If there’s one social trend that manifested itself by the end of my high school days that made me want to scream, it was the ‘gay best friend’. At my school, there was a sizeable amount of girls that wanted nothing more than to ‘have’ a flamboyant gay male friend that could shop with them and give them advice on make up. It’s a trend that’s the very definition of perpetuating stereotypes, disguising commoditisation as acceptance. Moreover, however, going to a religious, all-girls high school, the hypocrisy inherent in this became completely apparent. It’s not news, but despite what shows like Glee wish, where couples have grand romantic gestures in front of the whole school, female homosexuality is still a taboo topic amongst girls. At my school, if a girl was to come out, would she be seen as a desirable friend by those who claimed to be accepting, that yearned for a gay best friend who is male? Definitely not. She’d be ostracised and feared.
The level of hypocrisy involved in this trend is something one of the characters in G.B.F. highlights, that if she were to come out, she wouldn’t be seen as a “status symbol”, and that’s when this comedy, pretty much Mean Girls for the 2010s, started becoming music to my ears. The film revolves around Tanner (Michael J. Willett), a closeted senior who is accidentally outed when experimenting with a hookup app at school, only to become the “prize to be won” (as teacher Mrs Hogel, played by Natasha Lyonne says near the end) for the three queen bees of the school – Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse), ‘Shley (Andrea Bowen), and Caprice (Xosha Roquemore).
While some teen comedies have tried the fake slang humour approach and failed miserably, it works perfectly in G.B.F., as it matches the aesthetic, which includes some of the most outrageous Forever 21 clothes of the past couple of years, that almost become comedy pieces in themselves, perfectly. For most of its compact 86 minute runtime, G.B.F. is a satire, with plenty of innuendos to boot, before erring towards sappier, more conventional territory to make its message unnecessarily obvious. It’s a minor blunder (albeit an appropriate one) in an otherwise wildly enjoyable and left-of-centre take on the teen comedy that is biting, punchy and sidesteps as many conventions as it cosies up to. It’s fresh, very funny, and, moreover, necessary.