This summer marks a very important date: the 20th anniversary of the ultimate teen comedy, Clueless. I’m totally buggin’! As a tween in the mid-90s, Clueless had a huge impact on me. It affected everything from my vocabulary to my ensemble choices and ignited my first celebrity crush, the delightful Baldwin known as Paul Rudd. I still Netflix Clueless and not just sporadically. Needless to say, I was way excited to read As If! An Oral History of Clueless by acclaimed pop author Jen Cheney.
Cheney sat down with the cast and crew of Clueless to discuss their memories surrounding the creation of the iconic film and the results are a fun trip into nostalgia-land. If you’re hoping to get some juicy gossip about 90s stars, you might want to pick up Melissa Joan Hart’s biography instead. The most salacious tidbit in As If! is Coolio’s proclamation that he got “white-boy wasted” at the premiere. That’s not to say As If! doesn’t contain any shocking revelations or drama; especially when casting comes into the conversation. Can you imagine Angelina Jolie as Cher or Ben Affleck as Josh? Ugh, as if! There’s also the story of how Clueless almost wasn’t even made, which would have been tragic. I don’t want to live in a world where Clueless doesn’t exist.
Cheney is definitely not capricious when it comes to documenting the history of Clueless. Jane Austen’s influence on the script; how Cher’s amazing closet software was created; the decisions behind the platinum soundtrack – nothing is left out. Cheney examines the lasting cultural impact of Clueless and its enduring popularity (evidence: Iggy Azalea’s music video for “Fancy”). A heartfelt memorial chapter dedicated to Brittany Murphy adds an emotional element to the otherwise airy tone of the book.
As If! was a breezy, light read that would be a perfect poolside pick for summer. I highly recommend this title for fans of Clueless or fans of director Amy Heckerling in general (the book gets pretty in-depth about her process). Warning: you will likely bust out your old mini-backpack and pleated, plaid skirt upon finishing this book.