Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reflections about...Jonah Performance at Sight & Sound Theatres Tuesday July 31, 2012 at 1 PM

A month ago my younger cousin Michael was up from North Carolina visiting us and so one of the things my aunt planned for us to do together is Sight & Sound Theatres, which is something she had been wanting to do for awhile since her friends from Bible study told her about it a few years ago. Sight & Sound Theatres showcases the stories of the Bible in the form of musical theater. "Where the Bible comes to life" seems to be its motto. Sight & Sound Theatres has two locations: Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Branson, Missouri. Naturally, because it is closer, we went to Lancaster to see Jonah.

This is the outside of the theater. It looks like a palace inside and out!

Jonah is a young prophet in Biblical times whom loves the Lord. One day the Lord gives Jonah a message that greatly troubles him. He wants Jonah to travel to Nineveh to ask the people to repent their sins to gain salvation. However, Jonah does not believe that Nineveh deserves this salvation because they are horrible people and when he was a child they killed his father, so it is personal for him. Jonah runs away from his prophet duties, but God always manages to find him, ultimately using a sea mammal to help Jonah come to his senses.

The Love of God

This just might be the first play I've seen where agape (the unconditional love of God) is the main focus. In other plays, normally the love that carries the plot is romantic love, or perhaps a relationship between family members, but you rarely see a play totally focused on religion, God, and Christianity. Religion and Christianity actually inspired the earlier forms of drama, such as the Wakefield Mystery Plays (which is actually the first thing I learned in my Early English Drama course in my Fall 2011 semester), but as time went on with drama, this trend seemed to no longer be as popular or existent at all. Sight & Sound Theatres seems to be only current theater so far to be trying to "resurrect" this trend in this way and taking it one step further and making musicals out of their interpretations.

The Best Parts

For the Kids
This story is told in musical form and is fit for all ages. What Sight & Sound Theatres does is take a Biblical story and make its own spin on it, adding humorous moments to help tell the story better, some specifically for children. For example, at one point a skunk sprays Jonah because, ahem, sin "stinks." Jonah is sinning because he is running away from God. This is literally written in the program and it literally happens onstage, the animal played by a real live skunk, but of course special effects playing the actual "spray." One of the highlights of Sight & Sound Theatres is it uses live animals in its cast.

Another part that is really cute is when Jonah is on the run and a bunch of kids want to play Hide and Seek with him. Trying to get rid of them, he counts and they all run away to hide, except a young girl. He reveals to her he will not be searching for them, but she replies with something like, "They will forever be lost. How will they be found if you don't search for them?" This symbolically brings up a valid point of the musical, for Jonah must also help the people of Nineveh to no longer be lost.

I never really get the soundtracks of shows as souvenirs, but this time I did. That's how good the music is.

My favorite song, which is one I often play on my iTunes, is the song "The Ocean Sings." I've been using this song as inspiration to write this post. This is the part when Jonah sets sail with a bunch of pirates to further avoid his Godly duty. (Well, they refer to themselves as "sailors" but I call them pirates because to me they all resemble Johnny Depp's "Captain Jack Sparrow" and speak with accents. Plus, calling them "pirates" just makes them sound cooler, which they are. They are some of the best characters in the musical.) I think the reason why I like this song is because it is the one song in the musical that isn't necessarily religious-related. Jonah's mother has a verse praying to God to keep him safe on his voyage, but other than that it is just a song sung by a bunch of "pirates" about what it's like to set sail. This song could be sung in any musical about pirates or sailors and the big blue sea and still work. Another reason is that I have a tendency to enjoy a song sung by a chorus of men more than other types of chorus. It's just a really fun song and it's one of the least emotional ones, because plenty of the songs in this are very heart-wrenching, and I like songs that aren't necessarily going to make me cry.

Another song I really like is "Everyone Has A Nineveh," sung by Jonah's mother once again praying to keep Jonah safe, which always reminds me of Nala's solo "Shadowland" from The Lion King Musical just because of the way it is sung and the subject manner. I know. That's odd, isn't it? Well, maybe not. Both songs talk about how certain locations are giving the characters hardships to overcome and both characters who sing them have hope that they will. What I like about "Everyone Has A Nineveh," other than her voice, is that it speaks so true for everyone in the audience and not one member of said audience can't not relate. Everyone has his or her crosses to bear.

I can't talk about music in this musical without talking about "I'm Free." This is the main song that makes me cry. It is sung by the people of Nineveh (and then Jonah with the Nineveh people) who are grateful for God's grace and the opportunity to reflect on themselves and change for the better, even if their town does not survive. It is a celebration of how when you get closer to God, you feel great about yourself. It is a very beautiful moment and you truly feel the Lord's presence.

The Whale
The whale is the highlight of the musical. I sat in anticipation waiting for the whale scene because we have heard so much about it and how enormous it is. I don't want to give away too much about it because I want you to experience it for yourself, so here's all I will say about it: I kept saying "Oh my God" when it finally made its appearance. The scene with the whale is very intricate because there is no dialogue, for the only character involved with this scene is Jonah, and he doesn't start talking until his is finally swallowed by the whale. As an audience member, you feel like you are underwater and an actual whale is swimming right in front of you. You then feel like you are inside the whale with Jonah! The special effects are amazing!

The whale isn't real (you'll have to see for yourself what it looks like, for I'm not telling! :P), but there is a whole slew of cast members in the animal kingdom that are...

The Animals
Like I said, the animals in this are a highlight of Sight & Sound Theatres and one of the first things my aunt told me about this theater a few years ago, and therefore was one of the main parts I was looking forward to the most.

Normally when animals are incorporated in a theatrical production, they are only kept onstage and don't really do much but walk across the stage. However, the animal cast members of Sight & Sound Theatres walk in the aisles with their human counterparts and do some acting of their own. They know their cues and play along with the scenes very well!

Something That Confused Me

Even though the musical is family friendly and no violence is really incorporated, there is no secret that torture goes on in this world. When Jonah finally gets to Nineveh and delivers God's message that Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days if they do not change their ways, at first the people don't take him seriously. No surprise there. The soldiers go to take Jonah away to blind him, which is something they're accustomed to doing to their enemies, until something very strange happens...

One of the soldiers tells them to stop because he believes Jonah is telling the truth. Why? He "just knows." He literally gives no explanation as to why he believes Jonah. Then he starts praying for forgiveness. The other people of Nineveh suddenly do the same ("Repentance"), eventually leading into the song "39 Days," one of the better songs of the musical.

Here's why this is weird. It happens WAY too fast. The people of the Bible are never this quickly convinced. And the fact that the guy never gives any reason to why he believes Jonah makes it weirder. In the Bible there are always people who need proof, but here they just listen to the one soldier, who does not have any proof nor does he seem to want any himself, and they start praying. If these people are as barbaric as Jonah was making them out to be throughout the entire musical, then this doesn't make sense because they aren't the type of people to totally give in right away.

The scenes with the Nineveh people are the most powerful when it comes to the power of God, and actually quite scary. Not scary in the way that kids will be scarred by it, but more so feeling the tension of being under God's mercy. There is desperation in their tones and you could feel this tension along with them, because this is something to which plenty of people can relate as well. It is the fear of the unknown future and not having any control over it, knowing that a higher power deity that can control anything, does.

However, the coolest part involving the Nineveh people is when Jonah is taken to their king, whom he is told by the soldiers is questioning why all of a sudden his people are praying and he doesn't like it. You think he is going sentence Jonah in some way, but instead he is extremely grateful, preparing to join his people in their prayer. He says that his kingdom has been having issues and he's been praying to all of the gods for help, and the ONLY ONE that responded was Jonah's God.

Now THAT is cool.

The Lobby

You know, I spend a lot of times in the lobbies of theaters, often taking photos of them, but this lobby takes the cake of all theatrical lobbies, so it deserves its own section in this review. It is gigantic and there are a number of gift shops and food stands. In it (and outside of theater as well) blasts music from the show, which got me in the Jonah zone. When I got home I recognized the music of "The Ocean Sings" as one I kept hearing in the lobby. That makes me happy.

Will You Like It? 

Well, that really depends. The musical speaks to a certain demographic and yet it doesn't. If you are religious, particularly Christian, you'll definitely get more out of it than a non-believer. It speaks to believers more because the musical promotes faith in God and Jesus so much and expects its audience to share in the same beliefs. As I was sitting there watching it, I kept wondering if anybody other than that demographic would take it seriously or even feel comfortable watching it.

Then again, if you are a non-believer with an open mind, you just might appreciate it. The musical makes you think about your relationship with God and Jesus more and it might help non-believers to believe considering how positively it portrays the love of God.

One thing we can all agree on is relating to Jonah. As I was watching it, I couldn't help but constantly agree with Jonah on his position in the manner. It is difficult to do good things for those we dislike. We travel the story pretty much in Jonah's shoes and share in the same fear and feelings he is experiencing, for Jonah is a very understandable character. But it's also pretty interesting how judgmental he is. He doesn't realize that his attitude towards Nineveh can be just as sinful.

This is one of my best, most memorable theater experiences of my lifetime. I haven't quite seen anything like this one before. There is more than one set and stage in the theater, so the extensions of the stage makes the experience that much more different and big as well. The following is stated on the website, which pretty much sums it up in a nutshell: "Sight & Sound Theatres is the largest faith-based live theatre in the country and has been described as 'Christian Broadway.'" We were thinking this ourselves, but my aunt and I agree that we believe that it is actually better than Broadway. ;) It is a very phenomenal show and very well done.

You have plenty of time to check it out if you want to share in the Jonah experience! The show runs until December 29, 2012! :)

We're already planning to see Noah next year. ;)

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Play Has Been Accepted into the New Jersey Playwrights Contest!

I just found out today that my play Miss Communication, which I wrote this past semester, has been accepted into the reading process of the New Jersey Playwrights Contest at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ! This means I am a step closer to possibly winning!

This is such an honor! I literally gasped when I saw the new e-mail in my inbox. I've been wanting to enter a playwriting competition and made it my goal to do it this summer, and so I entered it this past early July. Here is the background story of my play I wrote for my cover letter submission part:
This past Spring 2012 semester at MSU I took a course called Intermediate Drama Workshop where we workshopped our plays throughout the semester and the final day we had a play reading of our plays. An issue with mine is that it was too long for the reading. Each of our plays had to be 10 minutes long for the reading but the one we hand in to the professor could be as long as we wanted. The ones for the play reading were excerpts or edited versions. The biggest challenge for me was to cut my play down for the Actor's Script to be used in the play reading because I felt that the play had a lot of good material I didn't want to give up. Of course, they couldn't read my full play for the reading even when I cut it down more and it was something that I was disappointed about throughout the semester because I wanted to see it come to life in its entirety so my goal is to enter it into a play contest just so I can see the full thing so I can determine myself how I can improve the play itself and my playwriting skills. This is actually one of my summer 2012 goals. I feel like it might need more scenes though to make it more complete, for because of the time limit I wrote my piece trying to tell the story concisely and I even ended up cutting the full version down as well, but I'm also a perfectionist. I'm the type of person that feels like her writing is never ready to be read, seen, etc., so there comes a time when I have to just let go and see what happens. I guess it is a process.

The original full piece draft was 18-20 pages I believe. I rewrote the piece and worked with it more during this summer to make it more solid. Because I am not working on this piece for class, I now have more of a freedom to play around with it as time goes on even more and add more to it. However, I don’t want to change too much of it, but I did change a lot of my play since my class ended. It is now at 26 pages. This particular play always seems to flow perfectly ever time I write it. Great ideas just work their way in. I may also make more changes after I submit this to you.

And here is a screencap of the e-mail I just received:

Click to read better

So right now they have to narrow it down from the reading process, so we'll see what happens! This is so exciting! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stef's "So Good You Can't Put It Down" Book Reviews: Are Plays Considered "Books?" (and Briefly Discussing Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)

My Summer 2012 Reading Challenge is still underway. Recently (a few weeks ago) I finished reading Edward Albee's full length three act play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It is a very interesting read that kept me engaged. It's one of those books where the reader is so into the what is going on in the story that he or she is not often interrupted by outside distractions. Like when I complete most books, I felt accomplished when I finally finished this one in only a few days. It's pretty long and very heavy. It was written by Edward Albee after all. Edward Albee is the most well known American playwright of our time and he is still living. Albee has a tendency to write plays where he takes a normal situation and eventually makes it creepy. For example, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, an older married couple that is constantly at each others' throats, George and Martha, invites a younger married couple, Nick and Honey, over for drinks one late evening, early morning after a party at a college at which they work. Of course, this set up sounds normal, but then there are plenty of psychological revelations throughout the play through the interactions of the characters that could send shivers down your spine.

Albee does well with suggesting certain things towards the beginning and then explaining them later on, making these explanations climatic. He keeps you interested in wanting to know what the secret is and who is going to find out. That's all I'm really going to say about this one, for this is a play I've been wanting to read and I enjoyed the journey of reading it and discovering these revelations on my own without any truly important prior information, so I want you to do the same if you are interested in reading it. This book, along with Equus, is the only book I finished reading this summer for my challenge. The last time I went to library, figuring that reading plays is a lot more successful for me, I took out the play Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling and am in the process of reading that.

This got me thinking about something I have been wondering for awhile now. Does reading plays in book form count just like reading actual fiction novels do? I say this because reading plays was always a lot easier and enjoyable for me, mainly because I am a theater person. Also, they are structured differently and mainly consist of dialogue whereas fiction consists more of narration and descriptions. I always felt that the story occurs quicker in plays whereas fiction drags out sometimes.

However, I feel like I am cheating in a way when I count a play as a book I have read because the story is simpler to picture in my mind on a stage as opposed to the setting of a novel and also because when one thinks about "reading a book" it's normally fiction and plays are normally supposed to be seen and not read. Is it still an accomplishment to read plays even though? Rather, is it still an accomplishment equal to that of actually getting through a novel, or is it less of an accomplishment? Or, is it an equal accomplishment, but just in a different way? I could ask about reading material being easy. Is it considered a better accomplishment if the material is more difficult to complete, or is it just the fact that you completed any book that counts? I personally find reading plays easier and more enjoyable, but then there are others who could have a more difficult time reading plays just because they don't understand how to read them. Regardless, I still finished reading the book, so it should not matter whether or not it was easy for me. But I could also bring up the question of reading children's books, which is the simplest of all. Does reading a whole children's book count as a reading accomplishment equal to reading a whole novel? It just seems as though fiction is the constant and the other forms of literature branch off from that.

Then again, this is like saying that plays aren't true writings whereas fiction writing is, downgrading them as if plays are second to novels when it comes to literature. Drama, fiction, poetry, and even screenplays are all equal forms of literature, but they are also different. I could also ask if reading a full book of poetry counts as a reading accomplishment. Poetry can also be considered "simpler" considering that poems are shorter. But, the meanings of poems could be much deeper, considering how poetry is often symbolic and metaphoric, and in turn make the reading that much more difficult to get through and understand and that much more rewarding when you actually do so. However, drama, fiction, and screenplays can also definitely have their own symbolic messages that their readers must discover as well. If meanings don't exist, then there probably is no point to the piece anyway.

Does only what you take from the material matter? Should the length of the material be taken into account when it comes to finally completing a book to determine how much of an accomplishment it is or is it just the message and what you ultimately get from the material that counts?

Or, is reading a book from beginning to end (without skipping ahead of course) the only thing that should determine a successful reading accomplishment?

Have you ever thought about this? If so, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why John Tucker Must Die is Better Than Mean Girls

Yes, I understand that I am making a very strong claim.

And yes, I am going to prove my claim correct.

A lot of people would probably disagree with me on this considering Means Girls (2004) is pretty much the cult classic of my generation and has plenty of quotable lines, but I finally watched John Tucker Must Die (2006) in its entirety on TV like around a month or two ago and it actually is a favorite film of mine now. I even like it more than Mean Girls, which was never entirely up there among my favorite films to begin with, but I do still like that movie as well.

As I watched it, I noticed that it bears a strong resemblance to Mean Girls. Both films portray modern day drama in a cliche high school setting, making me believe that these kinds of films deserve their own genre since there are so many of them out there, but what else do these two films have in common? Without further to do, here is a compare and contrast of Means Girls and John Tucker Must Die.

The Leading Ladies

Lindsay Lohan as "Cady Heron" from Mean Girls and Brittany Snow as "Kate" from John Tucker Must Die

First of all, isn't it kind of ironic how both girls pretty much have the same first name? When I write a screenplay like these, I know what to call my lead girl now. (Sarah, of course.) Maybe that's why the spelling and pronunciation of Cady's name is a running gag throughout her movie. It's poking fun at how common this name is among lead female characters. Though I'm not entirely sure how often this name is used in film in this way...

When we first meet our leading ladies in their voice over opening scenes (Yes, they both have one), both girls are socially awkward and outsiders, though one reason is more understandable than the other. Cady's awkwardness comes from living with her family and being homeschooled in Africa and because of this isn't used to the social setting of high school drama and is sometimes taken advantage of because of it. Kate, on the other hand, throughout her film claims she is "invisible," though we don't really know why or how this happened. Unlike Cady, she is used to the high school setting. According to her hot mama, played by Jenny McCarthy, she chose to be invisible. In fact, a good reason for her invisibility is that she is often hidden in her mother's shadow, considering how attractive her mom is, and the fact that they often move to another location after her single mom breaks up with yet another one of her loser boyfriends, so that could explain why Kate never formed any friendship with others. But still, just how does a teenage girl become invisible to her peers in the first place? We're told that she is in the prologue, but are never given an exact reason. Both Cady and Kate end up befriending the popular students and get more and more invested in the plots these students invent as their respective movies progress, up to the point where their personalities and styles change and they ultimately become the popular, somewhat mean girls themselves.

What's interesting here too is the relationships these girls have with their mothers. Cady's mother is hardly involved and has no idea what antics her daughter is up to half the time. We rarely see her in the film. Kate's mother is more involved with her daughter because she is fully aware of the master plan Kate and her new friends are putting into motion and even tries to talk her daughter out of it at one point. She knows all of this because the girls mainly hang out at Kate's house whereas in Mean Girls the girls mainly hang out at Regina's house.

Cady's and Kate's motivations for actually getting involved differ as well. Cady gets involved mainly because she does not know what else to do when her new friend Janis vows vengeance against Regina because of an eighth grade fallout between the two of them. She just goes along with everything because she is not fully aware of how things work in, as she puts it, "girl world," and she just goes along with things. Cady gets deeply upset when Regina steals Aaron Samuels, Regina's ex-boyfriend, back from Cady and Janis uses Cady's sadness and naivety of being a new girl straight from Africa to her own advantage and Cady becomes her pawn, not necessarily realizing it right away, for she feels that Janis is doing this to help her. Kate, however, throws herself right into the action and implants the idea of getting back at John into the minds of his girlfriends, knowing exactly what she is doing. In a way, Kate is more like Janis because she is the one kind of using the other girls to get back at John because John's actions remind her so much of what her mother's boyfriends would do to her mother, so the motivation for Kate is a lot more personal than it is for Cady. Kate gets involved to avenge her mother's numerous heartbreaks, lashing out at John to do so, and quite possibly to make herself more visible by mingling with the popular girls. Like Janis, these popular girls also use Kate, who is also the new girl in her film, as well. Another difference between Cady and Kate is that Kate normally looks like she's having fun throughout her movie whereas Cady often looks irritated with her agenda.

The Target

Rachel McAdams as "Regina George" from Mean Girls and Jesse Metcalfe as "John Tucker" from John Tucker Must Die

A distinct and very important difference here is gender. Regina George is the ultimate mean girl of her film and she fits her archetype well. She's blonde, she's frightening, she runs the place, she's popular, but nobody really truly likes her. She's the type of girl that makes the lives of those beneath her on the social ladder not so pleasant, so therefore she must be taken down a peg or a million. She represents the typical storyline about how girls have a tendency to clash with one another.

On the other hand, John Tucker is well loved by everyone in his school and never really gives any of the characters reason to hate him except for when his girlfriends Heather, Beth, and Carrie realize he is dating all of them at once unbeknownst to them. One of the reasons why I like John Tucker Must Die is because the concept is different and has never been done before. Normally in this situation the girls would always fight each other and never include the guy on the battlefield to let him play a part. Even in Mean Girls Cady and Regina fight over the same guy, but the guy is never involved with the actual impact. Here, John is, and he's not just involved in the fight. He's the enemy. Not the other women. Him. What we have here is somewhat a battle of the sexes whereas in Mean Girls the battle is one-sided, within one gender. However, the difference between him and Regina is that Regina is a rotten female we love to hate whereas John is a guy we just love to mock and watch suffer, and under the tactics of women no less. There's just something about guys getting the brunt of attacks that makes it a lot more hilarious than girls getting it. Maybe it's because we as a society associate goofiness and hilarity with men more than women. Kate and the other girls may look like they are having more fun with their antics in their film because men are a lot more fun to mess with whereas there is more anxiety involved with messing with girls. Guys are more laid back whereas girls are more vicious. It's always fun to watch an arrogant guy get his just desserts but arrogant girls have a tendency to just be annoying.

Their offenders target them out of revenge to ruin their lives and ironically both films use voice overs dictating warfare terminology to describe their techniques of defeating their enemy. Some of these techniques somewhat resemble each other between films, the offenders continuously coming up with more and more material to incorporate into their plan.

Stereotypes...Or Not...

Some of the many stereotypical and not-so-stereotypical characters of Mean Girls and John Tucker Must Die

First, let's look at Janis and Damian, Cady's first friends when she goes to high school. They are the outsiders of their high school setting and stereotyped as such. One is a chubby homosexual guy and the other is an emo-styled girl whose sexuality is actually questioned. In addition to them, all of the students of the Mean Girls high school are stereotyped from the beginning of the film. They are literally introduced that way. Perhaps this is a ploy to show that Mean Girls is not necessarily meant to be taken seriously but rather is a parody of most high school scenarios, so this is the film's way of mocking how people are automatically labeled.

Now let's look at some black characters from John Tucker Must Die. Normally, when there is a black character among white characters, that black character is mainly there to serve the black person stereotype. The same goes for a white character in an all black character setting. However, Heather from John Tucker Must Die, played by singer Ashanti, doesn't exactly do this. First of all, she's the cheerleader captain for the school. When was the last time we saw a black cheerleader captain in a high school drama or comedy? Normally when one thinks about the popular cheerleader captains, we think of someone that resembles Regina George. Not in this case and it is very refreshing.

The thing with Heather is that she doesn't stand out as the token black girl but rather meshes in well with the white girls. Now, it can be argued that this isn't necessarily a good thing because black people have a tendency to feel like they have to mold themselves to fit the white person persona in order to be accepted into society, but I don't really think that is what they are trying to prove here.

Another black character from John Tucker Must Die is John's friend Tommy, who is on the basketball team as a water boy I believe. Not only is Tommy black, but he is chubby as well. Now John Tucker is THE top jock at the high school. He is a young, attractive, well built, white teenage guy who is popular with everyone. He is what one would expect him to be as the "Don Juan" character. The only difference is he's not a jerk, which is another trait these types of guys normally showcase, but he is actually a pretty friendly guy. Well, he does do certain things to anger the girls, but this is the point I am trying to make: He still associates himself with a chubby black guy like Tommy all the time. You never really see that in film or TV, especially with a character like him.

The Popular Girls

"Gretchen Wieners" and "Karen Smith" from Mean Girls and "Heather," "Beth," and "Carrie" from John Tucker Must Die

There's this ongoing stereotype that women aren't funny. Mean Girls and John Tucker Must Die prove this theory wrong. However, both sets of female characters are funny in different ways and the ladies of John Tucker Must Die are a tad bit funnier.

Karen and Gretchen are two of the crowd pleasers of Mean Girls due to their funny one liners and wit. Interestingly, even though they are members of "The Plastics" along with Regina, neither of them are very mean, which is something I realized when I watched the movie for the first time. Even if they do say mean things, their comments aren't meant to intentionally hurt, unlike Regina's. These two fit the stereotype of the tag-along dumb white girls in a typical high school mean girl clique. Sure they're funny, but they're funny because they are the stereotypical tag-along dumb white girls in a high school mean girl clique. We've seen these characters before and they for some reason have always been funny so therefore Gretchen and Karen are funny. Whenever they or Regina utter an insult, it's funny because it is so offensive and mean and audiences laugh out of shock. Mean Girls makes this funny on purpose because it is a parody of the mean high school girl lifestyle. We laugh because we know girls can be very cruel. It's all too real for us. Gretchen and Karen are there to serve the dumb clique white girl stereotype, but yet they are also there to make fun of this stereotype.

Even though Heather blends in with the white girls in her movie, she is still an individual because the white girls are individuals as well. Unlike Gretchen and Karen, who sometimes blend in together from time to time and more or less serve the same function, these girls each stand out because they have such differing personality traits and these are all brought to the table for their mission to succeed. Beth is an activist and Carrie is a broadcaster, and their distinct personalities play throughout the film and even set up a few jokes. Remember what I said about men being goofier than women? Well, there is this stereotype that guys are always in trouble as they try to pull off their plans so the women wouldn't find out and we laugh at their mishaps and women are the straight characters who are always the voice of reason that ultimately catch the men in the act. Watch TV. This practically happens in every comedy. In John Tucker Must Die, however, the girls are the ones always in trouble and enduring mishaps as they try to pull off their plans. Heather, Beth, and Carrie prove that women too can also be a little immature and goofy.

The best thing about the girls in John Tucker Must Die is that they aren't very mean. To each other, I mean. You think they are possibly going to be a problem for Kate eventually but this never really occurs. Well, they start off mean to each other and Kate because they are all in different cliques that oppose each other, unlike Regina who gives Cady a false sense of security at first. In Mean Girls, the girls automatically turn on each other because of a guy and that sets off the fireworks for the rest of the film, but in John Tucker Must Die, after some brief typical cattiness, the girls band together towards the beginning of the film and turn on the true problem: John Tucker. They actually form a friendship over their animosity towards this guy. They bond together as strong women instead of being divided because of a guy, which is what often happens in fiction and in real life. You never see a bond like this in any love triangle in TV or film where the women are fighting over the men, so that is why I feel like John Tucker Must Die took this idea and made it fresh and new, making it a feminist film. I'll even go as far as saying that Kate, Heather, Beth, and Carrie using their skills to defeat John Tucker (and for Kate, her mother's boyfriends as well) is symbolic of how women should come together instead of being catty towards one another in order to smash patriarchy.

Well, you can say that Mean Girls echoes this sentiment in the scenes where the female students are given pep talks in the gym and participate in improvement exercises, but these scenes don't really seem to solve anything and are done because their male principal had enough of their shenanigans. They are lectured here to be better women whereas in John Tucker Must Die the girls do their thing because they see how men sometimes mistreat women and want to put a stop to it. To put it simply, like most activists, they see an injustice and want to change things, their actions somewhat protesting tactics. In Mean Girls they don't necessarily see the problem of how women mistreat one another and have to be told that there is one.

It seems as though Mean Girls is a representation of girl warfare meant to expose both this concept and cliche film technique, whereas John Tucker Must Die takes itself more seriously with the points it tries to get across and the fact that it is different.