It’s February. And slap bang in the middle of the month, that famous date. Which is either crossed out furiously or encircled with small hearts on your wall calendar. Like it or hate it, it’s hard to ignore Valentine’s Day. Blame the chocolate industry and the florist lobby, or just blame Penta if we are the first to bring it up to you this year. But here you are, and you might as well have some fun with it.
Our recommended course of action is to watch rom-coms and NOT take any of this seriously. Either with your partner, with friends, or perhaps contentedly alone. If you happen to be at a Pentahotel on the 14th, you simply must order room service and get streaming.
We’ll get you started – and in true Penta tradition we fished out something less obvious but probably more exciting than watching “Bridget Jones” for the 32nd time. Our recommendation to all our readers is “Singles”, a super feel-good comedy from 1992. Set in Seattle and accompanied by a brilliant soundtrack, it was a major success when it came out – partly riding the wave of grunge culture that was peaking back then. With time, it has slowly become an indie cult flick, but you don’t need to worry about the 30 years that have passed since then. “Singles” remains very current, very relatable, and delightfully funny. Just check out this scene and you’ll know what we mean!
Still from YouTube: “SINGLES, Cameron Crowe, 1992 - Bless You!”, uploaded by FilmStruck
The plot is threadbare and simple, perfect for a light-hearted evening with pizzas, beer and friends. A bunch of twenty-somethings hang out in Seattle coffee shops, play in bands, crack jokes and most importantly – repeatedly fall in love with the wrong people. As couples are built and dismantled and reshuffled, everyone learns something on the way and gets a bit smarter with the next choice. “Singles” is all about dating (ok, and great music), but it’s never condescending and never implies that being in a couple is the ultimate success. In fact, it teaches lessons in picking better, going deeper than looks, and generally accepting the flow of things without too much drama.
Director Cameron Crowe had already proven his prowess at capturing teen spirit with the hilarious “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, and later went on to direct other big hits such as “Almost Famous”, “Jerry Maguire” and “Vanilla Sky”. But what’s not in his bio is perhaps as interesting as what is. As “Singles” proved to be a jackpot, Warner Bros sniffed the money and suggested Crowe turn the concept into a TV series. But he felt that would be a step too far and rejected the proposal. Two years later, a little show called “Friends” was first aired on NBC, and everyone in the industry knew that what went on to be one of the most popular series ever was moulded as close as (legally) possible to “Singles”. The main characters are six instead of four, they live on the East Coast rather than out west, and their hang out café is the Central Perk instead of the OK Hotel. Everything else is uncannily similar…
So do yourself a favour: this Valentine’s Day, watch the “original” and take a moment to appreciate how dating has always been funny, disastrous and yet very hard to quit.