Miss Pop Rocks: Pop-Culture Proms That Were Cooler Than Yours

It's prom season, y'all. That means it's time to get your corsage to match your cummerbund, find a flask to hide the whiskey, and coerce everyone to chip in money for the limo, so you can all stick your heads out of the sun roof and go, "Woooo!!"

The American Prom. Glorified by many, enjoyed by precious few. The night of my senior prom was my first night to venture out without underwear at my mother's request. Seriously. She decided that underwear would have created VPL (visible panty line) with the expensive formal gown she'd purchased for me. I suppose mom must've known I was still protecting my precious virginity enough to trust me to go commando, and in the end I gave my nerdy date a kiss on the cheek and came home and went to bed, dreaming of the day when not wearing underwear out on a date would actually come in useful. (Don't worry. Eventually it did.)

Anyway, seeing as it's prom season, Miss Pop Rocks thought she'd give a shout out to a few pop culture proms that were probably a lot cooler than hers. And yours, too, most likely. (Unless you didn't wear underwear for reasons other than VPL.)

Pretty in Pink
Hey, check it out! I'm this super-cool girl from the wrong side of the tracks who works at a record store, and I can make this amazing vintage-esque dress out of this `80s prom gown the color of Pepto-Bismol with just a few snips and spools of thread! Wow, it matches my pink Kharmann Ghia that I can afford despite the fact that my dad is a drunk Harry Dean Stanton who can't hold down a job. This nerdy boy who would lick the bottoms of my shoes if I asked him has pursued me all my life, but I'm going to dump him for this rich kid and make out with him in the parking lot. Class of `86, y'all! Woot woot!

Yet another girl who made her own prom dress. However, the ending was slightly different from Pretty in Pink's in that instead of concluding with a make-out in the parking lot, everyone died a horrific and violent death in the high-school gym. This film is the ultimate high-school fuck you, and I love it. What nerd, outcast, or average Plain Jane did not cheer Carrie White on as she attacked her classmates for getting pig blood all over her dirty pillows. Awesome.

Dance `Til Dawn
Please tell me someone else remembers this 1988 made-for-television movie starring every hot teen actor of the moment including Alyssa Milano, Tracey Gold, Christina Applegate, Matthew Perry, Chris Young, and the chick who played Vanessa on The Cosby Show. My girlfriends and I had this on tape and literally watched it every weekend throughout junior high, cooing and clapping as the teens hooked up, partied, and danced the night away. Imagine my surprise when I got to high school and discovered that instead of being a crazy fun time full of sex-fueled adventures, the four years were in fact a mortifying pit of angst and despair.

Listen to me, small-town preacher man played quite convincingly by John Lithgow! There is a time to dance! There is a time to run around in a barn and organize an illegal prom and kick up your heels in the confetti and crazy-ass shit like that! In this, the Citizen Kane of dance movies, we witness one of the best and most dated prom scenes ever as the early `80s teens breakdance and boogie all night long. (Oddly enough, this movie also turned me onto Kurt Vonnegut because of the scene when Bacon's character talks about how much he loved the book Slaughterhouse Five. Oh bad boy Bacon, you get me so hot inside.)

The Prom When Donna Martin Got Drunk
Loved this one. Dumb virgin Donna Martin can't hold her liquor or get laid, apparently. She totally should have gotten expelled, but Brandon Walsh had to go and organize a protest. Now that I think about it, the "Donna Martin graduates!" protest was like my generation's March on Washington. Let justice prevail! Let freedom ring across this great land! Let the drunk virgin finish school!

I know there are more...She's All That, Never Been Kissed, Can't Hardly Wait, etc., but these are my personal faves. What others have I forgotten?

Happy Prom, high school students! And remember, if your mother tells you to go without underwear, you should probably listen to her.

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Jennifer Mathieu
Contact: Jennifer Mathieu