Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and whether you’re single or coupled up, it’s a great excuse to watch a romantic comedy. Love to hate them — or hate to love them — rom-coms offer a light, frivolous distraction from the drudgery of the real world. Two insanely charming people have an adorable meet-cute, partake in a whirlwind romance, have a brief, often avoidable misunderstanding, and make up. It’s simple and tidy, the entertainment equivalent of eating a big bowl of pink frosting.

Like any movie genre, there are certain stereotypes that tend to pop up over time. But romantic comedies are particularly guilty of reusing the same clichés over and over again — often employing more than one in the same movie. For instance, how does every protagonist afford to live in a gorgeous apartment in a major metropolitan area without a roommate? That’s almost a bigger fantasy than the romance itself. It almost feels like you could predict the plot to any rom-com just based on the poster alone. Sometimes, it’s comforting to know exactly what to expect. Other times, it’s downright frustrating.

And this isn’t just stuff from romantic comedies past. Take Marry Me, which arrives in theaters on February 11. The rom-com stars Jennifer Lopez as pop superstar Kat Valdez (so basically, herself), who decides to marry unassuming bystander Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) in front of millions of people after learning her fiancé was cheating on her. This, of course, falls perfectly into the trope of “famous celebrity falling for an average civilian” — more on that later. It’s 2022, and these tropes are alive and well.

Here are the 10 most annoying clichés found in romantic comedies.

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