When Harry Met Sally – A Terrible College Paper

When Harry Met Sally
A Terrible College Paper

by: Joey Finnegan

Yes, this really is a paper that I wrote in college.

It was for a Speech & Communication class.

I didn’t take it very seriously, which came back to bite me in the ass when I completely forgot about this paper. As a result, I had to write it at like 3am, while watching the movie at the same time.

It’s a mess. The assignment was to take the Stages of a Relationship, and apply them to When Harry Met Sally.

NOTE: I’m presenting this to you untouched. This is exactly what I turned in to my Professor.

When Harry Met Sally is the story of Harry and Sally, two star crossed lovers who meet while driving to New York from their university. While on the trip, Harry makes a pass at Sally, despite being in a relationship with Sally’s friend. Sally turns him down and it is around this time that Harry shares his theory about how men and women can’t be friends because the man will always want the woman. The next years of his life put that theory to the test as he can’t seem to help running into Sally. We the audience then watch as Harry and Sally grow together over years,

The initiating phase of Harry and Sally’s relationship beings as soon as the car door closes and they start driving. Harry strikes up conversation with Sally and before they know it they’re discussing Casablanca and whether or not Ingrid Bergman wanted to stay with Humphrey Bogart. This continues all the way into the diner. By the time they’re in the parking lot after their meal, they’re both formed pretty solid ideas of each other.

The experimenting phase begins, in my opinion, very early into the film. I think it begins with Harry saying to Sally that she hasn’t had great sex yet. He took a pretty big risk saying that to her. She could have been offended. She could have gotten angry, anything could have happened. She seems really uptight as the film begins. I don’t think she would answer Harry’s questions about her sex with Sheldon if she wasn’t interested in Harry in some way. She seems to be trying to impress Harry. Like she’s trying to prove she could keep up with him.

The intensifying phase begins when Sally tells Harry about the situation with Joe, and breaking down crying when “I spy a family” was said, leading into her asking Harry if he wants to go out to dinner. It continues into them beginning their friendship. Calling each other every night, watching Casablanca together, it’s all bringing them closer. At this point they’re coming together in ways they never expected during that first car ride. Another highlight of this phase is Harry testing the waters and asking Sally out to the movies. This phase culminates with their dance on New Year’s Eve. At this moment, they both know they’re done for. They’ve clearly realized there’s a spark there that they both share.

The integration phase begins, I think, with the buying of the Christmas tree together. It continues with them trying to set each other up with their friends. They’re trying to connect their lives at a whole other level by bringing their two friends into it. As we both know, this backfires on them as all it does is push their friends closer and themselves even closer. I’m going through something right now that the double date scene reminded me of. I’m going to pull back however and not tell my story. This culminates in them having sex for the first time, finally bring them together in that aspect.

A stagnation phase begins after Harry and Sally have sex. This creates a massive tension between the two of them, pushing them into the avoidance phase, where Sally doesn’t answer a single phone call of Harry’s, creating a 3 week span in which the friendship cools, culminating in their argument during Jesse and Marie’s wedding dinner. The bonding phase finally begins for Harry and Sally when he comes clean. In front of God and all those fellow partygoers, he tells Sally how he feels. Within months they were married and presumably lived happily ever after.

Having gone through all the phases that I think we see in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, I’m going to finish up by sharing my opinion of the movie. It was delightful. That’s really the best word I can think of to describe it. As you already know by my email, I think Billy Crystal is awesome. Meg Ryan was so hot, and so adorable, and gave a good performance. The supporting actors were all great, but Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher were obviously the standouts. The direction by Rob Reiner was of course solid. Who would’ve thought back then that Meathead could make such a good movie, am I right?

What grade would you have given this paper?

Leave us a comment, and let us know (feel free to be as mean as you want).