Teen Witch: Feathered, Ruffled, Locker-Room-Dancing Splendor


There is no feminist subtext to Teen Witch. No class critique. Instead, this poor woman’s Sweet Sixteen spiked with witchcraft should be remembered for its inexplicable yet splendid song-and-dance sequences.

Louise Miller (played by Robyn Lively, Blake’s older sister) is a bookish outcast who’s skipped grades and can’t wait to grow up and be popular, like the cheerleaders who sing “We Like Boys” in the locker room. Her obsession with popular boy Brad verges on stalkerish obsession. He has all the hallmarks of an 80s teen heartthrob: boyish good looks, “captain of the football team since the sixth grade,” blonde girlfriend, cardboard-flat delivery. Further review of this movie reveals that Louise herself doesn’t have much of a personality either, except that she greedily wants to be popular and possess Brad. But don’t ask too many questions — it will detract from the scrunchies and the white boy rap.

That includes white boy rap about synonyms for penises. (Bonus: comprehensive sex ed!)

And even, once Louise gets her magical powers, white girl rap, in perhaps the movie’s most uncompromisedly empowering sequence:

Oh yeah — she’s a witch, hence the title. Louise discovers her powers — fully vested when she turns sixteen — courtesy of Madame Serena, who can help Louise be popular but somehow can’t help herself be anything but a yenta in a small town. Besides hooking up her best friend before callously abandoning her altogether, Louise uses her powers to torment the teacher who publicly humiliated her and ruin the popular girls’ lives. The coup de grace: being popular herself.

Being popular basically seems to mean getting a perm, getting a ride in a convertible, and being some sort of late-80s Miley Cyrus in terms of adoration level. Rhythmic blush application and street harassment optional.

And repudiating your old friends, of course. In exchange, you get to be with Brad. Could he have been named anything else?

Why is being taken to an abandoned house a prelude to romance and not a horror movie? Points for having him scatter his discarded clothes like so many roses down an aisle, in a reversal of the hackneyed seduction ritual usually initiated by women in movies. But I dare you not to laugh at the unironic sax solo and International Male-style poses.

Fun fact; the actor who played Brad married the actual popular girl — blonde Randa — having met her on set. Sorry, ugly ducklings! Plus, he went on to play exactly the same character on Friends:

Meanhile, Robyn Lively made a 30 Rock appearance, in, what else, the high school reunion episode. She played a prom queen.

Earlier: Dirty Dancing Is The Greatest Movie Of All Time
Just One Of The Guys: An 80s Stealth-Feminist Sex Comedy

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