Midway through The Breakfast Club, John Hughes's seminal film about Reagan-era teen angst, the five main characters tuck into brown-bag lunches. Actress Molly Ringwald, playing the archetypal suburban princess, pulls out a tray of sushi, to the astonishment of Judd Nelson's drug-addled outcast.
"You won't accept a guy's tongue in your mouth, and you're going to eat that?" he sneers, obviously never having sampled a piece of toro (fatty tuna) or hamachi (yellowtail) himself.
Ringwald's character is offended by the innuendo, but also derisive of her inquisitor's lack of sophistication.
"Can I eat?" she huffs in response. "I don't know," says Nelson, eyes wide with revulsion. "Give it a try."
Depicting Ringwald's spoiled brat as an unapologetic sushi eater was an easy way for Hughes to underscore her elitism. In 1985, the year The Breakfast Club came out, sushi was still a mystery to most Americans, who associated the food with flighty Hollywood stars and reprehensible yuppies. Raw fish and seaweed, rolled into cones or tubes? Such dainty, briny fare was surely part of a Japanese plot to weaken the American spirit.
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