It Used To Be Easy To Lie About Your Career (Romy And Michele's High School Reunion)
A comedy that came out in 1997 shouldn't feel like ancient history, but when you realize only 20 percent of the U.S. had internet connections at the time and iPhones were a decade away, it might as well be the freaking Dark Ages.
So in this Clinton-era romp, Romy White (Mira Sorvino) is a cashier at a car dealership, and Michele Weinberger (Lisa Kudrow) is unemployed. When their ten-year high school reunion is coming up, they realize they have failed miserably at being grown-ups (see, because back then, it was absurd to not have a steady career by your late 20s). So they decide to fake it for all of their old friends back home. Because that was an option.
They borrow an expensive-as-hell Jag from the dealership Romy works at, and Michele makes them business suits. Their plan is to tell their former classmates that they invented Post-it Notes, figuring it's something everyone has heard of but no one knows the inventor of. See, that's the kind of lie you could tell in 1997, and during all of human history prior to smartphones. Who was going to spend a whole day at the library debunking it?
The lie lasts until the third act of the movie, when they have the extreme bad luck of running into the one woman who went to business school and happened to have had a lesson on the couple of guys who accidentally invented the Post-its' weak rubberized glue. Of course, today they could take five seconds to look up that story and find out that no one involved was named Romy or Michele, if they hadn't already seen it on Reddit or any one of a billion trivia sites. We probably wrote about it on Cracked at some point.
But in 2018, they would never have even progressed to that stage. Anyone at the reunion who is a Facebook friend of a friend of a friend of either one of them would know exactly where they've been working for the last ten years. Even if they didn't want to know, they'd know; Facebook shoves it down your throat. "Hey, did you know your high school bully got tagged in a photo posted by the girl who sat behind you in algebra and it was liked by a dude you were pretty sure died two years ago?"
It didn't used to be like this! As long as you lived in another city, you could pretty much be whoever you wanted to be when you took a trip back home. Speaking of which ...
Changing Schools Used To Mean A Fresh Start (The New Guy, Many Others)
There used to be a genre of teen comedy in which some put-upon youth concocts a way to move to a new school under a completely new identity. In 1985, we had the subtle masterpiece Just One Of The Guys, in which a young woman feels she isn't being taken seriously because she's too hot of a babe, and thus enrolls in another school as a male (the idea of someone enduring several gender-related mishaps in a locker room was considered hilarious at the time). In 1987, John Cryer had some convoluted reason to go back to high school as an adult in Hiding Out, pretending to be a new student and taking the opportunity to do it all over again.