As a kid, I expected I was going to grow up to be a stereotype popular girl. You know- super pretty, lots of friends, really attractive boyfriend; the girl that is both loved and hated by everyone in school. The thing is that girl doesn’t exist in real life. So many TV shows and movies about high school center are these cliques and stereotypes that are so old. Let’s look at some that are probably familiar to most Americans.
The Breakfast Club
Brian Johnson- Anthony Michael Hall
Claire Standish- Molly Ringwald
Andrew Clark- Emilio Estevez
John Bender- Judd Nelson
Allison Reynolds- Ally Sheedy
Mr Vernon- Paul Gleason
Five high school students all get stuck in Saturday detention together. All the students are, guess what, stereotypes. Everybody runs with a different crowd and none of them think they have anything in common. After hours of everyone being annoyed and hating each other, they all start to open up to each other. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really liked this movie. But, there are some problems with it. One things that bothered me was that Claire and Andrew make it sound like after that day, the two of them can’t possibly associate themselves with the other three kids in the room. That made me very frustrated. Another thing: John Bender (Judd Nelson) is a mega-butthead nearly the whole move. While Claire isn’t a perfect person either, she doesn’t really deserve the treatment she gets from Bender. I have to admit that I found it oddly sweet when she gives him one of her earrings at the end. Also, their letter to Mr Vernon at the end is kind of nice because it breaks the stereotypes a little. Just a little.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller- Matthew Broderick
Cameron Frye- Alan Ruck
Sloane Peterson- Mia Sara
Ed Rooney- Jeffrey Jones
Jeanie Bueller- Jennifer Grey
I really liked this one too. It was much funnier then I expected it to be. So Ferris Bueller is a mischievous high school senior who decides to take a day off. He fakes being sick until his parents leave and then he springs into action. He calls his best friend Cameron and they come up with a plan to get Ferris’s girlfriend out of school too. Together, they drive around downtown Chicago all day causing problems and having fun. One of my problems with this film is the principal, Ed Rooney. This guy hates Ferris so much and wants to get him busted so badly that he GOES TO THIS KID’S HOUSE. He tries to BREAK IN. Ed Rooney has no chill. My other issue is that the three kids never get caught. But we are talking about the 1980s where teenagers could get away with a lot that they couldn’t get away with now.
Cady Heron- Lindsay Lohan
Regina George- Rachel McAdams
Janis Ian- Lizzy Caplan
Aaron Samuels- Jonathan Bennett
Karen Smith- Amanda Seyfried
Gretchen Wieners- Lacey Chabert
Damian Leigh- Daniel Franzese
I really don’t like Mean Girls. I’ve seen it countless times and while there are some funny lines, the movie as a whole just doesn’t entertain me. Cady Heron is a junior in high school who has been homeschooled until 11th grade where she starts going to a public school for the first time. She befriends Janis and Damian who decide to use her to get information and revenge on the popular girl clique, The Plastics. The group takes Cady in and after a while she starts to become just like them. Head “Mean Girl” Regina gets angry with Cady and frames her for their Burn Book made to judge and tease other people. But in the end, everything’s okay! Okay, no. Look at that, another clique of perfect “popular” girls that everyone either worships or despises. This movie is centered around girls making fun of each other, gossiping, and backstabbing. There is drama in high school, I’m not trying to deny that. But I am just so bothered by the themes in this movie because even though everything is a-okay by the end, it still makes it seem like getting revenge is cute or funny. This movie is oozing with stereotypical high school kids and situations.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Charlie- Logan Lerman
Sam- Emma Watson
Patrick- Ezra Miller
Candace- Nina Dobrev
Mary Elizabeth- Mae Whitman
Alice- Erin Wilhelmi
This movie is one of my favorites. Charlie has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he deals with panic attacks, and mental breakdowns. At the end of 8th grade, Charlie’s only true friend shoots himself. Charlie feels sad and alone at the start of high school. He soon meets a senior named Patrick who introduces him to his stepsister, Sam. He eventually meets Sam and Patrick’s whole group of friends who take him in. The group introduces him to sex, drugs, and really great art and music. As the year goes on, through many ups and downs, his friends help him battle his mental illnesses. Now, even though I love this story like a child, it does have its issues. First, all the drug use. Sorry, but Charlie’s friends made a bad choice by introducing him to things like LSD because hard drugs and mental disorders don’t really mix. Second, why don’t Charlie’s parents pay more attention to what’s going on with their children? His sister, Candace has to struggle with getting out of an abusive relationship. (This is actually addressed by their parents in the book but not in the movie.) And Charlie has severe mental problems. I feel like maybe they should keep a little closer eye on him.
Kurt Hummel- Chris Colfer
Sue Sylvester- Jane Lynch
Artie Abrams- Kevin McHale
Rachel Berry- Lea Michelle
Mercedes Jones- Amber Riley
Tina Cohen Chang- Jenna Ushkowitz
Finn Hudson- Cory Monteith
I’ve only watched the pilot episode of Glee and I watched it just so I could write this post. I didn’t hate it, but I know I didn’t like it either. Again with the stereotypes, damn. So this show is about a much of “misfits” that join the glee club to escape the “harsh realities of high school” My problems with this one? Let’s start with Kurt Hummel. He is a very stereotypical gay boy. Very into fashion and performing. Not every gay boy is like that, lemme tell you. Rachel Berry, of course she is a “loser” and target for bullies. The cheerleader girls are stuck up and mean. Artie is another target for bullies because he’s in a wheelchair. Also, Finn Hudson. He’s our hero character. The football player that breaks out and decides to be a nice guy. He ends up loving glee club and feeling like he has a place where he finally belongs. Yay.
Now, I know it seems I just went and picked all of these movies and shows apart to find their problems. I did. The point of this is to show how so many of our favorites have problems and use these stereotypes. Don’t stop loving them, just be aware. I really like most of these shows! But isn’t it strange how so many movies and shows make high school seem like a jungle of bullies, burnouts, and “popular” kids? Anybody who has actually been to high school knows there are mean people and nice people. And we are all athletes, brains, princesses, criminals, and basket cases. (Hah, see what I did there?)