“On Wednesdays We Wear Pink”: The Best Girl Cliques of Pop Culture

meangirls

Paramount

1. The Plastics – Mean Girls

Mean Girls certainly wasn’t the first movie to put a girl clique at the front and centre of the action, but it was the first (unless you count Heathers) to blatantly shine a spotlight on the politics and psychological tactics needed to keep a girl clique up and running – think intimidation, bitchy three-way phone conversations, keeping secrets, burn books and rigid rules around dress and behaviour. That’s because Tina Fey’s screenplay was based on Rosalind Wiseman’s self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes. The result was comedy gold that often cut a little too close to the bone.

Hierarchy: Janis’ observation that “evil takes a human form in Regina George” wasn’t far off the mark when she described the school’s resident queen bee and if Mean Girls was Game of Thrones, Gretchen Wieners would totally be the hand of the queen. In fact, when there was disturbance in the realm with Regina’s “army of skanks”, Gretchen used another old world battle analogy to vent her frustration: “Why should Caesar get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? What’s so great about Caesar? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar. OK, Brutus is just as smart as Caesar. People totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar. And when did it become OK for one person to be the boss of everybody, huh? Because that’s not what Rome is about! We should totally just stab Caesar!” Karen Smith would be, like, the queen’s servant girl, or something.

Dress Code: The Plastics wore pink on Wednesdays, they couldn’t wear sweatpants on a Monday and let’s not forget how Gretchen was forbidden from wearing gold hoops. Offences were punishable with banishment from their lunch table.

Continue reading

Advertisements

What a Girl Wants: The Best Love Triangles in Pop Culture

One of my favourite chick lit authors, Lindsey Kelk, is set to release her latest book What a Girl Wants this July. What a Girl Wants is the sequel to About a Girl, a story about Tess Brookes that ends with a ‘who will she choose?’ cliffhanger. The men in question are her best friend Charlie, the object of her unrequited love for the past decade, and the arrogant and hot Nick Miller, the man she’s known for one thrilling, sexy week.

While we wait to see who Tess will choose (cough, Nick please, cough), it got me thinking about other ‘who will she choose?’ scenarios in pop culture, so here is my completely biased list of the best love triangles (from the ’90s through to today, of course).

Bridget, Mark and Daniel – Bridget Jones’s Diary
Before Lindsey Kelk, there was Helen Fielding – one of the masters of the chick lit genre. As we all know, the film adaptation starred Renee Zellwegger as the title character, Colin Firth as Mark Darcy and Hugh Grant as Darcy’s nemesis Daniel Cleaver. Is it completely wrong for me to go with skirt chaser Daniel here? It goes against my pattern of backing the ‘nice guy’ in these situations (with the exception of About a Girl’s Nick Miller), but Hugh Grant, in my book, trumps the nice guy any day. I still swoon every time I hear him say, ‘That’s an order Jones’. Swoon.

 

bridgetjones


Kelly, Brandon and Dylan – Beverly Hills 90210

Most of you would probably say that the more famous and better love triangle of Beverly Hills 90210 was the one between Kelly, Brenda and Dylan, and I would totally agree with you. After all, that love triangle gave us one of the best lines from the whole ten years of Beverly Hills 90210 put together. Remember when Brenda caught Kelly and Dylan out on a date, and Kelly defended herself when Brenda called her a bimbo? Brenda’s classic comeback went as follows: ‘Well Kelly, I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…’ Oh. May. Zing.

However, we’re talking about the ‘who will she choose?’ scenario here, so let’s bring it back to Kelly’s love triangle with the other Walsh twin. At first, Kelly did a Samantha Jones and chose herself when faced with an ultimatum between Beverly Hills’s bad boy and nice guy, but the pull of the troubled bad boy was ultimately too strong for Kelly to resist. Alas, Brandon ended up being no match for the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Dylan.

This love triangle was revisited years later in an advertisement for Old Navy. Dylan and Brandon’s props – a motorcycle and a teddy bear – played into the classic bad boy vs nice guy stereotypes brilliantly, but neither were enough to entice Kelly, who this time ended up choosing jeans. I stick to my choice of Brandon 4EVA. Da-na-na-na, da-na-na-na!

Continue reading

The Boys of Beverly Hills 90210

I spend such a large amount of time reading too much into the fashion of Donna Martin and the inner politics of the Kelly, Brenda, Donna clique that I’m often guilty of neglecting the boys of Beverly Hills 90210, but they are just as multi-layered, have just as many intricate relationships with one another and are responsible for just as many fashion don’ts (come on down David Silver) as the girls. So here it is, my countdown of the most prominent males of Beverly Hills 90210.

Mel Silver
Okay, hear me out. In the faceless credits after the theme song, there was a name that always came up and no, I’m not talking about Joe E. Tata, who finally got to spin around and smile in the opening credits in season 6. I’m talking about the name Matthew Laurance. I always wondered who it was, because Joey from Blossom’s younger brother was never in an episode. One day, I IMDB’d it – yes, I am that sad – and discovered that Matthew Laurance played Mel Silver, David’s philanderer orthodontist dad. He makes this list because, after years of being just another name in the faceless opening credits, I feel he deserves a little recognition.

Best moment: He was the one responsible for giving Donna champagne at the prom. That means he played an integral part in pop culture history.

Who IS Matthew Laurance?
Who IS Matthew Laurance?
THIS is Matthew Laurance.
THIS is Matthew Laurance.

Matt Durning
Let’s face it, he was a poor man’s Brandon Walsh, conveniently brought in one or two episodes before Jason Priestley’s departure as Kelly’s new love interest. Matt Durning, attorney at law, even looked like Brandon, and his entry into the show also conveniently coincided with a lot of the main cast suddenly having legal problems with which they needed assistance. To this day, I don’t really get Matt – he was a defence lawyer, was secretly married to a schizophrenic woman he left behind at a New York mental hospital and cheated on Kelly while under the influence of LSD, yet he still managed to be boring. How is that even possible?

matt

Continue reading

Revisiting ‘Wedding Bell Blues’, the Season 2 Finale of Beverly Hills 90210

Fact: Brenda and Kelly were frenemies. Now, call me perverse, but some of my favourite episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 involved when they fell out with each other. Remember when Brenda caught Kelly and Dylan out on a date and Kelly defended herself when Brenda called her a bimbo? Brenda’s classic comeback was one of the best lines from the whole ten years of Beverly Hills 90210 put together: “Well Kelly, I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…” Oh-may-zing.

Well, this season two finale is also a bit of a doozy. Get set for when frenemies, father issues, two Aaron Spelling dramas, a bottle of alcohol and a wall collide. Da na na na, da na na na!

 

pic1

A Melrose Place Cross-Over and a Mexican Stand-Off
The episode opens with Brenda and Dylan stuck on the wrong side of the Mexican border after Brenda forgets her license. She and Dylan have been in Baja and she’s lied about it to Jim and Cindy, telling them she was with Kelly all weekend. Brenda’s flipping out because border control have called Jim Walsh and he is mad. He yet again forbids Brenda from seeing Dylan (how many times has he done that already?) and Dylan acts like a bit of an indignant douche when he kisses Brenda and telling her he’ll see her at school… tomorrow. Methinks the issue spreads a little deeper than the trip to Mexico, but we’ll tug at that thread later!

Meanwhile, Kelly’s been busy having it off with Jake Hanson from Melrose Place, who’s been hired to construct a wedding canopy for the impending nuptials of Kelly’s knocked-up mum Jackie and David Silver’s father Mel. That’s right, folks, this episode is one of the cross-over episodes used to introduce us to Beverly Hills 90210’s sister show Melrose Place. Anyway, for a 17-year-old girl, Kelly is pretty confident with her sex banter, telling Jake it’s “looking good”… and she’s not talking about the canopy. I still can’t talk to men like that, and I’m 31. Has that what my life’s become? Envying the scripted flirting on an early ‘90s teen drama? Anyway, moving on…

pic3

pic4

Jackie storms out to the backyard wearing what has to be the loudest, most conspicuous maternity dress I’ve ever seen. She rips Kelly a new one for lying to Cindy Walsh about Brenda’s whereabouts and Kelly’s embarrassed that she now looks like a kid in front of Jake. She has a go at Brenda the next day at school, but Brenda doesn’t seem to care too much about that, asking, “What does Jake have to do with this anyway?”, to which Kelly replies, “Brenda, I do have a life”. Remember that – it sows the seeds for a showdown between the long-standing frenemies later in the episode, so stay tuned…

Continue reading