How many romantic comedies starring straight couples have been made since the dawn of time?

A thousand? A million? There have been a lot!

Americans haven't suffered from a straight rom-com shortage since rom-coms became a thing — "Annie Hall" in 1977, "The Apartment" in 1960, or maybe even "It Happened One Night" way back in 1934.


Rarely do you hear complaints from moviegoers about Hollywood churning out too many of them.

Which is why Jim Parsons has had it.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

The actor visited "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on May 7 to promote a reboot of the gay-themed Broadway show "The Boys in The Band." As the conversation veered into the need for more LGBTQ representation in theater, film, and beyond, Parsons revealed one thing that irked him about the criticism aimed at the film "Love, Simon" earlier this year.

The teen rom-com — the genre's first to star a gay lead while also boasting a big budget — was dinged by some critics for arriving in theaters about a decade too late. "'Love, Simon' Is a Groundbreaking Gay Movie," one headline announced, "But Do Today's Teens Actually Need It?"

According to Parsons, the answer is a resounding yes.

The wide release of "Love, Simon" meant an LGBTQ-themed movie for teens was in most movie theaters across the country. That's never happened before. And for a gay kid in, say, small-town Kansas, that matters.

As Parsons explained:

"I read a couple of articles that were essentially saying – I loved ['Love, Simon'], by the way — but there were a couple articles that were like, 'That's too late.' ... That we're beyond this now — the kind of tale of coming out that this was. And I thought, 'Maybe if you're a 30-something writer living in New York or L.A. it may be like, 'I don't need to see this,' obviously. But I don't know – I think there are people in many other places that, yes, you do still need to see it."

Parsons then pointed out how absurd it is to argue a gay rom-com is "too late" to make a meaningful difference when no one holds straight rom-coms to the same standard:

"Never mind the fact [they're saying] 'a gay rom-com — it's too late.' Well, tell that to 'When Harry Met Sally,' you know? Which was brilliant, but I'm saying, 'How many straight rom-coms do we need? When is it too late for them?' You know?"

Check out the interview below.

Parsons begins talking about "Love, Simon," at about the 7-minute mark.

He's not wrong, is he?

We often eat up straight rom-coms faster than the popcorn kernels in our buttery palms without thinking twice about their relevance to the social consciousness of the day.

Yet with rom-coms featuring marginalized lovebirds, there seems to be a different standard. Did "Love, Simon" explore queerness in a positive way? Was it relatable enough for LGBTQ teens? Was it timely enough to make a difference? Did it revolutionize the fight for LGBTQ equality in 1 hour and 50 minutes of screen time?!

This is exactly why we need more rom-coms featuring LGBTQ people from all walks of life — people of color, people of minority faiths, disabled people, and everyone else. That way, the few films featuring marginalized people that do get made won't bear the brunt of cramming the experiences of an entire group into one trip to the movies.  

Or, as Parsons quipped, to laughs: "Let me get sick of too many gay rom-coms, then, thank you very much. Bring it on."

Photo courtesy of Purina® Cat Chow®
True

Know someone who’s over 60 and feeling lonely? Help is just a phone call away. Purina Cat Chow has partnered with two non-profits in order to bring senior citizens some much-needed virtual therapy cat visits.

Wait…that’s a thing?

When we think of the term “therapy animal,” most of us are probably inclined to picture a dog. After all, canines dominate the therapy animal field at 94%. Felines, on the other hand, make up part of the other 6% (that’s combined with other animals). Anyone who has experienced that special, soul-soothing bliss that comes from stroking a purring kitty in their lap will tell you: those numbers might be off. Although therapy cats make up a smaller percentage of this segment, cats offer a wide array of positive benefits that make them wonderful therapy animals.

Just ask Roger and Sal – a couple of registered therapy cats – along with their handler Tracy Howell.

Since 2016, Tracy and Roger have been working with Pet Partners®, a non-profit that matches volunteer therapy animals of all kinds with people in need of a furry friend visit, including nursing facilities, assisted living, hospice centers, and children’s hospitals.

Tracy and Roger in 2016; Photo courtesy of Tracy Howell

Sal is a mew addition to the team. But he’s already working very, very hard…putting his head on people’s thighs and letting them massage his paws. What a gig.

According to Pet Partners, who have had more than 1,500 felines registered in their Therapy Animal Program, certain populations prefer cat companions to dogs. For one thing: they’re more compact, and generally more quiet, making lap cuddles a much more Zen experience.

Plus, cats tend to be more particular about who they interact with, which can signal a nice little ego boost. “Cats have a reputation for being selectively affectionate. If a cat likes you, you’re special,” says Moira Smith, Pet Partners staff member, team evaluator, and cat handler.

Basically, it feels really good to be invited into the Cat Club. Some of Roger and Sal’s most loyal fans are, in fact, seniors – in particular, those with dementia.

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The shortage is causing intense stress for families that rely on formula as retailers resort to rationing purchases and customers find store shelves empty of major brands.

It's genuinely a crisis. And unfortunately, some breastfeeding advocates are using the shortage to tout the benefits of breastfeeding: This isn't a problem if you breastfeed! It's "free!" It's "readily available!" It's nature's perfect food! It's "what God intended!" It'll never be recalled!

Folks? Now is not the time or the place.

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Also, if you wore pants that looked like this, people actually thought you were cool.


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People listened to rock 'n' roll because it was important.



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People spent time talking to each other instead of staring at their phones.

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