From Ugly Duckling to Swan: Limitations of the Teen Makeover Film

Before and after the makeover in The Princess Diaries, dir. Garry Marshall (2001). Disney.

By Nuha Hassan | June 30, 2021

Makeover movies often focus on female characters that they deem passive, and lack confidence in how they dress and present themselves. Yet, when they go through the transformation from an ugly duckling to a swan, because of their new feminine presence, they are empowered. It is a battle of femininity; between the supposedly frumpy protagonist and the characters who desperately want them to change. The makeover movie teases and negotiates to present the protagonist more desirably not only for their confidence, but also for their romantic interests. But when a girl with frizzy hair and glasses is transformed into the perfect image of femininity and beauty, do these movies value and nurture the character’s other traits at the end, or is it just their successful assimilation to patriarchal standards of beauty? 

In She’s All That (1999) future Prom King Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr) accepts a bet by his friend, Dean (Paul Walker) to turn the dorky, clumsy, and unpopular art student Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) into Prom Queen. The road, however, is not as easy as he first assumes. When Zack first attempts to befriend Laney, she dodges his advances. When Laney gets invited to a party, she pretends to be busy and doesn’t go. Eventually, Laney’s walls begin to come down and, with the help of Zack’s sister, she receives a makeover. With the “right look”, Laney becomes a serious contender for Prom Queen, and gains the attention of Dean, who asks her out just to spite Zack. While Laney is too wise for Dean’s unhonorable intentions, her makeover clearly makes her desirable, and worthy of Zack’s affections.

Rachael Leigh Cook as Laney and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Zack, pre-Makeover, in She’s All That, dir. Robert Iscove (1999). Miramax.

In Garry Marshall’s The Princess Diaries (2001), Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hatheway) is a clumsy and shy American high school teenager who learns that she is the princess of a European country called Genovia. After her father’s death, Mia is the sole heir to the throne and her estranged grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews) teaches her the etiquettes and social behaviours of a royal. As part of her royal lessons, Mia receives a makeover which immediately catches the attention of a lot of schoolmates. When her secret gets out, she transforms from an invisible student to a popular teen royal. Throughout the film, Mia deals with the pressures of being a royal, and trying to fit in an environment where she was once branded a “freak”. In the end, she finally learns to accept herself and accepts the role that she is meant to serve. 

These makeover films represent how female adolescents can become the embodiment of feminine beauty and desire. They work to conform to a reality that takes pleasure in viewing the female body as patriarchal objects, rather than accepting who they are before. 

Mia’s makeover scene. Disney.

At the start of The Princess Diaries, Mia was not seen as desirable or pretty by the people in her school, and she was invisible to almost everybody. Her school principal didn’t know her name, and at one point Mia complained that one of the students sat on her again, indicating that this incident had happened before. With her bushy eyebrows and frizzy hair, Mia is a character that was perceived as an unattractive, clumsy and anxious adolescent. She is at odds with the subject of femininity until her transformation, implying that the makeover was fundamental to her growth and her journey. The negative aspect of this is that Mia has no autonomy over any of the decisions that were made for her. The makeover is arranged by her grandmother – who was bewildered at her appearance when they first met – subjecting Mia to be transformed to Clarisse’s satisfaction. Furthermore, Mia’s makeover scene was played for comedy, where the hairdresser screamed at the sight of her and looked at her in disgust (he also states that he has fixed people who have looked way worse than Mia). Even Mia’s masculine behaviour is scorned upon by her grandmother, who teaches her how a royal woman should behave, sit, and wave. This is not only constructed by patriarchal norms but also portrays a performance of femininity that is popular within teen makeover movies; turning a girl from an ugly duckling into a swan. After Mia’s transformation, her veil of invisibility is lifted and she finally gets noticed by everyone; even her crush whom she daydreams about having a “foot popping kiss” with. But, when her wish comes true, it instead turns into a disaster for her, and a moment of glory for him. 

These makeover tropes can have a somewhat positive aspect. Mia, who was once shy, stubborn, and nervous when giving out speeches, is able to overcome her fear of public speaking after her makeover. The girl with frizzy hair, glasses and bushy eyebrows truly did gain more confidence, but what do these representations mean for the audience?

Makeover movies emphasize an idealised version of femininity. While Mia has to go through a transformation, the validation of her peers and grandmother to gain the confidence to stand up to her bullies, Laney’s transformation is rooted in becoming the subject of desire. At the beginning of She’s All That, Laney wears mismatched clothes, ties her hair in a braid, wears glasses and doesn’t apply any makeup to her face. When Laney gets a makeover from Zack’s sister Mac (Anna Paquin), she similarly lacks agency in that matter. Yet, unlike Mia’s makeover treatment, Laney’s transformation is not subject to a comedic sequence. Rather, her makeover reveal is a shot where the camera pans up her legs as she walks down the stairs in a short red dress and new hair. When the camera cuts to Zack’s expression, it is clear that he is flustered by her transformation. As Laney walks down, she trips in her heels and Zack catches her. Not only does this allow Laney to literally fall for Zack, but gives an indication that even though Laney looks different, she is still her clumsy self inside. 

Laney looking absolutely thrilled about her makeover. Miramax.

The significance and superiority of beauty and femininity is portrayed in this way because Mia and Laney are characters who present themselves in a way different from the norm. Laney spends her time painting political art pieces and making bold statements about art and Mia, though not outright political, still cares about environmental causes that her best friend Lily (Heather Matarazzo) is passionate about. Their transformations help the characters gain confidence and learn to stand up for themselves, and in the end, Mia and Laney learn to overcome their fears. But do they lose a part of themselves as they submit themselves to the performance of femininity? Both of these characters share an intellectual mind and are self-aware of their surroundings and bad people. But when their glasses disappear and their clothes change, due to the makeovers they submit to the conventional beauty standards that Zack and Queen Clarisse desired. 

Makeover movies are a product of coming-of-age tales portraying a different standard of beauty and femininity that their characters are made to fit into. For The Princess Diaries, it is to be more royal; for She’s All That, it’s to fit in. While the films aim to inspire confidence and self-awareness, the films miss the mark when it comes to agency, due to the manipulation of the female body and mind seen throughout. Initially, Laney and Mia’s inadequacy and lack of desire are denied and judged from a patriarchal lens. Their performance and behaviour are then fitted into a manner that fits the ‘right’ kind of femininity. The makeover protagonist is only ever seen as valuable when she is transformed into a beautiful swan, not when she is the passive and stubborn duckling. Those are the kinds of traits that are important within a patriarchal society, and these movies, which remain popular, support that kind of message. 

Nowadays, there are not many makeover films that are as memorable as iconic as The Princess Diaries, She’s All That and even A Cinderella Story (2004), to name a few. Possibly, one of the reasons why is that storytellers — and audiences — are more aware of what is considered empowering and degrading, even if for Mia and Laney it is their inner journey that matters at the end. At the same time, makeover stories function around the same ideas — to be yourself but better — and maybe these are not the kinds of messages that storytellers want to tell anymore. Makeover movies imply that a woman’s worth only lies with how she looks and not her inner beauty. Considering all of what is being said about makeover films, Netflix’s upcoming project, He’s All That, which is a remake of She’s All That, is set in gender-flipping characters, where an influencer takes up the challenge to turn the biggest loser in their high school to Prom King. While the original had problematic stereotypes and enforced patriarchal ideas of femininity, will these themes be repeated in the remake? It would be interesting to see a new cultural and contemporary twist to a trope that has it’s issues, or perhaps, if the new remake enforces these themes. Maybe it’s time for makeover films to end. 

Nuha Hassan is a writer, animator and photographer. She studied Master of Media at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter @auxiliarity.

“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all”: Why Princess Mia belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

princess diaries marvel feature image
Julie Andrews as Queen Clarisse and Anne Hathaway as Mia Thermopolis. The Princess Diaries (2001) dir. Garry Marshall. Walt Disney Pictures.

by Samantha Vargas | March 6, 2021

Makeover Montages. Mean cheerleaders. Crushes on athletic himbos.

Although The Princess Diaries (2001) embodies the classic coming-of-age film archetypes, its characters stand out from the cinematic sea of quirky, shy-girls that undergo transformations to impress vapid high-school boys. There’s an inherent strength and resilience beneath the surface of Mia’s character that sets her apart from the cliche, “not-like-other-girls” girl of the early 2000s. Mia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi (Anne Hathaway), Princess of Genovia, is the brave, relatable female-role model of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. It’s time that Disney starts acknowledging the film’s legacy.

Just like other iconic superheroes, Mia’s role as a teenage bureaucratic leader finds its affirmation in an inspirational quote: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” 

Now, you might be thinking, “That’s ridiculous. The Princess Diaries isn’t a superhero film. Mia isn’t a superhero,” but for a myriad of reasons, you’d be wrong.

The Princess Diaries follows Mia, the typical quirky-girl-turns-overnight-princess after discovering that her late-father was the heir to the throne of Genovia, which makes her next in line for the throne. The Princess Diaries is instrumental in the adolescent timeline of countless late 90’s and early 2000s’ kids and remains a staple in Disney’s nostalgia vault. The film truly has everything that you’d want out of a coming-of-age film: a plot that exists just within the realm of possibility, makeover montages, dreamy ball gowns, a comedic-relief best friend with a cute, yet unattainable older brother, and Julie Andrews.

Still, these factors aren’t what make her a superhero. Just like every other Marvel figurehead, Mia’s strength comes from her inherent desire to help people beyond herself. 

princes diaries marvel body image
Walt Disney Pictures.

Throughout the film, Mia fights an internal conflict about abdicating her claim to the throne, thus giving up her power. Upon the inevitable acceptance of the title, Mia says, “See, if I were the Princess of Genovia, then my thoughts – and the thoughts of people smarter than me – would be much better heard, and just maybe those thoughts could be turned into actions.” She doesn’t want to be a princess because it’ll make her popular or make some cute guy notice her; Mia wants to rule Genovia because she wants to make the world a better place. The film even establishes that she’s heavily involved in social and political campaigns alongside her best friend, Lilly Moscovitz. 

Mia’s character arc is reminiscent of Marvel’s revamped depiction of Peter Parker in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Both Princess Mia and Peter Parker discover their individual “powers” at 15-years old. They both go on their own journeys to discover the importance and ramifications of this secret, unimaginable power. Most people wouldn’t instantly associate Spider-Man’s story as a coming-of-age film, but Marvel’s rework of the superhero really showcases the grounded, relatable-nature of Peter Parker’s character. Especially if we compared it to Sony’s various depictions.

Marvel has created a surplus of overpowered, almost-omnipotent superheroes, and while everyone loves Iron Man, Thor, and Black Panther, these characters stand as aspirational – not relatable – figures. Children can watch these 30-year old heroes and see them as role models, but there aren’t really moments in their expositional films that allow younger audiences to see themselves in the character, especially in the later installments. Yet, depicted as high school students, Peter and Mia go through the same emotional and enlightening trials of their young viewers.

The Princess Diaries and Spider-Man: Homecoming also have several cinematic parallels that draw the two stories closer together. Both Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) act as mentors, providing our protagonists with the tools and lessons needed to establish themselves as leaders in their respective communities. Incorporating the generational mentor trope is fairly common in films aimed at younger audiences because formative relationships with authority figures are relatable. Both Mia and Peter crave validation because both have been subjected to a lifetime – at least to teenagers – of ridicule and criticism. Both have experienced the superficial trauma of high school torment and the unspoken trauma of losing parents, and now they’re faced with the possibility of emotional and material validation from two people of massive affluence. It’s easy to see the parallel between Queen Clarisse and Tony Stark as notable political figures, but what really draws them together is their role as suitable replacements for paternal role models. 

Although Mia has a healthy relationship with her mother, it’s made clear through expositional dialogue that she had never met her late-father. Meanwhile, it’s implied that Peter’s only source of a parental relationship is with his young aunt. Both Mia’s mother and Aunt May are depicted as young, idealistic women with lively dispositions, and while their relationships are very strong, there’s a notable lack of grounded, parental authority. Now, of course that’s not to say that these women are bad role models, they’re both incredibly strong single parents, but that’s why Queen Clarisse and Tony Stark play such vital roles in the development of Mia and Peter’s character. 

There’s a general thematic conflict throughout both films that show the importance of balancing having fun while you’re young and accepting and embracing the responsibilities of growing up. Visually, that can be seen by comparing Mia’s mother and Queen Clarisse or Aunt May and Tony Stark. Both films even include conflict points where Mia and Peter overextend and make mistakes, thus causing their respective mentor to doubt their abilities. But once Mia and Peter are able to redeem themselves, it’s made clear that they don’t have to give up the characteristics that make them lively and fun, they just have to balance them with their newfound responsibilities.

To the same extent, there’s an important dynamic between the side characters from each film that represent Mia and Peter’s social responsibilities. Both films have stoic underling characters – Joe (Héctor Elizondo) and Happy (Jon Favreau) – that offer comedic and poignant perspectives to the protagonist. These men act almost like a set of unseen training wheels to the protagonists, protecting them from the brunt of social agitators. While both men have the mentors best interest at heart, it’s clear that they’re able to help mediate the obscenely difficult realities that come along with our protagonists new job. The audience loves to see Joe and Happy because they’re often met with blunt, deadpan humor, but the audience also knows that these men are there to keep Mia and Peter safe.

princes diaries marvel body image 2
Hector Elizondo as Joe. The Princess Diaries.

Still, the most compelling comparison between the two films is apparent at the conclusion of both stories. Both Mia and Peter are able to acknowledge and accept that they aren’t quite ready to accept the full force of their potential. Peter turns down Tony Stark’s offer to become an Avenger with the understanding that he still has a lot to learn about his responsibility and power. Mia, who was hesitant about accepting her role as a political leader through her film’s entirety, chose to accept her title with the understanding that she could continue to pursue education until she was ready. 

Using this specific method of conclusion instills the idea that it’s perfectly alright to continue to grow and learn at your own pace, especially for younger audiences. If princesses and superheroes can have flaws and need time to figure themselves out, you can, too. 

And while her internal strength is commendable, there are definitive ways that Princess Mia fits into the Marvel Universe. 

Following Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009, the MCU officially belongs under the same proprietary ownership of the Disney Corporation as The Princess Diaries. While their shared parent-company is an important factor in the cinematic universe’s connection, what really establishes Mia’s canonical tie is the presence of a single, vital cameo appearance: Stan Lee. 

princes diaries marvel body image 3
Stan Lee in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

The late Stan Lee was instrumental in Marvel’s canonical catalog, and in addition to writing, editing, and producing, the creator also lent himself to Marvel’s on-screen depictions. Lee made a point of appearing in every on-screen portrayal of a Marvel character in major motion pictures, culminating in 60-cameo appearances across Marvel’s projects. From Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame, fans of the franchise could count on seeing a brief glimpse of Lee, all of which can be characterized as unnamed minor appearances. 

Now, Stan Lee has made a variety of cameo appearances outside of the Marvel Universe. Yet, every live-action, non-Marvel cinematic cameo casts Lee as himself. Seen in popular cult-films like Kevin Smith’s Mallrats and Larry Cohen’s The Ambulance, audiences can usually find Stan Lee signing autographs for starstruck young fans. There are only two instances in cinematic history that depict Stan Lee as an unnamed, minor character outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Lee makes a surprise appearance alongside Princess Mia on her wedding day and is described in the end credits as the “Three Stooges Wedding Guest,” thus cementing The Princess Diaries’ canon in the same universe as the MCU.

Following its release, princess movies have not been able to achieve the monumental reach laid out by The Princess Diaries. The film was a building block into the self-love and self-esteem movements, teaching viewers always to have faith in themselves. Mia is a hero to countless young kids, whether the MCU chooses to acknowledge her or not. Still, hopefully one day, Marvel’s catalog of superheroes will extend a helping hand to keep Genovia safe.

Samantha Vargas is a writer, critic, and content creator based out of New York City. She devotes her free time to photographing her cat, pretentiously bringing up her film degree in casual conversation, and yelling about the gender politics of slasher films from the ’70s. She can be found everywhere @_SamVargas_.

“Because you saw me when I was invisible”: Clumsy Adolescent Love in ‘The Princess Diaries’

Robert Schwartzman and Anne Hathaway as Michael and Mia in The Princess Diaries, dir. Garry Marshall (2001). Disney.

By Rebecca Rosén | March 2, 2021

Throughout film history, there have been various iconic couples whose fame transcends the films they appear in. Yet some of them, even though they’re loved, are actually questionable in hindsight. Several teen films, for example, romanticise problematic behaviour and unhealthy relationships as something to swoon over, or they imply that you have to change yourself to be worthy of love. 

While growing up, few films portrayed love stories in a way I could get on board with. I guess a big part of it was that the only films within easy access to me were fairy tales where passive princesses waited around for active princes who they often didn’t even know before their “happily ever after” was about to begin. However, the first time I saw The Princess Diaries (2001), I knew I had found something special. The film is a sweet depiction of the trembling first steps you take as you try to navigate your first feelings of love — while simultaneously conveying a message of how important it is to embrace yourself, and find people who accept and love you as you are. 

Based on Meg Cabot’s young adult novel of the same name, The Princess Diaries tells the story of fifteen-year-old Mia (Anne Hathaway) who, during a surprise visit from her estranged grandmother, Clarisse (Julie Andrews), discovers that she’s the sole heir to the throne of a European kingdom called Genovia. Mia must decide whether to claim the throne or renounce her title permanently, but, because she already considers herself to be a “freak,” Mia believes that adding a tiara would only make things worse. She’s like any other teenager; she dreams of surviving high school, as well as experiencing her first kiss (which will preferably be foot-popping good). She’s clumsy, she talks too much, and she can’t seem to find the right words when she needs to. However, there’s one person that secretly thinks nothing but the best of her, and that’s her best friend’s older brother Michael (Robert Schwartzman). 

Robert Schwartzman as Michael Moscovitz. Disney.

Michael is presented as a little dorky, but charming, endearingly shy and a bit mysterious, but never comes across as pushy or intrusive. Throughout the film, it becomes clear that Michael has been in love with Mia for several years. At the beginning of the film, we see Michael practising with his band at the local auto repair shop where he works (playing ‘Blueside’ by Schwartzman’s band, Rooney). Suddenly, Mia rides in on her scooter to check up on her car, and it doesn’t take long until Michael tilts his head slightly to catch a glimpse of her. Like anyone with a crush, he immediately notices when Mia is nearby, way before both the makeover and the princess reveal.

While it feels like Michael’s affection mostly goes unnoticed, it still feels obvious that there’s something between them. Evidence of this can be found in the way he looks at her, in a lovingly and adoring way, and, without thinking twice about it, offering to pick up extra shifts just to help pay off the bill for the repairs on her 1966 Mustang Convertible. When he finally dares to ask her to hang out — right before it’s revealed that Mia is a princess — they both seem nervous, as they’re too scared to have eye contact with each other for too long. Their body language is equally nervous and playful, and they can’t help but bump lightly into each other as they walk side by side. Mia asks if it’s a date and Michael, like a majority of other characters before and after him, smiles and says no even though it seems obvious that that’s what they both want. 

Mia’s Princess transformation. Disney.

As a part of her princess lessons, Mia is required to go through a makeover, to appear more like what people expect a princess to look like. The makeover is a common trope in teen films and they usually exist as a way for characters to either get popular or attract the attention of someone special. While the basis of Mia’s physical change has nothing to do with either of those reasons, the makeover itself still implies a questionable message. As she goes from bushy brows, glasses and curly hair to straight hair, contacts and more visible makeup, it’s important to mention that these changes have less to do with Mia’s actual capability to eventually rule a country and more to do with outdated beauty standards. 

Michael is the first one to see Mia after her transformation, and even though he always found her attractive, he’s speechless. Michael’s reaction is one that makes Mia smile, in both a confident and blushing way. However, Mia’s excitement is quickly put on pause as her best friend Lilly (Heather Matarazzo) disapproves, secretly fearing that Mia is about to abandon her in favour of the popular crowd. As Lilly keeps going with her unsolicited comments, Michael disagrees with her and when Lilly calls Mia’s change weird, Michael emphasises that it’s an “attractive weird.” 

Everyone should be allowed to find what makes them feel confident, and even though the makeover wasn’t Mia’s choice, she finds something she likes without ever making the makeover change all of her. While Mia at first seems unsure about her change (Lilly’s initial comments and some teasing from the popular kids throws her off a little), it feels like she gets more confident as she starts adapting the changes to fit with what she feels comfortable in (for instance, she continues to wear her Dr. Martens and doesn’t always wear a lot of visible makeup). 

While most people have opinions about Mia’s change, the real shift in how people treat her comes after it’s revealed that she’s a princess. Suddenly popular girl Lana (Mandy Moore) lies to the press about being Mia’s best friend, and Mia’s longtime crush Josh (Erik von Detten) starts noticing her. However, neither of them care about Mia’s appearance. Instead, they care about her fame and what they can gain from it. Josh, who has a lifetime supply of hair gel in his locker along with a copy of a magazine called ‘Yachting’ (yeah, he’s that guy), tells newly popular Mia that he hates “phoney publicity-seekers” while inviting her to the upcoming beach party. In the end, it’s clear that the version of Josh Mia had in her imagination was better than the real deal as their date ends terribly: Instead of helping a distressed Mia when the paparazzi show up, Josh decides to kiss her to get his fifteen minutes of fame. 

When Mia cancels her plans with Michael to hang out with Josh at the aforementioned beach party, he’s disappointed. When you’re a teenager you often feel very strongly, like everything is a matter of life or death, no matter how trivial it might be. Therefore, from Michael’s point of view, it doesn’t matter that Mia didn’t do anything wrong when she cancelled: Michael still feels rejected because the cancellation implies that she would rather spend time with Josh instead of with him. When Mia later invites Michael to the Genovian Independence Day Ball, he declines the invitation, as he doesn’t seem to think that it’s sincere. “I really want you to be the one I share it with,” Mia says in vain. It isn’t until Mia sends him an apology pizza with colourful M&M’s spelling out “SORRY” that he decides to reevaluate his decision. While I’m sceptical (at best) when it comes to M&M’s as an acceptable topping, the gesture feels much more meaningful than so many others before it. There’s no pressure, just an apology to hopefully mend things. Additionally, it’s their special thing and, you know, M(ia)&M(ichael). 

A foot-popping kiss. Disney.

In the end, everything comes together beautifully, as Michael surprises Mia at the ball. When they share a private moment, he asks her why she chose him, to which she responds, “Because you saw me when I was invisible.” To have someone who sees you for everything you are is maybe above all affirmation that you’re alive and exist. At the beginning of the film, Mia repetitively felt like she didn’t exist, as people either couldn’t remember her, or weren’t even aware of her presence (“Somebody sat on me again”). Then, after her transformation, people like Josh and Lana only saw her for her status. However, with Michael, makeovers or tiaras are irrelevant; he always liked Mia, even when she didn’t herself. 

In The Princess Diaries, the romance between Mia and Michael isn’t the most important part of the film or Mia’s life, but it’s still always there bubbling underneath the surface. It’s present in revealing body language, facial expressions and longing gazes as a fitting reminder to everyone who ever spent their teenage years pining after someone from a distance. While Mia chooses Michael, she also chooses herself. Despite the royal shenanigans, Mia was still a relatable teenager as she was searching for an identity and purpose. In the end, she’s much more comfortable in her own skin and recognises that she’s capable of doing so much more than she initially thought she was. As Mia and Michael dance together at the ball in a way that’s far from formal, Mia brings her goofy moves into the proper dance halls despite what her previous lessons taught her. It’s a celebratory moment, a reminder of how important it’s to never neglect yourself for someone else’s comfort.

Someone she can be herself with. Disney.

While Michael never appeared in the sequel — he was written off as being busy on tour with his band, which actually was what Schwartzman was doing at the time — we’ll always have the first film. Even though Mia and Michael’s romance is much more innocent in comparison with other teen-oriented films, I enjoy the variety. Besides, isn’t everything leading up to the kiss sometimes just as exciting as the kiss itself? Just remember, in a world filled with Joshes who only notice you when they have something to gain, find a Michael that likes you just as you are with no ulterior motives. Your equivalent of Michael might potentially give you a foot-popping kiss after all.

Rebecca Rosén is a writer from Sweden. She thinks it’s better if you care a little bit too much about what you’re watching than not at all. You can follow her on Twitter @rebeccaroseen.