Pretty in Pink is one of the biggest teen staples of the 80s. It's a film by John Hughes, who at the time seemed to have a great knack for capturing the way teenagers were. Overall, it isn’t a bad movie. The characters are interesting, the plot is engaging, the ending is just horrible. Now we’ll take a closer look at why that ending was so bad, and a couple of alternative endings that would have been better.
The Problem: Blane
As Duckie says to Andie “His name is Blane? That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name.” That has to be one of my favourite lines in the whole film. His name aside, Blane is a terrible character. Let’s start with their date. He asks her if she wants to go to a party and she says no. He takes her anyway. This shows just how oblivious he is that: a) he doesn’t realize how awkward and uncomfortable it will be for them, and b) he doesn’t seem to care that she doesn’t want to go. Then follow that up with his inability to understand why Andie wouldn’t want him to take her home. He knows that they’re from different socioeconomical backgrounds, and yet can’t seem to grasp why she might not want him to see where she lives.
Now we move on to his tendency to lie rather than tell the truth. When they’re hanging out in the stables he tells her that he could tell everyone to go to hell. He doesn’t do that, or anything even remotely close to it. Instead, he blows her off and doesn’t even have the decency to tell her why. When she confronts him at school he refuses to tell her the real reason he’s been ignoring her. Instead he comes up with an excuse about having asked someone else and forgotten about it. That has to be the flimsiest excuse he could have come up with.
Finally, we have the prom. This is the part of the story I have the most trouble with. I know that they changed the ending last minute, but I feel like they could have made a better effort to make the ending somewhat plausible. Once Andie and Duckie enter the prom, Blane approaches them. He actually says, “You don’t need me to say I’m sorry.” What? I mean, what? Yes he needs to say he’s sorry. Even if it won’t make her feel better right now it would show him recognizing that he did something wrong that needs to be apologized for. Also, not believing in him? Really? So what he’s saying is he ignored her and backed out of prom because she had some doubts. That is extremely low. Everyone has doubts, especially teenagers who are dating a guy that completely isolates them from their friends. Whether he did it on purpose is irrelevant since it was bound to happen simply because their friends are so different. Now comes my one complaint for Duckie in all this. He says that Blane came to prom alone, as if that somehow redeems him for the way he treated Andie. If anything, all that proves is that he lied about why he backed out on her.
Alternative One: Steff
Before I get started, can we just take a second to appreciate James Spader’s hair here? I know the 80s was pretty universally a bad decade for hair, but he actually had amazing hair. Okay, now to the point. The first real interaction we see between Steff and Andie is when he’s hitting on her after school. He claims that he’s liked her for four years. Let’s consider that for a moment. Maybe he has liked her all this time. As far as we know they haven’t interacted before this, or if they have it’s been briefly and occasionally at school. If he liked her, but knew they came from different backgrounds, it’s entirely possible that it took him four years to get up the courage to ask her out. She immediately turns him down, thinking he just wants sex. He says he’s talking about more than just sex, but she doesn’t let him elaborate on that at all. She just brushes him off.
The rest of Steff’s behaviour towards Andie throughout the film could easily be put down to jealousy. She decides to go out with his best friend, shortly after he asked her out. For our purposes we are assuming he actually meant a date since he never actually proposed sex to her. He also tries to denegrade Blane’s relationship with Andie because he wants what Blane has.
Personally, I think that Steff would actually have been a better romantic choice for Andie. Firstly, let’s assume he did like her for years. In contrast Blane’s interest in her comes out of nowhere. Next, let’s deal with his major fault: his asshole attitude and behaviour. I’m willing to forgive this for two reasons. One, he’s upfront about it. He doesn’t try to hide who he is, and is honest at least in being unapologetically himself. I find this actually a somewhat redeeming quality of his, because at least with him you know what you’re getting yourself into. Two, I think Andie would be good for him. She speaks her mind, and she would definitely call him on his crap. I think they would be good together because they would challenge each other’s world view and help each other grow as people.
Alternative Two: Duckie
The original ending actually had Andie and Duckie together, or at least insinuated that they ended up together. I honestly can’t see that working, simply because Andie shows no interest in him that way. I think the better take away from this ending would have been to trust in your friends. That even when things go wrong, and it seems hopeless, your best friends will always be there. I can see how this wouldn’t have played well for test audiences, they wanted Andie to end up with someone. This ending still would have been better than the one they came up with.
So there you have it. Some things to think about the next time you’re watching Pretty in Pink.