Do Revenge on Netflix is ​​wrong what the best teen movies get right

The name is currently on everyone’s lips: “Gen Z”. Perhaps the most over-defined, over-marketed, and over-exposed generation in human history, everyone wants a piece of us (word to Britney). As social media supplanted television as the primary form of youth media, the boundaries between different media-consuming communities quickly eroded. Wherever we go, the rest of the world is now following us — from our exodus from Facebook to Instagram as tweens, our affair with Snapchat as teenagers, and our dominance of TikTok as young adults.

But the “we” in question is something that is difficult to define. Many of the trends and phrases attributed to Gen Z are recycled from the creations and phenomena of other cultures, particularly AAVE. Gen Z absorbs them all and then replicates them ad nauseam across the internet; Millennials are emulating it, and companies are following suit. Such is the cycle of a digitally led life.

Of course, the companies in question also include those that power the entertainment industry. This year, many forms of entertainment have attempted to be the definitive chronicler of Gen Z (and reaped the bucks) – think recent movies like body body body and Not okaythe tv show heartbreak highand the newly released Netflix film take revenge. And one of the primary Trojan horses they all use to ingratiate themselves with the target audience is language. Talking like Gen Z means getting Gen Z, or at least that’s what the people throwing money at the teen and 20-focused media believe.

To understand youth culture and its jargon, aspiring Gen Z professionals often rely on the holy trinity of modern media consumption, the three Ts: Twitter, TikTok, and Tumblr. body body body Trailer maintained its claim as a Gen Z™ story by firing a series of quick cuts between catchphrase-laden phrases from social media discourse: “You always piss me off,” “You trigger me,” “You’re so toxic.” ‘ and ‘You’re silencing me.’

All of these buzzwords have come a long way on the Three Ts. Though they draw on mental health terminology, they’re almost always used in situations unrelated to mental illness—trigger warnings and misogynist behavior are easily conjured up for over-the-top, intense effect.

At least the films that borrow these phrases are aware of their misuse to the point of meaninglessness. body body body points out, while a character scoffs at a gaslighting allegation and shoots back, that the accuser removed that term from the internet and used it meaninglessly.

body body body is far from the only film to focus on this type of language in its interpretation or criticism of Gen Z. The trend of forcing those social media-related phrases into characters’ mouths was something that particularly stared me as I watched take revenge, maybe more than ever. The film has the admirable aim of presenting itself as the 2020s answer to the iconic, snappy teen comedies of yesteryear, those with superbly quotable scripts like heather and clueless. But despite reference to reference to these films, take revenge focuses too much on “saying” rather than “doing” itself. It positions itself in relation to these iconic films rather than making itself one, with dialogue largely to blame.

A very important – and underappreciated – part of what defines the teenage classics take revenge Homage to as reference-worthy as they are Are defined the youth culture of their time. They created and contributed rather than detaching themselves completely, and redefined how viewers spoke rather than the other way around.

A film as sardonic as heather persists largely for its incredibly quotable, uniquely syntactic dialogue. (We won’t talk about its awful, short-lived TV reboot.) The film’s iconic lines are still being re-popularized each year, in large part through screencaps recycled from 2012-era Tumblr. I don’t think there’s anyone arguing that “How much,” “Fuck me softly with a chainsaw,” and “What’s your harm?” were then the teen jargon en vogue heather‘ release of 1988. But if you hear any of these lines now, you immediately think of the pitch-black sense of humor that defined it heather, and vice versa. And since my generation wasn’t alive at the time, they also shape our impression of the teenagers of that time.

In the meantime, clueless “As If” has its origins in the LGBTQ community — and there’s further talk of its mainstream spread through the film — but it wasn’t part of the popular lexicon until the film’s 1995 release. Today it is considered a classic encyclopedia of the 90s. If you think of cluelessYou must be thinking of Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash’s iconic plaid outfits –take revenge definitely – but you’re probably hearing the quote above while imagining these. I’ve never owned a plaid skirt suit, but I’ve used “as if” more times than I can count. The costumes set the scene, but it was the language of the movies that permeated through decades of youth culture in a very imitable way.


Both films used these phrases so casually that they were even more noticeable. They were such unique interpretations of teenage slang that real teens—even to this day—want to emulate the mood and vocabulary of those films’ portrayals. They were creative and brought something fresh to the lexicon of youth.

Trying to put in a line that resonates with kids is something that was done in 2005 mean girls, another member of the teenage canon, even poked fun at the meta-invention/attempted popularization of “fetch”. In contrast to “fetch” in the mean girls Universe, the mass acceptance of these teen movie vocabularies was organic as opposed to the algorithmically created ones “viral moment” from make revenge Biggest quote: “The high point in high school is a tingle anyway.” Give me 10 minutes and I’ll find that exact feeling expressed by 20 different young people on one of the three T’s.

What’s frustrating is when take revenge concentrating on “doing” – for example with its brilliant plot twist in the third act – it struck me as a clever, cutting-edge interpretation of today’s youth culture. After the twist was revealed, I immediately wrote my girlfriend a ton of praise for the film and demanded that she see it so we could talk about its entry into teen movie heaven. We finally made it, Joe. Juicy, exciting and morally dubious at best, I had hope for the future!

But at the end of the climax comeuppance scene, where the “woke misogynistic” friend is exposed, one of the characters sneers, “Don’t let the patriarchy hit you on your way out,” and I was hurled back down to earth.

make revenge The tendency to rip from today’s incurable online teen-speak robs it of a chance to offer a unique, idiosyncratic approach to youth culture, the kind that defines films they seek to emulate. Caused overconfidence in their understanding of Gen Z take revenge, and other films like to constantly wink at audiences through their dictionaries collected on Twitter. “We love an emotional terrorist” and “It’ll be like our very own version of friendship tattoos except, you know, with trauma” are just two other instances where make revenge The script attempts to demonstrate how well the film knows Gen Z and how equipped it is to poke fun at them.

But that trust is undeserved, as it reduces teendom to a very specific demographic engaged in a very specific media sphere. Who knows how long today’s trendy terminology will last? When it finally fades make revenge Language will find itself immensely old-fashioned and probably won’t resonate with the unborn future teenagers who will stumble across it.


Yes, almost every member of Gen Z is on social media. We are all familiar with these often misunderstood, uncontextualized, annoyingly used, social justice-focused terms, and we have seen them overused in practice. Anyone with an opinion on youth jargon has already voiced their opinion, from the pundits to the youth themselves. After all, that’s the point of social media: to share your granular opinions on literally anything, out of over-the-top self-esteem or a burning desire to do so , which to develop.

I understand that the purpose of satire is to hold up a mirror to society – or whatever the audio version of a mirror would be – to create a cultural history of the time. But the way these new teen movies satirize their target audience reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what made their influences so successful. heather wasn’t the world I already lived in; It was a place I wanted to escape to, where the teens dressed so casually cool and cracked jokes I couldn’t wait to steal them for myself. Why would I want to meddle in a world full of people saying the exact same thing as a given social media feed, in the exact same way? If I wanted that, I would just hop on TikTok.

“Today’s fictional media about Gen Z can’t resist resorting to cross-generational clichés, much to everyone’s detriment. ”

Imagine if movies from the late 2000s and early 2010s obsessively invoked live, laugh, love-era maxims to portray millennials. It would be unbearable! But today’s fictional media about Gen Z can’t resist resorting to cross-generational phrases, much to everyone’s detriment. It becomes even more dubious when the media inevitably canonize phrases that are obviously not “Gen Z” or “internet slang”, but which are then institutionally attributed to them rather than to their actual originators – who are often marginalized communities.

Looking back at my teens/early 20’s movies, I’m not sure there will be any media that isn’t fully defined by The Three Ts. I believe my generation’s nostalgia for the future deserves more than a voice memo-like social media reflection. As a generation growing up in an “upcycled” culture, a culture whose development has been halted by a global health crisis, we deserve a cinematic glossary to call our own. Do Revenge on Netflix is ​​wrong what the best teen movies get right


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