With both rookie writer and directors and a budget of just $11 million, the first American Pie was clearly a test film for new, edgy material rather than a purpose built blockbuster comedy. Not surprisingly, the most memorable part of the franchise is Jim’s escapade with a warm apple pie, and it is from this the franchise got its title; however, Jim actually uses socks for sexual purposes more often, but these are less iconic – American Socks anyone?
One of the stand out characters during the franchise is Stifler; his nickname “Stifmeister” can be seen to increase from only 2 in the first film to 9 in the second, with his popularity as a side character forcing the franchise to include him as a central part of the group. In this journey as part of the group, he also works hard to become the Alpha Male, so using his own name helps him dominate over the others. He even gets a little brother during the second film who acts as a Stifler clone calling himself “Stifmeister” twice. This drops to 3 in the third film as Stifler alters his personality to impress Michelle’s family, but he is back on track with 6 in American Reunion once he has comfortably found his place in the friendship group.
For all his bravado Stifler doesn’t have any more luck with the ladies than anyone else, with only 3 occurrences of sexual contact actually seen. Kevin and Finch both match Stifler but go about it in different ways: Kevin has 3 in the first film all with his girlfriend, Vicky, but fails to deliver in the following films, whereas Finch spreads his sexual contact to 1 over the first three films all of which are with Stifler’s Mom. With the most sexual encounters is Jim with a total of 5; being the central character this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise but starting the first film as the least successful it’s good to see the over achieving virgin tops this list. At the bottom of the pile is the jock, Oz, who claims only 1 sexual encounter; high school films usually make the Jock the most popular, but American Pie reversed this on its head, turning Oz into a rather shy, romantic who seeks real love.
Not many teen comedies are known for popularising a word, but American Pie is where most people first heard “MILF”. The first film includes 32% of the franchise mentions whereas the second film has the least racking up a minimal effort; this is mainly due to there being no point when a MILF and the MILF Guys are together in the story. Seeing the MILF Guys, John Cho and Justin Isfeld, for just the third film should mean a very low score, but American Wedding is saved by a credits scene of them chanting it 6 times. The most uses of the word MILF is during the last film, American Reunion, which has 47% of the franchise usage at 16 of the 34 – this is due once again to the MILF Guys who bond over just using that word. Having a gap between the largest number of usages shows that the filmmakers were unsure of whether the word was such a great selling point. During the second film’s inclusion of simplistic characters, like the MILF Guys, could have easily appeared too silly and repetitive as the franchise progressed, however they are consistently tied into the main storyline rather than becoming random scene fillers to maintain interest.
With the franchise set over 13 years, the characters are portrayed from eager teenagers to young responsible adults and with the core cast in a settled position in their lives it wouldn’t be surprising to see another installment based around them having young children. Interestingly, the franchise has already created four spinoffs which highlight the franchises continued success, but unfortunately none of these match the core films in quality.
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