Wordplay is a gold mine. Truly. There may actually be unanswered screenwriting questions on that site, but a person would be hard pressed to find them. In response to my question about Rom Coms that never grow old, Mariama pointed me to a thread that follows Ted Elliott's thoughts on blah romantic comedies.
Ted basically says that when the primary task is to fall in love, everything else is somewhat unconvincing. But, when two people fall in love while attempting to accomplish common or conflicting tasks, you have a memorable story. Story first. Romance second. Simple.
When I think of the Rom Coms/hybrids/cross genres that I never tire of watching and have withstood the test of time -- Tootsie (1982), Heaven Can Wait (1978), Groundhog Day (1993), Romancing the Stone (1984) -- romance isn't the primary storyline.
* Heaven Can Wait - Joe Pendleton wants a body
* Tootsie - Michael Dorsey wants an acting job
* Groundhog Day - Phil Conners wants the day to end
* Romancing the Stone - Joan Wilder wants to save her sister
Something besides love drives each of those stories and it's something I can relate to enough that bell bottoms and big hair won't keep me from watching the movie over and over. Working Girl (1988) and The Secret of My Success (1987) are even basically the same film with different genders, but I love them both because who can't relate to wanting out from behind the secretary's desk or out of the mailroom?
Story first. Romance second. This is a very workable thought process for me. No more pressure to be a romantic comedy aficionado in order to incorporate humor and romance into my screenplays. Story first. Romance second. Of course, that leaves the humor unaddressed. Coincidentally, I am beginning Chapter Eight of Billy Mernit's book, Writing the Romantic Comedy, and what is it called? Finding the Funny.