Seven Things from The Breakfast Club that Irk Me Now that I Am a Parent

You know you’re getting old when you cheer upon discovering John Hughes’s classic 1985 teen movie The Breakfast Club is on television on a Saturday night.

It’s one of my all-time favorite movies, but the five high school students had barely settled into their detention chairs in the library when I realized that this movie isn’t quite what I remembered from years ago.

“Why don’t you go close that door? We’ll get the prom queen impregnated,” says bad boy John Bender to wrestling star Andrew Clark.

Uh, what’s this now? Gang rape threat? Yep, now that I am a parent, I watched this movie through an entirely different lens, and many scenes just plain irk me now.


The Larry Lester bun taping incident

Andrew, your father does sound like a bit of a tyrant, but he did not force you to tape Larry Lester’s hairy buns together. He wasn’t even there in that locker room. He didn’t even suggest it. Stop blaming your parents! They’re doing the best they can.

“My home life is unsatisfying”

Basket case Allison laments that her home life is “unsatisfying” because her parents “ignore” her. Uh, Allison, perhaps they are busy working to put a roof over your head, food in the cupboard and clothes on your back. Go spend some time with sick kids in a hospital. Volunteer at a food bank. Paint a picture. Tell your parents how you feel. Offer to help them out around the house. Enough already with the obsessive navel gazing!

The jerk teacher Richard Vernon

Why is this teacher such a one-dimensional, horrible characterization of the dedicated people who teach our children? Mr. Vernon swears at Bender, threatens to beat him up and treats all the students with palpable disdain. What an incredibly disappointing character for a movie that is about how we shouldn’t cast people into shallow categories.

Allison’s lunch

A Cap’n Crunch and sugar sandwich on fluffy white bread! Why can’t I eat stuff like that anymore? Why? So not fair.

Prom Queen Claire’s outfit and dance moves

Okay, nothing irks me about her outfit (great brown leather boots, skirt and jacket!) other than the fact that I never owned anything like that in high school and could never quite master that cool dance move she does. Sigh.

Claire kisses Bender’s neck

Nooo! Don’t do it Claire! Don’t kiss the troubled bad boy who jokes about gang rape and “hot beef injections”! Maybe he’s a good kid deep down, but do you really want to spend your life and energy trying to heal his wounds? Check back with him in ten years after he’s had counselling. And don’t give him that huge diamond stud earring! Do you have any idea how much your parents paid for that? I didn’t think so.

Allison’s famous line: “It’s unavoidable. It just happens. When you grow up, your heart dies.”

Baloney.  Life definitely becomes less black and white as you grow up, but your heart is capable of utter joy for as long as you live. The secret is never forgetting to recognize it and relish it.

Li’l Girl Talk

“Shopping at Costco or taking me shopping for mats. That’s the worst punishment you could give me,” says The Youngest, age 8.

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