10 Things I Hate About You: 10 things we love to hate about this film

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Julia Stiles and Susan May Pratt in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Kat flashing her teacher

A lot of the events which happen in 10 Things I Hate About You which seem puzzling now can be explained away, but this scene is one which has confused me since the day I watched the film.

To put this scene in context: Patrick has detention and needs a way to sneak out of the classroom. Enter Kat. At first she makes a fair case for why Patrick shouldn’t be in detention in the first place (“there are far more hideous acts than off-key singing being performed by the student body on a regular basis”). When this line of action doesn’t work, Kat flashes Mr. Chaplin, the teacher on duty.

It’s a funny scene and definitely one which catches the audience off guard. The implication is that Kat is becoming a fun and spontaneous person because of her relationship with Patrick, and the flashing is part of her new relaxed persona.

There’s still something here which feels a bit off, though. It seems completely out of character for Kat to use her sexuality to get anyone, let alone Patrick, out of detention. Instead, it reminds us that Kat has this sexual currency: she might walk and talk like an uptight feminist, but she still has boobs, and she isn’t afraid to use them.

I also can’t help feeling kind of sorry for Mr. Chaplin here. This doesn’t look great for him either.