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Showrunners Explore Romantic Comedy Tropes in 'Quirky Female Protagonist'

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Quirky Female Protagonist/YouTube
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Comedians Aliee Chan (left) and Adrienne Rose White wrote and costar in the web series "Quirky Female Protagonist."

Critics tend to agree there is a flood of entertainment being made by women and for women these days.

Many, but not all, of these shows – including Girls, The Mindy Project, and Broad City – rely on similar narrative themes and structures: scenes like the “girls’ night out,” characters akin to the “platonic male friend,” or quick, back-and-forth dialogue.

Like many female viewers, comedy writers Aliee Chan and Adrienne Rose White admit to loving these kinds of shows. But, they also recognize the humor in those kids of stereotypes.

"We're seeing [the same stories] over and over again because we love them, but I think people are ready to see something different," White says. "I think it gets to a place when we feel like it's not as worthy...when a genre just regurgitates the same stuff without that new twist or new examination. It gets burned out."

So, they created a web series called “Quirky Female Protagonist,” which parodies many of the classic scenes characteristic of modern romantic comedies – like this scene, where the titular “Quirky Female Protagonist” argues with her “Straight-Laced Bestie” sitting next to her in the bathtub.

Chan and White also co-star in the series, which celebrated its premiere at the LA Film Festival earlier this summer.

The showrunners say their parody came equally out of love than a desire to point out the absurdity of the romantic-comedic tropes they're satirizing.

"I do love that story, but I think it's also important to be critical of what you're watching, and recognize those patterns," Chan says. 

"It's the same way you might love your significant other, but you still [hate it] when they tell the same joke 20 times!" White adds. 

Chan acknowledges that viewers often apologize for loving the traditionally cheesy romantic comedy genre, but says they shouldn't feel shame in admitting to it. 

"That phrase 'guilty pleasure,' it's like, what are you guilty about? It brings you joy and it makes you happy!" Chan exclaims. 

The showrunners don't have plans to add onto the six-episode series...yet. They want to let it live on the Internet as short, succinct parodies. But they say they're teaming up to write a new web series, as well as a few new half-hour comedy scripts. 

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