John Tucker Must Die

Okay, so it’s a teen movie. Set entirely in high school. You know the type. But it looked like it might be funny, and it was supposed to be about 3 girls who’ve been done dirty by the high school hunk and decide to turn the tables on him. Sounds like fun right? The movie is chock full of stereotypes…captain of the basketball team can’t resist the new cheerleader who keeps saying no, etc, etc. One of them is bad enough Ifritah already commented on it here.

But the whole resolution of the movie is warped. John Tucker, everyone’s hero, captain of the basketball team – when his dirty dealings come out, and it’s revealed in front of the whole school that he’s been three-timing his girlfriends, he gets cheers from the boys and no reprimand from any of the girls except the three ex-girlfriends in question. And sure, he learns his lesson – from now on he tells girls he’s dating more than one at a time. Kate, on the other hand, who dates him as a revenge tactic, she has to confess in front of the whole school (to cries of shame) and then apologize again in private, and then apologize yet again to John’s brother (how was he hurt by all this again?) in order for him to grudgingly ask her to be his chemistry lab partner again.

The golden boy, captain of the basketball team – nothing happens to him. He claims his heart is broken but two scenes later he’s got a girl on each arm. Never mind that Kate was arguably trying to get one in for womankind – she’s guilted by herself, her mother, and her True Love (the brother) and has to apologize to practically everyone in the movie. I’m not sure we get even one apology out of John Tucker.

Bleah. So much for girl power, eh?


  1. Lynxsey says

    I have to applaud the scene where the four girls are all playing video games together with no boys around. How often do you see /that/ in movies?

  2. Sylvie says

    There are many instances of what I like to call the ritual public humiliation for girls paradigm in teen and romantic comedies. Off the top of my head, “10 Things I Hate About You” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” come to mind. I can’t help but wonder if it has to do with the notion that women have to be “broken” so that they submit to men.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    I can’t help but wonder if it has to do with the notion that women have to be “broken” so that they submit to men.

    Sounds about right to me.

    I usually think of it as girls being taught they’re not entitled to the same considerations as men while they are required to meet a better behavior standard. But I like how you phrased it here – the violence of the word “broken” puts the onus rightly on those who are shortchanging girls.

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