Romantic Comedy / Curtis Steinfeld
Updated: 4 hours ago
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Publisher: Double Day
Release: April 4 2023 | UK
The novel follows Sally Milz, a writer for a sketch comedy show called The Night Owls. Sally is irritated when her friend and fellow writer, Danny Horst, begins dating Annabel, a gorgeous actress who hosted the show. But when pop music sensation Noah Brewster signs on to host the show, in which Sally has written a sketch mocking Danny's dating choices, she's caught off guard when sparks fly between her and Noah.
When the writers sit down to curate shorts for the show in the book, I think of the works of Tina Fey, Amy Polher & Tracy Morgan which is referenced as admiration within the characters of the writers. I feel as though Nigel has an Austin Powers / Nigel (Devil Wears Parada) vibe to him. He was one of my favourite co-workers outside of Sally's friendship bubble. Steinfeld takes this approach of outrageous named sketches like cheesemonger before spinning it with her own perception of having uncelebrified guests on the show for their ideas. To be fair, the whole idea sounds like a lot of fun. The different formats of text like Manuscripts, Time Stamps, Emails & Flash Forwards makes the book modern with a fresh perspective.
One of my favourite, suprising elements of the plot is how Steinfeld never gave us a typical romance ending. The reader saw what Sally is really like behind a keyboard being in control of a situation but highlights introvert elements of being a writer with a consuming job with little interaction. Sally is dammed by social media presence (the press after SNL & comments when photographed together) that doubts her confidence, plus the fact Noah is rich whereas she is not brings out her ambitions to write mockery, romantic comedies. We were teased all the way with the true outcome of Sally & Noah's relationship. Steinfeld even wrote a conversation between the couple about their previous relationships & appearances not mattering. Despite the author commenting with Variety, "I’m not sure this novel would exist if Pete Davidson didn’t exist" there is no real character based off him in the novel. A few days ago, Davison appeared in the press claiming SNL jokes about his dating life making him feel like a looser. This is familiar - like re-reading The Danny Horst Rule so maybe Steinfeld had a point to raise.
Steinfeld walked through her research methods with Variety. The fascination with SNL stemmed from a family obsession with watching re-runs of SNL over quarrentine (or pandy) that has been added to the book through exchanges between Sally & Noah about Sally's long service. The effort of each week's episode is astounding. We all saw it watching KKW on The Kardashians - who ironically dated Davison - but now its brought to life in detail through Romantic Comedy. Each week, there are endless hours, re-writes & rehearsals to the point a clock should not be hung in the building. Shows are hosted by major celebrities bringing in musical guests they most rave about. Noah was an ideal MC who showed independence, wisdom & celebrity status with a mystic twist. I've come to the conclusion it could be based on Ed Sheeran. He plays a guitar, has long hair. It just ticks all the boxes. However, I could be wrong but I'd love to hear your guesses below..
Romantic Comedy was another brilliant book written by Steinfeld. I've come to learn about her older books having read Rodham in the recent months so she's newly added to my favourite author list. This book is not like her other styles but she still brings in a steamy sex scene here or there for extra entertainment.
I would like to thank the publishers for giving me an Advanced Readers Copy, much to my suprise. I've enjoyed researching & analysing this book. It was an entertaining, funny & thought provoking read. Steinfeld's novel - Romantic Comedy - is now avaliable in all Bookstores.
Variety | Curtis Steinfeld Interview
Guardian | Romantic Comedy Review
Independent | Pete Davison SNL & Dating