Glen Wilson, Universal
"You know someone said that the world's a stage and each must play a part." — Elvis Presley
Romantic comedies may hold some insight into what the best jobs are for finding love. The Economist looks at the latest movies and notes a shift in the jobs of main characters: "Two romantic comedies hit British cinemas this week, 'The Five-Year Engagement' and 'Think Like A Man,' and both feature a male restaurant chef who (spoiler alert!) ends up running his own street-food van. Maybe that's just a coincidence, but it's only been a month since 'What To Expect When You're Expecting' had both a hero and a heroine with rival food vans. It looks as if Hollywood's comedy screenwriters have hit upon a new favourite career."
As Richard Johnson observed in The Observer, "There's a revolution happening in British food, and it's happening on the street. Right now some of the most exciting food is being served out of trailers, carts and vintage vans."
Johnson also said in The Independent, "We have a noble tradition of street food in Britain — as far back as the 12th century shopkeepers sold hot sheep's feet. By the 18th century they were hawking pies and pasties, and by the 19th it was warm eels, pickled whelks, oysters, fried fish and hot peas, with a slice of rhubarb tart for dessert."
The Economist says until recently, being an architect was the job of most romantic comedy heroes. Now they are all chefs, and — more particularly — street food truck operators. Both jobs serve similar purposes in their respective movies: "They imply that the hero is creative, but also he brings in a steady income."
Being a chef, The Economist says, has the advantage of the hero being able to offer the heroine delicious breakfast (although probably not the traditional hot sheep's feet, warm eels or pickled whelks). "Architects," The Economist quips, "have to make do with showing off their blueprints."
But The Economist also sees, not surprisingly, an economic reason for this shift from architect to chef: "A bigger factor is the economy. The subtext of most romantic comedies is the importance of a settled, middle-class lifestyle, so in 'The Five-Year Engagement' and 'Think Like A Man,' the heroes turn their lives around by starting up their own businesses — and these days it's more feasible to set up shop as a cook than as an architect."
The U.S. Small Business Administration, by the way, has tips on how to start a "Lunch Truck" if you want to take a stab at being a lead in your own romantic comedy. You can learn about permits and licenses, taxes, zoning restrictions, health and safety, start-up costs, equipment, and so forth — all the sort of things that are edited out of movies and don't even end up in DVD extras.
In movies, however, heroines may be chefs, but they are never architects. Usually they are pastry chefs. Or primary-school teachers, dog walkers or bookstore owners.
There are outliers, of course. The movie "Splash" has a heroine who is a mermaid (a difficult job to land).
But if the hero or heroine can't have any of these jobs, The Economist points out there is always the old reliable fallback occupation for romantic comedies: print journalism.
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