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Never Been Kissed is Turning Seventeen!
Our favorite movie about the geeky, yet lovable, romantically challenged quarter-lifer is turning seventeen! That’s right everyone – Josie Coulson (née Geller) is north of 40 now! You might be asking, “Where did the time go?” It was just yesterday when we watched Josie go undercover as a totally misguided high school student working on her premiere, career-making story for the Chicago Sun-Times while wearing our capri pants and Swarovski crystal tattoos and now she’s the new 30? How can that be? Don’t worry, I feel old too.
Never Been Kissed (NBK) debuted in 1999 at the height of the Britney/Christina/Backstreet Boys/’N Sync pop culture pandemonium when teen-themed movies like Can’t Hardly Wait, Cruel Intentions, Drive Me Crazy, 10 Things I Hate About You, American Pie, and She’s All That completely overwhelmed our still moderately priced movie theaters. Seriously, what was with all the teen movies? It seems like the only reason the late 90s existed was to supply us with a mega-load of YA movies to sustain us throughout our lives. Jump to 17 years later and movie tickets going for a whooping $19 a pop, and NBK is still one of our YA favorites! Why? Because it’s totally refreshing and charming, and there’s nothing raunchy or debaucherous about it (ok, maybe there is a little debauchery, but it’s on a Bambi-level by comparison to American Pie). We delighted in watching Josie revisit her high school years and finally, finally become popular. As if that wasn’t enough to cheer about – she finally got her first kiss too (from her penguin, no less)! We love this movie so much that we wouldn’t change a thing. Ok, maybe one thing. We would have prevented Josie from wearing that tragic all-white feathered ensemble to her first day back to high school. Really, Anita?
I rewatched NBK recently and fell back in love with the characters, the music, the horseshoe necklaces, and the capri pants (ah, 1999). When the movie concluded, I wanted more – more of Sam and Josie, more of Rob leading the baseball team, more of Aldys and Josie’s friendship, and more of Guy. Why oh why did we not get one of those handy character summaries at the end of the film that tells us what happens to the people we so bonded with in the last two hours? You may think them cheesy, but I find them totally necessary (I need closure after watching a good or bad movie). The producers of NBK, Flower Films, (founded by besties Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen, aka Mrs. Jimmy Fallon) left these oh-so-necessary character summaries out and there are no plans for a sequel, so I will have to fill in the time-lapse for us all. Here’s what I think happened to Josie, Sam, Rob, and the rest of the South Glen South (SGS) High School crew, 17 years later. Don’t worry, Guy is still rufus.
Josie ♥ Sam and Sam ♥ Josie!
Let’s recap: Josie impresses Sam with her literary genius – Sam encourages Josie while admiring her from afar – Josie finally reveals herself to be an undercover reporter – Sam feels exploited – Josie pours out her feelings in her first feature story – Sam gives Josie her first kiss! Credits role. Ahhhh, what happens next, Flower Films? Why?! Let me tell you.
After snogging in front of a crowd of cheering fans, which included her boss (not awkward at all), Josie and Sam watched the SGS baseball team win the title with the help of Rob’s coaching skills. Go Rams! The evening concluded with Josie and Sam going on their first mini-date for frozen yogurt. Aw! Those two quickly became inseparable. Given the overwhelming success and fan base that Josie earned from her first story, Mr. Rigfort encouraged Josie to keep writing about her romantic journey and other musings in a weekly series called Never Been… Her second story, Never Been on a First Date, was even more popular than her first article. Sam was completely supportive of Josie’s series because he loved to read anything that she wrote. The series included articles like, Never Been a Girlfriend, Never Been on a Trip with My Boyfriend, Never Been in Love, Never Been to Dinner with His Parents, and Never Been in a Break-up. That’s right. Josie and Sam had a painful, but brief (thankfully!) break-up after about a year of dating. Josie, who’s all about romance, wanted to be engaged and Sam wasn’t sure if marriage was for him. Josie ended their relationship, spent a lot of time needlepointing her feelings, and continued her writing. Luckily, Sam soon realized that Josie was the only penguin for him and Josie finally got the chance to write, Never Been Engaged! They married in 2002 and pretty soon they had little penguins too - Viola and Gordon (named after Gordie Howe. The hockey star hero from Sam’s youth). Sam is still the most popular teacher at SGS and he’s teaching his kids how to play hockey. And Josie, she still writes for the Chicago Sun-Times and founded a literary and writer’s program for teens. With Sam’s encouragement, Josie is branching out and working on her first book analyzing iconic love stories in the framework of modern day dating habits. Expect some heavy Tinder references.
We know that Rob didn’t get a second chance to play college baseball thanks to Josie blowing his cover (dammit, Josie!), but we did see that Rob has a passion for coaching his high school teammates. Coach Romano did as well so Rob became the Asst. Coach for the Rams. After Coach Romano retired, Rob took over and led his team to eight championships. Happily, Rob finally got recruited to college ball – as a coach! A local college recognized his talent and snatched him up. While on campus, he met a brainy master’s student named Emma and they eventually got married. Rob and Emma are expecting their first child soon – a daughter to be middle-named, Josie. Now, Rob’s only reason for visiting the Tiki Post is to make team fliers and birth announcements.
I’m happy to report that Aldys, the sweet nerd and Josie’s first high school friend, does not have a life resembling a harlequin romance novel from which she gets her name. This girl went to Northwestern U. where she double majored in Physics and French Lit. Josie was happy to have an excuse to be a frequent visitor on campus, her old stomping grounds. Then senior year, the impossible happened - Aldys dated Guy! They reconnected at a music festival and Guy finally discovered how awesome Aldys was. After a few months, Aldys ended the relationship because Guy never progressed much in maturity beyond high school. Guy was crushed. Aldys is currently working on her PhD, happily dating a whip-smart French guy, and in her spare time she volunteers for Josie’s literary youth program.
Anita and Gus
We all watched the will they/won’t they dynamic play out in the bustling newspaper headquarters leading up to their first kiss at the big game. Anita taught Gus to loosen up a bit and Gus encouraged Anita to become Head of Advertising at the paper. They balanced each other out perfectly. Josie happily stood by her bestie’s side as Matron of Honor at their wedding a few years ago. Anita said she would never get married. Luckily, Gus persisted.
Guy is Still Rufus
After Guy graduated from SGS, he had trouble parting ways with his status as “the guy you get up and go to school for in the morning.” He traveled through Europe for two years where his early hipster demeanor made him very popular among the café-set. After declaring Europe no longer rufus, Guy moved back to Chicago and enrolled in community college. He continued playing guitar and was a featured performer at a music festival where he ran into Aldys (and dated her, not ironically). After many years of retail jobs and music gigs, Guy had an opportunity to be part owner of Delloser, the jazz/reggae/latin music club where he happily spent so many nights in his youth. It’s like high school never ended for Guy and he’s happy!
Kirsten, Kristin, Gibby, and The Selfie
Perhaps the most interesting post-development of NBK is that of Kirsten, Gibby, and Kristin, (KGK), otherwise known as the popular girls at SGS. We always knew by looking at them that they would be destined for partying, being adored, and working in fashion, but would they be destined for something greater? Yes! After graduation, the trio ventured off to California for college, splitting up between USC, UCLA, and Pepperdine (bet you didn’t realize they pulled down good grades in high school). No longer having the luxury of being at the same school everyday where they could coordinate and admire each other’s fashion choices, Gibby (whose real name is Gabrielle), insisted that each girl photograph their outfits daily in porties (short for self-portraits). On the weekends, KGK would meet up and admire their collective porties in a post-weekly fashion critique/strategy session. Taking porties wasn’t a new thing for KGK; they had enjoyed taking them since high school. Do you remember the scene in the movie on the last day of school when KGK pose for the quintessential BFF photo only to point their respective cameras on themselves? Yup, we were witnessing a portie. They continued this photo tradition throughout their professional lives. Nowadays, we would call these porties selfies and KGK want royalty payments from you every time you take one! Arguing that they invented the selfie before most selfie-takers were even born, KGK is currently working with lawyers to try to copyright their creation and collect royalty payments from us all. Thus far, the Kardashian family stands to make the largest copyright infringement payout should KGK’s lawyers succeed.
I hope you enjoyed my NBK musings and let’s hope that Flower Films makes a sequel soon!