Friend Zone: Dating and Romance

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Dating and romance are nebulous, universal concepts, and are therefore very common subjects for dialogue. This makes them perfect themes for comedy, as they provide the opportunity to highlight humorous differences apparent in men and women. In recent years, however, one popular attitude towards relationships has emerged, namely the “the friend zone.” This refers to the situation a person (typically male) finds himself in when a friend rebuffs his attempts at sex or romance. The label of “the friend zone” is a frame for this predicament, which is only humorous from the perspective of the “friend-zoned,” when it is actually a very narrow-minded and demeaning concept. When a television show, film, or comedian presents a similar relationship, and categorizes it as “friend-zoning,” women are portrayed in a negative light, and the relationships between men and women are grossly skewed. The comedic concept of “the friend zone” only promotes sexist and degrading gender roles.
Before analyzing the comedic content in question, it is important when drawing on a variety of sentiments from comedians to understand that many performers use a character or parody for their humor. Others choose to voice opinions and views contrary to their own, in the hopes of receiving a certain reaction from a specific audience. In referring to the material of writers and comedians, one must respond to the beliefs they promote (which can be known), rather than those they espouse, which cannot.
The concept of difficulties arising in opposite sex friendships has long-standing roots in comedy. Take for example, in 1974, Richard Pryor broke ground in comedy, by discussing taboo topics (including women’s sexuality) extremely bluntly. The divisions drawn by Pryor t...

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...stand-up formula, “men are like this, women are like this.” It seems that there are certain unchangeable and permanent systems in place. Just as comedy has the power to solidify these assumptions, it also has the opportunity to force an audience to reconsider the reasoning behind the concepts we apply to dating. This is the central reasoning behind my creative piece, which seeks to make an audience realize how backwards this way of thinking can be.
I chose to present my creative piece in the form of a stand-up, as that is the format in which the issue was popularized. If discussing the sexual differences of men and women leads to successful comedy, why shouldn’t lampooning the sexist attitudes of men be just as effective? The first part of the stand-up routine is mostly making fun of comedians (and people in general) who complain about being in “the friend zone.”
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