People Are Re-Watching American Pie And Getting Seriously Offended By it

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jim in american pieUniversal Pictures

For many kids who grew up in the 90s, American Pie was a big deal.

It was one of the first films of its kind – a gross-out comedy following hapless teenagers as they fumbled their way through their formative years.

For most people, it was a lesson in how not to do things and ultimately, or hopefully, redeem yourself before it’s too late.

The antics of Jim, Stifler and the rest of the gang inspired a wave of movies aimed at a specific audience. These were movies not to watch with your parents and ones to joke about with your mates at school the next day.

Then again, perhaps that was the problem – their influence could well have had a negative effect on impressionable viewers…

Films like Road Trip, Harold and Kumar and Dude Where’s My Car followed, as well as several American Pie sequels and spin-offs.

The genre was fun while it lasted, and though they were never going to be timeless pieces of classic cinema, there’s a certain nostalgia looking back now.

However, some viewers are looking back not so fondly. Almost 20 years since American Pie‘s release, people are finding it an uncomfortable watch thanks to jokes which have dated poorly.

There are, of course, numerous scenes in the film which caused controversy then, and now, the least of which is a guy doing unspeakable things to an apple pie.

jim dancing in american pieUniversal Pictures

A woman getting changed while being secretly filmed and broadcast over the internet, for example, the film’s depiction of women in general or certain character’s inherent homophobia are just a few things which spring to mind.

People have been voicing their concerns on Twitter, with one person writing:

‘American Pie’ is extremely dated and is quite sexist but there are some hilarious moments. [sic]

Another said:

Watching american pie very uncomfortably bc sexist [sic]

While someone else added:

Omg, American Pie – the franchise, is so ridiculously sexist! Apparently, only guys are allowed to enjoy sex.

Of course, American Pie isn’t the only product of the 90s not to have aged well.

The sitcom Friends has recently come under fire for its dated jokes and attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community, especially the character Chandler, and his relationship with his father.

As Slate put it:

In retrospect, the entire show’s treatment of LGBTQ issues is awful […] But Chandler’s treatment of his gay father, a Vegas drag queen played by Kathleen Turner, is especially appalling, and it’s not clear the show knows it.

It’s one thing for Chandler to recall being embarrassed as a kid, but he is actively resentful and mocking of his loving, involved father right up until his own wedding (to which his father is initially not invited!).

Despite this criticism from today’s young audience, Friends is still the most popular program on paid-for streaming services.

As BBC reports, Netflix added the sitcom to its roster in January this year, and twice as many episodes were streamed in its first three months on the service than any of its rivals.

Is it surprising some things made 20 years ago haven’t aged well in terms of today’s standards? And how will today’s programs fare in 20 years? Only time will tell.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.