10/08/2013 01:28 pm ET Updated Dec 08, 2013

Why I'm Getting A PhD In Something That No One Cares About

Whenever I tell people what I'm writing my doctoral thesis about -- romantic comedies -- I expect, based on three years of experience, one of two reactions. The first is some variation on, "Oh my gosh, how fun!" Which is not the f-word I usually employ when describing my doctoral dissertation. The second reaction is less enthusiastic, and is often accompanied by an eyeroll. "Ugh, why?" is something that I've heard a lot in the last few years, and as much as it makes me want to roll my own eyes - because it's often followed by a sneering comment about how Christ, you really can get a degree in anyfuckingthing these days, can't you? -- it's not an entirely unreasonable question.

Why study romantic comedies? They're formulaic and predictable and light and fluffy. Everyone knows how they're going to end. They don't mean anything. Why devote years of my life to them when I could be studying The Odyssey or David Copperfield? If I'm going to study modern texts, why not "serious" ones like Citizen Kane or Breaking Bad?

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