This is a random post that is not particularly timely in any way (though might i say, Rest in Peace John Hughes. You’re still missed greatly.) But this is something that has irked me for as long as I can remember.
The men in romantic comedies in the 80’s kinda suck. I think of those objectifying little perverts in Weird Science, or those hedonistic corpse dragging punks from Weekend at Bernies, or the very angsty, soon-to-be wife beater Bender in Breakfast Club and I wonder- is this what men are trying to be? I’m not sure we’re doing much better these days, but I really worry for the generation above me who was coming of age during these films.
Now some of these characters are meant to be loserish and immoral, but let’s talk about one of the eternally worshipped protagonists of the era- Jake Ryan of Sixteen Candles.
This handsome dreamboat is the object of desire for Samantha, the pouty lil princess who’s sixteenth birthday is forgotten amidst a hectic series of events.
Things end all cute and romantic for Samantha, the budding nubile sophomore and her hunky, popular senior crush Jake Ryan. But let’s talk about some places where this sweet, “perfect” man really screwed up.
1) He’s only interested when he figures out he can get some. In our introduction to his character, Samantha is filling out a note about her sex life (did people do this?), writes that she would “do it” with Jake if given the chance and drops it for her friend. However Jake, being the sneaky little nosy jerk he is, steals the note. Mind your business Jakey poo!
2) He’s a narcissist. He only likes her because “The way she’s always looking at me is kinda cool.” Oh, what a perfect reason to like someone. Let’s remember, he barely speaks to her in the entire film. About two other words. So really, their whole relationship is based on him liking to be looked at. Charming!
3) He closes his girlfriend’s hair in a door after slamming it in her face to call another girl. Even if your girlfriends a beyotch, this behavior is inexcusable and unfitting of a perfect man.
4) Speaking of poor girlfriend treatment, he puts her in a perilous, borderline date-rapey situation- passed out in a car with a kid who can’t drive.
5) He keeps a pair of Sam’s underwear, which he does return to her…you know, later. He’s 18, she’s 16. That’s pedophilia in some states.
6) According to one blogger, he’s the original hipster.
7) His big reveal as in love with Sam? This casual wave next to his car. Granted, it’s a nice car, but it is NO competition for his peers.
8) The big romantic scene? Definitely a fire hazard.
What I’m trying to say is two fold- boys should stop wanting to BE this guy. girls should stop wanting to BE WITH this guy. Let’s instead find good male role models in romantic films. Maybe I’ll make that a project… comments and suggestions welcome!