“Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn’t, as you well know. I realize that it was your divine hand that disqualified Tammy Metzler and now I’m asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong so that I may carry out your will on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.” — Tracy Flick, Election
It’s been 10 years since Alexander Payne’s Election introduced the world to Reese Witherspoon’s ruthless go-getter, and I’m not surprised that Tracy Flick has blossomed into a pop-cultural touchstone, even if Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin hadn’t emerged as political lightning rods. Everyone knew a Tracy Flick in high school. They also probably knew a dimwitted Paul Metzler (Chris Klein), a well-intentioned Mr. McAllister (Matthew Broderick), and a riled Principal Hendricks (Phil Reeves).
The anniversary reminds me how delicious it was to cast Ferris Bueller as the overmatched teacher, how five years is way too long to wait for another Alexander Payne feature (2004’s Sideways), and how I still owe every high school teacher I ever had a belated apology.
It also makes me wonder where Tracy Flick would be today. Would her luck have finally run out, a la someone like the scandal-implicated Monica Goodling, or would she be kicking butt as our gung-ho Secretary of State, making our days better because she can’t make them longer?