Eighth Grade Starring Billy Madison

When spoiled rich man-boy Billy Madison (Adam Sandler) from the eponymous feature film has to go back to school to prove to his father he’s capable of walking and chewing bubblegum at the same time, he gets life advice from the vlogs created by Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) from Bo Burnham’s indie hit Eighth Grade. But can Billy listen? Viewers will have to tune in to find — no, no he cannot listen.

Billy is trademark Billy Madison, and, despite Kayla’s best efforts to convey (actually good) advice, he continues to pee his pants, do science on heavy-soled boots, and speak in a gibberish language to dinner guests.


Looking at Billy Madison today, and knowing how under-appreciated our teachers are, one thing that stands out that’s only hinted at in the original film is just how much the teachers in Billy’s orbit would be working to either A) make his life a living hell (rightly so) or B) incept him in some way to do some overdue good for the school and the community (also rightly so).

Hard to say which path I’d take. Both are tempting. I mean, if I were an under-compensated, over-worked teacher and some twenty-seven-year-old rich kid were in my class so he could inherit the millions that his father earned over a lifetime, it would be mighty compelling to band together with other teachers and try to get this guy to cry hot hot tears every day before lunch period. I’d be up all night on military subreddits learning the worst drill instructor epithets. I would assign a lot of word problems.

But then again, it’s a golden opportunity to reform someone who could actually make a difference. Imagine if our 1% really cared about our teachers. Would be kind of a beautiful thing.



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