Home » The Movie Clueless Made A Boneheaded Mistake About Jeeps And I Have To Tell You About It Because I Just Can’t Take It Anymore

The Movie Clueless Made A Boneheaded Mistake About Jeeps And I Have To Tell You About It Because I Just Can’t Take It Anymore

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I was recently watching the movie Clueless with my girlfriend and, man, I freakin’ love that film. The main character, Cher — played by the inimitable Alicia Silverstone — is so kind and thoughtful and likable while at the same time being totally aloof. And it’s a great flick if you want to see some of your favorite actors as kids — actors like Donald Faison, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, the late Brittany Murphy, and on and on — and it’s also a great movie for Jeep YJ fans, because it prominently features a white 1994 Jeep Wrangler. Sadly, right out of the gate, the movie makes a boneheaded mistake.

In the clip below at about 2:06, 18-year-old Cher acts as narrator to introduce the viewer to her life. “Did I show you the loc’d-out Jeep daddy got me? It’s got four-wheel drive, dual side airbags, and a monster sound system!” she squeaks.

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She then admits she doesn’t have a license and hilariously decimates a potted plant on the side of the road.

But don’t let that hilarity distract you from that obvious error you just heard. Let’s ignore the term “loc’d-out,” because that’s not a thing and was never a thing (OK, apparently in the rap scene it was for a bit, and my friend from the Valleys says it was there, as well). Let’s instead focus on the features Cher claimed her Jeep had. Four-wheel drive? Yes, the Jeep had that. A monster sound system? Definitely not from the factory, but if you look closely at the YJ in the movie, you can see that the vehicle has been retrofitted with some huge speakers on the “Family-style” roll cage that became standard in 1992:

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The error that bothers me so much is Cher’s claim that the Jeep has “dual side airbags.” Because it’s not even remotely close to true! The 1994 Jeep Wrangler didn’t offer a single airbag. Not a passenger front airbag, not a driver front airbag, no knee airbag, no side torso airbags, no side curtain airbags — nothing, zero. That’s right: Cher, a notoriously terrible teenage driver, was putting both herself and her friend Dionne at risk driving this top-heavy, airbagless deathtrap.

In fact, Jeep Wranglers didn’t offer any airbags until 1997, when the TJ became the first Jeep ever to go from offering no airbags to offering dual front airbags:

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1997 Jeep Wrangler; the first Jeep Wrangler with front airbags. (no side airbags) Image: Cars & Bids

What’s so sad is that the “dual side airbags” Cher claims her Jeep has weren’t offered until 2007, and didn’t become standard equipment until 2018! So, given that the movie debuted in 1995, this claim that a Jeep Wrangler came with dual side airbags was off by at least 11 years (2007 Wranglers came out in 2006)!

This is an egregious mistake, and one that I’m sure movie critics around the world pointed out, docking at least a full star out of five from their reviews. And I get why; it’s such a pointless blunder. Why would the writers of such an otherwise great film make such an unforced error? Why would they say the YJ Wrangler has any airbags, much less dual side ones, which were extremely rare at the time even on luxury cars? The writers could have said any number of things; they could have pointed out the Jeep’s rare chrome package, which looked awesome. They could have noted the powerful four-liter engine. They could have pointed out cruise control.

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OK, I’ll admit that there aren’t a ton of luxury-ish features to mention that would have stood out, as the Jeep Wrangler YJ is rather spartan, but you can’t just make stuff up! That’s going to get you called out on a car blog 29 years later, and trust me, you do not want that

Anyway, for reading this short rant of mine, I’ll gift you with the wonderfully entertaining DMV-test clip shown above. “Should I leave a note?”

Images: Screenshots from Clueless/Paramount Pictures

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Noahwayout
Noahwayout
4 days ago

There’s another 90’s film with a line about dual side airbags but this time it was accurate. The 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You has a line in which David Krumholtz’s character is trying to pick up a girl at a party with the line “You know, I’m thinking about getting a Tercel. Yeah, that’s a Toyota. It has dual side airbags and a spacious back seat.”

Bimmerphile?
Bimmerphile?
10 days ago

I love reading this site but have never registered, however I just had to because David (my dear friend) you are wrong about something.

Cher’s age is not 18 but rather (gasp!) 15. Which is why she had her permit and hadn’t yet taken her license test until later in the movie. It comes up when she meets Tai and Cher asks Tai how old she is. Tai says “I’ll be 16 in May” and Cher’s reply is “My birthday’s in April, and as someone older…” – the joke here being that she’s only older by a month.

Funny enough, when I went to register, the confirmation email said “Welcome to The Autopian! We’re so grateful to have you here. Please click the link below to get into the comments and tell us why David is wrong about something.” How did it know?

Love the article though, Clueless is one of my all time favorites if you can’t tell.

One genius scene of dialogue that says so much about Cher’s outlook on life is the scene in the kitchen when she upsets the maid Lucy right before her driving test:

Cher:
We got another notice from the fire department saying we have to clear out the bush. You said you were going to get Jose to do it.

Lucy:
He your gardener. I don’t know why you don’t tell him.

Cher:
Lucy, you know I don’t speak Mexican.

Lucy:
I not a Mexican! [storms off]

Cher:
Great, what was that all about?

Josh:
Lucy’s from El Salvador.

Cher:
So?

Josh:
It’s an entirely different country.

Cher:
Oh, what does that matter?

Josh:
You get upset if someone thinks you live below Sunset.

Cher:
So it’s my fault, everything’s always my fault!

– the fact that she says “speak Mexican” and that she gets upset when someone thinks she lives south of Sunset Blvd (I.e. less fancy, not in the hills) but has no idea why it would hurt the maid’s feelings to insinuate she’s from a different country than she actually is and say “why does that matter?” is pure gold!

Shifting Queers
Shifting Queers
10 days ago

I had this exact conversation with a friend, who is not a car person, and he pointed out that her bragging about “dual side airbags” was simply one of the first indications in the film about how “Clueless” Cher is.

Blew my mind. Grew up loving this film and had never thought about it that way!

Randomguy101
Randomguy101
11 days ago

David, the name of the movie is Clueless. It’s part of her character to be clueless.

Ben Chia
Ben Chia
11 days ago

I bet it was a ‘trendy’ thing. Side airbags were a luxury novelty back in the mid-90s and they just wanted to mention it to look ‘cool’, regardless of whether it was true or not.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
11 days ago

Ah yes. I always thought it was funny that the dad was trying to keep her SAFE by buying a YJ. I mean it was safer than a CJ but certainly not safer than an average car of the time. An XJ or ZJ would have been a much safer option.

Laurence Rogers
Laurence Rogers
11 days ago

Mr David N. Tracy, as an Aussie Bogan I have used in a sentence the term ‘loc’d out’, so please do not claim it doesn’t or didn’t exist.

The seminal ‘Ain’t Nuthin But A G Thang’ by Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre contains the lyric:
‘Ain’t nothin’ but a G thang, baby
Two loc’ed out n####s so we’re crazy’

Goffo Sprezzatura
Goffo Sprezzatura
12 days ago

Had the same thought when my wife played this on the other night. Dual side airbags? Where?

Last edited 12 days ago by Goffo Sprezzatura
BOSdriver
BOSdriver
12 days ago

Pretty sure I saw this movie at the drive in as a double header along with Babe, Pig in the City. I have seen parts of it since then but at no time as younger me or now present me would I ever thought/think that Clueless would have been the forum to expect correct car knowledge, especially when publications that are written and produced exclusively for cars can’t even get the facts correct 100% of the time. Seems like some minor things to gripe about and if you were watching that movie for cars I guess you really missed the point.

David Radich
David Radich
12 days ago

Is it more egregious than in pretty much every movie/tv that features a column shift and the car drives around in park?
And don’t get me started on the show with the worlds most famous TJ wrangler (that was a YJ in the pilot) there’s a bug fuse about Lorelei driving Luke’s truck and it being a stick. “Haha I can’t figure out the gear pattern” and then in every scene featuring his truck it’s a column shift auto… any other Gilmore girls fans here? No? Just me? Ok I’ll go now

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
11 days ago
Reply to  David Radich

Ugh. My sisters were obsessed with that show.

David Cuccia
David Cuccia
12 days ago

Feminine pronouns may have mocking, but not necessarily misogynistic undertone or MOPAR accuracy.

Brockstar
Brockstar
12 days ago

Wait! I’m pretty sure she’s rocking some Bose 151’s on the roll bar. That’s pretty clever for the time. I looked and I guess they were pretty commonly used on larger boats before wake tower systems became the new thing.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
10 days ago
Reply to  Brockstar

I noticed that too. My dad had a pair of those on our front porch back in the day.

BobWellington
BobWellington
12 days ago

Also a great example of why bike lanes need protection!

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
12 days ago

I think maybe this was written for Cher to say so she seems clueless about cars but also bragging about shit she doesn’t know about to seem cool

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
12 days ago

The real story here is that DT finally had his pop culture awakening, and it was brought about by.Clueless.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
12 days ago

Pretty solid place to start, honestly.

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
12 days ago

Put two Jeep owners in the front seats and ask them about Jeeps. There’s your airbags.

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