Movie Cycles: Middle School Comedies–Big and Small Screen

The bold comedy Good Boys broke records and dominated the box office this past weekend, earning $21 million.

“Is ‘gritty middle school’ the final frontier for Hollywood raunch?” This relevant question was posed by a Hollywood Reporter journalist.

Films and TV series like Euphoria, Sex Education, Derry Girls, 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things and Booksmart revolve around younger, smarter and wittier protagonists, both male and female, than their cinematic counterparts of yesteryear.

Consider Netflix’s animated sitcom Big Mouth, or Hulu’s surreal single-camera comedy PEN15.

Last year, Bo Burnham’s indie comedy Eighth Grade was the talk of the town, due to its strong cross-over appeal.

Writers and directors have recently depicted the prevalent–often subversive and profane– pre-teen mindset to both funny and poignant effects.

These audacious darker visions of the middle school era are providing more than just funny-lewd-shocking stories about the universal phenom of coming of age. They’re examining how the new technologies and social media are motivating, if not downright forcing, kids to grow up earlier than they have ever had to.