The topic of the "Man Child" came up at rehearsal last night, and its popularity in films. For example, look at Seth Rogen's character in Knocked Up
- everyone loves the Man Child, pities him, laughs with him. Why are those dumb girlfriends asking them to get a job, right? Seth Rogen's character is working on a website, dammnit, and when it hits he'll have money! But in the interim he smokes pot, watches TV and plays video games with his other Man Child slacker friends. And you know he's never going to make that website. Along comes a woman who forces him to have some responsibility, hilarity ensues and then... wait for it... he changes! He gets a JOB! And we're supposed to be really proud of him.
As you can tell, it just so happens I wasn't the biggest fan of the movie Knocked Up, but I do like most Judd Apatow films and the "bromance" and "rom-com" genre. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, too, had the Man Child, and it was hilarious. So I'm not hating on the model - it works and it's often funny. It also gets flipped around where the responsible male friend has the Man Child friend, as in I Love You, Man (Child), or the woman is the irresponsible one (Along Came Polly).
Where it gets weird is when it translates into real life. One of the younger cast members was lamenting about how laziness is often celebrated amongst some of her male friends, and seeing said friends at 25 with the beginnings of a beer belly who can't afford to go out to a nice dinner with a girl is actually sad, not funny. I had to remind her that in reality, there are men who don't need to do the "shape up or ship out" thing. There have, are, and will always be responsible/kind/employed men in New York. She just doesn't hear about them as often because her profession (stand-up comedy) innately leads her to bars where the Man Children tend to hang out the most. (That is not to say that Man Men don't go to bars - they do, they just don't live there). So it was an interesting conversation about our different places in life, and comedy, and her friends.
In conclusion, maybe it's just Seth Rogen I don't like. Because every other comedy in that genre I'm a big fan of. Unless it's real and on your couch. Godspeed, my 25 year old friend. I'd also like to congratulate myself on the phrase "Man Men"; it's hot for so many reasons.