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By Britton Perelman · February 17, 2021
The one movie genre that’s like peanut butter and jelly. Mac & cheese. Popcorn and a giant Slushie at the movie theater.
While the genre that combines drama and comedy may be difficult to get just right from a writing perspective, when you do it’s the perfect combination.
For examples of the various ways to mix drama and comedy for a winning blend that will leave audiences laughing and crying, take a look at these 16 scripts.
Tom is a greeting card writer and hopeless romantic. Summer is the quirky and romance-cynical girl he falls for. While it could also easily be categorized as a rom-com, the movie’s not only a bucket of laughs. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s story perfectly combines the highs of new love with the lows of heartbreak and hindsight perspective. After all, it does start with the main character distraught because the woman he loves broke up with him out of the blue.
In what has come to be known as his signature style, screenwriter Dan Fogelman twists a bunch of love stories together in this 2011 dramedy. On the surface, it may seem like just a story about a father trying to win back his wife with the help of a much younger (and incredibly good looking) man — it is that, and much, much more.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s masterful two-series show falls solidly in the dramedy category. Fleabag is hilarious and broken, ironic and honest, crazy and relatable. The things she says are just as funny as they are heartbreaking. Anyone wanting to write dramedies should study the Fleabag scripts with a red pen in hand.
When the 2008 recession hits, a group of exotic dancers concocts a scheme to steal money from their wealthy Wall Street clients. A logline so outrageous basically necessitates skillful blending of comedy and drama, which is exactly what Lorene Scafaria did with her 2019 script.
A young German boy whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their house during World War II. The subject may not seem like fodder for an incredible dramedy, but Taika Waititi’s Academy Award-winning script will have you laughing one minute and crying the next.
If anyone could be named Queen of the Dramedy, I’d have to go ahead and give the title to Diablo Cody. Her first foray into screenwriting is the one that put her on the map. Juno follows the titular teen who gets pregnant, decides to give the baby up for adoption, chooses a couple, and then learns that real life is much more complicated than she expected.
This coming-of-age story deftly balances the turbulent emotions stirred up in the last year of high school. Senior Lady Bird McPherson juggles her precarious position on the precipice of adulthood, a tense relationship with her mother, friendships, love, and sex in Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut.
Seventeen-year-old Simon is harboring two secrets in this rom-com dramedy. Not only has he fallen in love with an anonymous classmate online, but he also hasn’t told any friends or family members that he’s gay. The script by This Is Us executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger perfectly balances the fear, hilarity, and hope in Simon’s journey.
There’s a reason so many dramedies center on teenagers: the nebulous coming-of-age years are fraught with both drama and comedy. That difficult, awkward, and amusing mess is on full display in Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, a dramedy about a teenage filmmaker whose life changes when he becomes friends with a girl fighting leukemia.
Midnight in Paris fits easily in many genres. It’s a romance, a fantasy, a comedy, and a drama. Woody Allen’s 2011 dramedy follows a hopeful novelist who inadvertently steps back in time and winds up partying with his idols in the 1920s Paris. The Academy Award-winning script moves between sarcastic comments, ironic one-liners, and dramatic monologues with ease.
What do you get when you combine two runaway pre-teens, a troupe of angsty boy scouts, some highly dysfunctional adults, a violent thunderstorm, and an island cut off from the rest of the world? This Academy Award-winning dramedy by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola.
Is there anything better than the pairing of Bill Murray and Rashida Jones? Probably not. Together they bring Sofia Coppola’s dramedy script about a young mother reconnecting with her eccentric, playboy father to life.
Endless time loops are endless fodder for screenwriters, as proven once again in 2019 with Russian Doll. This dramedy series by Natasha Lyonne follows a woman who finds herself stuck in a strange time loop in which she dies at the end of the day and wakes up totally fine at the beginning of that same day.
Pat just wants to get his wife back. Tiffany just wants to compete in a dance competition. They might just be able to help each other. But David O. Russell’s screenplay proves that life is nothing if not complicated. Like this dramedy, it’s also full of moments of laughter, disappointment, anger, joy, and hope.
The truth is always stranger than fiction. At least, that’s how the saying goes. It’s never more true than in this Will Ferrell dramedy by Zach Helm. It’s weird when IRS auditor Harold begins hearing someone narrate his life. But things take a dramatic turn when the narrator foreshadows his upcoming death.