Author Topic: The 'Plain Jane' Trope  (Read 1556 times)

The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« on: January 11, 2019, 06:56:54 PM »
We were talking about this earlier, where an obviously attractive woman is given glasses and dowdy clothes to disguise her hotness, only to have her true self revealed at a party or something.

The most memorable one was Jane on 'Neighbours'



There must be other examples though.

Not that it always pays off, as Ally Sheedy at the end of 'The Breakfast Club' proved.

Mister Six

  • Half-masted, bass-boosted, sling-backed
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 07:12:41 PM »
I quite liked how they did this with Rebecca Romjin's character in NTSF:SD:SUV - she's a beautiful scientist but because she never lets her hair down or takes off her glasses, everyone just treats her like shit.


Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 07:16:47 PM »

Blumf

  • Not long now
    • IGNORE ME!!!
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 08:37:19 PM »
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeautifulAllAlong

I always hate this, usually the woman looks perfectly fine as she is. When the glasses come off and the hair comes down, the woman just ends up as yet another 'Hollywood attractive' identikit bore.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2019, 03:23:23 PM »


You might just be able to get away with a joke like that if you weren't a sneering, mean spirited, bigot, Paulie.

But you are. Thems the breaks
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 04:03:30 PM by Kelvin »

Nowhere Man

  • I seek the buildings blazing with moonlight
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2019, 09:28:32 PM »
Yeah, the most notable example would have to be Alison, the gothy girl in the Breakfast club who was far more interesting/unique before she's given a makeover and (surprise!) The jock suddenly finds her attractive.



Three cheers for conformity!

Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2019, 09:46:40 PM »
I thought it happened in every ZZ Top video but it seems to be just Legs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUDcTLaWJuo

gib

  • weak and wobbly
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2019, 10:40:06 PM »
I believe there is an example of this in the video for the Katy Perry song 'Last Friday Night'


Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • ...to stab you with!
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2019, 08:05:51 AM »
We were talking about this earlier, where an obviously attractive woman is given glasses and dowdy clothes to disguise her hotness, only to have her true self revealed at a party or something.

The most memorable one was Jane on 'Neighbours'



There must be other examples though.

Not that it always pays off, as Ally Sheedy at the end of 'The Breakfast Club' proved.

I love how she doesn't actually look significantly different in that second picture. Real " Noel's addicts " stuff.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • You Go Careful There Now My Love
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2019, 08:19:07 AM »
The Breakfast Club is precisely about kids seeing each other in a different light. They all conform already, into their own easily identifiable subgroups that they slowly acknowledge they slipped into for barely perceptible reasons. The moral lesson couldn't be clearer which is that being open minded about others despite their superficial persona is an important step towards being a rounded person. That includes challenging yourself to change and put yourself in others shoes.

I'm not sure why it seems to have got so much shit on here recently as I think it's a fine film with a strong premise that is appropriate for its audience.

mothman

  • I don't know why
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2019, 12:20:01 PM »
Agreed. My 13yo daughter watched it recently and loved it. A film made 20 years before she was born. I’m not sure I could name any films from 1950 that’d have such a profound effect on a 13yo mothman.

kalowski

  • Sooner or later
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2019, 12:27:41 PM »
Interesting thread. Tropes like this are fascinating, even though this one is simplistic and clunky. Somewhere someone decided glasses are unattractive and a trope was born: Men seldom make passes...

Interesting to note Paulie Walnuts is a cunt, too.

Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2019, 01:23:09 PM »
The Breakfast Club is precisely about kids seeing each other in a different light. They all conform already, into their own easily identifiable subgroups that they slowly acknowledge they slipped into for barely perceptible reasons. The moral lesson couldn't be clearer which is that being open minded about others despite their superficial persona is an important step towards being a rounded person. That includes challenging yourself to change and put yourself in others shoes.

I'm not sure why it seems to have got so much shit on here recently as I think it's a fine film with a strong premise that is appropriate for its audience.

I like The Breakfast Club on the whole.
Some of it has dated (obviously), but the Ally Sheedy makeover bit just bugs me - always has.
But I know that this is solely down to me fancying the 'weird' Ally Sheedy.
I'm so shallow...

mothman

  • I don't know why
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2019, 07:10:06 PM »
I first saw the thing about the makeover expressed as a meme on Twitter, which immediately devalues its credibility in my mind. It reminds me of another meme that was going around just this last Christmas, that the Pigeon Lady in Home Alone 2 looks like Piers Morgan. The continuity annoincer on Channel 4 even mentioned it. But the thing is, it's bollocks, and an insult to the great actor who played the role (Brenda Fricker).

But yes, the makeover and its reaction are a bit dodgy. But isn't such a superficial idea rerally running contrary to John Hughes' work? It's all about looking past superficvial first impressions and face valiue, finding out who people really are. It's there in Pretty In Pink, Uncle Buck, Some Kind of Wonderful, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Home Alone... even Ferris Bueller. So I prefer to think that by including the makeover scene, he is actually driving that home - the Jock (or Athlete) was already clicking with the Outcast (or Basket Case) before she got "tarted up" - and if she'd always looked like that, he'd have been interested much sooner.

In fact, it could even be said that the makeover provides some hope that some of these kids could potentially escape the fates, the paths that life might otherwise hold in store for them. Because for all their newly gained awareness (of self, and of others'), changing their lives and escaping the destinies that their parents and society had set for them is going to be much harder. I can't help but feel that John Bender is doomed, he's like River Phoenix in Stand By Me. Claire and Brian might still not change that much; Andrew and Allison's relationship might offer them the best chance of breaking the mold.

gib

  • weak and wobbly
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2019, 09:06:49 PM »
Does 'Cinderella' count as an example of this?

Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2019, 09:31:07 PM »
The Fran character is Strictly Ballroom is basically this trope completely.

Starts off as this:



Ends up as this:


chveik

  • Her Laugh Is Like A Flock Of Tiny Birds
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2019, 09:58:44 PM »
I reckon that Carrie is a subversion of this trope

Dex Sawash

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • Upphängningspunkterna
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2019, 02:42:11 AM »
They did it in reverse (cowgirl) in It's A Wonderful Life

gmoney

  • Hug a jug of wine
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2019, 02:59:34 AM »
I like The Breakfast Club on the whole.
Some of it has dated (obviously), but the Ally Sheedy makeover bit just bugs me - always has.
But I know that this is solely down to me fancying the 'weird' Ally Sheedy.
I'm so shallow...

She's got dandruff mate. Skank.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2019, 10:39:33 AM »
We were talking about this earlier, where an obviously attractive woman is given glasses and dowdy clothes to disguise her hotness, only to have her true self revealed at a party or something.

The most memorable one was Jane on 'Neighbours'



That's funny because I can distinctly remember (the 16 year old me) thinking that she was absolutely GOPPING 'before', and totally AWOOOGA! AWOOOOOGA!! 'after'... but looking at the pictures now it's obvious that all they really did was make a nice looking girl take her awful glasses off. What a shallow 16 year old I was.

Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2019, 01:22:24 PM »
That's funny because I can distinctly remember (the 16 year old me) thinking that she was absolutely GOPPING 'before', and totally AWOOOGA! AWOOOOOGA!! 'after'... but looking at the pictures now it's obvious that all they really did was make a nice looking girl take her awful glasses off. What a shallow 16 year old I was.

Plain Jane Super Brain is actually once again in Neighbours. I only know this as my wife is the last person who actually still watches it - in her defence she is Australian (i'm not sure why that's a defence for such a reprehensible act)


notjosh

  • Golden Member
  • *****
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2019, 01:55:16 PM »
The Duff, with Mae Whitman (yes, her), is a really fun film which plays with this trope but sort of fudges it in the end.

In the film, a 'duff' is the plain, unattractive person that attractive people hang out with to make themselves look better and more accessible. The titular duff does go through a She's All That-style makeover section where she puts on some make-up and buys a sexy prom dress, but she ultimately decides to mod it to make it more reflective of her own quirks, and emerges at the prom as half-plain, half-phwoarr. I feel like this is as progressive as a mainstream Hollywood film is going to get in terms of challenging conventional notions of attractiveness.

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2019, 02:20:15 PM »
Did Ugly Betty ever take off her braces and glasses and reveal that she was pretty all along? I only watched the first two episodes but presumed they'd give her a makeover at one point.

kngen

  • Member
  • **
  • Fighting sleep's deathlike grip
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2019, 02:51:58 PM »
First time I remember seeing this was in an episode of Only When I Laugh. James Bolam's character (I think) is supposed to go on a date with some lass when he gets out of hospital (which is never, as they are stuck in eternal limbo in this Sartre-esque Hospice of the Damned), but decides against it because she's a bit dowdy. But then she says, 'Ooh, but I was going to let my hair down and take my specs off' - which she does and is instantly gorgeous. Even 8-year-old me thought: 'This seems a little superficial and sexist,' but moved on, thinking I'd not have to concern myself with such hackery ever again. Of course, I'd see variations on it for the rest of my life, seemingly on a weekly basis.

It's total bollocks though, isn't it?

1) Attractive people tend to be attractive no matter what state they're in, unless they go to Charlize-Theron-in-Monster lengths to disguise it

2) In the above example, the trope was used to punish the fella's superficiality, but still comes across as superficial and hackneyed anyway. Has it ever been turned on its head effectively to comment on the trope itself?

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2019, 02:53:22 PM »
Plain Jane Super Brain is actually once again in Neighbours. I only know this as my wife is the last person who actually still watches it - in her defence she is Australian (i'm not sure why that's a defence for such a reprehensible act)



I knew this already, because for some reason - I think I was flicking through the channels at the wrong moment, spotted her (or Paul Robinson, or Toadfish, or Karl, or Susan...) and thought "Blimey: S/HE's still in it!" - I have watched a couple of episodes recently.

Luckily, in one of the episodes I saw, Jim Robinson appeared as a flashback warning Paul to behave himself - which ironically served as a warning to myself not to watch any more Neighbours.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2019, 02:54:53 PM »
1) Attractive people tend to be attractive no matter what state they're in, unless they go to Charlize-Theron-in-Monster lengths to disguise it

And Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovic.

Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2019, 02:57:29 PM »
I'm sure its been mentioned but the ultimate in this is It's  A Wonderful Life where they try to make effortlessly gorgeous Donna Reed look plain. It's laughable.

"Shit we need to make Donna Reed look a bit of rough? Chuck some specs and a cardy on her, that'll do".

kngen

  • Member
  • **
  • Fighting sleep's deathlike grip
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2019, 03:06:47 PM »
And Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovic.

'Lose the parakeet, love, and I'll make you a star!'

kngen

  • Member
  • **
  • Fighting sleep's deathlike grip
Re: The 'Plain Jane' Trope
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2019, 03:29:32 PM »
I'm sure its been mentioned but the ultimate in this is It's  A Wonderful Life where they try to make effortlessly gorgeous Donna Reed look plain. It's laughable.

"Shit we need to make Donna Reed look a bit of rough? Chuck some specs and a cardy on her, that'll do".

Oh man, Donna Reed is a force of nature.

Smiling Donna Reed: Perfectly nice central casting leading lady.


Not smiling Donna Reed: Smouldering, sultry succubus who peers directly into your soul, and finds you severly wanting in the man department.


No wonder most of her publicity shots have her smiling inanely - feeble men just weren't ready for that kind of high-voltage dame back then.