That, or they're some hard-drinking, overly-sexual quip-machine played by Jane Fonda or Diane Keaton or both actresses simultaneously on top of each others' shoulders in a big long trench coat. This results in hilarious, very believable moments where the mom-in-law pulls her daughter's fiance aside and whispers in his ear "How's her fuckin' pussy taste?" before dropping her lubed-up black vibrator into her "Happy 70th Birthday!" novelty martini.
In real life, I've found that most dates' mothers are, shockingly, just generally nice, normal, motherly persons, and many potential father-in-laws are generally well-adjusted adult males between forty and seventy years of age who rarely if ever walk nakedly into your room eleven times whenever you're having sex. Just send the mom a card for an unexpected occasion, then quote Caddyshack in front of the dad, and they'll be like "cool" and you're pretty much fine from there if you don't totally suck.
This is definitely how real-life relationships work. If you truly love someone, why would you ever need to give them five seconds to explain themselves? "Three Years Of Dating, Zero Seconds Of Trust" is what I always say, both in life and on my poorly-selling woodcarvings.
Still, you can't make it through a movie about a married couple without some super-sexy, ultra-believable femme fatale just THROWING herself at married Ben Stiller, because of course! Even though the decade-appropriate Christie Brinkleys of the world can constantly sleep with whoever they want whenever they want, what they truly crave is station-wagon-drivin' Chevy Chase. Also, when women find out you're married or in a relationship, they're never like "ok, I don't want to ruin your life" on the contrary, it only DRIVES THEM WILDER. Usually they'll turn red and cartoon-steam will whistle out of their ears, and you just have to be like, "Whoa, calm down, real, sexy women!"
I'm certainly not suggesting that it's easy to be in a relationship and not be attracted to other people, but I'm just saying, from personal experience, I have rarely found myself in a situation where my sexxxy secretary corners me in the copy room with her leg against the wall and says "Bet that perfect little girlfriend of yours never banged you on a pile of post-it notes
" and I have to run away but NOT before she got red lipstick on my collar somehow. That's happened like, nine times, tops.
"GULP!!!! THAT'S Tommy???"
"Who the HELL is this little shrimp???"
"Tommy, I told you, it's OVER. I am with this man now. I believe that comment should settle this."
"OHHH, IS THAT SOOO?"
Etc, etc, a dozen pool cues gets snapped over peoples' heads, culminating in a punch that unexpectedly KO's the way bigger dude in the fight then the nerdy guy who did it stares at their own hand.
Anyway, yeah, this does not usually occur. We all have some stupid exes, but outside of everyone's one or two rare exceptions, we're either on decent terms with them, or we never talk to them and just laugh at their shitty, shitty Facebook updates. That's all.
However, according to movies and every commercial ever involving wives, me watching "the game" is supposed to be a biiiig deal, and even if I get lucky and my lady hasn't planned a big boring dinner on the night of the game which I haplessly forgot about, she's still going to turn the game off right before the big play (the BIG PLAY!!! Can you believe her???) so we can discuss our relationship (ughhhh!!). The ONLY way I can get out of it is by promising to watch 19 dumb shitty chick flicks right afterwards, because that's the only thing girls like.
In real life, it turns out, you ARE permitted to find a mate who not only learns to tolerate your nerdy obsession, but may also grow to enjoy it along with you, or Heaven forbid might already share it and that's partly what made you compatible in the first place!!!
Haha nope just kidding, commercials nailed it. Women be shoppinnnn! And borderline evil apparently!
I guess movies have to be "about" stuff (is that one of the rules of screenwriting?), but basically, being in a relationship is just, like, hanging out with a person you like and eating food and watching stuff and going places then going home and also having sex and organizing each other's birthday stuff. It's super boring, but like, good boring.
I guess what I'm saying is, just, you know, relax, Blue Valentine.
(GIFs by Giffmasta Alex Schmidt)