“Are you a Clueless person?” I asked an acquaintance last week.
“Fuck you,” she retorted.
I was hurt, upset, confused, shocked. Not because she cursed at me but because I knew what was happening: she had mistaken my noun for an adjective. My question had been answered. Rolling with Homies meant nothing to her.
But how could it be? Ah yes, she was three years younger than I was which left her at a whopping four years old when the movie Clueless first released. And then I felt sorry. How terrible it must have been to spend your formulative years in the latter half of the 90s, without Amy Heckerling’s brilliant portrayal of the least abrasive older sister of all time.
Yes, Cher Horowitz navigated teenagehood for us and along the way taught us everything our genetic siblings could not be bothered with.
Who was Alaia before she kneeled at gunpoint? How did she know there were 12-steps in Travis’ program? Would I have learned to use the word sporadic in a sentence had Cher not prompted I do so? Were stems always a pseudonym for legs or did the disco dancing, Oscar Wilde-reading, Streisand ticket-holding friend of Dorothy, Christian, conjecture that to make more lucrative the wonderful world of synonyms? Was Calvin Klein’s opinion on bodycon dresses of the white bandeau variety universally applicable for all bodycon dresses of the white bandeau variety?
I was wearing overalls the first time I saw Clueless. Did this mean I was a farmer?
Were the Cranberries always a suitable excuse to leave class? Would calling someone “ensembly challenged” register rude though it seemed so gentle? What about “hymenally challenged?” (Introducing this eloquence to my lexicon made coping with virginity profoundly easier in my teens–though I did not have a drivers license which effectively made me the most lethal combination of female specimen until I was an astounding 19 years old.)
The musings of Clueless extended beyond the trivial though. Geographic affirmations helped cultivate my brain. I’m happy to report the following without even the most subtle of flinches: Bosnia is not in the Middle East and Kuwait is not in the valley. Cher also discharged the intrinsic, intellectual meaning of a Monet in the most meager of settings.
I’d never have read Austen’s Emma had it not been for Clueless.
And even through all of this, the most important lessons laid in the Da Vinci Code nature of the movie. It took several (over 100) viewings to finally arrive at an absolute sense of understanding, the last of which just a few days ago. It was the most accomplished I had felt since handing in my senior thesis.
Riding the crimson wave, getting fried, utilizing Kenny G as a compass of cool, straight friends, high schools that harbor coke, the interruption of flying balls as the end of a social life–nothing is quite as rewarding as gradually unlocking irony, innuendos, puns and mature jokes all on your own.
Yes, before anything, Clueless was the most accurate compass of young intellect. How much one had learned, how much one still needed to learn. And–I’m totally buggin’– it seems now that I know everything there is to know about life, so here’s to that.
What were some of your favorite moments? Do you think the fascination with Clueless is first and foremost a nod to sweeping 90s nostalgia? Or is it really just the perfect portrayal of the best older sister of all time? Please do share. A conversation about Clueless, like Paris, is never a bad idea.