I will bet dollars to donuts that many of you never knew that Clueless was based on the 1815 novel by Jane Austen, Emma. It was the last novel that Austen penned and has a very similar plot line to Clueless, or vice versa, as you can see the hubris of the young and the entangled nature of the trysts that teenagers seem to engage in on a daily basis. It almost makes me wish that high school hadn’t been a necessity, that we could have just done a ton of homework and tested day in and day and out skipped all the drama. But then we would have missed out on a bunch of things, right? Right?
Clueless is, unless you loved it, a good way to feel your IQ go straight down the tubes as you continue to watch it. Seriously, it was made for teenagers, almost by teenagers it feels like, and while it was supposed to be funny and kind of a spoof on the teenage lifestyle it was something that made a lot of eyes roll. The movie had it’s charms like anything else would and did in fact help to entertain a generation for a while but when you look back at it now after growing up finally you seem to realize that all the things we thought were important back then are somehow less than necessary at this point and time.
Who was dating who is no longer a big deal unless you happen to love celebrity gossip and don’t have a life of your own to worry over. Figuring out why a celebrity would wear this top or those pants or that hairstyle isn’t quite as important as wondering just which bill you’re going to pay first and which one is due right now as opposed to later. Priorities within both Emma and Clueless are horribly misplaced because, well, teenagers.
Since the 50’s teenagers have making their impact known in society. It’s been going on for longer than that but it was in the 50’s that the term ‘teenager’ really started coming out. At that time the American teenager in particular started to find their own identity and realize that the midway point between childhood and adulthood was something they could hold onto for a while. They weren’t kids anymore but they certainly weren’t adults with responsibilities yet. It was a time of freedom that all teens since then have grabbed onto and held for fear that they might lose it.
Being a teen in America at this point is an entirely different lifestyle all on its own and Clueless certainly represents that. But it does pull elements from Emma that make the teens seem far more adult at times and yet so inept at adult situations that they fail miserably when they think they have everything under control. That’s the one thing that any teen, no matter the time period, has yet to understand. We don’t have control of life, and when we think we do that’s when we lose it.