“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”
– Elle Woods
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Leanna here, coming at you with my third annual Birthday Super Munch post. I had a lot of fun with my first pick, but definitely felt some uneasiness with my second, so I really wanted to get the birthday train back on track this year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it’s really difficult revisiting movies you loved when you were younger because it introduces the possibility of it becoming a problematic favorite in your adult eyes. Legally Blonde was such a strongly rooted favorite of mine and one that my mom and I both enjoyed watching repeatedly, so I was feeling pretty confident it would be a safe and fun pick for us. Let’s see how it did.
The main idea here was making food that celebrated the main character’s, Elle Woods, signature color: pink. To add an additional constraint to it, I thought it would be fun to make foods that one might eat while in law school. You’re still a student so you’re eating on a student’s budget, but your tastes are probably a little more refined than they were in undergrad.
To start it off, we made a beet and ricotta hummus. The preparation was pretty similar to normal hummus, but before you throw chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and a few spices in a blender, you roast some beets first. The end result is absolutely stunning and tastes as good as it looks. We could totally picture Elle enjoying this healthy and delicious snack while perusing her textbooks.
Next, we attempted to bake some pink Montreal bagels served with cream cheese and lox. We replaced part of the water required with beet juice to produce the pink color, but unfortunately, it didn’t seem to stick. We blame the beet juice for preventing the bagels from fully rising and can only assume that the more natural color doesn’t hold up to high temperatures. Regardless, they still tasted pretty great would make a great grab-and-go breakfast as Elle made her way across campus to class.
Our final dish was strawberry cupcakes with a more modern glaze. Fortunately, these did hold their color even after their trip into the oven, and they were delicious to boot. The raspberry on top offered a nice bite of freshness and the tartness of the glaze was perfect for the moist cupcake. We could definitely see Elle armed with a basket of these on her way to the library to offer sustenance in exchange for a study buddy.
The drink was easy. We fully embrace the #roséallday lifestyle here at Munch, so we leaned into that for some cocktail inspiration. We went with a rosé Aperol spritz recipe that was light, refreshing, and the perfect way to take the edge off after a rough week of class. I would not be surprised if Elle and Paulette sipped these in the salon after-hours from time to time.
⚖️ Drink when you hear law terminology.
🗯 Drink when someone comments on Elle’s intelligence (positive or negative).
🐕 Drink when Bruiser is on screen.
Legally Blonde is the story of a woman who goes to law school for the wrong reasons but succeeds and stays for the right ones. After being dumped by her boyfriend Warner (Who has horrible hair, btw… Was this much hair gel ever cool?) because he needs to get serious before he goes to law school. Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) sets her sights on Harvard Law to join Warner and win him back. Although the reason for Elle’s mission is a little misguided, this is where the movie really takes off. Most notably:
Elle’s college counselor doesn’t discourage her or turn her down but gives her the materials she needs to succeed and wishes her luck in her future endeavors.
Her sorority sisters rally around her to help her study for the LSATs and celebrate her score when she passes.
When she arrives in Harvard, Elle surrounds herself with women who support each other and build each other up.
And when things get tough, it’s Harvard’s version of Professor McGonagall who convinces Elle not to give up on herself. Not Warner. Not one of the Wilson brothers.
To be honest, the movie quickly becomes more and more about one woman’s journey through law school and the female friends she makes along the way than about why she went there in the first place, and the movie is a whole lot better because of it.
That said, this movie is not without its flaws. Elle’s relationship with Vivian hardly feels realistic and feels like a forced way to infuse some extra drama into the movie. And don’t get us started about the the utter lack of consequence for Professor Callahan’s inappropriate actions.
Still, I actually enjoyed revisiting this movie and unlike other films I watched when I was younger, I’m glad this one was on that list. Elle Woods is pretty positive role model: she’s true to herself, she shows where hard work will get you, and she doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her dreams.
Want more? Listen to us talk about Legally Blonde on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.
André: Holds up. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have the highest hopes for Legally Blonde. I hadn’t seen it since it came out and remembered nothing about it. Unlike many comedies of its time, the humor stands the test of time (even if the fashion doesn’t) and it’s still fun to watch.
Leanna: 150 out of 179. I really enjoyed revisiting this film, and unlike a lot of movies we watch for Munch, I would probably be okay with watching it again. I found myself quoting the movie more than I would have expected as we watched, and Reese Witherspoon is just such a delight.
Ben: 80%. I was really surprised by Legally Blonde. It stood the test of time and was a fun, ridiculous romp. It excels at showing women in a variety of situations overcoming any hurdles in front of them and lifting each other up. But Legally Blonde is not without its flaws, and one of the more pernicious ones comes at a key moment for Elle and the movie as a whole. In the process of outing a gay man in court, the movie trades in on the worn-out trope of the gay man knowing fashion and fashion designers and because of that “he must be gay!” This ultimately means that it comes off as a comfortably gay man trading in his sexuality to help his employer get insurance money. This is confounded by the fact that movie gets mileage out of another trope, that of the firebrand, sexually-charged latino man. These mar what is otherwise a good movie, and definitely affected my experience watching the film, but with that in mind, I would still recommend Legally Blonde.