Welcome to the Dollhouse: the good ol’ years

I’ve been watching teenager flicks recently. Many of which, I’ve noticed, veer towards some cock-eyed redemption in its stories.

Example One: In Less Than Zero, Clay the Good-Doer tries to save his friends but Julian dies from ODing despite Julian in the novel survives into the sequel. Why? Because apparently, someone needs to die and better it be the druggie to ingrain the idea: “Don’t do drugs. Just say no.” Which is fine. I guess.

Example Two: In Heathers, again the bad guy dies and the popular girl befriends the all too-nice chubby loser. Easy to figure the morale of that story. Not saying it’s bad to delineate the proper (or better) actions to real-life situations but its slapped-on endings don’t strike me as realistic or as earnest as they could be.

My conclusion: A story doesn’t always have to rashly fix its own problems or trumpet the righteous way but to just lay down its complex issues. Strive for inquisition, not propaganda, folks. (Really, it’s corny as heck but I suppose that’s part of their appeal.)

Now, I did find some exceptions. I don’t know if this movie’s for everyone but if you don’t want to watch a didactic (YA) piece of fiction, here’s your movie: Welcome to the Dollhouse.

It’s painful, awkward and a little sad. Nice soundtrack, though and hilarious wardrobe. Watching it, I tried to remember my own middle school/high school years, wondering, “Was it that bad? As bad as Dawn Wiener’s?” (And yes, that’s her last name.)

The answer? No, not from what I remember.

From elementary school to middle school, I was the rude yet empty-headed tomboy who couldn’t run a mile to save her life (or grade). Sure, I think elementary school was my most embarrassing/awkward/silly years akin to Dawn Wiener’s own experience but in middle school, it was alright because I had my own weird friends. And high school? College? I guess even now, I feel awkward and idiotic being in my own skin. And fat, rightfully so. Fufu.

But I’m curious: what about everyone else? Were your years as humiliating and awkward as Dawn Wiener’s? Can you relate to feeling unloved by your parents and peers or being threatened by a bully? Are these themes&experiences as ubiquitous as some people think they are?

Hey, sexy.

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