Look, I’m not one to complain about political correctness. For the most part, I think it’s a good thing to be aware of offensive speech and not use it in an insensitive manner…because who wants to be an a**hole? I sure don’t. In fact, people who complain about “political correctness gone mad” are usually just jerks who are mad that they can’t make a racist or transphobic joke anymore without someone calling them out. Oh, boo hoo.
With that said, we’re all human, and sometimes we laugh at effed up jokes. And even if we’re not laughing, we tolerate them when they’re in our favorite movies or TV shows. An effed up joke doesn’t always negate how good something is. But it is hard to watch some of our favorite movies in the same light once we’re a little older and a little more woke and a little more aware of just how messed up some of them were about certain subject matters. Times change and jokes that were appropriate in, say, 1987 aren’t exactly okay in 2017. Does it mean that we have no sense of humor now? No, there’s plenty of funny movies and TV shows that are out these days. But we just have less jokes about, er, eating disorders and date rape. Little things like that, you know? I’d say it’s for the best. Check out this list of nine of your favorite teen movies that would be way too offensive to be made today. Yeah, we still love them, but the think pieces they would trigger today are next level.
American PieOh, where to start with this teen sex comedy classic? I think there are two glaring elements of this movie that might make people hardcore cringe in a way they wouldn't have in 1999. The first is when the boys use a secret webcam to spy on a foreign exchange student, Nadia, as she gets undressed. This was back when webcams were still a novelty, advanced technology that most people didn't have and certainly didn't come with the average person's computer. But in an age of revenge porn, this kind of spying would have a more sinister touch than it did back in the day. The other is regarding Stifler's mom's predatory AF behavior toward her teen son's friend...to the point that they actually end up having sex. Is he of age? That's unclear, but you definitely get the impression that this mom has a thing for teen boys which...yikes.
JawbreakerJawbreaker--a '90s dark comedy which quickly became a cult classic--is a tiny bit side eye worthy in a way that it wasn't back then. Aside from having a really cruel reference to girls with anorexia--because apparently that was okay to joke about once upon a time--the movie also involves the main characters staging their friend's seemingly accidental death that they were responsible for as a rape and murder. The very idea of that happening in a teen comedy today is...unimaginable.
She's The ManOkay, for the record I'm sure that She's The Man--based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night--could be remade today. That said, I wonder if people would be a little more sensitive to how it is approached. It's a movie about mistaken identity, gender presentation, etc, which is a sensitive topic right now for good reason: Our society is becoming more open minded about gender expression and moving away from the idea that our binary approach to gender (and sex) is concrete. While I can't recall any moments from this movie that are blatantly transphobic, I can understand why a fun filled movie about a girl who is dressed up as a boy (and passes) in order to play soccer might not be the best thing at a time when transgender people can't even piss in a public bathroom without worrying about harassment.
Varsity BluesFor some reason, it's seen as acceptable to make fun of men's weight, because men are supposed to be less sensitive than women or some nonsense like that. Well, men have feelings too, but you wouldn't know it from how many relentless fat jokes are deemed acceptable in Varsity Blues against Billy Bob, the token fat football player who can't get a girl because he's...fat?
Can't Hardly WaitThis movie is full of free flowing, offensive gay jokes, which really don't age well and wouldn't fly in a teen movie today. Plus, I have a hard time believing that a movie about a dude who has fawned over a girl he has never talked to and expecting her to give him the time of day on the last day of high school just because he likes her so much would be quite as charming to us now as it might have been back in the late '90s. Our generation is very aware of "nice guy" tropes and are pretty damn tired of them.
Sixteen CandlesLook, I have a soft spot for John Hughes. The late, great director brought us Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty In Pink! But if you ask me, his much beloved Sixteen Candles was just way too effed up for my liking and would never pass the smell test today. First of all, it's blatantly racist. It uses a Chinese exchange student as the butt of a ton of "haha aren't Asians so weird and funny?" jokes. Second of all, there's a weird bit when Ted--the perpetually nerd and perpetually horny nerd--makes a bet with his friends that he could have sex with his "friend," Samantha (the movie's protagonist). And guess what? She gives them to him despite the fact that he was a creep to her for the entire movie. Why? Because he let her open up to him about how sad she was about her parents forgetting her birthday, blah blah blah. So in exchange for someone being friendly, she just hands over her undies because he asked nicely? Even though she was used in this bet like a piece of meat? What? Third of all, it's rapey AF. There's a whole subplot about a girl Caroline--the bitchy girlfriend of Samantha's mega crush, Jake--being super wasted during a school dance. Cue her being so passed out that Ted somehow ends up taking care of her for the rest of the night, which includes posing in photos with her in her drunken stupor as proof that they hooked up. Just...woof.
HeathersHeathers is the ultimate teen dark-comedy. It'll probably be revamped a bunch of times in the future, but for now it's perfect as is. But let's be real: There's some content from this movie that would rub people the wrong way now, despite its satirical nature. There's definitely a lot of jokes and references to eating disorders, something that's a big no-no now. Plus, the relationship between Veronica and JD would be considered--among many--way less weirdly cute and way more weirdly creepy now than it was back then. Possessive weird boys aren't the wave, guys.
Revenge Of The NerdsOverall, this classic '80s flick aged like milk, especially the bit where the nerds spy on a group of ~super hot babes~ getting dressed. Maybe back in the day this would have been met with a chuckle and the idea that, hey, they deserved to see a little titty because they're the nerdy protagonists of this movie and they're treated so badly! But, uh, nobody is deserving of seeing women's bodies without their consent. The nerds literally set up cameras in the hotties' sorority house, distribute stills of them in various states of undress, and steal their underwear. WTF?
Cruel IntentionsAside from the light borderline-incesty implications of this movie, the fact that Cruel Intentions used a gratuitous girl-on-girl kiss would incite so many angry think pieces nowadays that someone behind the scenes might consider nixing it entirely unless it was done in a more clever way. But anyone who has seen this movie knows that it...it really wasn't. It was a manipulative kiss with the male gaze in mind entirely.