Back in the 80’s & 90’s, films aimed at attracting a teenage demographic consisted of some depth, if one were to look beyond the sexual innuendos, drunken parties, and cliche characters, many of these films focused on controversial topics.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High remains one of my favorite films, because it is incredibly entertaining however Cameron Crowe and Amy Heckerling incorporated touchy subjects like abortion, the consequences of engaging in protected sex, along with altering traditional gender roles. For example, Stacey Hamilton goes on a mission to become more sexually experienced, because in way she wanted to be like her older, hotter friend, Linda Barrett. Traditionally, the character of Stacey would be portrayed by a male, we often see male characters set out to lose their virginity, or gain some sort of sexual experience before leaving high school. Normally, a character like Linda Barrett who is sexually experienced, very confident and possesses a dominating personality would be punished some how, usually by getting pregnant. Remember Grease? Rizzo gets pregnant, not Sandy. In Fast Times, Stacey gets pregnant and ultimately gets an abortion. There are some television stations that cut out this section of the film, I guess some people still cannot grasp the legality of abortions, and how in many instances it is the most logical thing to do.
Heckerling also wanted to go more into depth about how teenagers have sex, there is a scene where Stacey and Damone have sex in her backyard, Heckerling wanted to show them naked facing one another, looking frightened, to show how awkward teen sex is but Universal cut that scene out because they feared it was too pornographic. After a few seconds of sex, we see Damone’s leg shake, and boom its over. She portrayed teen sex is a more realistic light, its not glamorous, and the male is not seen as an amazing lover like in a typical John Hughes film (I know Fast Times was a few years before Hughes teen films, just using him as an example).
In today’s world, the majority of films aimed towards the teen demographic are completely terrible, they lack originality, the characters lack depth, and there is no morals incorporated into the story line.