5 Ways to Reignite the American Pie Franchise

The newswires say that Thomas Ian Nicholas, who was great in Nicole Holofcener's Please Give last year, is returning to the American Pie franchise for its umpteenth installment, American Reunion. The prospect is a little depressing, but it really shouldn't be: The original cast is what made the first film great in '99, and since the majority of that ensemble is returning for the reunion, perhaps the chutzpah will return as well. Just in case it doesn't, though, here are five ideas that could help reinvent the series and make it relevant (or at least funny) in time for its April 2012 release date.

1. Go sexier

Horndoggery is still the point of American Pie, but instead of going the immature, wank-centric route of the previous films, I'd prefer American Reunion give us some grown-up grinding. I don't want to watch another one of Jason Biggs's crosseyed O-faces from 1999; let's see some slower, hotter schtupping -- the kind of flagrante delicto that will make viewers feel slightly grown up. Less hyperventilation, Alyson Hannigan!

2. Make Stifler straight-laced

Of all the things we don't need exhumed for American Reunion, Seann William Scott's irrepressible raunchiness as Stifler tops the list. Get him some Zoloft or a priest's collar; I'd appreciate a little subtlety in my American Pie update. It mitigates the desperation!

3. Make fun of the lamer elements of the series

In American Pie 2, we watched helplessly as Jim (Jason Biggs) masturbated with superglue and ended up with a musical instrument in his rectum. Sure, they're not the series' classiest moments, but I wouldn't mind if Jim solemnly reflected on those experiences with a dismissive quip like, "It's not as stupid as anything in Twilight," or by singing a few bars from 3 Doors Down's music video for "Be Like That (American Pie 2 Edit)."

4. Mention Tara Reid in passing

Mysteriously, original cast member Tara Reid is not a part of American Reunion's cast, even though Mena Suvari and Alyson Hannigan are both signed on. I'm hoping Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) laments his failed romance with Victoria (Reid) and sighs, "She's been too good for this reunion ever since The Big Lebowski 2 made her a superstar."

5. Recruit Eugene Levy's SCTV buddies

Levy's inclusion in the American Pie saga has always felt like an experiment in dadaist casting. His deadpan approach to the role of Biggs' father is funny, but you're never quite sure he belongs in the movie. If he had fellow SCTV alums like Catherine O'Hara, Rick Moranis, and Dave Thomas to flank him in the next installment, the word "reunion" would enjoy a fun double-meaning and lend the film some much-needed comic legitimacy. I pick O'Hara to play the Michigan high school's new administrator.

· Thomas Ian Nicholas Accepts Invitation to 'American Reunion' [THR]


  • Allan says:

    Dear Mr. Virtel:
    If your suggestions are followed the movie would essentially become a remake of Indian Summer. Congrats, you just remade Indian Summer.
    President of "Let's Remake Indian Summer Society"

  • Brian says:

    I don't think that many people want to see a raunchless American Pie, featuring a mature Stifler. That would mean taking out most of what made the first two American Pies funny and successful.

  • chloeaustin says:

    Forgot to mention, what this article and you are describing is known as jumping the shark - when a TV or movie series ceases to carry on its defining elements. Like it or not Stifler was a very sharply defined and unique element of that series, so much so that SWS has had a hard time getting past his own typecast.

  • seiranikon says:

    "If I want to see American Pie, I can watch American Pie"
    And if you want to watch American Pie without classic Stifler, you can watch Band Camp, Beta House, or the Naked Mile...
    "I want to see how the characters have grown and changed over the years."
    I do too, but part of what enhances change is when it's in contrast to a particular constant. That constant SHOULD be Stifler. In fact what about Finch? Part of what DEFINED his character was his relationship with Stifler's mom. Finch wouldn't be Finch if he didn't continue pissing off Stifler by doing his mom... Just like Jim wouldn't be Jim if he didn't get himself into awkward sexual situations.
    What you're describing is literally change for the sake of change, and destroying the defining features in characters that made the series so successful to begin with.
    "That said, I am destined to disagree with you on the Stiffler character because I was never that fond of him to begin with."
    Fair enough, even though the other characters were a dime a dozen and can be found in just about every other teen comedy. Is there any character more flat and boring than Kevin or Oz? Those were just filler characters to fill in the gaps between the deliberately polarized characters of Jim and Stifler.

  • owenbrein says:

    I'm not writing the movies (obviously) but I hope they can find a way to give the old character some new life. If I want to see American Pie, I can watch American Pie. In the new movie, I want to see how the characters have grown and changed over the years.
    That said, I am destined to disagree with you on the Stiffler character because I was never that fond of him to begin with.

  • jadansara says:

    So change for the sake of change, regardless if it's worse or not, is somehow better than proven success?