It Happens To Like, 8% Of All Guys

So, I’m about two weeks behind the rest of America, but I saw “Superbad” today, and it was everything I expected it to be– simultaneously hysterical, foul, and poignant. In the same vein of “The 40-Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” “Superbad” somehow seems to fit just the right amount of touching emotion and sliver of moral value in between the constant stream of f-words and dick jokes. “Superbad” is probably the most vulgar of the three, and for that reason I wouldn’t say it’s quite as great as the other two, but it’s funny, and it got to me in a way I didn’t expect. Let me explain:

“Superbad” is about growing up. It’s the story of two seemingly immature best friends named Seth and Evan (and their perfectly nerdy tag-a-long friend Fogell with his fake I.D.) who are learning that ending one stage of their lives means that things are going to be staggeringly different, and they’re going to have to start growing up. One scene in particular got to me. There are two police officer characters in the film that serve to mirror the two main characters. They are reckless, irresponsible, crass, and angry– adult males that never said goodbye to the same teenage male immaturity that Seth and Evan exhibit, which makes it completely believable that the officers so easily befriend the 18-year-old Fogell, who they only know by his outrageous alias of McLovin’.

By the end of the film, the two officers have destroyed their patrol car after a night of drunk driving and irresponsibility, and have come to the conclusion that the best way to handle the situation is to light it on fire and tell their supervisors that a cracked-out bum stole it, thus skirting the punishment they deserve for their reckless behavior. The meek, scrawny, and boyish-looking Fogell then asks one of the officers if he can fire his gun at the flaming squad car, and the officer obliges. There’s a shot of the three of them– Fogell passionately unloading the gun’s clip into the car’s windows while the two officers watch, their faces lit by the flames of the car fire. From the perfect look on their faces you can tell the officers are torn between being pleased with the ridiculous display and being mournful about the reality of the situation– it’s as though they’re realizing at that very moment that they can’t be boys forever, that no matter what they do to convince themselves they’re still the brash, fun-loving teenagers they once were, they can’t escape growing up.

It’s a tough scene for an unemployed recent college graduate to watch. Graduation is a great time, and a terrific accomplishment, but it’s also a time to realize that things are going to be different. I’ve already had a number of close friends– people I got to know intimately over the past four years, people I shared memories, hopes, and dreams with for a significant portion of my life– take off for all corners of the globe, not knowing the next time I’ll see them. I’m realizing I can’t hold on to it forever, and that the reality of the situation, as hard as it is to face at times, is that I’m just going to have to grow up. It doesn’t mean I’m leaving it behind, it just means that chapter of my life is coming to a close. It’s a good thing, in fact, because it paves the way for a fresh new chapter. And change is good, right? …right?


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