With teen comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper hitting theaters this weekend (and getting trashed by the critics), I began thinking of teen comedy dreamboats of the past, and decided to break them down, one by one.
There is, perhaps, no one more important to the teen comedy genre than John Hughes, who, after producing a string of classic films in the 1980s, has now faded into the background, choosing to live a slightly reclusive life away from the film world and the adoration of the fans who grew up with his movies. Hughes' films, while loved by many, are not without their flaws: notably racist stereotypes, which are explored in Gene Luen Yang's brilliant graphic novel American Born Chinese.
And what of the boyfriends of the John Hughes world? For many of us, they were straight up Tiger Beat material. But how do they hold up now? Let's break it down, shall we?
- Jake Ryan: Sixteen Candles
- Pros:Handsome, wants "a serious girlfriend, somebody I can love who's gonna love me back," thinks it's kind of cool, the way you're always looking at him.
- Cons:Wasn't interested in Samantha Baker until he saw a quiz she answered in which she admitted she'd sleep with him, pretty much handed his drunk girlfriend over to Farmer Ted as long as "she gets home. You can't leave her in a parking lot somewhere." Oh, and he handed his drunk girlfriend over for a pair of Samantha's underwear.
- Final Analysis: Jake Ryan is easy on the eyes and seems to really want to be loved. But his interest in Samantha seems to spring from the fact that she's pretty obsessively in love with him already. That being said, I probably wouldn't turn him down if he showed up in his car outside of my sister's wedding to whisk me away. She's getting married in May, 2010, Jake. Just sayin'.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: B-
- Blaine McDonnagh: Pretty In Pink
- Pros: Sweet, charming, clearly wants to break way from his insulated elitist world, willing to embarrass himself at the record store with a lame purchase just to talk to Andie.
- Cons:Still has trouble breaking free of his class, his privilege is often showing, insults Andie's outfit, easily influenced by rich jackass Steff, "Blaine? That's a major appliance, not a name!", asks Andie to prom and then totally blows her off. What about prom, Blaine?! What about prom?!?
- Final Analysis: Blaine is a bit of a tool. He makes a big dramatic "I always believed in you, you just never believed in me" speech at the end of the movie, which is total bullshit, because Andie wasn't the one to hide the relationship, break off the prom date, or give up due to pressure from her friends. Blaine was the one without the faith. The original ending of the film had Andie ending up with her best friend, Duckie Dale. That would have been better for everyone, as evidenced by Andie and Blaine's makeup kiss at the end of the film, which is probably the most awkward kiss in screen history.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: C-
- Duckie Dale: Pretty In Pink
- Pros: Excellent dancer, good taste in music, snappy dresser, sweet, quirky, extremely loyal, willing to stand up to anyone on Andie's behalf.
- Cons: Needy, calls about 200 times per day, a bit stalkerish, extremely emo, filthy shoes, can go from sweet to annoying in 2.5 seconds, is already in "The Friend Zone."
- Final Analysis: I actually had a Duckie Dale in high school, and he is still a very dear friend of mine. Duckie could go either way here: he could be a really great boyfriend, or just a really great boy friend. Either way, you'd want him in your corner.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: B+
- John Bender:The Breakfast Club
- Pros: Rebellious, handsome in a kind of badass way, hard exterior covers emotional interior, could hook you up with illegal substances if that's your kind of thing.
- Cons: Serious temper issues, family problems, can be quite cruel, sexist, and obnoxious, might not actually get out of high school, due to detention issues, until he's about 29 or so.
- Final Analysis: The only reason to date John Bender would be the reason John Bender himself gives: "Remember how you said your parents use you to get back at each other? Wouldn't I be OUTSTANDING in that capacity?"
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade:D
- Ferris Bueller:Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- Pros: Clearly a genius, could basically get you out of everything, would be a blast to hang out with, loved by nearly everyone, could take you to many fine dining establishments with his friend Cameron, thanks to their Abe Froman scheme.
- Cons: Could get exhausting trying to keep up with Ferris, might not be able to trust such an accomplished pathological liar, you'd have to spend a lot of time with Cameron, who isn't always sunshine and lollipops.
- Final Analysis:: Ferris Bueller is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking him up.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: A
- Farmer Ted: Sixteen Candles
- Pros: Really likes to dance, will drive you home if you've had too much to drink, respects a girl who will help out a geek, doesn't spill the details of your night together to his nerdy friends, thinks a girl in a hat is "just so Vogue," admits that he's "King of the Dipshits," which at least shows some level of self-awareness.
- Cons:Will ask to borrow your underpants for 10 minutes and then proceed to show them to the entire geek population of the school, the headgear shown above, may pass gas on the dance floor, goes by "Farmer Ted."
- Final Analysis: He's young and he's learning. Once he gets past his awkward headgear-King-of-the-Dipshits phase, he might actually be a decent boyfriend. Just don't take him dancing. It's better for everyone that way.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: B
- Keith Nelson: Some Kind Of Wonderful
- Pros: Artistic, thoughtful, romantic, wants Amanda Jones not to feel trapped by her economic status, which he shares, liked by a variety of people in his high school, including the toughest bullies and his best friend, a female drummer named Watts.
- Cons: Oblivious that Watts loves him, only seems to "love" Amanda because she's beautiful, spends his entire college education fund on a pair of diamond earrings, feeds into classist pressures by organizing a fancy date (also financed by his college fund) in order to impress a girl.
- Final Analysis: Here's another example of a tacked on Hughes romance: Watts and Keith end up together, as he suddenly realizes he's loved her all along, but for most of the film he's concerned with appearances, notably Amanda's and his own ability to appear upper class and able to impress her.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: C
- Andrew Clark: The Breakfast Club
- Pros: Athletic, likes to eat, likes dancing while high, will open up to the right girl, even if she makes snow scenes with her own dandruff.
- Cons: Daddy issues, tapes other boys' buns together, falls for the ol' "You got a makeover, now we can date," BS.
- Final Analysis: Andrew Clark is a bit hard to read. It will be interesting to see who he becomes once he's not the high school jock anymore. Could be a great boyfriend, but seems to fall too easily to peer pressure.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: C+
- Steff: Pretty In Pink
- Pros: Gorgeous, attractive in that asshole Chuck Bass kind of way, can wear a white suit to high school like nobody else.
- Cons:Elitist, classist, doesn't handle rejection well, treats his girlfriend Betty like "trash," clearly hates himself, as pointed out by Blaine, says things like, "I wouldn't be too jazzed if I were you."
- Final Analysis:Steff is the guy you make out with, but don't actually date, which, I'm pretty sure, he's kind of "jazzed" about.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: C-
- Brian Johnson:The Breakfast Club
- Pros: Smart, excellent writer, very sweet, member of the Math Club and the Physics Club.
- Cons:Filled with anxiety, perfectionist, awkward at times, embarrassed about his lack of sexual experience, likes to stick pens up his nose.
- Final Analysis: This kid was way ahead of his time. Though he played the nerd in this film, this character laid down the template for every character Michael Cera has played since, and Michael Cera happens to be one of the reigning dreamboats of the teen comedy world. Sweet geeks rule the world now; Brian was just 20 years too early.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: A-
- Pros:Likes to cuddle, loyal, sleeps a lot, enjoys eating, clearly has a taste for classical music, when he's around, hilarity will ensue.
- Cons:Slobber problem, destructive, sheds a lot, is actually a dog.
- Final Analysis: He's a DOG, you guys.
- John Hughes Boyfriend Grade: F
- John Hughes Hilarious Family Pet With A Destructive Streak But A Heart Of Gold Grade:A++