The brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal — these are the beloved archetypes of The Breakfast Club, an iconic John Hughes film that defined the American adolescent experience in the 1980s. It dealt thoughtfully with themes like alienation, family dysfunction and abuse, peer pressure, and societal expectation, showing just how difficult the high school experience could be. And unlike other teen movies, even being the prom queen or star athlete couldn’t save you from the perils of growing up in America.
But a lot has changed since 1985, so if you haven’t watched the movie since then you’re going to notice a whole lot that you might have missed at the time. Here are things you only notice about The Breakfast Club as an adult.
There are a ton of LGBT slurs and stereotypes
LGBT depictions are pretty much non-existent in The Breakfast Club, but there are plenty of gay slurs and stereotypes present in the film that wouldn’t make it into a film made today. For one, a gay slur is prominently scrawled on John’s locker, supposedly acting as a deterrent to anyone who would want to break into it.
Then, John calls Vern a “brownie hound” toward the beginning of the film, and Andrew calls John a “f*****” not ten minutes later. John retorts by commenting on Andrew’s wrestling practice, saying, “I have such a deep admiration for guys who roll around on the floor with other guys.” Even Brian participates in the gay shaming, genuinely surprised to learn that Andrew wears “tights” as part of his wrestling uniform.
John sexually harasses Claire throughout the entire movie
It’s obvious to anyone watching The Breakfast Club that John gives Claire a hard time, but he actually spends the entire movie sexually harassing her in some really despicable ways. He starts right off the bat, suggesting that they close the door and “get the prom queen impregnated.” Then he asks Andrew if he slips Claire “the hot beef injection,” prompting her to tell him to go to hell.
He torments her about her virginity, and in graphic detail asks her about her sexual experiences until Andrew finally steps in and tells him to leave her alone. Later, he asks her if she wants to see a picture of “a guy with elephantitis of the nuts” and asks her if she would date a man like that, noting that his testicles would have to ride shotgun. Then when she’s eating sushi, he remarks, “You won’t accept a guy’s tongue into your mouth and you’re gonna eat that?”
Most egregiously, he puts his face in Claire’s crotch when he is hiding under the table, forcing her to physically resist him. And he rounds it out when he slut shames her after the lipstick trick. I had a huge crush on John Bender when I was younger, but as an adult his behavior is unacceptable.