Friday FabOoolousness – The Titter Factor: Clueless

Comedies took over television in the 1990s with popular sitcoms Seinfeld, Friends, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  Young viewers also found plenty of programs they could relate to in the ‘90s with the hit teen soap operas Beverly Hills, 90210, Dawson’s Creek, and Felicity

So, why be surprised with the 1995 blockbuster success of the now classic film, Clueless

That’s right – classic. 

Clueless combined humor with every teen drama stereotype imaginable: like the stress of training for a driver’s license, dealing with parents and step-siblings, partying and drugs, deciding which cliques to join, trying to keep up with style and dress for success, and, most importantly, awkward relationships.

Unknown at the time, Alicia Silverstone immediately gained star-status with her portrayal of Cher Horowitz.  Cher resembled so many of the girls in my school – exaggerated, of course.  Cher was sweet, but superficial and hailed from an extremely wealthy family.  Some would call her spoiled; she did have a rotating closet the size of most living rooms in her father’s (Mel Horowitz played by Dan Hedaya) mansion.

One of, if not the most attractive and popular girls in school, Cher uses her ability to negotiate her way out of all sticky situations.  But, when she can’t talk her way out of a bad grade, Cher decides to play cupid for the single and miserable teacher standing in her way.  

Feeling that match-making is now her calling, Cher then adopts the new girl in school, and plans to transform her into a beauty.  With help from her best friend, Dionne (played by Stacey Dash), Cher befriends Tai (Brittany Murphy) and immediately begins creating another paper-doll cut-out to follow in her footsteps.  She transforms Tai’s hair, clothes, make-up, and attitude – maybe too well. 

Tai instantly connects with the skater in school (Travis Birkenstock played by Breckin Meyer), but Cher refuses to allow Tai to date Travis; therefore, she hatches a plan to play match-maker with Tai and the popular boy, Elton (Jeremy Sisto), who just so happens to have his eyes set on Cher.

After failing her driving test, failing to successfully pair Tai and Elton, and falling for a gay, Jason Priestly look-a-like hottie (Justin played by Christian Stovitz), Cher crumbles and leans into her older, ex-stepbrother, Josh (played by Paul Rudd). Making matters worse, Tai figuratively slaps her in the face, and Cher decides it’s time to focus on her own life instead of others.  Step one – land Josh. 

Everything of course works its way out in the end, but viewers don’t get there without hysterical laughs along the way.  The movie was such a hit, that television producers attempted to recreate the popularity of Clueless with a television series, and cast many of the movie’s actors in the same roles (Stacey Dash as Dionne, Donald Faison as Dionne’s boyfriend, Murray, and Elisa Donovan as Amber, Cher’s nemesis). 

Conversations in the’90s would have never been the same without Clueless’ coined phrases: “Whatever” and “As If”.   

Can we please bring As If back? I mean, Whatever never left.

In addition to the words most repeated by teenagers across America, the Clueless writers also provided rich-clueless-valley-girl lines that Alicia delivered perfectly.

Dionne: Hello? There was a stop sign.

Cher: I totally paused.

****

Cher: Okay, so you’re probably going, “Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?” But seriously, I actually have a way normal life for a teenage girl.

****

Cher: Isn’t my house classic? The columns date all the way back to 1972.

**** 

Girl: It’s just like Hamlet said, “To thine own self be true.”

Cher: Hamlet didn’t say that.

Girl: I think I remember Hamlet accurately.

Cher: Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn’t say that.  That Polonius guy did.

****

We can’t end the post without discussing the fashion.  High school girls across the country wore plaid mini-skirts with knee-high lace socks and baby doll shoes because of Cher.  What about the white, sheer shirts?  Clogs?  Platforms? C’mon, we all had at least one item in our closets that Cher wore in Clueless

Cher: Do you prefer “fashion victim” or “ensembly challenged”?

**** 

Mel: What the hell is that?

Cher: A dress.

Mel: Says who?

Cher: Calvin Klein

****

Teenage girls in the ‘90s were definitely fashion victims courtesy of Cher, and we spent too much money on our clothes. 

Clueless changed the ‘90s pop culture forever, and launched movie stars Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy (R.I.P.), and Paul Rudd into movie stardom.  Not to mention, Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash) and Donald Faison (Scrubs) might not have the television popularity they do today without their supporting roles in Clueless.    

Who’s singing, “Rollin with my homies,” right this very second (be honest)?   Do you believe or agree that Clueless is now a classic?  Who do/did you relate to more:  Cher, Tai, Travis, or another character? If you could have one movie phrase that was popular back in the day return now – what would it be and why?  What other ‘90s movies have you watched repeatedly that have changed pop culture forever?  I’d love to hear from you!

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31 Responses to Friday FabOoolousness – The Titter Factor: Clueless

  1. How can you not love Cher? Like whatever..LOL…I have seen this movie so many times and love it….

  2. Liz Schulte says:

    Clueless is totally classic. I was too young for the brat pack (though I love the movies). I think Clueless and Can’t Hardly Wait are sort of those movies for the kids of the 90’s. My favorite Clueless quote is “That’s Ren and Stimpy. They’re way existential.” Plus this seemed to start the trend of turning classic literature into teen high school movies and what teenager doesn’t need more exposure to Jane Austen or Shakespeare (10 Things I Hate About You)?

    • Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You were even better for not letting on that they were adapted from classic literature. Then, you have the Leo & Claire version of Romeo and Juliet which was brilliant in its own right. Thanks for stopping by, Liz!

  3. Terrell Mims says:

    I loved Clueless! That made Alicia Silverstone my celeb-crush during 7th grade. I can still watch it and enjoy it.

  4. amber says:

    I always got a kick out of her schooling the pretentious college girl on Shakespeare. And I seriously loved Paul Rudd. Still do.

  5. Cara says:

    Tiffany! This is hilarious! Honestly, I am strongly considering blowing off writing for the day, finding a hole in the wall movie store that still rents out old movies, and spending the day watching 90’s Blockbuster hits — starting with Clueless. Oh, and thank you for posting the dialog. I literally squeaked when I came to the Hamlet part! “That Polonius guys did.”

    So, my brain has yet to wake up enough to tabulate my favorite 90’s movies, but one VHS that I watched so many times it whines at me when I even look at is, “Edward Scissorhands” I don’t know if really had an effect on pop culture, but I sure loved it. And abashedly, I admit I liked “Varsity Blues” quite a bit, too. 🙂

    • Hi, Cara! Good luck finding the hole-in-the-wall movie rental store….our community doesn’t have one single store, not even a Blockbuster anymore. Thank Heavens for Red Box, but you can’t find the old movies but on rare occasion there.

      Varsity Blues is a favorite of mine, especially since I grew up in West Texas were high school football is king. I even had 2 high school classmates cast as extra football players in the movie. One has a great face shot on the sidelines. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. donnagalanti says:

    One of my FAVE movies…as if!! Rolling with the homies…singing it right now! thanks for reminding of this – off tor rent this weekend,

  7. Um, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie. It’s been on HBO, but I never got around to watching it. *grins sheepishly*. I guess I need to add that to my watch list.

    Oh, and I agree with Cara. Edward Scissorhands was awesome!

  8. Lynn Kelley says:

    Haha! What a fun post. I watched this movie with one of my daughters, who had already seen it and told me I had to watch it. We laughed together all through it!

  9. Jess Witkins says:

    I was totally singing Rollin With the Homies!

    I LOVE Clueless, how could I not, it’s a modern day adapted version of Jane Austen’s Emma! I love the people in this movie that started out here and became famous cause there are lots. If you love this movie, you need to see the 2003 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Kam Heskin, who became more popular after starring in the Prince and Me 2. It’s very close to Clueless style wardrobing and phrasing. It’s pretty much amazing, but then Jane Austen always is!

  10. Catie Rhodes says:

    I liked Clueless. I’m a little older than the intended audience, I think, but I totally “got” it. I also discovered Jeremy Sisto in Clueless. He’s a really talented guy, and I like a lot of his work.

    The one phrase I wish would come back is “Talk to the hand.” That was from The Nanny, wasn’t it? Or Fran Drescher anyway. I just loved her in The Beautician and the Beast in 1997. LOL

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. You know I love ’em.

    • Hey, Catie! I’m a Jeremy Sisto fan too; I love his voice.

      “Talk to the Hand” is a great one! You know what else? The closed fist quick double tap that meant Bug Off on Friends….that isn’t a phrase, but it’s fun to do and pretty universal to those who watched the show. 🙂

  11. Roni Loren says:

    LOVED Clueless. And sadly, I totally had the plaid skirt and knee socks. *hangs head in shame* And dude, I went to a Catholic high school–why the hell did I go out and buy plaid skirts for the weekends? I had to wear one every damn day.

    • From one Catholic school girl to another, I don’t think you were crazy. I bet you spiced things up on the weekends with your mini plaid and knee high socks….My big Clueless fashion statement in the ’90s was the midriff. Oh my, I owned too many! Thanks for stopping by, Roni!

  12. I hope this doesn’t mean we’re going to part ways but I’ve never seen Clueless. And the clogs in my closet? From the seventies. *Wince*.

    Although. Now you got me wanting to see the movie. Does that count? 🙂

    • We’re still friends, Angela. Don’t you worry about that! 🙂 I do hope you check the movie out, it’s great girl time! It also might explain a few crazy things you remember being hip from the ’90s generation.

      I hope you hung onto those ’70s clogs…everything makes their way back into style!

  13. Loved Clueless! Definitely a classic. 😀

  14. Piper Bayard says:

    Hi Tiffany. As a 30-something in the 90s, I never saw Clueless. I guess that makes me really clueless. 🙂 But I did pick up the vocabulary without knowing where it came from. I still sprinkle the word “like” throughout my utterances, along with “whatever” and an occasional “as if.” Thanks for the history lesson. I love your blog.

  15. Roxanne says:

    I was about eight when Clueless came out, so I was probably younger than the intended audience, but I love Clueless!! I remember the dolls that came out with the movie. Girls at church would be playing with them and I really wanted one, but my mom said no. I don’t think she was a fan of the movie.

    And I was another one of those private school girls! Plaid skirts ALL the time. (In Japan, that’s actually fashionable. I think I want to move there.)

  16. I’ve seen this so many times and yes, it is a classic! Sometimes, I still say, “I’m outie!”
    My daughter cringes. LOL

  17. L.S. Engler says:

    Not going to lie, the only reason I was able to make it through Jane Austin’s Emma as easily as I did was by remembering that Clueless is a modern day version of it, and keeping the movie in mind as I read it.

    Rollin’ with the homies, indeed. Totally a classic. Constantly quoting it like it’s going out style, but, whatever. ; )

  18. This is super late, but I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on it. LOVED Clueless…brings me back to high school. Okay, I was a senior when it came out, but whatever 🙂

    My favorite quote (because I am Tex-Mex):

    Lucy: He your gardner. I don’t know why you no tell him.
    Cher: You know I don’t speak Mexican.
    Lucy: I not a Mexican!
    Cher: Great. What was all that about?
    Josh: Lucy’s from El Salvador.
    Cher: So?
    Josh: It’s an entirely different country.
    Cher: What does that matter?
    Josh: You get mad if anyone thinks you live below Sunset.

    • This is great, Claudia! I really want to rewatch the movie now. I LOVED the sibling banter between Cher and Josh throughout the movie…I guess saying sibling is kinda gross since they hooked up at the end, huh? Thank you for stopping by – I’ll always take a “late” comment. 🙂

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