When Superbad came out 12 years ago, it became an instant classic for me. It was perfect timing. I was going into my senior year of high school and Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) were seniors in high school. There were so many relatable moments and characters. My time in high school had very similar experiences when it came to partying, friendships, and dating. I felt like I would’ve been friends with them.
Then, I saw Booksmart when it came out about 2 months ago. Another instant classic. Thankfully, I’m no longer in high school, but I could still connect with the story and the characters. Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) became iconic characters and people I also would’ve liked to be friends with.1I don’t think they would’ve included me in their friend group though, which makes sense when I think about it. The movie itself joined the ranks of my top 5 high school movie list.2My top 5 high school movies are Superbad, Mean Girls, Booksmart, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and 10 Things I Hate About You. Honorable mentions: The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Bring it On.
I started thinking, how cool would it be if Booksmart and Superbad existed in the same world, on the same timeline? You know how when you have 2 friends that have never met, but you know they would be friends if they did, so you try to get everyone to hang out together at the same time and have everyone become friends? That’s me with Booksmart and Superbad. So in true Molly and Amy fashion, I started doing some research to see if I could connect the dots.
From this point forward, let’s work with the assumption that Booksmart and Superbad are part of a shared world.
The easiest place to start is with the location.
Both the world in Superbad and the world in Booksmart take place in southern California. More specifically, within the greater Los Angeles area. That’s not that interesting in and of itself. Lots of movies take place in LA and I’m definitely not arguing that every movie shot in LA takes place in the same world. However, in this specific example, it’s extremely important. If Booksmart took place in Chicago or Boston or New York, it would be much harder to make the case for them existing in the same world. Therefore, the fact that both happen in LA is a major win.
The first piece of doubt you may throw at me is that Seth went to a different high school than Molly. That is true. Seth went to Clark Secondary School just south of LAX and Molly went to Crockett High School in San Fernando. That was 12 years ago though. There could be any number of possibilities for the change in high school. Here are two:
1. They Moved
Their family could have moved since 2007 and who would blame them? San Fernando is north of LA and much further away from LAX. Crockett High School also seems very good at getting kids to graduate and attend very good colleges. After all, some of Molly’s classmates make mention of going to elite colleges after they graduate,3Except one guy, who was hired to work for Google right out of high school. including Molly’s best friend Amy who was accepted into Columbia. Seriously, it’s like Crockett High is a breeding ground for Ivy League schools. Maybe their parents were so upset with the fact that Seth wasn’t able to get into Dartmouth that they moved to a better school district to give Molly the education needed to make it to the Ivy Leagues. It worked, so smart move on their part.
2. Their Parents Divorced
Molly and Seth’s parents are now divorced, therefore, live separately from each other. We get little to no mention of Seth’s family dynamic or home in Superbad,4One of the only mentions of Seth’s family happens after Evan attempts to insult Seth by saying “at least you got to suck your Dad’s dick,” which provides us with no useful information. but we do know that Seth’s parents were together because Evan reminds him that his parents will be looking at his bills when they are discussing which porn subscription to purchase. So their parents could’ve divorced sometime in the 12 years before Booksmart. We do see Molly get picked up by Amy at the start of Booksmart outside of an apartment, so it’s possible Molly would’ve gone to live with her Mom after the divorce and that could’ve led to the differences in high schools. Living with her Mom may have also helped influence Molly’s feminist beliefs. Thanks Mom!
The other part of the location argument is the parking lot scenes from both Superbad and Booksmart. Remember where Fogell and the police officers do donuts before they set the cop car on fire?
Well that scene takes place in northern LA, only about 15 minutes away from Crockett High School. It could very well be the same parking lot where Molly and Amy were waiting to be picked up during their night out. The fact that they are pretty close to each other makes this a real possibility.
Now before you go and tell me that the background/skyline looks different and the lamp posts aren’t the same, it’s clear Fogell and the officers did some damage in this parking lot. So it would make sense that the city would want to make the lamp posts stronger when they were eventually fixed. It’s also entirely possible the area had some development and growth in the 12 years since the cop car explosion, hence the small differences in the two parking lots.
The next key piece of this connection is with Molly and Seth.
We know that Beanie Feldstein and Jonah Hill are siblings in real life. It’s safe to assume this is also possible within the movie world of their characters, Molly and Seth. As I mentioned before, we don’t actually see Molly’s or Seth’s family in either movie. In fact, the only glimpse we get related to their family life is the inside of Molly’s room and the outside of her place. So even though we don’t know that Seth or Molly have a sibling, we also don’t know that they don’t have one.
When it comes to age difference, 12 years between siblings isn’t that ridiculous. As it is, Jonah is about 10 years older than Beanie in real life and if you did the math there, that’s only off by 2 years. The 12 year difference would’ve made Molly around 5 or 6 years old in Superbad and Seth around 17 or 18. Not that crazy.
Here’s the thing about siblings, they tend to have similarities between each other. Of course there are a lot differences too,5This is definitely true of Molly and Seth. but it’s likely there are some qualities (physical and emotional) that are shared. And because Jonah and Beanie are related in real life, they share some physical characteristics. Therefore, Molly and Seth also share some physical attributes. That tends to come in handy when making an argument about whether two different movie characters are related and part of the same world.
In addition to their physical similarities, Seth and Molly also share some personality traits. Both are very strong minded characters who pursue things they want, no matter the cost. Seth in his pursuit of getting alcohol and Jules, despite the fact that it causes a rift with Evan. Molly in her pursuit of Yale and partying for one night, despite the fact it caused her to miss social opportunities and led to a massive argument with Amy. Both characters are stubborn. Seth refused to go to the party without alcohol. Molly refused to leave the party after Amy calls “Malala.” Both characters are extremely loyal. Seth saves Evan after the cops bust the party. Molly bails Amy out of jail after she’s arrested.
Molly and Seth are both smart, although Molly is clearly smarter than Seth. Case in point, she got into Yale while Seth didn’t get into Dartmouth, but got into “some schools. Some pretty good ones.” We can assume that Seth thought he was smart enough to even apply to Dartmouth, and if we take him for his word that he got into some pretty good schools, he was still pretty smart. Molly may have seen Seth’s failure to make it to the Ivy Leagues and used it as extra motivation to be better than her older brother. Molly is competitive, so it would make sense that she would not want to repeat her brother’s “mistakes” and focus on getting into Yale.
There’s also this fun fact I found about Jonah giving Beanie advice on Molly before she started filming Booksmart:
I remember you said that Jonah gave you that advice before you started — to spend as much time as you can with me.Kaitlyn Dever, Interview with EW
I think back to all the times that I’ve reached out to my siblings for advice on one thing or another. Is it possible that Seth gave Molly this same advice as a result of his relationship with Evan? Could Molly have reached out to her older brother and been influenced to treat her relationship with Amy with so much care and attention? Definitely. Is it just as likely that Molly would never reach out to Seth for any advice? Absolutely. At the very least, she would’ve been familiar with Seth and Evan’s friendship dynamic and it’s not a bad friendship to aspire to. Boop!
Each of these movies stands on its own. Superbad is Superbad and Booksmart is Booksmart. Superbad provided a fresh spin on the traditional coming of age movie and, for me, came out at the perfect time. Booksmart was able to create unique, strong characters and share a story that was hilarious and original. Booksmart helped advance the coming of age movie genre.
All I know is that I love both of these movies and I want to bring them together however I can.