Podcast Transcript: How Superbad Perpeturaped Us!

Hi people! This is the Her Me Out podcast, and hi I’m Charlie Brook!

We’re talking about rape culture and perpeturapetion. What is that you ask? Great question.

Perpeturapetion is that thing when you realize that something you’ve watched in the past has had an impression on how you understand the world today in regards to rape culture or on a larger scale gender in general. If you are completely confused, that is understandable. Because it’s a new concept, but as you get to know it - I promise you’ll start to see it everywhere. And when you do I want to know about it! So feel free to reach out to me and start discussions about the movies I talk about on the podcast or other movies that you can remember that have perpeturaped you.

I’ve been really happy to see that this podcast has been inciting some really productive discussion. A lot of people came to me with things to say about American Pie, which has been really interesting to hear. One particular discussion I’ve been having a lot, mostly with male-type people, is the line between comedy or satire and rape culture.

I think that’s a totally confusing and valid subject matter for discussion when we’re talking about movies that have perpeturaped us, which is why this episode I’ve decided to talk about basically the American Pie of my generation, and not just because it’s about friends who are trying to get fucked by the end of the school year, but it’s a high school comedy that everyone saw, basically memorized by heart, and recited non-stop, including myself. Little hint: it’s the best movie this side of the Mississippi.

Yes I’m talking about that quotable fan favorite: Superbad.

When I say fan favorite, I’m literally talking about myself specifically, I was a big fan. I remember watching it with my friends at age 14 and quoting things like:

Seth: I love you

Evan: I’m not embarrassed. I love you.

Seth: I love you.

Evan: It's like, why can’t we say that everyday. Why don’t we say it more often.

Seth: I just want to go to the rooftops and scream I love my best friend Evan.

Evan: We should go up on the roof.

And

Chick-a-chick-yah fake id fake id

In all seriousness, I used to think it was really funny. And watching it back this time around, there were still a lot of things that made me chuckle reminiscing and also because a lot of it still really holds up as good comedy by my definition. BUTTTTT there was also a lot of things that when you watch it now helps you understand why we’re having so many issues with consent, thinking that periods are something to be ashamed of, and just that whole rape culture thing in general. But, like we say on the Her Me Out podcast, when we watch something we used to love and see now that it’s not great for women (so basically most things that weren’t made before like right this very moment), we just gotta talk it out.

And if you disagree with that, think about the huge sexual harassment movement that’s just found wind in the past year and a half. All of these movies were made before we talked about rape culture on such a widespread scale...so of course they’ve perpeturaped us! That’s how culture works!

Now let’s get to Superbad! For anyone who hasn’t seen it, Superbad is a 2007 comedy about 2 best friends, played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera aww Michael Cera, who are a few months away from graduating high school and are doing their best to figure out how to have sex for the first time.

They get invited to a party by Emma Stone’s character, Jules, and promise that they’ll supply all of the alcohol to it using the freshly printed fake ID of their strange friend Fogell, aka. McLovin. The whole evening becomes a clusterfuck of trying to get alcohol in time to get to the party and have a chance to get with Jules and another girl named Becca.

Meanwhile, Jonah and Michael are also silently freaking out about how the coming year they’re both going to different universities and won’t be able to continue their co-dependent relationship. #relatable This is one of the things that I actually really like about this movie, I feel like it gives it a level of depth that American Pie didn’t have, making the movie about more than just convincing some girls to sleep them - which is refreshing.

But of course this was still 2007 so a lot of the movie is very much about convincing girls to have sex with them.

Let me explain: Jonah Hill’s character, named Seth (which is confusing that they named him this because Seth Rogan is also in this movie playing a very strange cop alongside Bill Hader but anyway) Seth the character really wants to hook-up with Emma Stone’s character at her party, and he wants the same for sweet Michael with Becca.

His big plan for making it happen? Getting the girls drunk.

Evan: I should buy Becca alcohol?

Seth: Yah man, it will be pimp. That way you know she’ll be drunk. You know when you hear girls saying, like ahh I was so shit-faced last night. I shouldn’t have fucked that guy. We could be that mistake!

Eck. You shouldn’t want to be someone’s mistake, because I can guarantee you that that girl is downplaying how much of a mistake it really was. She may just casually say, “oh I shouldn’t have slept with that guy” but deep down she’s more likely feeling a whole mix of shame and regret that she won’t be able to process until years later, after hearing a very similar story from another girl when she’s like wait that guy, of course didn’t rape me, but definitely crossed the line of cool human behavior and used me sexually.

Now I feel like this warrants a super quick, well I’ll try to make it quick, discussion about the difference between respectfully presenting your desire for a sexual interaction to occur and basically coercion or taking advantage of a situation or just straight up predatory behavior (which is basically how we were encouraged to think and talk about sex in the early 2000s and before).

We hear a lot from rape or sexual assault cases that the woman was drunk so there’s no way to know if she had really wanted it or not. There’s a lot of issues with that argument but when we’re talking about rape culture in the media there are specifically huge holes here because a lot of the messaging that we’ve sent to young male-type people through media is that if you get a girl drunk she’ll be more likely to let you engage with her sexually, and that it’s basically cool to do so.

Um and that’s basically, as demonstrated, a lot of the messaging that happens in this movie. I know that they later put in some stuff about respecting women, which we’ll discuss further on, but nonetheless this idea is really solidified throughout the movie.

So this normalizes a lot of problems like seeing getting drunk as a way to get women to engage in sexual acts (and not just like flirtatious tipsy but like predatory style feed her more shots and she’ll be good to go kind of stuff). Plus it automatically puts women in this place where they’re either meant to be worried about getting too drunk or that if they want to have sex they should get themselves really drunk so they can blame their quote unquote “slutty” behavior on that, which also isn’t very sex positive.

Basically what I mean is that I’m not saying horny teenagers shouldn’t be interested in talking about or having sex, slash I’m not saying they shouldn’t drink (responsibly of course). I think they should if they want to. But that’s super different from some of these tactics that we’ve been told are a normal way to get someone to sleep with you.

Here’s some more from the movie, so you can really let it seep in:

Seth: Jules and her stupid fucking friend came up to me, and they asked me to buy them alcohol. But not just for her, for a whole party. Do you know what that means? By some devine miracle we were paired up, and she actually thought of me. Thought of me enough to decide that I was the guy she could trust with the whole fun-ness of her party. She wants to fuck me, she wants my dick in and around her mouth.

Seth: Tonight is the night that fucking is an actual possibility.

Evan: You just sound like an idiot, you’re not going to be able to sleep with her, man.

Seth: Dude, I know I talk a lot of shit. But she’s going to be at the party, and she’s gonna be drunk. And she likes me at least a little, enough to get with me. At the very least I’ll make out with her. 2 weeks hand job, 3 weeks blow job, whatever, whatever. And then I make her my girlfriend. And I’ve got 2 solid months of sex. By the time college comes around I’ll be like the Iron Chef of pounding vag.

Seth: You want to hear the best part? Becca - you do the same thing with her. When you guys are shit-faced at the party, you get with her. This is our last party as high school people. I fully ignored my hatred for Becca in coming up with this plan; I’m flexing nuts. So fucking come with me on this voyage and just stop being a pussy for once and we can fucking fuck some girls already.

While a lot of the sexual language he uses here is really very funny in my opinion (i.e. in and around her mouth - classic) and in another context would be a super hilarious way to talk about completely consensual sex, that’s not what’s happening here. He’s talking about a girl that he isn’t convinced will sleep with him, so is already planning on ways to make sure that she does.

So next time we’re talking about a situation where a woman is coerced into sex and we’re doubting it’s a thing that happens, we should be talking about moments like this. This makes it seem normal, even funny because a lot of those words he says really are, and that’s why this happens so much.

And I think this is the real core of this problem we have between something being funny and something affecting how we treat the other people around us. It’s easy to say that women are trying to censor humor with feminism by not allowing what was generally considered ‘male humor’ to exist in the same way, but when the jokes are basically telling men that it’s funny or chill to participate in this large scale low-key sexual harassment that the #MeToo movement is calling out - then I would say maybe can we try some inclusivity?

And if this, or American Pie even, were meant to be a satire of “high school type behavior” then that needs to be more obvious that it’s satire. Because young people like me who watched it just thought, yah that’s a good representation of how we be. I guess that’s what normal is. Not very effective my friends!

I won’t rail on for too much long about humor, but if you find this interesting, I talk about what it’s like to be a woman who loves quote ‘male humor’ even though we call it quote ‘male humor’ and we’re clearly not welcome in it on my blog. Because I’ve always been a huge fan of crude humor - humor that specifically hasn’t been made with me, or other women, as the key audience. And that much is immediately obvious - and it sucks. Because some of us want to be apart of it but we feel like we can’t because our presence exposes the sexist underbelly of this style of comedy, but there’s a way for this humor to still exist but for it not to perpetuate problems like the symbolic annihilation of women. Make smarter comedy, people!

Alright okay hi, I will go back to saying things about Superbad now!

So this, the idea that drunk girls are the best tool for getting laid, I would say was the biggest alarm bell that went off in this movie, but there’s another part of the movie that was major cringe, which is the scene where poor Jonah Hill gets some period blood on his pants.

So while Jonah and Michael go through various methods of getting alcohol, they end up at another party where there is a lot. But before he can steal any, Jonah is distracted by a woman dancing up on him. She later leaves him and he goes back to sleuthing for alcohol, when another party-goer sees some blood on Jonah’s pants.

Seth: Why would I be bleeding? Why the fuck would I…Dude why would there be blood…oh fuck. Ohmigod. Oh shit, I’m going to throw-up. Someone period-ed on my fucking leg? What the fuck do I do?

Rando 1: I’ve never before seen that in my life!

Seth: This is so disgusting.

Rando 2: Yes, it is yes.

Rando 1: I’m going to go get Bill, he’s gotta check this out.

Seth: No, who’s Bill.

Rando 2: Calm, calm down. Let me get a picture of that.

Seth: No, you cannot have a picture.

Rando 1: Bill, check this out. This kid’s got period blood on his pants.

Bill: Ohmigod man, let me see! That’s a fucking mangina man.

Rando 3: Hey do you need a tampon, I have one!

So that was super fun to be watching this at 14 and thinking, okay never let anyone see your period blood ever because it’s gross and nasty and will make men think you’re the same. I mean come on dude, literally why is this even a problem that he’s having? Everyone could have been so chill about this, someone could have just said there’s some blood on your pants, he could have responded let me wash that off - end of interaction.

But instead we have this whole unnecessary moment where everyone thinks that period blood is the most effed up think that could ever happen to him when girls literally have to clean it off pants, toilets, showers, sometimes floors depending on your flow - every single month. Calm down people. And the fact that there are girls being mean to him about it too - come on ladies, don’t fall into that trap.

Speaking of making women’s bodies into a joke, it’s 2007 so we have that super fun thing where using terms for female genitalia as a negative is like at its height. This is something we still do today, and I know when I complain about it, it sounds so nitpicky but it matters. Why do we use pussy as a negative word - because our culture likes to undermine women.

And before anyone says we also use words like dick and cock to mean negative things sometimes, this is not a fair comparison. Men haven’t had a history of being the lesser, the weaker, or less powerful within the narrative of gender. We say dick and cock to mean jerks, we say pussy to mean someone who is cowardly, incapable or powerless.

So that you don’t have to hear me yell about this for a few more minutes, which I absolutely could, I’ll just give you a little taste of how often this movie uses it:

Clip 1: You always call me a pussy and what not

Clip 2: You’re a fucking pussy, you’re a fucking pussy

Clip 3: Don’t be such a vagine man, I gotta get a red bull before class

Clip 4: You know you really bitched out there man

Clip 5: Did you pussy out or what?

Nothing gets the blood boiling like cheap-shot jokes that really provide no useful context and are just a means of perpetuating the same sexist stereotypes that our history established from the start. Yep.

And don’t get me wrong, I think people should say pussy. But just think about why you’re saying it, how often and just be cool man.

On this same kinda note, here is a nice little montage of some of the negative vocabulary they use to talk about women:

Clip 1: I’m not even going to dance around it, she looks like a good fucker

She looks like she could take a dick some women pride themselves on their dick taking abilities

You think that’s a good thing to say about someone?

Clip 2: These girls are 18 years old. They’re not dried-up old ladies, they’re good to go.

Then I won’t bring the lube.

Clip 3: Car 98 on it. Yah dumb fuckin’ whore.

Clip 4: Yah well you guys are at dartmouth, I’ll be over at State where the girls are half as smart thus twice as likely to felaysh me.

Though I do have to say I love the use of felaysh.

Last thing I want to point out is this fascinating thought moment by Michael Cera:

Just imagine if girls weren’t like weirded out by our boners and stuff and just wanted to see them. That’s the world I one day want to live in.

Well the world I one day want to live in is when we don’t have to see your boners without asking to see them.

Yah we’re weirded out by your boners because they keep being shown to us without our consent : i.e. the dick pic phenomenon. Lemme tell you sweet Michael Cera, there are tons of girls who are not weirded out by dicks, they just want a say in when they see it and when they don’t. And this is something we can all work on together by being more communicative about sex.

Now the positive things in the movie: unlike American Pie neither of the boys ends up having sex at the party, which is great because, whether or not the writers intended this, it cuts off the narrative that getting girls drunk at parties is a good thing. Plus, the reason why Michael’s character doesn’t end up having sex with Becca is because he doesn’t want to take advantage of her when she’s drunk. That is actually a super fun scene too with Michael Cera’s adorable compliments:

Now looky, looky what I’ve got for you under here.

You are the prettiest girl this side of the Mississippi.

[Becca’s singing]

You look so pretty.

You’re the best. You’re so unique.

Good job Michael Cera. And throughout the movie he kind of stands as like a voice for respecting women but I kinda feel like they just did this so that they could have the character of Seth exist without feeling completely horrible about themselves. Like somehow it evened out.

But anyway instead of sex, the 2 friends have a drunken frennaissance, where they confess their love for each other, and where they finally talk about how much they’re going to miss each other and a bunch of other feelings, which is great. Yes we want to see that emotional sharing, thank you! I played some of this before, but I think it warrants hearing the whole thing:

Evan: I love you. I love you, man.

Seth: I love you, I’m not even embarrassed to say, I love you.

Evan: I’m not embarrassed. I love you.

Seth: I love you.

Evan: It's like, why can’t we say that everyday. Why don’t we say it more often.

Seth: I just want to go to the rooftops and scream I love my best friend Evan.

Evan: We should go up on the roof.

Seth: [whispers] For sure.

Evan: Like when you went away for Easter, on your vacation, I missed you.

Seth: I missed you too.

Evan: I want the world to know it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

Seth: Boop, boop, boop. Come here, come here man.

Yes this emotional availability! And I know they’re drunk, but still great stuff.

And, like I said before, this movie is full of quotable gems. I’ll leave just one more for you hear:

Seth: Also chicks can kinda see the borders and outlines of my dick a little.

Evan: Yah man, they go nuts for that male camel toe.

Seth: Yah the camel tail.

And that’s how Superbad perpeturaped us!

Yay that was a fun one. And I’m also thrilled to say that this the first movie I would say you could watch again if you feel like it, keeping in mind all of these things. I wouldn’t exactly say it holds up, but there’s some funny stuff in there.

Well I hope you enjoyed this fun feminist analysis by me Charlie Brook. Remember, I would love to hear about any movies or tv shows that you think perpeturaped you. Reach out to me on Instagram @charlooobrook or hit me on the website HerMeOut.com.

Then subscribe, recommend, rate, review all of those normal things.

And until next time, it’s a culture, people.


Podcast Transcript: How American Pie Perpeturaped Us!