When Juno was released in 2007, it gained recognition, in part because of the unique new writing style developed by Diablo Cody. While I do admire Cody, and some of her writing is appealing, much of the dialogue in Juno comes off as unrealistically quirky, or forced. Juno’s use of slang is particularly hard to digest, as it seems far-fetched for a young Midwestern teen girl to develop a new vernacular, unlike that of current trends. While viewing the film in class, it started to seem to me that Cody, or Fox Searchlight - Twentieth Century Fox’s “independent” sub-division - was trying, (too hard) to redefine contemporary teen slang. What also became apparent to me, was that in addition to the use of the quirky slang, the film made oddly specific references and name-drops to certain “hip” and “obscure” elements of pop-culture; notably: 90s punk band The Melvins, 60s and 70s horror/exploitation director Herschell Gordon Lewis, and, from the sequence in these two frames depicted above - a Gibson Les Paul guitar. While the guitar is in fact a Les Paul, I do not understand the need for the specific name-dropping within the film. The scene would have made just as much sense, (and flowed better, in my opinion) if Juno had simply said:
"Uh… Whoa! You play guitar?"
This line expresses almost exactly what Juno is saying with her line, but without the use of a specific guitar name. The way that the scene is written appears to me to be trying to reach out, and appeal to a certain demographic - teenagers who play guitar, or are in bands, and would recognize the name Les Paul. However, the line falls flat, because it feels forced.
Upon viewing the credits, we see that “The Producers wish to thank: Gibson Guitars”, thus, it is revealed that this was specific product placement, which further proves the point that the film is not independent, and that Fox is receiving money from Gibson, or vice versa. With this knowledge, the line is clearly “forced” as it it written specifically for the purpose of product placement, and thus, unrealistically represents the speech of a teenage girl who would actually be interested in the guitar.