You thought it was just a comedy about four horny high school boys trying to lose their virginity, including one boy who practices on a pastry, right? Actually, it’s a comedy about the complete loss of privacy in a world of the Internet and cell phones. The key scene isn’t the one with the violated dessert, it’s the one where Jim (Jason Biggs) brings home Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) with the intention of filming their tryst on his webcam. Instead, he winds up capturing his own humiliation as the encounter ends prematurely (twice!) and webcasting it to the entire world.
This scene marks not just a supreme moment of public embarrassment for Jim – one that gave rise to a whole universe of TV and movie cringe comedy – but also the death of privacy as we’d come to know it throughout human history. And the killer? Not the government, not corporations, but a bunch of ordinary, tech-savvy kids, including the one who enabled his own moment of infamy. It’s a prescient moment – even before the age of party pics on Instagram, consumer preferences exploited on Facebook, and sexting and selfies on smartphones, American Pie recognized that we no longer had any reasonable expectation of privacy, that we were all spying on each other’s most intimate secrets, and that we might as well enjoy the show.