Social Relationship Status: What “Superbad” and “Taming of The Shrew” tell us about clout chasing
“The Taming of the Shrew” is a Shakespeare written play that depicts a harsh reality of marriages at that time period. It mainly revolves around the marriage between Katherine and Petruchio. They are forced into a marriage where Katherine is expected to be controlled by Petruchio because she is a woman. It can be implied that Petruchio enjoys marriage for the control more than for the love between a man and a woman. The 2007 film Superbad has a similar take on sexual intercourse within the movie. This film mostly revolves around Seth and Evan who are trying to lose their virginity before they finish high school. However, the main reason for Seth’s sexual desires is due to the fact he wants a higher social status.Both “The Taming of the Shrew” and Superbad present worlds where individuals pursue both sexual experiences and relationships as a way to improve their social status and become more popular.
“Superbad” and “The Taming of the Shrew” both reflect how relationships, specifically romantic ones, can be used for superficial personal satisfaction. In The Taming of the Shrew every male character in the play does not consider women’s thoughts and feelings towards marriage. Those men had an expectation for women to follow all of their orders and marry whoever was assigned to them no matter the cost. Occasionally men from this book would use marriage as a way to show a luxurious lifestyle, or boost their social status. It allowed men of that time period to appear successful towards other men.
Petruchio: “To me she’s married not unto my clothes Could I repair what she will wear in me, As I can change these poor accoutrements.”
(Act 3 Sc. 2 119-121)
This quote “The Taming of the Shrew” when Petruchio dressed in a ridiculous outfit at his wedding with Katherine. Petruchio did this to make a point about how Katherine would marry him no matter what he did in order to boost his own ego. That action also models how Petruchio lacks empathy towards Katherine because he did not restrain from embarrassing her to make himself appear in full control. The movie “Superbad” puts a similar emphasis into sexual intercourse and dating that “The Taming of the Shrew” put into marriage.
“Are you insane?! Look at Jules's dating record, she dated Dan Remmeck who's had a six pack since like kindergarten. Jason Stone who looks like Zack Morris, and Matt Muer he's the sweetest guy! Have you ever stared into his eyes? It was like the first time I heard the Beatles.”
One of the main characters Seth implied in the beginning stages that he felt worthless due to the fact that he is a virgin and less sexually desirable to women than his peers. His best friend Evan tried to cheer him up by bringing up his crush Jules and saying that Seth had a chance to get in a relationship with her. At first Seth was discouraged because he noticed how many men Jules dated prior were much more physically and emotionally appealing. However, later in the movie he gets invited to a party by Jules which makes him believe that she has mutual feelings for him. Despite this opportunity Seth only had sex on his mind instead of trying to get in a relationship with Jules. This is similar to the way marriage was viewed in “The Taming of the Shrew”. Instead of being a gesture made by love it was one indulged with selfish intentions to fulfill one’s ego. Seth’s main reason for wanting to have sex with his crush Jules was because he wanted to feel an accomplishment from a task. He initially preferred this over any type of emotional connection and initially only saw her as an opportunity to boost his social status.
Despite the similarities between The Taming of the Shrew and Superbad there are certain drastic differences. The most crucial difference is the overall presence of men in each story. In The Taming of the Shrew just about every male character has the same views towards women as Petruchio Their philosophy was that women should always sacrifice themselves to men, especially in marriage.
“Hortensio: Yea, and to marry her, if her dowry please.”
(Act 1. Sc. 2 186)
This quote shows how women were auctioned off for marriage and treated as a product to men. The lack of remorse for their situation displays how embedded this mentality was within their time period and reflects of most men from that era.
However, in Superbad there are characters to balance out Seth’s lust driven mentality. The most notable character with a different view from Seth was his best friend, Evan. Throughout the film Evan is also pursuing a romantic encounter with a girl named Becca. He has a different mentality towards Seth because he is open towards having sexual intercourse, but he does not let it become his main focus. His main focus was trying to connect to her as a person in order to eventually have a successful relationship with her. At one point in the movie Evan refuses to have sex with Becca because he did not want to take advantage of her while she was intoxicated. This action is gigantically unlike the men from The Taming of the Shrew, as they would often force sex upon their wives and other women throughout the play. Finally, the last way Superbad and The Taming of the Shrew and Superbad differ is because of the character growth, or lack thereof.
At the end of Superbad Seth runs into Jules at a mall after failing to hook up with her at party the previous night. Instead of continuing his immature tendencies he decided to grow as a person and admit his mistakes. Seth apologized to Jules for being shallow towards her and he offered to buy her makeup to cover the black eye he had caused from the party. That moment implied that Seth began to realize there is more to romantic relationship than sex and status symbols. In The Taming of the Shrew Petruchio did not become a less abusive person than the reader was first introduced to in the play. Petruchio remained the twisted person he was from start to finish.
Rogen, Seth, and Evan Goldberg. “Superbad” . Performance by Jonah Hill, and Michael Cera, 2007.
Shakespeare, William. “The Taming of the Shrew”. Dover Publications , 1770.