing for later relationships. In addition, growing up in a rapidly changing technological environment this generation has access to more information. Allowing them to better articulate who they are and how they feel. Older Gen Zers have also seen the rise of dating apps which has led to the destigmatisation of casual relationships but has also left many feeling dejected with the dating scene. According to some studies they are also more likely to date close friends. Suggesting that they value personal connection over attraction.
How Romcoms Might Change
Now, how can romcoms change to keep attracting an audience with markedly different dating experiences from prior generations?
Firstly, romcoms must start reflecting Gen Z’s diverse makeup of experiences and identities to keep them engaged. Recent figures show the industry still struggles to foreground the experiences of people of colour and LGBTQ people. So filmmakers must start providing more inclusive rom-com stories.
More care should also be given to romcom worlds. Gen Z has grown up immersed in media, technology, and current social issues. If romcoms want to speak to the experiences of young people filmmakers must do their research on how Gen Z communicate to integrate these elements better. Equally, they cannot continually fall back on the same tired romcom tropes. If they fail this is likely to make the films feel insincere or play to attitudes that Gen Z don’t like. Which may put many off the genre.
And Gen Z romcoms should shift their attitudes toward their story’s structure. Generally, romcoms will follow the trials of a particular character or couple. With the ending seeing the main characters enter a relationship. However, with Gen Z waiting longer to settle down, for various reasons, romcoms should be more open to not having characters end up together. Showing that relationships don’t have to be firmly set in stone by a set point and focusing more on the character’s personal life will speak more to Gen Z audiences.
Gen Z Love
Finally here are some good Gen Z-oriented romcoms to watch.
Rye Lane, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Big Sick give great visibility to characters of colour and treat the central romance figures as three-dimensional people. The latter two also showcase how imperfect young love can be. Love, Simon is a sweet LGBTQ romcom that touches on tech’s role in modern romance. And Set It Up revolves around relatable job problems.
These are great starting points for modern romcoms to grow from. But we must continue demanding more so more romcoms will accurately reflect Gen Z’s experience, thereby ensuring they feel represented and welcome.