Fifteen years ago this week, American Pie revived the unfortunate genre of the teen sex comedy, dormant since the early-to-mid '80s, and introduced some very outlandish ideas to impressionable 13-year-olds like myself. I'm not saying there was ever a time that I really thought inviting a foreign exchange student over to study would lead to an impromptu masturbation session/strip-show broadcast over the internet, but it did seem more plausible in 1999.
Writer Adam Herz notoriously submitted his script to studios with the title "Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love," a naked acknowledgement of American Pie's emphasis on titillating formula over anything remotely realistic. The movie plays out just like a blockbuster action film, except it crowbars in nudity and gross-out moments rather than gunfights and explosions.
American Pie's devious ploy, which separated it from its 80s forebears like Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds, is that it mixes in some dramatic teen romance material to try and make things feel more authentic. Sure, this is a movie where a kid gets deflowered by his friend's mom on a pool table, but we're also actually supposed to care about the consummation of Oz (Chris Klein) and Heather's (Mena Suvari) romance. Herz's brilliance was to recall the implausible, boob-filled nonsense of Porky's but cross it with Dawson's Creek. Here are some of the lessons it taught an excited pubescent audience that didn't know any better: