Stereotypic Sex in the movie "American Pie"

Essay by JerryzCollege, UndergraduateA, March 2006

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In movies, the roles played by stereotypes are an important focus because "the effectiveness of stereotypes resides in the way they evoke a consensus." (Dyer Pg. 248). By using the characteristics of social groupings, which the majority of people would agree defines each specific group, the moviemakers are able to easily connect the viewers to the characters. In "American Pie", the moviemakers utilize the specific aspects of stereotypes, as defined by Lippmann: an ordering process, a short cut, reference to the world, and an expression of our values. In "American Pie", the producers use stereotypes to efficiently connect viewers to the characters in order to emphasize the main premise of the film: sex and its personal meaning.

In "American Pie", the ordering process of stereotypes depicts the characters "through generalities, patternings, and 'typifications'." (Dyer Pg. 246). A lot of information is condensed so that each character has a few simple, nuclear traits to which an audience can quickly relate and grasp the character's broader personality.

The producers introduce each character in a manner that the stereotypes fit them for the entire movie. The viewers first meet Jim, when his parents interrupt him as he is masturbating. Jim is unsure and awkward by nature, as typified by him constantly asking his more experienced friends questions such as, "What does third base feel like?" (American Pie). Next, Kevin is introduced in the company of Vicky, his gorgeous girlfriend. When she says she loves him, he freezes and doesn't know how to react. When Jim and Kevin join Finch at school, he is sitting, cross-legged, reading the newspaper and sipping on his mochachino. Another friend, Oz, appears and he is big and muscular, making it immediately clear that he is athletic. Lastly, Stifler runs up,