Rant by Gene
Seth Rogen is at just about the peak of the comedy mountain in Hollywood today. And when he’s not making funny movies, he’s ripping on Justin Bieber, so what’s not to love?!? All joking aside, I think Seth Rogen is quite a funny guy. He strikes me as the kind of guy that people are just drawn to and intrigued with just to find out how he can make this or that situation funny. Unfortunately, the foul language and crass scenes he’s become synonymous with often make me leery of seeing new films of his. I have not seen his new film, Neighbors, co-starring Zac Efron and Rose Byrne, but I suspect there will be plenty of funny moments with the occasional inappropriate and unnecessary scenes aimed directly at teenage boys. Given all that, I was very pleased to read some comments of his regarding typical marriages shown in movies today.
In a recent interview Seth Rogen reflected on some original arrangements of the marriage between he and Rose Byrne’s character in Neighbors. Seth was met with some terrific advice from his real-life wife, Lauren Miller. After reading an early draft for the script and observing the typical hostile and argumentative relationship between the husband (Rogen’s character) and wife (Rose Byrne), Lauren says, “This isn’t how it would be. We get along, I want to have fun too…”. After discussing it further, Rogen says that the fun-loving relationship between husband and wife in the film actually became one of his favorite aspects of it.
So often in Hollywood films, particularly among comedies, the husband and wife relationship is shown as more of a hassle than anything joyous. The couple (in the midst of their marriage, not in the dating stage) is seen arguing or bad-mouthing their spouse more than they are shown being affectionate or playful. Rogen says later in the article that, “For me and my wife…the easiest part of my life is my marriage. Like if everything was as smooth and easy and fun as my relationship with my wife then I would have a much easier time getting through the day. We really get along and we like the same stuff.” A-men brother!
Now, don’t go thinking that Seth’s marriage is all roses, or that if your marriage isn’t as he describes his that you’re a terrible spouse. Seth is as human as you and I, and so is his wife. They argue and they bicker, probably about really stupid things, just like every other husband and wife do. But he made a conscious decision here to portray the good things about marriage rather than towing the Hollywood line of portraying marriage as something of a hassle. Something that drags down men and frustrates women, rather than something that can inspire and lift up both of them.
As much as we may not think so, the things we choose to entertain ourselves with begin to have an effect on us. I grew up in the 90’s and to this day I can sing you every word to the theme songs for Full House, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters. DVR wasn’t around then, so I wasn’t hitting rewind to commit it to memory. This is just something that soaked in through daily viewings. On one hand it’s pretty awesome that I can rap along with Will Smith. But that also gives me pause. What else is soaking in and taking root in my mind without my intent? If the way we see marriages portrayed in movies and television is mostly negative, with the husband and wife always bickering and resentful toward each other, wouldn’t it make sense that we begin to see that as normal, or at the very least acceptable, in our own marriages? It’s not so weird if we’re seeing it on tv and the movies all the time, right? I for one really appreciate the decision made here by Rogen and others involved to shine a light on the joy, the fun and the companionship that a husband and wife are meant to share. If given the choice, I’ll always choose to allow that positive take on marriage to influence me rather than the reverse.