"Taming of the Shrew" keeps relationship standards in place, as Petruchio has envisioned a perfect relationship where everything ends happily ever after no matter what the cost is or barrier that they must overcome. Although the majority of romantic comedies set sail on the stereotypical love story, "Friends with Benefits" throws a curveball at the idea that relationships are always structured in a similar fashion. Unlike Petruchio and Katherine who try and follow the mythical romance that surrounds the book, both main characters from the movie follow an unconventional path to love, as believe that there are other ways enjoy some of the perks of relationships and romance. "Friends with Benefits" shows that romantic love doesn't always have to be society views it, and also that audiences enjoy the novelty of seeing a couple who are on an unconventional path to romance.
“No relationship, no emotions, just sex. Whatever happens we stay friends.”- “Friends with Benefits”. In Friends with Benefits you see the development of two friends as they endure a journey into a different type of relationship. The main characters Dylan and Jamie, are both troubled by past relationships, and are looking for something new and different from the traditionally structured relationship. But still being a romantic movie, you can predict that both characters will eventually fall in love. Like Petruchio and Katherine, Dylan and Jamie take unconventional paths to love. You see this unconventional path develop the second the two characters meet, and you can already predict how the movie is going to end, despite the fact that this movie was made to show that love isn’t always like a fairytale. When Jamie and Dylan first meet they act as if they are already dating in a way. Jamie has this sarcastic yet playful humor as she teases Dylan when he asks her out for a drink, acting as if she’s not interested, but obviously is. As they grow stronger and agree to become friends with benefits, you see the complications of feelings slowly arise. Although Petruchio as well as Lucentio, take very unconventional paths to love, it is for more comedic reasons, as they also still follow the traditional standards of romance.
Dylan: “Why do women think the only way to get men to do what they want is to manipulate them?”
Jamie: “History, personal experience, romantic comedies.”
-Friends with Benefits
Throughout the movie both characters question why all love stories are the same, and where all these images come from. It is as if they’re making fun of the stereotypical romantic comedie. The Taming of the Shrew takes a twist at the idea also but all the elements such as gender role, misogyny, and true romantic love are still very present. Unlike the movie Katherine shows a strong disapproval of Petruchio until a surprising twist at the end, which is sort of reversed in the movie because Jamie plays a big role in her relationship with Dylan. While Petruchio gets a lot of approval for his marriage with Katherine from family and loved ones, Dylan does not, at least until people start assuming they are a couple. When Dylan tells his co-worker Tommy about his friends with benefits situation with Jamie, he completely shoots down his idea telling him that things like that will never happen. (quote below)
Tommy: “What, you guys going out now?”
Dylan: “No, no, no, we're just friends. We're... messing around a little bit.”
Tommy: “What do you mean?”
Dylan: “Sleeping together. But it's just sex.”
Tommy: “That never works, bro. She's a girl. Sex always means more to them even if they don't admit it.”
Dylan: “Jamie's different.”
Tommy: “Does she have a penis where most girls have a vagina?”
Dylan: “No penis.”
Tommy: “Then she's no different……..”
(later on in that scene)
Tommy: “You know what I discovered? It's not who you want to spend Friday night with, it's who you want to spend all day Saturday with. Feel me, Felix?”
Dylan: “Yeah, but then it's every Saturday for the rest of your life…”
Tommy: “It's OK, you don't get it. It's no big deal. But you will. One day you'll meet someone and it'll literally take your breath away. Like you can't breathe. Like no oxygen to the lungs. Like a fish…”
Dylan: “Yeah, I... I get it, Tommy.”
Tommy: “Yeah, you don't.”
-Friends with Benefits
Instead of praising their relationship like many of Petruchio and Katherine’s family members did, Tommy gives Dylan advice telling him that what he wanted would never work. At this point in the movie, the whole story takes a twist, as both character begin falling in love and then the movie, in a way becomes the love story it set out not to be.“I really have to stop buying into this bullshit Hollywood cliche of true love.”-Friends with Benefits
“I will be master of what is mine own.
She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything.
And here she stands, touch her whoever dare.”- Petruchio, Act 2, Scene 3, Taming of the Shrew (3.2.235-239)
Petruchio plays the dominant character in the relationship, which leads back to stereotypical romance. All this is part of his scheme of “taming” Katherine because as introduced in the play once she is married, she can no longer make decisions over her own, and no legal rights of her own. This brings in misogyny as an element that is present in many romantic stories. As he builds, what seems to be a mythical vision of romance, you think that Katherine will not fall in love with him. But Petruchio isn’t the only character that envisions a romance that many movies and books portray. Lucentio and Katherine have expectations to how life should be when in love, and all of those expectations are those that Friends with Benefits criticizes.
Petruchio takes big risks to gain Katherine's love. From not letting her eat, showing up to their wedding in improper attire, he puts on a show for everyone as he endures on his path to mythical romance with Katherine. But Friends with Benefits throws a spin at the whole idea that romantic comedies and introduce something new, something different. They eliminate romance(or at least try to) to try and show that there are other ways for people to share feelings and bond. All this is, is set in stone until the end when Jamie and Dylan’s plan collapses, and they fall in love with each other. In the end both the movie and play create an example that no matter the path to love, everything comes to back to the bonding stereotypes that surround love and impact our society throughout our daily lives.