Few entertainment genres are as intrinsically Bustle as the rom com. This week, leading up to Valentine's Day, Bustle is partnering with the podcast Meet Cute to explore the real-life romcoms unfolding all around us. Today's episode, "Love From A to Z" adapts Betty Chang and Kevin Chang's story of the high school romance that couldn't possibly last...and then did.
"We don't really think of our story as very romantic," says Betty Chang during a Zoom call with Bustle about her Meet Cute. "Love A to Z" is based on the story of how she met her partner, Kevin Chang, in high school, and how their relationship kept growing from there. "We're very practical people," Chang adds.
Elena Nicolaou, who wrote their Meet Cute and was also on the Zoom, says the biggest challenge of writing the script was to condense a love story that happened over 8 years into 15 minutes. She accomplished that by beginning at the end, with the characters Kevin and Betty at a bar during their 10-year high school reunion, telling the bartender how it all unfolded.
In the Meet Cute, the story goes like this: they met when they were in all of the same classes and bonded over having the same last name. Betty did what you do when you like someone, which is to make them hang posters for your student government presidential campaign. They began talking on AIM every night. On Valentine's day, Kevin invited her over and declared his love. They became an item.
Then, as graduation approached, Betty broke up with Kevin because she didn't want either of them to miss out on anything during college. Once she was installed on campus, though, Betty started to miss Kevin, and they got back together. They were long distance until they graduated. Visibly moved, the bartender buys them a round.
In real life, the Changs did meet in high school, in 2012 in Toronto, where they both grew up, and they did break up when the went to different colleges. Now they live together in New York, where he is an engineer and she is a management consultant who just left a firm to start her own business. Before 2020, they never thought of their relationship as remarkable. It just felt like them.
"This is an artifact. It's capturing a moment in time."
Then Betty heard the Meet Cute for the first time when it originally aired, in July, amid the pandemic. "I was thinking about apocalyptic scenarios," she recalls, and then the Meet Cute arrive to help stave off the dread. "We were like, 'Oh my goodness!' It was great to take an hour of time to remember so many good memories."
The best part, Betty says, is that they can access those memories via the Meet Cute whenever they need to. "This is an artifact. It's capturing a moment in time."
For Nicolaou, that's the most important part. "It makes me feel good to have their story trapped in amber," she says, then addresses Betty directly. "I hope you got to see the romance in it through the Meet Cute. It is romantic. I felt lucky that I got to be a part of it."
Listen to Betty and Kevin's Meet Cute "Love From A To Z"; subscribe to Meet Cute for more totally enchanting 15-minute audio rom coms; and stay tuned for the premier of a brand new fictional Meet Cute, "Thief of Love," on Sunday, Feb. 14.
Meet Cute is looking for more real-life love stories to turn into feel-good rom coms! You can send them the story of how you and your partner met here, or DM them on Twitter (@listenmeetcute) or Instagram (@meetcute)!