From Nerd to Stud Through the Power of Sport

The 1985 film Teen Wolf directed by Rod Daniel explores the life of a teenage nerd turned stud. At first, Scott Howard is portrayed as a “loser” in the sense that he is not popular and does not fit in with teen-wolfanyone except for his one friend Boof. Scott plays basketball for his high school team but is terrible at it. As the movie progresses, Scott along with his father turn into werewolves. As Scott watches his father turn, his father informs him that it runs in the family and that he should not worry about it. His father then goes onto telling him that they have super human abilities. With this in mind, Scott thinks he will become more of a loser when people find out about him turning into a hairy beast. During a basketball game, Scott shifts into werewolf form unexpectedly and begins to produce at an elite level. Scott immediately becomes popular while also receiving immediate attention from his dream girl Pamela. As Scott becomes more and more popular, he becomes more egocentric driven. Scott’s father advises him to stop taking advantage of his powers and to stop being someone he is not. Scott takes this to heart when he unleashes his powers out of anger on Pamela’s boyfriend at a school dance. After this happens, Scott decides to play as himself and not use his powers in the final basketball game. Instead of Scott scoring every play, the Beavers win as a team. While all this is happening to Scott, his best friend Boof becomes completely forgotten by Scott as he let his popularity blind him from himself and the people that care about him.


Thesis: In Teen Wolf, Rod Daniel portrays Scott as the typical high school nerd who is un-athletic and unpopular. When Scott turns into a werewolf, he becomes athletic and therefore becomes popular. Rob Daniel uses the sporting culture within American society as a symbol of power (in this case power is popularity). Having athletic ability automatically means you are popular which is ironic because this idea holds to be true within high school teen culture where athletes are put on a god-like pedestal of greatness. Furthermore, Daniel uses Scott shifting into werewolf form as a symbol of not being oneself in order to fit in and be “cool”. He emphasizes the importance of remaining true to oneself at the very end when Scott rallies the team as himself and not the werewolf.


Topic Sentence 1: American culture places such a big emphasis on sport so much that it determines whether or not someone is popular or not. Going off that, ones athletic ability defines you as a person in high school culture.


Topic Sentence 2: Daniel uses Scott shifting into a werewolf as a symbol of trying to fit in through sport. Without an emphasis on basketball, Scott’s shape shifting powers would be meaningless and therefore have no effect on his overall popularity within high school.


Topic Sentence 3: Daniel also uses Scott shifting into a werewolf to bring out the underlying theme of not being oneself in order to fit in and be popular. Scott loses track of the people that care about him and becomes a completely different person when he is in wolf form.

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