The Breakfast Chicks

Saturday, March 24, 1984, Shermer High School—It begins at 7:00 A.M. with five students serving detention. Each one coming from a different background. Each one has a reason for being there.

“… And these children
that you spit on
as they try to change their worlds
are immune to your consultations.
They’re quite aware
of what they’re going through…”

David Bowie

Allison & Claire
Allison & Claire

The John Hughes film The Breakfast Club defined a generation. The song Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds became an anthem. For those of us who can remember that far back, we knew who the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal were. We walked the halls. We stayed in our cliques. The one thing we had in common though was we were all going through the same growing pains. Somehow, we could relate with each other.

Two characters in the movie, Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) and Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy) have their problems. Claire’s last name should be Standoffish, since she is a stuck-up little rich girl who daddy pampered all the way to high school. Allison, on the other hand, blends in with the scenery. No one really notices her and no one really cares. Together, they make up the girls of The Breakfast Club.

Claire is a self-absorbed user with nothing on her mind other than herself. In Claire’s world no else matters other than what she buys, who’s she with, and what looks good on her. Don’t be fooled. What she represents is an image her spoiled friends will accept. In that hard shell, however, lies a person with a heart. She feels the awkwardness of being well off, and wishes she wasn’t an object her parents use to get back at each other.

Allison calls herself a nymphomaniac, but later admits to being a compulsive liar. Of course, no one knows this until she opens her mouth and spews out lie after lie to those gullible enough to believe her. Like Claire, Allison pretends to be someone else in order to feel accepted by others. Teen angst runs through her veins and her biggest problem is her parents ignoring her.

The Breakfast ChicksIn spite of their problems, Claire and Allison recognize who they are in a group therapy session. Meant to spark resolution, the students bare their souls to reveal their true selves to those willing to identify with them.

The results?

Dear Mr. Vernon.

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, with the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain. And an athlete. And a basket case. A princess. And a criminal. Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club.

Women Who Wow Wednesday has always been about strong women. Claire and Allison belong here. Their confession to who they are and what they pretend to be provides an opportunity for those wondering what life really was like in the 80’s. In reality though, life in the 80’s was not much different to the way life is now.

Everyone pretends. Everyone wants to be accepted.

If you’re from that era, what does The Breakfast Club mean to you? Who do you identify with in the group?

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17 thoughts on “The Breakfast Chicks

  1. I was too little when it first came out, but I loved it when I was old enough to watch it. I was the Anthony Michael Hall character in real life, so he was my favorite. Though I had that part of me who wanted to be the Judd Nelson character. Probably didn’t realize it at the time, but I guess each person really does possess these archetypes at some level.

  2. Love this movie! Any time it’s on, I watch it from whatever stage it is in. Even if only 10 min left.
    Did I identify with these characters, no. I was the one in between Allison and Claire. The one accepted but neither rich nor ignored. But I sure rember all the cliques that the movie represented.

    It was a way of life and the more extreme differences were represented in the movie. It represents a time in my life and the nostalgia it brings back makes me smile. Graduate of ’88, Breakfast Club is a marker of my time.
    -Great post Jack. 🙂

  3. Oh hell yeah! I loved the breakfast club! My friends and I almost ruined my tape of it. BETA tape! Not even VHS. We were the first family to even own any type of VCR and the first one out on the market was a BETA. How old am I???

    I always get nostalgic when I watch this movie – mainly because my friends and I watched it all the time. The funny thing was that while most of the characters defined many of the cliches at our school, my friends and I just didn’t really identify with any of the characters ourselves – maybe we were a mix-match of them but not really.

    Teenage angst, however, was something I identified with. At the same time, when I look back, I have to laugh at the characters and the movie (as well as my then-teen self). All those things we thought were so serious… well, we just had no idea did we? We had no idea what life’s real problems were like just around the corner and into true adulthood.

    Still – great 80’s classic. One of my faves of all Hugh films.

    Think they will ever make a re-make? It wouldn’t be the same but interesting on how they would modernize it to be more up-to-date.

  4. What a fun feature…women who wow! My daughters and I watched this and were ticked that that the females all changed who they were to become more “acceptable.” It reminded us of the end of Grease when Sandy changes from good girl to bad girl to please Danny. Anyway…I hope you feature Veronica Mars sometime. She ROCKS!!

  5. I love this movie! 😀 As a child of the eighties, I watched a lot of John Hughes movies, though I did not get the chance to watch The Breakfast Club until I was an adult.

  6. Being from small town Iowa, I didn’t realize The Breakfast Club was a reality of American suburbs. It was as fantastical to me as Labyrinth (how’s that for a Bowie reference?). Honestly, I thought they were all asses, and I didn’t identify with any of them. But, I was an ass, too. It took me a long time to understand how big the world is, as well as my place in it as a Gen Xer.

  7. I identified with the nerdy one. The one who under the cover of a nerd is the real loony bin variety.. I have seen it many times in my students. It is the quiet ones you watch and wonder about. Where are their minds and what they are thinking would amaze you.

  8. I love that one! Thanks to The Breakfast Club I wear gloves like Judd Nelson. I searched endlessly, then one day in Dublin (having given up hope long ago) I found a pair in St. Stephen’s Green mall. Still wearing them if it’s cold. 😀

  9. Love this movie so much! Grew up in the 80s and am still wild over John Hughes movies. I identified with John Bender. I wasn’t as tough as him, but I was just as pissed off.

  10. I never really identified with any ONE character of The Breakfast Club, I guess. A Class of 1984 girl myself, I was the honors student who was well-known but not popular, who craved the respect of my teachers over my peers. I was focused on college by that time, not high school.

    Still, I enjoy watching this movie and appreciating the slots everyone slid into, remembering who in MY school fit each one. *grin* Not that I was ever in detention to meet them. 😉

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