Superbad’s lasting appeal, even after 15 years, raises questions about its relevance today. Seth Rogen, in a recent interview with People Magazine, playfully claimed that ‘no one’s made a good high school movie since [Superbad].
This remark, sparked by his co-star Gabriel LaBelle’s admiration for the film, ignited social media debate, with many pointing to counterexamples. While Rogen’s comment was in jest, it prompts reflection on what made Superbad an enduring classic.
The evolution of high school comedies, now emphasizing female friendships, sexual empowerment, and the influence of social media on youth culture, suggests that the genre has moved beyond Superbad’s era. Learn more about ‘Superbad’s Impact on Teen Comedy and Its Ongoing Evolution’ in our article at Bigflix.
What Made ‘Superbad’ a Smash Hit?
Superbad, loosely inspired by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s own school days, follows best friends Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) during their final days of high school. Their quest to attend a house party hosted by Seth’s crush, Jules (Emma Stone), takes them on a chaotic journey filled with mishaps.
This iconic film, featuring breakout performances by Hill and Stone, is known for memorable quotes like ‘F***ing calm down Greg, it’s soccer’ and the infamous ‘McLovin’.
Superbad humorously delves into the co-dependent bond of two outcast friends, Seth and Evan, as they face the looming separation of college. Insecurities about looks and inexperience plague them, with Seth resenting Evan’s Ivy League commitment and Evan struggling with social anxiety.
Modern Twists: ‘Booksmart’ and ‘Plan B’ Reimagine the ‘Superbad’ Formula
Recent high school comedies, ‘Booksmart’ and ‘Plan B,’ share similarities with ‘Superbad’ in their plots of two unpopular best friends navigating a wild night. While inspired by ‘Superbad,’ these films offer fresh perspectives on the genre, addressing misogyny and providing insight into the teenage girl experience in the United States today.
In ‘Plan B,’ directed by Natalie Morales, high school friends Sunny and Lupe embark on a frantic road trip for the Plan B pill after a regrettable encounter. Sunny’s an overachiever, Lupe a rebellious stoner, both facing racial microaggressions. Their journey takes them through rural South Dakota, but their quest ends at a closed Planned Parenthood in Rapid City.
Molly and Amy in ‘Booksmart’ and Sunny and Lupe in ‘Plan B share character arcs similar to ‘Superbad,’ with their friendships facing tension but ultimately growing stronger.
Unlike ‘Mean Girls,’ they depict a more evolved version of female friendship, celebrating and supporting each other while addressing social awareness and internalized misogyny. Both films feature a lesbian protagonist, offering insight into the experiences of gay teenagers in the late 2010s/early 2020s.
Easy A’: A Sharp Critique of Gossip and Slut-Shaming
Easy A is another brilliantly bawdy teen comedy that addresses challenges experienced by adolescent girls. It was released three years after Superbad. An unpopular 17-year-old named Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) unexpectedly becomes the talk of the school after making up a tale about losing her virginity.
Marianne (Amanda Bynes), the school’s resident Jesus fanatic, overhears the conversation and rapidly spreads the rumor, drawing a lot of additional attention from her other students. Olive agrees to lie about having sex with other unpopular boys at her school to gain their popularity after enjoying her newfound status.
Even Olive’s closest friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka), who has been bullied by the school’s pretentious church club, starts to dislike her. Olive emulates the actions of the “school slut” of her class, adopting a sex-positive feminist approach. Her actions quickly attract attention, and she ultimately realizes the consequences of her choice and reconsiders her relationship with sex and social media.
As the narrative plays out, her choices showcase both the freedom offered with sexual liberation and the drawbacks of embracing public perception. It ultimately questions the impact of social media and rumors that can quickly spread to create significant repercussions.
The Evolution of Teen Movies in the Age of Social Media
Superbad captures a pre-smartphone era in high school, while Easy A introduces early social media. Booksmart and Plan B reflect today’s teen life with Instagram and cell phones. Some teen movies mishandle social media, but when used well, it adds humour and plot twists.”
The Future of Teen Comedy: What’s Next?
Superbad’s lasting impact is clear, and movies like Easy A, Booksmart, and Plan B show how teen comedies now tackle social issues while keeping their humour.
Films like Do Revenge offer modern black comedy with diversity and updated commentary. As Superbad’s legacy endures, we hope for more witty, bold comedies that spotlight new voices and address evolving social concerns.
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