High School Confidential

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High school in real life is full of surprises, but according to David Denby in his article "High School Confidential," High School in the movies is very predictable. The typical Hollywood "High School Scene" opens with the jock and the cheerleader characters. Blonde and buff, the Jock and the Cheerleader are superficial and proud to proclaim it. They are popular and perky, and always too good to be true. The cheerleader is usually the enemy of the hero or heroine. She is generally rich, blonde, and queen bee of the social circle, with no sense of selflessness. The jock is usually the bully, muscular, good looking and not very smart.(Denby 343) In an essence, the male counterpart of the cheerleader. The Jock and the Cheerleader are almost always the doppleganger of the hero and heroine. The jock and cheerleader stand for everything the hero despises, yet seemingly have everything that the hero is aiming for.

The heros of the movie are outsiders, geeks, freaks, and social bottom-dwellers. They are physically awkward and wear virtually unflattering clothing.(DEnby 345 She is generally funny and sarcastic, with a hint of feministic views. She stands at an awkward still when spotting the jock, her handsome dream date. The male version of this awkward hero is a stuttering, shaking mass of sexual tension. He's stringy and shrimpy with almost no bodily form, and he is usually some kind of genius. The female nerds tend to attract the jocks. Denby suggests that this comes from the fact that the authors of these films were once nerds themselves, and they are trying to provide some kind of closure for themselves. (Denby 345)

Then there is the best friend to the hero; who are either satanic, or saintly. Long black hair and piercing everywhere, they are ironic and pessimistic. Finally we have the parents; virtually clueless, the parents and adults in teen movies are never the enemies, the ultimate enemies are the student's peers, the jocks and the cheerleaders(Denby, 344).

Denby's argument is nearly fully supported in the recent box office hit, Mean Girls. Cady Heron is the home-schooled daughter of two acclaimed anthropoligists. When the Heron family moves from their home in Africa Cady is completely unprepared for her first day of high school. With the help of two misfits, Janis and Damien, Cady learns about the various cliques. This is exclusively in regard to the Plastics, a group of girls led by the high school's top blonde, Regina George and her two side kicks, Gretchen and Karen. When Regina invites Cady to sit with the Plastics at lunch Janis convinces Cady to sabotage them from the inside of their clique. Cady inadvertently gets sucked into a whirlpool of social acceptance and superficial standards. However, chaos ensues when Cady falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels. Cady quickly learns how primitive high school can be. In the end, everyone becomes friends and Cady and Aaron kiss and she realizes that being a good person is the most important thing. The movie is littered with social stereotypes, first and foremost, Regina. Regina is precisely Denby's version of a Queen Bee. She is popular, pretty, selfish and rich. Gretchen and Karen follow her where ever she goes, and the sun rises and set on her fashion trends. For example, in the movie Janis cuts the breast area out of her tank top after gym one day. Regina wears the tank top anyway and sets a new trend. Everywhere the camera pans we see girls with brightly colored bras showing through the hole in their tank tops(Mean Girls, chapter 13). Regina stands for everything Cady and her family fight against, yet Cady somehow becomes enveloped in Regina's world. Regina's mom is also superficial; she had undergone breast surgery in the movie and tries to be Regina's best friend instead of her parental figure. Regina and Janis were originally best friends, however socially Regina was in the process of becoming the queen bee, and Janis was dark, and an intentional...
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