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Top five most misrepresented jobs in romantic comedies

Beloved film genre sluggish in measuring the rat race

One of the best reasons to watch a romantic comedy is to experience its total escapism. In a romantic comedy, men are dapper, women are quirky and neither possess a flaw more egregious than “clumsy.” It’s not just the characters who are ideal. Everything about a romantic comedy is magical, from romantic meetings in the rain to impassioned objections in the middle of a wedding.

But as we drift further away from ‘syllabus week’ and wonder why we even bother with this college nonsense, the one aspect of this fantasy land which seems especially appealing is that almost every romantic comedy protagonist has a job that is creative, interesting, exclusive and lucrative — despite the fact that in real life, these jobs are as rare as meeting Ryan Gosling at a carnival. Here are the top 5 jobs most featured, and misrepresented, in the romantic comedy:

1. Journalism careers (“His Girl Friday,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Groundhog Day”)

Median salary: $32,000

Journalists in romantic comedies are spunky, quick-witted individuals whose shining personalities inevitably win them the hearts of their desired loved ones. Unfortunately, their personalities do nothing for their salaries or job opportunities, as it is reported that between 2012 and 2022 there will be a 13% decline in journalism opportunities.

2. Small business owner (“Stranger than Fiction,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Life As We Know It,” “Notting Hill”)

All dependent on sales;

Bakery owner: roughly $40,000

Bookstore owner: roughly $70,000

Lodging manager: $45,000

Let’s be clear: small business owners in romantic comedies rarely, if ever, are rooted in the fields of finance or information technology. Instead, quirky heroines go a much less traveled but often fantasized about route: selling books, cupcakes or rooms in a quaint inn off the coast of Greece. All business owners’ salaries are subject to what their actual sales are, so it’s hard to settle on an exact number, but given the turbulent nature of some of these industries (and the high attached expenses) it is certainly a less romantic life than it appears on screen.

3. Magazine editor (“Trainwreck,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “13 Going on 30”)

Median salary: $50,000

Many of the magazines that protagonists write for are based on entertainment, not news. Amy Townshend of “Trainwreck” is top lady at a male humor magazine most closely comparable to comedy-oriented companies like CollegeHumor whose median salary is about $42,000. And in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” worked as a “how-to” girl in a magazine not unlike Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, where editor salaries are about $61,000. And Jenna Rink, the “13 Going on 30” protagonist, worked for a fashion magazine where median salary is about $41,000 — a pretty good deal for a 13 year old.

4. Head of a country (“The Prince and Me,” “Coming to America,” “Roman Holiday”)

Comparable salary: varies by country

Yes, I know — there is no such place as Genovia, and if there were, it would be unlikely to meet its sovereign ruler anytime soon. But heads of countries are surprisingly common in the romantic comedy; there must be something appealing about watching a fish-out-of-water monarch fall in love with someone down-to-earth and accessible. I wonder if one of the reasons is the gigantic measure of money at Audrey Hepburn’s disposal…

5. Architect (“500 Days of Summer,” “Fools Rush In,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “It’s Complicated”)

Median salary: $73,000

Everyone loves a good architect story. Architects are creative but business-oriented; they wear suits and draw for a living. While architects are a dime a dozen in a romantic comedy, there are only about 105,000 architects in the United States. Fortunately, job outlooks for these Joseph Gordon-Levitt types appear to be good, although competition remains steep.

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