In a current interview with Folks Journal, Seth Rogen joked that “nobody’s made an excellent highschool film since [Superbad],” the 2007 highschool comedy he co-wrote and starred in. Prompted by his 20-year-old The Fabelmans co-star Gabriel LaBelle, who instructed Rogen that Superbad is a favourite film of his and his associates, Rogen’s assertion provoked some social media backlash, with many citing examples on the contrary. Although mentioned in jest, it is value what made Superbad such an everlasting hit, and the way highschool comedies have developed over time since its launch, trending in the direction of the portrayal of feminine friendships and sexual empowerment, together with the introduction of social media into youth tradition.
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What Made ‘Superbad’ a Hit
Loosely primarily based on Rogen and childhood good friend Evan Goldberg’s personal college experiences, Superbad follows finest associates Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), of their final days of highschool. Of their journey to a home get together thrown by Seth’s crush Jules (Emma Stone), they expertise a sequence of detours leading to an altogether disastrous night time. With a star-studded solid that includes breakout roles for Hill and Stone, Superbad has graced the world with quotes like “Fucking relax Greg, its soccer,” “Do you will have any normal-sized garments, or do you solely store on the Child Hole?”, and virtually something that comes out of Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) aka McLovin’s mouth.
In its raunchy hilarity, Superbad additionally explores the co-dependent relationship between two finest associates and social outcasts, and their anxieties about attending totally different schools. All through the movie, a number of characters touch upon Seth and Evan’s inseparable friendship, which they each brush off, in denial about how a lot they are going to miss one another after commencement. Each boys are insecure about their seems and lack of sexual expertise, trying ahead to a contemporary begin in school. However Seth is resentful in the direction of Evan for deviating from their plan to go to school collectively by committing to Dartmouth, an Ivy League college Seth had no probability of getting accepted to, and experiences jealousy over the truth that Evan shall be rooming with their good friend Fogell, who he considers much more of a loser than they’re. Evan, alternatively, fears having to step out of his consolation zone, opting to room with Fogell to keep away from dwelling with a stranger, stemming from his introversion and social awkwardness. After an evening of misadventures, these anxieties lastly come to the floor in a screaming match, however after Seth and Evan escape the home get together, they drunkenly apologize and share how a lot they love and worth one another’s friendship in a heartwarming show of vulnerability between two teenage boys.
‘Booksmart’ and ‘Plan B’ Provide a Fashionable Spin on the ‘Superbad’ Formulation
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Two current highschool comedies, Booksmart and Plan B, have the same premise to that of Superbad — two unpopular finest associates on a sequence of unpredictable adventures, nearly all of which happen over the span of 1 night time. Although they could have drawn inspiration from Superbad, the contemporary views these movies convey to the style function a response to Superbad’s misogynistic humor whereas additionally commenting on what it is prefer to be a teenage lady in america at this second in time.
Directed by Olivia Wilde, when Booksmart was launched in 2019, it was seen by some as “Superbad for ladies,” additional emphasised by the truth that Jonah Hill’s sister Beanie Feldstein stars as one of many leads. Booksmart follows excessive attaining finest associates Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) as they discover their approach to their first highschool get together the night time earlier than commencement. When Molly realizes the favored children in school have been capable of get into good schools and get together in highschool, she begins to spiral over the truth that she and Amy have spent their final 4 years doing nothing however examine. Decided to have one final hurrah earlier than graduating, Molly and Amy spend their night time unknowingly ingesting an ayahuasca-like drug, driving in an Uber pushed by their college principal, and making an attempt to carry up a pizza supply driver who finally ends up being a serial killer.
Plan B, directed by Natalie Morales, follows seventeen-year-old finest associates Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) and Lupe (Victoria Moroles), on a frantic street journey searching for the Plan B tablet after Sunny has a regrettable sexual encounter at a celebration the night time earlier than. Sunny is a high-strung overachiever and Lupe a rebellious stoner, and each are ostracized from their white friends of their South Dakota highschool. Sunny’s mother is Indian, and Lupe comes from a Mexican household, so each ladies expertise racial microaggressions all through the movie. They endure a loopy, usually harmful drive by rural South Dakota at night time, however as a substitute of a celebration, Plan B culminates with Sunny and Lupe lastly reaching a Deliberate Parenthood in Fast Metropolis, solely to search out it has been shut down.
Booksmart’s Molly and Amy and Plan B’s Sunny and Lupe have character arcs just like that of Seth and Evan in Superbad — inseparable social outcasts whose friendship has underlying rigidity that involves the floor in a giant battle, however who in the end finish the movie even stronger associates than earlier than. Earlier than Superbad, there was Imply Ladies, one other some of the iconic teen comedies of all time, which dissects the extra vicious components of teenage girlhood, however Booksmart and Plan B depict an developed model of feminine friendship. Molly and Amy and Sunny and Lupe are always celebrating and inspiring one another, and whereas socially conscious, nonetheless fall sufferer to internalized misogyny in the case of their attitudes in the direction of the favored ladies in class. Each movies additionally notably function a lesbian protagonist as one half of the friendship duo, portraying the distinctive struggles and hilarity that include being a homosexual teenager within the late 2010s/early 2020s.
‘Straightforward A’ Tackles Gossip and Slut-Shaming
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Launched three years after Superbad, Straightforward A is one other hilariously raunchy teen comedy that tackles points confronted by teenage ladies. Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) is an unpopular 17-year-old who out of the blue turns into the discuss of the college when she fabricates a narrative about dropping her virginity. The dialog is overheard by the college’s resident Jesus freak Marianne (Amanda Bynes), who rapidly spreads the rumor round college, resulting in a number of new consideration from her fellow college students. Having fun with her newfound reputation, Olive then gives to lie about taking part in sexual acts with different unpopular boys at her college, in flip boosting their very own reputation. Bullied by the college’s sanctimonious church group, even Olive’s finest good friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) turns in opposition to her.
Straightforward A is a highschool comedy that additionally explores the complexities of sex-positive feminism and cleverly makes use of newly rising types of social media to relate the story. When Olive decides to embrace her title as the brand new “college slut,” she begins sporting lingerie to highschool and stitching a crimson “A” on her garments, impressed by studying The Scarlet Letter for her English class. However as soon as the rumors of her sexual actions snowball and begin to negatively have an effect on the lives of the folks round her, this reclaimed badge of honor turns into a dehumanizing burden.
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Although it could be beloved by Gen Z, Superbad portrays highschool at a second in time that the majority zoomers usually are not sufficiently old to have skilled themselves, a time with out smartphones when social media was simply beginning to turn out to be prevalent. Launched only a few years later, Straightforward A makes a pair references to Fb, most characters may be seen utilizing flip telephones or SideKicks, and Olive makes use of a webcast to inform the true story of her sexual exploits to the entire college. Leaping roughly 10 years later, Booksmart and Plan B are extra consultant of how social media has turn out to be an integral a part of youngsters’ lives over time. They observe one another utilizing Instagram and Discover My Buddies, and their greatest crises happen once they get stranded with a cellphone that is run out of battery. There have been loads of not so nice teen comedies over the 2010s and early 2020s that misrepresent how youngsters use social media in cringeworthy makes an attempt at being relatable, however when achieved correctly, social media can be utilized to push the plot ahead and orchestrate hilarious moments.
What’s Subsequent for Teen Comedy?
It is protected to say that Superbad’s reputation and cultural affect has prolonged gone its launch in 2007, however movies like Straightforward A, Booksmart, and Plan B are proof that teen comedies have developed to deal with social points and inform nuanced tales, whereas nonetheless sustaining the raunchiness and self consciousness of youth comedies of the previous. We have even seen films like Do Revenge try a Heathers-esque black comedy for a brand new technology, this time with a extra numerous solid and up to date social commentary. As Superbad’s legacy carries on, hopefully we’ll see extra intelligent, foul-mouthed comedies within the coming years that convey new and numerous tales the forefront and proceed to convey social points to gentle on this ever-changing world.