Irreverence is essentially the backbone of teen comedies...and adult comedies as well. If there aren't references to weed, puking from drinking too much alcohol and naked hijinks, then it really isn't worth watching when you are in high school. But, in the 1980s, there were times when the irreverent dove headlong into the inappropriate. I'm not talking about gritty representations of real teenagers and their troubles, but the off-handed dismissal of some fairly disturbing situations.
Some were laughed off as kids will be kids. Others were swept aside with a "Whew, thank God we didn't get caught" wipe of the hand across the forehead. This is not the moment when Judge Reinhold's character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was caught masturbating to the thought of a topless Phoebe Cates. Not only did no young male blame him, but this is something that could actually happen with no real harm done outside embarrassment. These moments went a little further.
My Tutor / Class
I place these two "classics" together because they share a common theme: relationships between adults and kids, something we hear about frequently in the world today, but such things that were likely dismissed in the '80s. In the case of My Tutor, a hot blond teacher is hired to tutor a spoiled rich kid and she gets his attention by...well, you know. Class is a bit more complicated and stars the very hot Jacqueline Bisset, who has an affair with a very young Andrew McCarthy. His buddy played by Rob Lowe is determined to end McCarthy's virginity, but McCarthy accidentally ends up with his buddy's mom. Oops!
"Sometimes you gotta say 'What the fuck.'" Tom Cruise's friend, played by Curtis Armstrong who was ubiquitous in '80s flicks, gives him some advice he clearly takes to heart when his parents are out of town. First, he orders a prostitute that turns out to be a large black woman (or man, we aren't sure) who refers him to Rebecca De Mornay, the prostitute all white boys want. Cruise ends up basically becoming a pimp in one weekend and the only thing he gets busted for is a tiny crack in a piece of crystal art belonging to his parents.
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Never mind the notion of two underage teens on a deserted island discovering the mysteries of young love, there could be nothing more disturbing to teens at the time than Brooke Shields standing in the water surrounded by blood because she got her first period. Not only was it cringeworthy, but it meant she was like 12 and probably like 14 when she had a baby on that God forsaken island.
Flowers in the Attic
Much like Blue Lagoon, this deals in young love. It's a much more tragic setting -- kids locked in an attic by their insane grandmother -- and it has a significant difference. The film was born out of the wildly popular young adult novel of the same name, which feels a little gross considering the young love was between a brother and sister. Sure, they were locked away for a long time, but still. Ew.
I will confess that this is one of my favorite films of the '80s, a John Hughes classic that was hilarious in many ways. But, setting aside the humor and the mild sci-fi overtones, this is a film about two horny teen boys making a girl with their computer so they can learn about sex from -- and ostensibly have it with -- her. That would be bad enough if not for the added bonus of them trying to make a second girl for their buddies, whose biggest concern, it would seem, was that their creation have bigger boobs.
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Even back in the day, Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey was getting the ladies. In this case, for money. The premise of the movie starts simply enough. College kid's parents decide to stop paying his tuition, so he turns to delivering pizzas, which leads to him having sex with a bunch of bored, lonely housewives. They "order" him by requesting "extra anchovies" on their pizzas. It's like Duece Bigalo Male Gigalo, but less funny and without the heart.
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Revenge of the Nerds
In this '80s classic, you could point to the nerds installing hidden cameras in a sorority house so they can watch them naked as pretty messed up. You might also consider the fact that they sold the topless photo of one of those sorority girls to fellow students -- attached to a paper plate and buried under some whipped cream. But, nothing could compare to when one of the nerds pretended to be the boyfriend of the hottest sorority girl so he could have sex with her -- he kept his Darth Vader costume on the whole time. One might call that rape, but then when the girl finds out and is cool with it because the sex was so good, well, I give up.
Truly, one of the great teen comedies of all time and another John Hughes classic, this film is unfortunately saddled with one of the most egregious date rape scenes in history when Anthony Michael Hall is given the keys to the Rolls Royce belonging to Jake Ryan's parents and drives off with the prom queen, so hammered, she can't tell the difference between Farmer Ted and her handsome boyfriend. They end up in the parking lot of her church the next morning where she confesses that she thinks they had sex and she thinks she liked it. It all is tied up nicely with a kiss. Disturbing.