A meet-cute is a term sometimes used to describe a situation in film, television, etc. in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable, entertaining, or amusing.
This type of situation is a staple of romantic comedies, commonly involving contrived, unusual, or comic circumstances. The technique creates an artificial situation contrived by the filmmakers in order to bring together characters in a theoretically entertaining manner. Frequently the meet-cute leads to a humorous clash of personalities or beliefs, embarrassing situations, or comical misunderstandings that further drive the plot.
Use of "meet cute" situations
The term is widely used by screenwriters. Billy Wilder uses it in a 1996 Paris Review interview, in reference to his 1938 screwball comedy film Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, adding that the concept was "a staple of romantic comedies back then".
Film critics such as Roger Ebert or the Associated Press' Christy Lemire popularized the term in their reviews. In Ebert's commentary for the DVD of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which he co-wrote, he describes the scene where law student Emerson Thorne bumps into the female character Petronella Danforth. Ebert admits that he, as the screenwriter, wrote into the script a "classic Hollywood meet cute." He explains the meet cute as a scene "in which somebody runs into somebody else, and then something falls, and the two people began to talk, and their eyes meet and they realize that they are attracted to one another."
In the 2006 romantic American comedy The Holiday, one of the characters, Arthur, an elderly script writer (played by Eli Wallach), explains a meet cute with an example: "It's how two characters meet in a movie. Say a man and a woman both need something to sleep in, and they both go to the same mens pajama department. And the man says to the salesman: 'I just need bottoms'. The woman says: 'I just need a top'. They look at each other, and that's the meet cute." Arthur is in fact describing the meet cute between Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert in the aforementioned Bluebeard's Eighth Wife.
- "meet cute". Random House, Inc. (via Dictionary.com). Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Bosley Crowther (February 12, 1964). "Krasna Comedy: Sunday in New York Stars Jane Fonda". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
- Three to Tango "meet-cute" by Roger Ebert
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