“Although the story is geared largely towards a teen audience, there is a timeless appeal to the themes it deals with. The script touches on bold stereotypes, not only in high school, but in society at large, giving it a wider range of audience appeal…” Extracts from a script report by our trainee Daniela Piper-Vegh, based on a reading of the script THE BREAKFAST CLUB: CLICK HERE
TITLE: THE BREAKFAST CLUB
AUTHOR: John Hughes COVERAGE DATE: 3/3/16
The story follows five high school teens in Saturday detention. They represent distinctive high school stereotypes with: BRIAN as ‘the brain’, CLAIRE as ‘the princess’, ANDREW as ‘the athlete’, BENDER as ‘the criminal’ and ALISON as ‘the basket case’. Teacher RICHARD VERNON orders the students to write an essay about who they think they are. At first the teens don’t get along, seeing only the differences between them. Bender in particular argues with Vernon, resulting in an exponential number of further detention threats. The teens discuss their relationship with their parents, revealing that all of them have less than perfect relationships. Bender picks on Claire, with Andrew coming to her defense. Andrew refuses to tell Alison the real reason why he is in detention. Andrew says he doesn’t believe Bender’s bad boy image, saying that it is all pretense. Bender gets upset, brandishing a cigar sized burn on his arm as proof. Vernon loses his patience with Bender again, threatening him and even pretending to punch him. Bender escapes from the room that Vernon locks him in. Vernon starts to look up the student’s confidential files.
Meanwhile, all five students start to bond, after smoking some of Bender’s marijuana. Alison says that she is upset because her parents ignore her, but later reveals herself to be a compulsive liar. Claire and the other students get more personal, and discuss their sexuality. Andrew reveals that he tortured another kid to please his father, and that is why he is in detention. Brian tells the others that he is in detention because he had a flare gun in his locker, as he is failing shop class, and cannot deal with the pressure his parents put on him. They discuss how their bonding in detention will affect their regular life at school. Brian writes the essay for Vernon, on behalf of all of them. In the essay the students defy each of their stereotypes, declaring that they are well rounded characters.
The story has a very simple concept, with five teens being trapped in detention. The physical restrictions of the location force the story to focus on the emotional conflict between the main characters. There is plenty of inter-personal conflict, as the teens initially do not see eye to eye. There is clear antagonist, Vernon, who injects fresh conflict into the situation, by picking on the kids to boost his own damaged ego. Vernon’s harsh treatment of the teens helps the audience to empathize with them. The teens are at once outwardly superficial, each embodying a reductive stereotype. However, the audience also gets to see the characters in more depth. Each of the teens are shown to have their own personal and familial troubles. They are more similar than it first seems, as each of them is under great pressure. Although the main characters argue with each other, they also all grow emotionally, learning to see each other in a new light. They bond during their detention, and although their lives might not have drastically changed, they all leave detention wiser. There is a good build up to each of the characters revealing why they are in detention. There is a good mix of dark reasons, and more light hearted reasons, giving the script a steady balance between drama and comedy.
The dialogue is witty, at the same time as being funny and insightful. Most importantly, the dialogue evolves very organically, making the story believable and easy to follow. Although the story is geared largely towards a teen audience, there is a timeless appeal to the themes it deals with. The script touches on bold stereotypes, not only in high school, but in society at large, giving it a wider range of audience appeal. Vernon is a good example of a character who has not grown out of his high school ego problems. The restricted location would give the script a low budget, and make it easy to shoot. The main roles would also be very attractive to an ensemble cast of young, emerging talent.
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