Taming the case of the serial cheater

“Taming the Shrew” and “John Tucker Must Die”

John Tucker Must Die (2) is a movie about a serial cheater named John Tucker who had three girlfriends from the same school, all at the same time. The only way he got away with it, was due to the fact that each of these girls were a part of different cliques. The girls names were Heather, Beth, and Carrie. Once John broke up with all three of them (at the same time) the girls decided to get revenge. They decided to set the new girl up, Kate, with him in order to break his heart.

Similar to John Tucker Must Die, Taming the Shrew is a play about an aggressive woman and her innocent sister who both are suppose to get married. The little sister, Bianca, can not be married until the older sister, Kate, was married. Kate was not appealing to most men because of her vicious attitude. In order to get the Kate out of the way so other people could marry her sister, Bianca's suitors decided to set up a man named Petruchio with her. The deal was that he would get paid for getting rid of the problem for them.  

The two pieces are similar in the ways they use lies to get what they want, but are different in the goals they wished to obtain. The girls in the movie “John Tucker Must Die” molded the new girl Kate into a person who would break John’s heart because he broke theirs. The suitors in “Taming the Shrew” molded Petruchio so they could get him to marry the older sister so the younger sister was free to marry. Obviously the two goals are very different, but share a common theme of deception in order to get what they want. These pieces reflect how people use honesty and deception in order to satisfy personal needs and wants.

“His youngest daughter, beautiful Bianca/ and her withholds from me and other more/ suitors to her and rivals my love/ supposing it a thing impossible/ for those defects I have before rehearsed/ that ever Katherina will be wooed/ Therefore this order hath Baptista ta’en/ that none shall have access unto Bianca/ Til Katherine the curst have got a husband (67).”- Hortensio Act 1 Sc 2 (1)

Hortensio, a suitor to Bianca, was proposing an idea to his friend Tranio. The idea was to get someone to marry the eldest daughter of King Baptista. Once the eldest daughter was married, the younger sister could be married. Because no one wanted to marry Kate, the idea of her getting married was slim to none. It was no longer about finding someone to genuinely love the oldest daughter Kate, it was about getting her out of the way. Doing this allowed Hortensio to get what he wanted, which was Bianca.

Similar to Hortensio proposing an idea to his friend, the three girls built up a plan to get what they wanted from their friend.

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Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.58.05 PM

In this scene, Heather, one of John’s ex’s says “you know...instead of doing all this, we should’ve just broken his heart.” Kate, the new girl, replies “yeah except that he broke up with all of you (2).Another ex of John’s, Carrie, says “not everyone.” Then, the three girls look at Kate, hinting that they want her to be the person out of them to break his heart. Unlike Petruchio, in the end Kate actually did start falling for John and was embarrassed about the lies their relationship was built on. Petruchio, on the other hand, took pride in being in control and involved in a relationship full of deception.

“And place your hands below your husband’s foot; in token of which duty, if he please, my hand is ready, may it do him ease (221).”- Katherine Act 5 Sc 2 (1)

In this scene, Kate was giving a speech on how much she loved and respected her husband Petruchio. She was saying how she’d basically do anything he told her to. This scene was very strategic. Viewers believe that she used this scene to make it seem like she really changed into this kind, caring, loving woman when in reality, she did not feel that way. She was simply lying to make it seem like that was how she felt. In reality, she only said it to set her future. She wanted a husband. She wanted this happy lifestyle. By her saying this, she was only deceiving him into building the life she always wanted with any man.

Similar to Katherine, John Tucker strategically stretched the truth in order to get what he wanted from the three girls.

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Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 9.17.16 PM

In this scene, the three girls just found out that John Tucker told them all the exact same thing when they asked about the other girls he was involved with. Heather (middle) started off by saying “I talked to John. He felt bad for you. He said that you were jealous because we share something special. Something that we didn’t have to label because-” and was interrupted by Beth (left) who said “because it’s our unspoken bond and I just love how secure you are-” and was interrupted by Carrie (right) who said “and it it hurts to hear you question it because you’re the only girl for me (2).” John Tucker had told them all the same thing.

Similar to Katherine in Taming the Shrew, John strategically told all of them these cheesy lines. He obviously did not mean it. Like Kate, he saw potential for a better future. Kate’s vision was more family orientated and about genuine love. John’s vision of a better future was being able to have three girlfriends at the same time and have them each believing that they were special.

These portrayals from the book Taming the Shrew and the movie John Tucker Must Die shows that society condones lying in order for people to get what they want in relationships. What these two pieces had in common was that the characters used twisted truths to achieve their goals. In Taming the Shrew, Petruchio necessarily didn’t lie to Kate, but he did not tell the whole truth either. His feelings towards her were forced by the suitors to Bianca. Petruchio was told that he would receive money from the suitors for getting her out of the way so men could try to marry her younger sister. Therefore, their relationship wasn’t genuine. It was a relationship built on lies and forced emotions in order for the suitors to get what they wanted, which was Bianca.

In the movie John Tucker Must Die, the three girls Beth, Heather, and Carrie used the new girl Kate to get what they wanted. John Tucker had broken their hearts by cheating on them and then breaking up with them before they could get full revenge. Their goal was to use Kate as a puppet. They would tell her what to say to him, how to act around him, etc. They wanted her to get him wrapped around her finger and then as soon as he was “whipped,” she would break his heart for their entertainment. Kate was not being herself. She was just a figure built on lies in order to hurt John.
Not only do people lie to get what they want in books and movies, but they do this in real life as well. Whether it’s a teenage boy lying about his feelings to get the to sexual attention of a girl, or a women lying about her love to get money from a wealthy man, people lie. Examples of this are also found in other types of media. In  an article on examiner.com (3), Kim Kardashian’s ex husband Damon Thomas accused her of lying in order to get money from him. The article says that she got back into a relationship with him, in order to finance lavish shopping sprees and extensive plastic surgery. He claims that she never really loved him, she was just in it for the money. Just as Petruchio used Katherine in order to get money from Bianca’s suitor, and how the ex girlfriends of John Tucker used a friend in order to get revenge, this shows that people often lie to get what they want.

Sources cited:

(1) Shakespeare, William, and R. C. Hood. Taming the Shrew. Houndmills: Macmillan, 1975. Print.

(2) John Tucker Must Die. Dir. Betty Thomas. By Jeff Lowell. Perf. Jesse Metcalfe, Brittany Snow, Ashanti, and Sophia Bush. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 2006.

(3) "Kim Kardashian Has a History of Using Men – Part 1 - First Husband Damon

Thomas."Examiner.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.