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Screwball comedy is a film subgenre of the romantic comedy genre that became popular during the Great Depression, beginning in the early 1930s and thriving until the early 1940s, that satirizes the traditional love story. It has secondary characteristics similar to film noir, distinguished by a female character who dominates the relationship with the male central character, whose masculinity is challenged, and the two engage in a humorous battle of the sexes.
What sets the screwball comedy apart from the generic romantic comedy is that "screwball comedy puts the emphasis on a funny spoofing of love, while the more traditional romantic comedy ultimately accents love". Other elements of the screwball comedy include fast-paced, overlapping repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, physical battle of the sexes, disguise and masquerade, and plot lines involving courtship and marriage. Some comic plays are also described as screwball comedies.