My friend James and I used to spend our time making zombie apocalypse contingency plans. James would always say apologetically, “I’d have to shoot you in the head if you were slowing us down.”
Why do I bring this up so close to Valentine’s Day? Well, because romantic relationships are what screw you over in a crisis situation, at least according to the movies. It seems like every zombie movie has the moment where the husband has to shoot the wife who’s turning. (Resulting in the infamous, “He’s not the man you married” line.) In every war movie, talking about your girl back home is a recipe for death by mortar shell. In I Am Legend, its Will Smith’s unhealthy attachment to Fred the mannequin the is the beginning of the end.
The perfect example of romantic attachment as death sentence is J.J. Abrams’ shaky camera fest, Cloverfield. In it, two (count ’em two) couples risk their lives to save their significant others. And they all die. Not to mention one guy drags his friends across Manhattan Island to save his girlfriend who’s not answering her phone while the monster is destroying Midtown. (The girl turns out to be impaled by a metal pole and lasts long enough to point out how pointless it was for the group to come down there in the first place.)
Hear that right? “I don’t care what’s out there. Listen to me. She’s dying.” Not advisable, dude. There is a large, very scary batty, whale-y monster-y thing that has fleas that can kill you. If either one of you is going to survive, somebody needs to know that.
Of course, the loner is a motif in apocalypse and disaster films. He’s kind of a jerk though. Either way, walking across Manhattan and through a military zone to pick up anyone while a monster’s on the loose is Darwin Award-type behavior. Funny how romance isn’t really evolutionary beneficial.