Best of 2023

Biographies of Side Characters in Every Rom-Com

Female Lead’s Sidekick 

She’s asexual (but the word ace will never be used). She might have a job, but who really knows? She has no hopes or dreams other than making Female Lead laugh as she navigates a tumultuous will they/won’t they with Male Lead.

You can expect Female Lead’s Sidekick to assert herself once when Female Lead lashes out at her or takes her for granted for the 700th time. But then, Female Lead will bring over Phish Food ice cream (it’s their thing) with two spoons and say, “Sidekick, you know you’re my rock. Can we be forever again? You know I’d literally die for you.”

Then they will hug and settle down on the couch with their Phish Food while Female Lead talks about herself and catches Female Lead’s Sidekick up on how she knows, just knows, that it’s definitely over with Male Lead for good this time. And Female Lead’s Sidekick will listen and nod, and she will never once say, “I’m trying to watch Gilmore Girls.”

Male Lead’s Sidekick

He’s single and probably a fuckboy, but he knows true love when he sees it. He out-loud wonders, “Man, why are you still dating High-Powered Career Woman when Female Lead drinks beer and burps like a man? And eats burgers with all the fixings? And often eats entire cartons of Phish Food ice cream in one sitting? All while wearing crop tops and being a size two? She’s the ultimate cool girl.”

It almost makes him believe in love, and Male Lead’s Sidekick could maybe find it with Female Lead’s Sidekick, except this is not his story, and Female Lead’s Sidekick is asexual. He definitely has no job and mooches off of Male Lead lead but gives powerful relationship advice. He’s played by Jason Alexander if this is a movie before 2005 or Pete Davidson if this is a movie after 2016. He begins sentences with “Man, relationships are like…”

Generic White Man with an Expensive Watch

This is Female Lead’s boyfriend or fiance at the beginning of the movie. He’s definitely cheating on Female Lead and maybe embezzling money from his nondescript job, but the cheating thing is way worse. He kicks puppies (see Wise Animal). He eats HEALTHY. He’s generically handsome in a created-by-Midjourney kinda way. His teeth are really white.

Generic White Man with an Expensive Watch has a rich family that hates Female Lead for no discernable reason and casually drops hints that he should get back together with that nice Generic White Woman they met in the Hamptons seven years ago. They may invite Generic White Woman to go skiing in Aspen with them, and Generic White Man with an Expensive Watch will go and lie to Female Lead about it. “But Generic White Woman means nothing to me! Nothing at all!” However, Female Lead knows that she’ll never be good enough for his family, and this meandering side plot will come to a close.

High-Powered Career Woman

This is Male Lead’s aforementioned girlfriend or fiancee. Her only personality trait is having a high-profile job. This is bad. She should be supporting Male Lead full-time while also having enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle in New York City or LA. She is a size 2, just like Female Lead, but it’s bad in this case because she smokes and hates ice cream.

High-Powered Career Woman will frequently walk out of a room when Male Lead is mid-sentence and say, “Sorry, Babe. My high-profile job is calling. Sushi later?” Male Lead hates sushi.

Wise Child

In more progressive rom-coms, this will be the Male Lead’s son. Otherwise, it will be some random neighbor kid who shouldn’t be hanging out with adult strangers so much and has absentee parents. Wise Child hates High-Powered Career Woman and is constantly telling Male Lead, “Male Lead, maybe you should find someone who likes Phish Food ice cream.”

When Wise Child meets Female Lead, he will whisper to Male Lead, “She’s holding a carton of Phish Food.” Then Wise Child will vanish, and we will be left wondering if he was a ghost all along.

Wise Animal

Wise Animal belongs to Female Lead (because she was on her way to becoming a cat and/or dog lady until she met Male Lead. Generic White Man with an Expensive Watch doesn’t count.).

Wise Animal will bite Generic White Man with an Expensive Watch in the crotch, which is the first sign that something is wrong in the relationship. However, Wise Animal will casually curl up in Male Lead’s lap while he and Female Lead are cuddling on the couch like completely platonic friends do. This is the first sign that Male Lead is the right man for Female Lead, other than the fact that everyone has been telling both of them that they should stop wasting everyone’s time with their bullshit drama and the main-character energy is really annoying.

Snotty Kleenex That Male Lead Doesn’t Mind Touching Because He’s a Sensitive Guy in Touch With His Emotions

This is a minor character, but a pivotal one nonetheless. While Female Lead is sobbing about her breakup with Generic White Man with an Expensive Watch, losing her job, Generic White Man with an Expensive Watch cheating on her again, an illness in the family, or any combination of these items, Male Lead will hand her a pristine Kleenex.

Female Lead will transform this pristine Kleenex into Snotty Kleenex That Male Lead Doesn’t Mind Touching Because He’s A Sensitive Guy in Touch With His Emotions, and it will symbolize that their love transcends the need to not have bodily fluids on their hands. Love wins.