Friday Drinking Game #36 – Indie Rom-Coms

Last weekend we decided to be ultra deep and get sozzled with Shakespeare. God, we’re so deep. We’re like ocean trenches, aren’t we? And that can only mean one thing; it’s time to whip out the indie rom-com and wallow in our newfound “better than thou” state of mind. What do indie kids drink? Absinthe. Duh! It’s that or orange soda and, to be honest, we doubt the orange soda is going to have quite as much of a kick…


Take one sip…

Whenever you see Zooey Deschanel

Make these teensy-weensy little sips; if you’re watching an indie rom-com, you’re almost guaranteed a stopover from Zooey ‘I’m SO quirky I define quirky’ Deschanel.

Note: If it’s not her, it’s bound to be someone similar. Maybe Kirsten Dunst. Or Carey Mulligan? The requirements for your female lead are as follows: huge eyes, porcelain skin, slim frame (bordering on frail) and the ability to make a deadpan stare feel “sexy”.

Whenever the soundtrack veers well into the realms of pretentiousness

Do you like The Smiths? Of course you do. Everybody who is anybody loves The Smiths.

“And if a double decker bus, crashes into…”

Oh for goodness sake.

Whenever someone is an architect

In the world of the indie rom-com, jobs are few and far between. You will find that, generally, the sensitive male lead will work as an architect, a musician or something else suitably emotional in which he can actively express the THOUGHTS from inside HIS BRAIN. The woman, on the other hand, will probably be a teacher. Or a skilful potter. Or, I dunno, work in an art gallery. Nobody is allowed to do something dull, like work as a bank clerk.

Note: if your characters are still of high-school attending age, than they are allowed either a) a summer job at the local themepark or b) a Saturday job in a record store / soda fountain / ice cream stand. FACT!

Whenever the male lead has a bad haircut

You know you’ve definitely wandered into the realm of indie romance when the male love interest looks like a matured member of the Oliver Twist gang. He’s probably Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg. This guy makes brushing your hair about as sexy as your grandma’s garter-belt. Let your fronds ruffle. Let them burst, unruly, from your scalp in every which way and direction. You’re way too DEEP for tidy locks.

Whenever the female lead has a QUIRKY haircut

This can include vibrant dyed locks, a pixie, spikes or distressingly unstyled long brown hair.


Take two sips…

Whenever you feel disorientated by the sheer number of witty retorts

God, we’ve all been there. This is the problem with all of these ‘out-there indie chicks, isn’t it? Juno, for example, was just as easy with her well-rehearsed retorts as she was with her virginity. OOH, BURN! See – being a female, I have the ability to say things like that on a regular basis. You say anything to me, I’ll bat it back at you with the speed and dexterity of Nadal at the Wimbledon Final. And everyone’s completely cool with it.

Whenever a girl helps bring a man outta his shell

You know what most men lack? The ability to function in a healthy way without the help of a free-spirited female. They just can’t do it. Look at them all, sitting inside their bedrooms / offices / kitchens and staring blankly at the walls. They need a woman, is what they need! Jim Carrey had Kate Winslet, Zach Braff had Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom had Kirsten Dunst, Michael Cera had Ellen Page and, of course, Joseph Gordon-Levitt had Zooey Deschanel.

So. WHO will save YOU, oh lost and reclusive man?

(Hint: If you don’t know the answer to the above, down your drink. May as well, eh?)

Whenever you spy a doodle with importance

Indie rom-coms are fraught with hand-drawn graphics. Don’t believe me? Check out Juno, Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and (500) Days Of Summer. What did you see? Doodles. Damn straight. Probably doodles that came to life and took on a central importance to the plot as well, I imagine. If you draw things with your actual bare hands it makes you (and your movie) edgy. Edgy and genuine. And we all know that edgy and genuine things equal massive success.

Whenever the sex scenes have a PG rating

Chaste cuddling, a bit of steamy making out… that’s about it. Nobody wants to destroy the appearance of their carefully messed-up hair, after all.

(This rule needn’t apply if you’re watching Zack And Miri Make A Porno)


Take three sips…

Whenever the title of your film is someone’s name

Seriously, it’s true. Most indie rom-com writers don’t want to go giving away too much too soon, so they’ll slam an innocuous mononymous title all over their film. A la Adam or Juno. If not, they’ll get a little creative, using a character’s name within an enigmatic statement: (500) Days Of Summer, anyone? Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist maybe?

Whenever the cast wander into a record store

The art of being an ultra-cool indie romance character is being unable to talk to anyone about your music. However, you do genuinely need to find an opportunity where you can be unable to talk about your music. Cue the record store, complete with plenty of vinyls for you to flip knowingly through. You can’t speak about your opinions, but you CAN raise an eyebrow, or dance in the aisle a little, or make a cool in-joke that nobody but other indie romance characters will get. This process will allow you to prove that you are way cooler than everybody else.

BONUS SIP if your characters WORK in a record store. Hello High Fidelity! Hello Pretty In Pink! How are you doing tod… No. We don’t want to buy a bloody Smiths album. Fuck off.

Whenever love is based on something tenuous

Do you like music? I like music. Do you like inane quotes? I like inane quotes. Do you play an instrument? OH MY GOD, ME TOO! We’re in love. We’re soulmates. We’re totally soulmates. There is literally NOTHING that could tear us apa… oh.



When you suddenly realise love is forever tainted

Hungry? Take a big old bite of this Love Apple Pie. Go on, it’ll be delicious… look at all the sugar and spices. Yeah. S’good, isn’t it? NO IT BLOODY WELL ISN’T! Love Apples are tainted with a distinctly bitter flavour, which puts one in mind of the time you reached for the Diet Coke and ended up swigging from a bottle of brown vinegar.

Love stinks. End of. And that’s another two sips you owe me. One for Zooey and one for the bad haircut.

Who’s bitter now?


Do you like indie rom-coms? Do you like drinking?Tell us why!

About The Author