Some might believe I’m being ironic when I claim to love (LOVE!) cheesy love stories, but really I’m not. I absolutely adore them. I watch them on TV, I go see them in the cinema, I read them in books featuring teenagers as lead characters (because first love is the cheesiest of all), and I create them myself playing the Sims. Needless to say, I’m a fan.
So, what exactly makes a story cheesy? A quick search on Urban Dictionary gives me several different definitions of the word cheesy. The most popular one defines cheesy as something that’s “trying too hard, unsubtle or inauthentic”. The second most popular definition is “sentimental, maudlin, melodramatic, corny”. Both agree that Celine Dion songs make great examples of cheesiness. Wiktionary defines cheesy as something first and foremost having to do with cheese, or as something similar to cheese, but also acknowledges that the word cheesy informally can be used to describe something that’s “of poor quality through being overdramatic, excessively emotional, or clichéd, trite, contrived or shoddy”. Common for all these definitions then, is the view of cheesiness as something inherently bad. To a certain extent, I agree. However, I believe that there are different levels of cheesiness, and that different people have different thresholds for how much cheese they can take.
Personally, I enjoy love stories in which the characters fall head over heels and act a little corny around each other. I absolutely love it when characters pine for each other. I love unrequited love and I love when unrequited love turns out to be requited after all. I love it when characters initially can’t stand each other and then develop romantic feelings over time. And I love it when the bad boy falls in love. These are cheesy story lines, I know, but not necessarily bad ones. It all depends on how the story is written. I do not require Shakespearean depth in order to enjoy a story, but on the other hand I don’t like when the story itself is sacrificed in order to bombard the reader with over the top emotionality. I don’t think I like trite, contrived or shoddy stories, but I suppose taste is subjective.
The way I see it, I prefer my love stories with a light to medium layer of cheese sprinkled on top, kind of like a drizzle of parmesan on top of my spaghetti. However, what I consider just enough cheese, others may consider far too much.