The most important words we all learned from 'Clueless'
These days, if you want to be in on the heavy clambakes, you have to know the lingo. At least, if those clambakes are going to be filled with fans of the movie Clueless. This Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the cult classic rom-com that launched Alicia Silverstone’s career and made valley girl slang like “as if” a cornerstone of American teen slang. To celebrate the flick’s big birthday, let’s look at some of the iconic words and phrases that we learned from Cher Horowitz.
Baldwin (n.): an attractive man
Before Alec Baldwin was the witty, suave, good-guy CEO on Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, he was a total hunk. Alec and his brothers Stephen, William, and Daniel were so dreamy back in the day, they made it into Cher Horowitz’s lexicon as an umbrella term for gorgeous. If only they had gotten their own reality show.
In on the heavy clambakes: “in the know” on a popular event
At one point in the film, Cher’s (thwarted) love interest Christian asks if she’s throwing a party. Pretty standard for a teen rom-com, right? Well, it is until you hear how he asks it: “I’m new but I thought maybe you had an in on the heavy clambakes.” To a first-time viewer, this line might seem odd. To a fifth-time viewer, this line might still seem odd. That’s because it is. A clambake, typically, is a large outdoor gathering where people stand around and fry seafood. I can only assume a heavy clambake is a version of that, except with more people and less cheese dip.
Betty (n.): a beautiful, timeless woman
When Cher brags “Wasn’t my mom a total Betty?” she means, my mom was such a babe. Part of the inspiration was from Betty Grable, the American actress known for her roles in Down Argentine Way and How to Marry a Millionaire. What I also like about this word is that it’s still relevant today, thanks to a different timeless Betty: Miss Betty White.
Twin Peaks experience: a surreal, confusing moment
Okay, you caught me: I haven’t seen Twin Peaks, but I’ve seen Mulholland Drive a few times so I know from David Lynch. I can understand Cher’s uneasy feeling in this moment: no one wants to be suddenly hit with that degree of confusion all at once. It’s not healthy.
Granola breath (n.): someone who is extremely liberal
I honestly don’t know where the association between liberals and granola came from. My mother uses the term “crunchy granola” all the time and I still think of someone guzzling a bag of granola every single time. If someone would like to explain this to me, I’d love you forever.
Monet (n.): something that appears beautiful or attractive until you see it up close
In the film, “monet” is used to refer to Cher’s rival Amber, who she claims look pretty from afar but unattractive once you move closer. I’m not a huge fan of this usage because girl-bashing isn’t really my thing. However, I do think this word has the potential to be great. We just need to make a few tweaks to its definition. Instead of “something that appears beautiful or attractive until you see it up close,” why not “a picture that appears beautiful or attractive in the darkness of the bar after a few drinks until you sober up and find it on Facebook”?
Surf the crimson wave (v.): to be on your period
Every girl has their own special nickname for “the time of the month.” Some like to say that “Tom is visiting this week.” Some like to say their body is striking back at them for not being pregnant. Some simply say they got “It” this morning. If none of these suit your fancy, here’s another option, courtesy of Clueless.
Buggin’ (adj.): freaked out, upset, confused
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the word buggin’ wigs me out. I immediately picture an insect with huge eyes or an overly clingly pet owner squeezing their Pug just a little too hard and causing his eyes to bulge.
Outtie/Audi: expression meaning “I’m out”
You know how everyone thought that Taylor Swift lyric was “all the lonely Starbucks lovers” instead of “got a long list of ex-lovers” but nobody did anything about it so everyone just kept saying it? That’s kind of what “outtie” is in this film. Instead of saying “I’m out,” which would be a fairly normal way of exiting a conversation, she says “I’m outtie.” Some people argue that what she’s really saying is “I’m Audi,” like the car, which I wouldn’t be surprised at because it’s Cher and she’s not beyond that level of ridiculousness.
Loqued out (adj.): fancy
Forget Pimp My Ride. Where’s Loque My Ride? First the Baldwin reality show and now this? I’m on a roll today with these TV show ideas, you guys.
Movies these days…they grow up so fast! What are your favorite Clueless terms?
[Info via Ranker.com. Featured image via Universal Pictures]