July 27, 2009

Jake Ryan vs. The Geek

Last night Mr Fantapants decided to humour me and sit through Sixteen Candles. Again.

It's no Pretty in Pink, but it has all the hallmarks of a John Hughes teen movie classic (uh, that'd be Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and John and Joan Cusack, plus a large dose of angst), including a hunky love interest in the form of Jake Ryan, who became a symbol of teen boyfriend perfection. Apparently girls who saw Sixteen Candles became so enamoured with Jake that 'real' guys failed to meet their standards forever more. This condition has a name: the Jake Ryan Effect. (Slightly wary hat tip to writer Hank Steuver who brought this phenomenon to people's attention in a 2004 article in the Washington Post and seems eversoslightly peeved that people are still interested in it.)

Anyway, I was watching the movie last night with the Jake Ryan Effect in mind, possibly expecting to experience it a bit myself. In fact, having actually paid attention to the character instead of being sucked into the hot-guys-can-fall-for-flat-chested-girls soft focus storyline, I came away realising that Jake is actually a bit of a dickhead, as evidenced by:

  1. him having no conscience about lusting after Samantha when he is seeing someone who's thick but totally devoted to him
  2. him telling The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall's character - seriously, only hunks get names) that aforementioned gf is passed out upstairs and wouldn't notice if he 'violoated her in five different ways'
  3. him basically giving aforementioned gf to The Geek and telling him to do what he wants with her
  4. him driving a wankmobile sports car
  5. him being rude to Sam's grandparents on the phone

Okay, am starting to clutch at straws here, but Exhibits 1-3 are enough in my book to make Jake Ryan totally not great boyfriend material. Of course, being a John Hughes film (and John, I do love your work but you really have some screwed up ideas about portraying young women as objects), Sam is too busy being grateful to Jake for getting her undies back to notice.

Forget the Jake Ryan effect, I'll take The Geek any day.

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