Just One Of The Guys 1985 and Cynthia Blair’s Marshmallow Masquerade – 80′s babes pull a Tootsie!

When I was 12 , VCR mania caused movie
rentals to seep into each and every general store with
racks and shelves offering up the latest offal. I say this
because one cornerstore seemed to have no cinema savvy
and ordered anything. Cheesy horrors , sexplotation
even Asian karate movies with subtitles! For months me and
my friends giggled over the cover of Just one of the Guys
daring one another to rent it. One day my friend accepted
the dare ( her parents were out ) and we piled into her
living room , lay before her behemoth console t.v. and
chewing our junk food, laughed with near hysteria
( spewing bits of Doritos ) over Joyce Hyser’s
antics namely a girl masquerading as a boy. And why not –
It’s a great idea – who wouldn’t want to dress like a boy
and infiltrate their turf? It’s been done so many times on
screen with even the boys having their chance to done
a dress and pull a Tootsie it’s hard for a movie to stand out
from the pack – what’s the secret to success? Possibly
a woman director. With the rise in teen exploitation or
should I say sexploitation films it was an idea ripe for re-plucking.
Imagine what you could do? Why the poster and Vhs cover
just about sums up the producers hopeful ideal for the movie
– an androgynous girl amid the flurry of a boys locker room
coyly covers her breasts with two football helmets. Ha. Ha.

But this, thankfully, is about as raunchy as the film gets
– forgoing Terry’s horny little brother Buddy and his wallpaper
of shame. Here he is digging porn out of his trunk –

( I have to admit I do love Billy Jacoby – he’s
such a meatball here!)
The director doesn’t want the heroine to become
another dimwitted babe who shows her breasts at every
oportune moment – nor does she flip the coin and show
oodles of male flesh- she wants an even keel. A teen
Tootsie. A movie that may appear tasteless but actually isn’t.

The plot is simple Terry a fashionable senior is hoping she will
win a summer scholarship to work writing for a local newspaper ,
however her composition isn’t picked to represent the school
and she overhears her teachers talking about her great legs.
Convinced she’s a victim of sexism – despite the teachers
attempts to inform her that her writing is dry – Terry gets
it into her head – if only she were a boy. Chopping off her
hair and donning her brothers army rags she practices
scratching her tube sock ( what’s filling out her jeans ) and
walking like a jive talking hipster.

After enrolling in a new school Terry resubmits her
piece only to discover it’s even drier now that she’s
a guy! Not ready to throw in the gym towel yet , Terry
discerns what she’s doing would be the perfect subject
for a worthy article and stays the course. From then on
she meets a shy quiet doofus Rick –

– whose yearning to ask out the
school’s most beautiful babe Deborah ( a chirpy but nice doll )
who of course is dating the schools most hostile bully Greg
( played by everyone’s favorite thug William Zabka of Karate
Kid’s fame.)

Deciding to help him out , Terry gives Rick a make over
and boosts his confidence
– while he in turn tries to fix
him/her up with a persistent girl whose chasing
the mythical-boy Terry. Sherilyn Fenn whose simply
gorgeous here!

To complicate things girl-Terry has a steady boyfriend
and he isn’t the typical cliched creep. His faults are
rather minor – liking Terry the way she is , enjoying her
babeliciousness and dismissing her ambition only selfishly
( he wants to spend the summer with her.)

The laughs when they come aren’t the usual gross outs
– in fact some of the best moments are pretty subtle
one of my favorites is after Rick gets spaghetti sauce
dumped over his new duds by Greg and retreats
to the washroom with Terry to clean up. Terry
bemoaning the destruction of the new outfit and
that he looked so nice – her voice though still in
boy-Terry mode allows a bit of girl-Terry tenderness
to seep in as she carefully flicks off a couple of
strands of spaghetti from his shoulder before running
her fingers through Rick’s hair to straighten a stray lock.
Rick doesn’t overreact but gives a warning look of
what are you doing? that quickly shoves Terry back
into guy mode. Simple but terrific.

I mean if you contrast this scene with the overtly
slapstick scene in the new ‘version’ of this movie –
She’s the Man with Amanda Bynes as Viola/Sebastian and
Channing Tatum as Duke. It is beyond cliche – She slips
into girl mode with a screech of terror over a bug and hops
up onto a bed ( typical.) Even if you want to call the guys
reaction to screech in terror and join her as being atypical,
the scene, in fact all of the scenes, smack with the
knowledge that ‘Sebastian’ is a girl. She never
really creates a convincing male character , and it never
seems to be an extension of her own character Viola ( but
that in itself is hard to pinpoint they’re all rather gross
caricatures ) whereas Terry as both guy and girl are really
the same person (only briefly does she resort to a male
stereotype) most often, however she is herself. I think
that’s the difference between both movies
– Just one of the guys pretends to be exploitive ,
crude and it does have some moments, yet there
is a gentleness to it – when Terry tries to convince
Rick she’s a girl she drags him to a secluded spot and
flashes her breasts at him before turning away and
buttoning her shirt. In the new movie the real Sebastian
(James Kirk – Amanda Bynes in the movie has taken her
brother’s identity ) drops his pants on the soccer field
for the entire school and spectators and families to see.
Though the viewers don’t see anything there is
something much cruder about this scene than Joyce
Hyser’s quick flash.

Terry is a great character and Joyce Hyser makes us
believe in her abilty to pull off a dual identity. She’s trendy as
both Terry’s, determined , kind , tolerant of her brother’s obvious
sexism while to her belief is currently a victim of it.
Amanda Bynes in She’s the Guy is harder to peg , she’s a snarling
chipmunk , a girl made to appear a sloppy tomboy
, yet, I didn’t buy it for a second – now Julie Harris
was a tomboy all spunk and flyaway hair, Viola With her
meticulously coiffed hair , trendy clothes
and perfect accessories , her chomping food and lack
of manners seem to be a matter of plot maneuver ( manure )
rather than character – she seems to be trying to annoy
people which makes her motives suspect. Since we can’t
get a handle on her as a girl she’s even harder
to grasp as a boy – though in that retrospect she never
does pull off this feat – even the sidelong looks of her
roommates attest to the only web ‘Sebastian’ can weave is
that of a chittering homosexual. Which makes a viewer
wonder in this day and age , why did the writers bother
to prove her to be portraying a straight guy?… to cement
the friendship with the jocks I suppose. ( Don’t get me
wrong I watched She’s the Man and I enjoyed it but
I found it hyper focusing more on sheer cartoon action
rather than an unfolding story. )

There are two interesting themes in Just one of the Guys
causing it to rise above the usual teen trash. One is the fact that
as we are watching Clayton Rohner emerge from shy-nerd to

You'll wish I'd given you the finger!

confident-hunk and his goal of gaining the popular girl for
himself is being realized, only, not in the way that
he assumes – we’re aware that when he turns to his new
best friend Terry and discovers she’s a girl
– the girl for him – his dream will not be dashed one iota.

Think about it – Though Deborah is the chirpy, nice, popular
girl , beautiful and stylish – so is Terry. He will still get the
dream girl, better yet – she was already his best friend.
Another theme is the transition of how we view the nerds.

At the beginning Terry’s best friend pretty but ordinary
Denise is annoyed at how perfect Terry’s life is when she
can’t even get a date for the prom and
must brush off persistent nerds – we the viewers don’t blame
her. Then at the new school Terry laughs at the alien
impersonating nerds in homeroom ( I think they’re supposed
to be from Ork as in Mork’s Ork ) , smiles as
the creature loving nerd who comes out of the boys
showers tugging his pet lizard on a leash another laugh,
and befriends shy-nerd Rick. At the end of the movie after
once-nerd Clayton Rohner ( Rick ) stands up to the resident
bully whose speciality is tipping lunch tables and spilling food ,
the nerds have had their day emerging with a breath of confidence.
The alien impersonators come in full ork-inspired duds to the
prom , Rick Dances with boy Terry in a freewheeling footloose
manner ( usually reserved for popular types ) , and the geek who at
the beginning of the movie was brushed off by Terry’s friend
now finds the guts to approach Terry. The scene is after
Terry returns to school , her short hair made Sassoon trendy ,
still very much popular and seemingly unapproachable but the
geek steps forward and asks her out. Terry turns him down
of course ( she already has her nerd ) – but not as her
friend did – she longer sees him as a pesky geek , just a guy.
And the geek well , though disappointed is still buoyed by
the knowledge that he could ask her without fear
of rejection that a social boundary had crumbled
at least for Terry.

Teen fiction decided to try on this Tootsie theme
several times, most notably in the Pratt Twin series – The
Marshmallow Masquerade by Cynthia Blair. Love that title! So
grab a cup of cocoa, floating, two fat marshmallows and
savor the fun –
‘”Do you know what we need?” Beth said suddenly
excited. “We need a spy. Someone to find out for the female
population, once and for all, what boys are all about.”’ Thus
starts the Pratt twins latest escapade – the Marshmallow
masquerade an idea germinated over cocoa during a slumber
party when, as par the course, the conversation turns to boys.
While Chris laments the sluggish progress of what could be a
romance between her and hunky Scott who hasn’t even asked her
to the upcoming Homecoming Dance , Susan has her own
romantic snaggle of how to snare the interest of older boy
Michael. Before the weekend can come to an end Susan
is convincing Chris to pretend to be their fake cousin Charlie
who has come for a visit.

Christine unsure of the magnitude of pulling off this prank
decides to go for it , this way she can find out what makes
boys tick and possibley fanangle some romantic intervention
for her and Scott. Before she can even start the impersonation
Chris is amazed at the difference between boys and girls
just in the shopping (Charlie afterall needs some
killer threads ). Chris , who wants to buy a pink sweater is
urged by Susan not to – that’s probably why it’s on sale, no
boy would be caught dead in pink. Now hold it right there.
Just one of the Guys was 1985 , and Marshmallow Masquerade
was published two years later – 1987 the same year Can’t
buy me love , The Lost Boys and Three for the Road came
out. Even if those title don’t juggle any memories – I can
say for a fact that the girls bemoaning the boys not being
allowed to have any color in their wardrobe accept for dark
tones really doesn’t jive with that particularly time – pastels
were in , crazy prints were in, no matter if you were a prep
or new wave one peek at a Sears Catalog spread would
show you guys in yellow and orange and lime green. I knew
of several boys who wore pink items – one a day-glo pink
sweater over his shirt which became his school photo outfit,
others wore pink or lavender sneakers , even bright
suspenders. This was perhaps the most relaxed decade
for color! Here is a clipping from a knitting mag circa late 80’s.

Still hunky in pink!

The only point the girls make that I can agree
with is that boy babies couldn’t be dressed in pink
without people being baffled – the rest of their argument
however baffles me – ‘“…for the rest of my life, I’m going
to be reminded of the fact that it’s okay for girls to wear
clothes that people associate with boys – things like
sneakers and plaid flannel shirts and jeans and even
the color blue – but if boys ever try wearing ‘girl’ things,
people laugh at them! Everyone accepts the fact that
girls are allowed to try being more like boys , but there’s
something funny about the idea of boys trying to be
more like girls!”’ Considering Christine and Susan are
specifically discussing clothes at this moment
I’m not sure if they’re getting ahead of themselves –
with the boys trying to be like girls ( as in
cooking , or cleaning or showing tenderness ) or if
we’re still sticking with the clothing bit – boys trying
on pantyhose and silk blouses – I mean we already
gave them leopard print bikini briefs what more do they
want? This seems like a point going above and beyond.
I’ll give you the color issue – some men look splendid in
pink and lavender! But as for the rest kilts and bikini
briefs is as far as I’ll even entertain that issue! The girls
however don’t feel too sorry for the boys after all they
concede they don’t have to worry about make-up or
high heels! Amen to that.

Kicking the disguise into full gear , Christine
takes one for the cause by having her hair lopped off at
the barber shop, they raid her father’s trunk in the attic
for a jacket , done a pair of glasses and voila – instant Charlie.
( P.S. That name always – when applied to a girl makes me think
of the 80’s and Charlie perfume ads! ) The next day they are
picked up by Christine’s bestfriend Holly who shockingly doesn’t
spot the disguise and even flirts a little. Say what?! Chris is startled
– especially when, as this is becoming a social experiment, she
realizes that if she were a boy, she’d be feeling pretty bad
after Holly learns ‘he’ won’t be staying long and brushes
him off. Are the girls, she wonders, as guilty as the boys?

The book continues to toy with this question as
Christine discovers that being a boy isn’t half as mysterious
as what girls must appear to boys – that they’re both a
product of learned behavior – albeit some of the arguments
are hinged more on stereotypes. Like when Chris as Charlie
befriends Scott she feels pressured into liking sports ( without
remembering – it’s she who’s after Scott – Charlie might not
have wanted to make friends with a jock.) Scott is after all
captain of the basketball team! And speaking of learned
behavior the most obvious unstated revelation is why must
a cheerleader chase after the captain of the basketball

Enter the school nerd Peter Blake ( whose similar to ? In Just
one of the Guys ) he is interested in animals , is considerate and
proud of his mom , and sticks up for the new guy Charlie.
Scott whose quickly losing his gloss is shown to be rude
and chauvinistic not only to his mother but girls in
general and seems focused more on his own achievements
than on anything else. Christine is beginning to realize
that the change must come from herself and if any
learned behavior is to be abolished it’s the ostracizing
of the nerd.

The book is lightweight and funny – of course Christine
winds up with Peter , and even allows ‘Charlie’ to play
matchmaker for her sister Sooz who gets Michael her
older hunk. It culminates at a get-together before
the Homecoming dance when over chips and dips the
guys wish that Charlie had been able to come to the
dance – never guessing that the twins who now bare
short matching haircuts , had pulled the wool over
their eyes. Coming full circle the girls help the guys
on with their coats – who laugh pleased, even they like
the little niceities.

Marshmallow Masquerade had some similarities
with Just one of the Guys other than it’s obvious theme,
mainly a bully- In Just one of the Guys a bully targets Terry
briefly – and pretty much leaves her alone until Rick starts
chasing his girl. In Marshmallow Masquerade Christine as
Charlie is targeted by bully Eddie McKay simply because
he’s the new kid , like Terry in Just one of the guys he’s
called names – mostly Wimp ( Terry is called a little
Tinkerbell.) Eddie demands Charlie to get out of his seat ,
accuses him of stealing his pen and when Chris terrified
tries to be reasonable, Eddie makes a date for a fight –
the usual Friday. Aloha Charlie , is Christine’s first response
until discovering not only does she want to fully play out
the scenario as a boy but that Charlie wouldn’t skip out on
this fight. But she cannot deny her own self. As Christine she
doesn’t believe in the fight it’s senseless and stands up
to Eddie – allowing if he wants to clobber him/her. Eddie
confused and angry calls him a wimp and stalks off. In
both stories, though it’s Rick that takes over the showdown
with the bully, each proves words are mightier than the fist
( although there is a slugfest at the prom and Terry is
dunked in the ocean.) Another similarity is the nerd theme
of course and this, the title!- woven into the story on
pg 46 –
‘Whoa – wait a minute! You’re not Chris…you’re Charlie,
remember? You’ve got to act as if you’re just one of the guys.
And as if Scott Stevens is just one of the guys.’
Pretty cool huh! As for the locker room theme well
Cynthia Blair kinda skated past that one –
her books are easygoing , no hanky panky – Christine
given a major opportunity didn’t even peek! Unlike Just one
of the Guys where Terry is made shower boy and stands
outside handing out towels to all the naked boys that pass!
She can and does check out her best friend Rick who greets
him/herwith a shy “nice to see you Terry” to which she
responds with a leering “nice to see you too!” Ha!

I love watching a dated movie and spotting,
fun, forgotten fashions or crazy decor – here’s a few I found in
Just one of the Guys – love these fuchsia pants

and the slashed look ,man! was that hard to pull off – by the
time you got everything ripped just right you had to be
extra careful when you washed it. Too many rips and
the pants were toast!

and I love Terry’s flashdance look here

This entry was posted in Pratt Twins and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Just One Of The Guys 1985 and Cynthia Blair’s Marshmallow Masquerade – 80′s babes pull a Tootsie!

  1. Anonna says:

    A pretty long post here, but full of interesting stuff. Maybe break it down with some subheads so readers get a break and can orient themselves to the content.

    I’d love to see you take a film and point out those longlost bits of the past — in this one I’d point out the fried bush hair do tied down with an enormous bow.

    Thank you for an interesting read.

    • peacharino says:

      Your right my posts can go on! – and I tried out the subheads on my Flowers in the attic post – but probably not enough. I just started with Live Writer which is easier to manipulate the tricks of fonts and stuff. I’d love to do more movie stuff it’s just trying to work it in! Thanks

  2. Danny Sansone Charlotte, NC 28262 says:

    I was in just one of the guys. I was the girl pretending to be a guy. I am a big deal in University area. My dad said I will run the world one day. I am going to get the white mustang with the red interior. I am super ghetto and love club MIxx. Me and Ricky do it doggy style all the time!

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