Does a vagina really feel like warm apple pie, Oz? Does it? Because you can thrust two fingers in the air with the misguided pride of a Labrador who mistook a hornet’s nest for a football in a game of fetch, my friend, but your sexual authority is lost on me at this point.
Regardless, it’s Oz’s fault that we later find Jim dick deep in the sweet apple pie that his poor mum had left out on the kitchen table. This scene is American Pie’s raison d’être. A few penetrative thrusts into fresh shortcrust pastry and we’ve got a metaphor for the sexual desperation that eats away at the loins of teenage boys. That, and perhaps one of the most iconic motifs of '90s teen movies. In a few seconds, the USA’s humblest dessert is reduced to nothing but crumbs. Stewed apple splattered across the star-spangled banner. Hungry?
It’s been 20 years since American Pie was released. Two entire decades since Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs), Chris "Oz" Ostreicher (Chris Klein), Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and the infamous Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) led us through their final months of high school. Their only objective is to get laid before heading off to university (because they "probably have special dorms" for virgins there) and in a series of gross-out gags, false starts in the bedroom and shock-funny conversations – a moment for Jim’s dad (Eugene Levy), unsung hero of the entire series, please – we're given the cringiest, shallow and reluctant masterpiece of adolescent lad comedy.
I first watched it at a sleepover and remember having to hide the DVD case for fear that my mum would think I was watching the same "illegal" material that Jim’s parents find him wanking over in the first scene. Others awkwardly watched the film with parents, presumably in the teen hype that spread across the world after its 1999 release, and I’m sure it will have been fired up on the big screen among friends at many a boozy Saturday night thereafter.
Iconic as it is, I can’t say that I was ever concerned about bursting a rose-tinted bubble by rewatching American Pie in 2019. Deeply ingrained in our pop culture consciousness it may be, but I wouldn’t say it holds the same heartfelt nostalgia as some of our other favourites. But curiosity kills. As it happens, watching American Pie is a bit weird now. Much like a discounted bottom shelf bottle of wine, the film will make your face contort into an array of strained expressions and is only more dizzying with age. Sure, I chuckled a couple of times, but most of the run time was spent questioning the mechanics of sex with my hands intermittently shielding my eyes from the screen. Here’s a 20-point play-by-play of my thought process while watching American Pie 20 years after it first entered our lives.
1. Why are you wanking into such a big sock, Jim?
Our first introduction to Jim is him getting off to some loud, low-rate porn on a fuzzy TV. His parents walk in, it's all very awkward – but I can't get my head around why he's using such a long sock. It's the length of his forearm and surely that makes the whole operation rather inefficient, no?
2. Yes, I can see the attraction to animated Disney characters
On the way into school Jim is telling Oz about finding the Little Mermaid hot. It's gross and I don't understand it, but cartoon Aladdin is very attractive in my mind, as is Mufasa from The Lion King.
3. Good lord, Natasha Lyonne is wonderful
Bet you forgot that this Orange Is The New Black and Russian Doll star was in this franchise! As did I friend and, boy, am I glad to see her. She is the straight-talking antidote to best friend Vicky (Tara Reid) who is dating Kevin, and the reason all the guys are introduced to the concept of going down on a woman.
4. After all these years, I still don't understand 'bases'
Kevin, Oz, Jim and Finch are chatting about sex (again) and Jim asks what it feels like to get to third base. Oz gives the 'warm apple pie' analogy and grandma's home-baked Sunday treat is re-ruined.
5. The best part of this era of teen films is the soundtrack
Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" is such a soundtrack banger and not another song could've been played as we arrive at Stifler's house party. Side note: Do people only socialise in twos at American house parties?
6. "Suck me, beautiful"? Christ.
Oz – sorry, I mean Casanova – what were you thinking? Sincerely would love to know how many 18-year-old boys tried this line IRL. Hit me up in the comments if this is you.
7. Cum isn't meant to be frothy, is it?
Vicky has just given Kevin head and he's finished himself off in the remains of Stifler's pint...which Stifler then drinks after striking out with the girl he was trying to hook up with. Gross (obviously) but I'm not sure cum would look that close to a frothy beer head in the real world. There may be something wrong with Kevin.
8. Is "Milf" guy the only character of colour here?
John Cho, who's probably better recognised as Harold from Harold & Kumar, is the dude who chants "Milf" at a portrait of Stifler's mum (Jennifer Coolidge) before trying to make out with it. He's the only non-white character I think we've seen so far.*
*He's not the only character of colour. There's the choir teacher but that, my friends, is all the representation we have today.
9. I'm pretty sure that if I punched Kevin in the face his response would be "So, you wanna do it?"
He's now moaning to the guys that he's begrudgingly put in "tons of quality time with Vicky" and still hasn't scored. Poor baby.
10. Sure, Kevin. That's what you need. A pact! A pact between four horny pals will magically make girls willing to sleep with you! That'll work!
11. I'm ashamed of not having celebrated Natasha Lyonne earlier in her career
Kevin is getting very impatient at having not shagged Vicky yet and the clock is ticking. Jessica's (Lyonne) response? "If you wanna get her in the sack, tell her you love her. That's how I was duped."
12. Jim's dad's explanation of breasts is painfully accurate and I'm here for it
"Primarily to feed young infants...and in foreplay."
13. If only Kevin's older brother was around more, perhaps he wouldn't be so annoying
Kevin calls his bro for some sex life advice. He wants to know how to perform after hearing from Jessica that he is yet to make Vicky come. His brother asks why, though. Why, Kevin, do you want to know how to do that? Just so you can fuck her? Kevin says it's because it would be nice to return the favour after all the blowjobs. I don't believe him but I'll take it. And thus he is handed the Bible – a scrapbook of sex tips for bros – and learns about the 'Tongue Tornado'. Vicky comes later.
14. DICK OFF THE PIE, LEVENSTEIN!
Just realised how daunting that little music riff is. You know, the one that precedes Jim getting caught with his knob in a sock at the beginning of the film and then signals to the audience that he's about to finger his mum's home cooking.
15. Pretty sure setting up a live webcam to record your crush undressing might be a little bit illegal now, Jimmy boy
God it's awful isn't it. So, so wrong. And no, it doesn't make sense to me that Nadia would then finger herself to Jim's dirty magazines (as purchased by his father) but okay. Also, the ridicule Jim receives for coming early – twice – is the most united I've ever seen a high school student body.
16. Wouldn't the romance between Heather the choirgirl and Oz have made a great Netflix rom-com all on its own?
Jock joins the choir to hook up with an 'easy target', realises he loves to sing and falls for the girl, they then battle the High School Musical-style pull of expectations and stereotypes before being crowned prom king and queen? Classique.
17. Stifler really is an asshole, isn't he?
Were the writers able to keep straight faces when they decided to give his character the name Steve Stifler?
18. Sorry, what is the theme of the prom? Middle-aged white men wearing fezzes and turbans?
As the confusingly dressed band bang out Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" the lads all have dates and realise that B-Day (Bang Day) is upon them. King Kevin gets aggy, even though Vicky has said she's ready to have sex with him, and his stress is distracting me from the sea of satin spaghetti strap dresses I never got to wear.
19. THAT'S IT JIMBO. YOU STAND UP TO KNOBHEAD KEV
Thank god Jim and the gang finally had the opportunity to tell Kevin to shut the fuck up and chill the hell out. No, sex really isn't that important, stop pressuring your mates, mate.
20. Why is everyone so chill about fucking in other people's bedrooms?
I still haven't found words for the Finch sleeping with Stifler's mum thing. And it amazes me that they all get laid on prom night after all that. A return to baked goods for at least one of them might've made more sense.