Giving Teen Witch The Recognition It Deserves

As we celebrate another New Year--that heady mix of nostalgia and the new, where we look back on what we've done with our lives at the same time as we plot our fresh start and a different hairstyle--it seems like the perfect excuse to revisit one of the best and most underrated makeover movies of the '80s. I'm talking about 1989's Teen Witch.

I'm sure this film was the inspiration for Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, but it really doesn't get the credit it deserves for a being a quintessential '80s teen movie. It really should be more well-known than it is. It didn't just have a spectacular makeover scene, it had a spectacular makeover musical number. Yes, that's right: this movie was at the top of its game when it came to the whole '80s trend of a film scoring its own songs and integrating them into the plot. "I Wanna Be The Most Popular Girl" is the song in question when teen witch Robyn Lively (Blake Lively’s step-sister, FYI) struts and fluffs her hair during a montage in which she is instantly accepted into the cool girl clique and tailed by a carload of boys rapping about how popular she is. Serena Van Der Woodsen, eat your heart out.

"I Wanna Be The Most Popular Girl" is up there with two other exclusive Teen Witch gems: cheerleader locker room chant "We Like Boys" and "Top That," a "Hangin' Tough"/"Informer" hybrid that's currently enjoying a minor wave of popularity due to its random blink and you'll miss it inclusion in a YouTube remix video, Sweet Brown's "Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That," even if it is just people asking "What the fuck?" when they see it. If you don’t know what I'm talking about, here’s the video and the Teen Witch scene in question:

Continuing my argument that the underrated Teen Witch has all the hallmarks of an '80s teen classic, Robyn Lively's main motivation for having a makeover is to get the stereotypical nice guy jock called Brad--what else?--played by go-to late '80s/'90s dream guy actor Dan Gauthier. You may remember Dan as Chip Matthews in Friends. He's also showed up in Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. To paraphrase Chandler, could he be any more good looking (in that '90s way)?

Best outfit

The dress Robyn Lively wears to the school dance: tight and blue, with a tutu, shoulder pads and heartshape neckline, accessorized with her magical amulet. It's mystical and late '80s-pretty at the same time, perfectly capturing the tone of the film. Dan Gauthier is so captivated by her confidence in the dress that they perform a choreographed dance together where they link arms and walk in circles. Now that's a WTF? moment.

Best lines

"You're too lazy to even cover your roots."--Queen Bee #3 Kiki to Queen Bee #1 Ronda. Ooh, burn! Unimportant sidenote: Queen Bee #2 Shawn (the Gretchen Weiners, if you will) was played by Tina Caspary, who also played Queen Bee #2 in Can't Buy Me Love, a classic male makeover movie that I won't get into right now because it really deserves its own article.

"A roger, a love wand, joy stick, dong, zipper lizard, tally whacker, trouser snake, schlong." - Our "Top That" rapper demonstrates his lyrical versatility during sex ed class.

Finally, this scathing remark from Robyn Lively’s geeky best friend after she is ditched: "The price of fame and fortune is to be envied, then copied and finally discarded."


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