All the Tropes I Don’t Miss From 2000s Comedies
There’s nothing comedy fans love more than watching an old movie and loudly announcing after every joke, “They could never make this today!” Well, now that the aughts are officially olden times in movie terms, let’s look back at the jokes they never should have made in the first place.
It’s no secret that the mid-budget comedy has gone out of style — as Hollywood shies away from budgets in the $30 million to $50 million range, most comedies nowadays are either massive blockbusters like Barbie or shoestring passion projects like Dicks: The Musical. However, between 2000 and 2010, the A-lister-led comedy experienced a Golden Age that it may never experience again — films like Superbad, The Hangover, Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball, Step Brothers, White Chicks, Old School, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Zoolander, Knocked Up, Talladega Nights and Anchorman dominated the zeitgeist for a decade straight, giving audiences an endless supply of Will Ferrell quotes to break out at frat parties across the country.
Like most people who were tweens-to-teens during that time period, I have a nostalgic reverence for almost every movie on that list, but also like those who grew up with the comedies of the 2000s, upon rewatches, I’m irked by recurring plot points and tired punchlines that pop up in more than one entry and have aged about as gracefully as a loaf of bread basking in the sunlight. Here are a few things I don’t miss about comedies years past, starting with…
Getting Laid As A Character Trait
Nowadays, we don’t see quite as many iterations of the “guy who fucks” archetype, but in the 2000s, just about every movie had one. He’s super suave, super gross and super successful at bedding any woman he wants, usually utilizing a combination of cat-calls and lying to get his way. This was at its peak in Wedding Crashers, which was basically just this trope for two straight hours.
Gay Is Funny — And Scary!
Think every single joke in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. The 2000s were a time when gay acceptance was slowly becoming more mainstream, but not so much that the opportunity to giggle at a man wearing women’s clothes wasn’t a legitimate seat-filler. Of course, the main character of a 2000s comedy is obviously going to be a straight man, so he must be fittingly appalled when faced with homosexuality in public — Sacha Baron Cohen’s gayness in Talladega Nights flat-out made Will Ferrell faint.
Women Will Overlook Literally Anything to Get With the Main Character
According to screenwriters, women didn’t learn about red flags until 2010. Seriously, every single 2000s comedy that has a romantic arc features the male lead saying or doing something unspeakably objectionable that would send any real woman sprinting in the opposite direction, but in Superbad, when Jonah Hill admits to Emma Stone that he wanted to get her drunk because he didn’t think she’d hook up with him sober and then smashes his face into her face, it’s an endearing slip-up that’s quickly rectified the next morning.
This is basically just a continuation of the second one. Every crappy 2000s comedy cast Nick Swardson in a supporting role, and, in every single one, he played the same creepy gay or gay-coded stereotype character whose only job was to skeeve out the straight guys in every scene. In all fairness, his performance as Will Ferrell’s stalker in Blades of Glory still gets a laugh for that one line.
The Skinny Dweeb Gets the Giantess
This one isn’t unique to the 2000s, but it certainly reached its peak in films like Dodgeball, when Owen ends up with the Romanian ringer from Globo Gym, or the couple of Kip and Lafawnduh in Napoleon Dynamite. While there’s nothing wrong with an atypical physical pairing, the way these romances are often scripted and shot always feels a little derogatory to both the boy and the girl, as if they don’t look the right way to be in love.
Hell, this one even works for Donkey and Dragon in Shrek.