Throwback Thursday: T is for Teen Witch

Teen Witch is, for me at least, a little difficult to categorize. On the one hand, it’s a fantasy movie because it’s about a teen witch (hence the name–see what they did there?), it’s partly a love story, and it’s partly a musical. I mean, all the songs technically have context so it’s not like the whole school breaks into song in the cafeteria for no reason, but still–how often did the cheerleaders start singing in the locker room like this at your school?

They didn’t at mine but maybe my school was the exception to the rule and this was a regular occurrence at every other school. Also, what sort of cheer is that? How is that going to be at all encouraging to a football team to have a bunch of cheerleaders singing about how they like boys? Whatever happened to “Go! Fight! Win!”?

I was obviously not a cheerleader.

If I had to pick just one category for this movie, it would probably be “Pain In My Husband’s Ass” because as soon as I started playing some of the musical clips on YouTube, he immediately said, “No! God dammit, that’s going to be stuck in my head all day!”

Pictured: Me
Pictured: Me

This 1989 cult classic was originally conceived as a female version of Teen Wolf but someone thankfully realized that would be stupid and decided to make it into its own thing. It stars Robyn Lively, whom you might recognize as that one woman from that one thing or as Blake Lively‘s half-sister. Robyn Lively plays Louise Miller, a shy high school sophomore with only one friend who is in love with Brad, the most popular guy in school. You might also recognize Brad as Chip on Friends, Rachel’s high school boyfriend whom Monica dates as an adult.

Although she’s mostly ignored, rather than bullied, by the other students, her English teacher appears to be more than happy to pick up the slack because apparently, he’s pissed off that Louise is smart enough to be skipped up to his senior English class. He can’t justify failing her because she’s a model student so instead, he reads pages from her personal diary to the class and insults her when she correctly answers his questions. At one point, he even dumps out her purse and picks up her birth control, holding it up for the class to see, and asks if she’s feeling “optimistic.”

Were we all just cool with this kind of behavior in the 80s?
Were we all just cool with this
kind of behavior in the 80s?

One night, Louise is riding her bike home and is accidentally run off the road by Brad and his cheerleader girlfriend. Rather than accept a ride home from them, she insists on walking home alone in the dark in what appears to be the opening scene of an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Louise walks her bicycle with a bent wheel until she happens upon a psychic named Madame Serena.

You might recognize her from your Poltergeist nightmares.
You might recognize her
from your Poltergeist nightmares.

Louise asks to use Madame Serena’s phone but Madame Serena decides instead to seize the opportunity to make a quick buck off of a lost teenager. While reading Louise’s palm, Madame Serena sees something peculiar on her hand before noticing the amulet Louise is wearing, a gift from the drama teacher who is apparently the only non-shitty educator at that school. Madame Serena informs her that Louise a witch and the amulet belonged to her in a former life and is the source of her powers. With Madame Serena’s help, Louise begins to explore her new powers by bewitching the cheerleaders to only tell the truth about each other and by creating a voodoo doll of her English teacher to make him strip in front of the class. Keep in mind, this movie was shown on the Disney Channel.

Louise also manages to become friends with Brad when she begins to tutor him in math. She plans to put a love spell on him but when the time comes, she can’t bring herself to actually do it because she wants him to like her for who she is, not because of a spell. As their friendship grows, Brad tells Louise that the only reason he’s dating his cheerleader girlfriend is because she’s the most popular girl and he wants her because everybody else does. This is apparently not a red flag or at least a turn off for Louise who then decides to cast a spell to become the most popular girl in school.

No, this is totally normal for everyone
to applaud when you show up for class.

Brad, realizing that Louise is now the most popular girl in school, decides to seduce her in an abandoned house that looks like a great setting for a murder-suicide.

"We're going to be on the news!"
“We’re going to be on the news!”

Apparently it’s romantic or whatever.

Anyway, Louise starts to feel a little depressed about how no one really likes her for who she is, they only like her because of a spell. She decides that being a witch isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and the only real magic is believing in yourself or some bullshit so, at the prom, she throws away her amulet to try and win over Brad as herself. However, that never made sense to me because she still has her makeover and her popularity spell is still in effect because, as Madame Serena said, it can’t be reversed.  In theory, that means that Brad still likes her because she’s the most popular girl in school and all Louise really did was throw away the super awesome abilities that come with being a witch for no f-ing reason.

To be fair, I’m pretty sure I’m overanalyzing because I don’t know how seriously I’m supposed to take a movie with this scene in it:

Louise isn’t even in that scene. It has no purpose other than to prove how many slang terms the writers could come up with for “penis.” And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a video of my favorite scene in the movie. It might be the most hardcore rap battle ever recorded:

“Why are they just rapping on the street?
Why are they in public?
WHY ARE THEY DOING THAT?!”
— my husband

Happy Throwback Thursday!

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Emily Regan is the author of several books, including "What's an Adult?: No One Knows Anything and We're All Going to Die." She is an avid fan of reality TV, an unironic Hanson fan, and currently resides in Arizona with her family.

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