Beloved author, screenwriter and New Yorker Nora Ephron passed away suddenly nearly two weeks ago, and we wouldn’t be doing our job here at Jumped the Snark if we didn’t report on it nearly two weeks later. Like with a lot of celebrities and significant figures who left us this year – Richard Dawson excluded – we didn’t have the same deep personal relation to or affection for Nora Ephron that many others did (and still do). Did we respect and appreciate her work? Surely. But did we harbor a rapturous devotion to her romantic comedies? Not quite. When we think of Nora Ephron, we think of You’ve Got Mail. And when we think of You’ve Got Mail, we inevitably think of this scene from Undeclared, when a warm-keg-beer-filled Seth Rogen declares his love for the film.
And this soliloquy can perhaps be applied to Nora Ephron’s body of work, at the least to her film career. Later in life she became synonymous with “romantic comedies” which became synonymous with “rom-coms” which itself became synonymous with “melodramatic, insulting, mindless treacle,” which is not quite an appropriate usage of the transitive property. Yes, some – maybe even most – rom-coms are uninspired and vapid forms of low art designed to appeal to a specific demographic and not necessarily to be good, but not all rectangles are squares, and not all rom-coms are “typical American tripe.” Like with You’ve Got Mail, you may think you’re better than Nora Ephron, but you’re not.
Coincidentally, we just this afternoon read New York magazine’s tribute of sorts to Ephron, a reprinting of her inaugural “Women” column, and we found her writing witty, confident, fun, and, much like Greg Kinnear in You’ve Got Mail, very likable.