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15 Snappy Facts About Legally Blonde

Proving that she's no airhead, Elle Woods scored a near-perfect 179 on the LSAT, got into Harvard Law School, and changed the game in the process. Thanks to Reese Witherspoon and company, Legally Blonde—which was released 15 years ago today—was one of the first surprise critical and financial hits of the 21st century. Here are some facts about the movie that should interest you, even if you don’t know a Vanderbilt.

1. ELLE WAS NAMED AFTER THE MAGAZINE.

The film was based on the book of the same name by Amanda Brown, who spent her time at Stanford Law School reading copies of Elle and writing a bunch of letters back home, detailing the classmates to whom she didn’t relate. Brown later made a manuscript based on those letters and sent it to an agent, who was initially drawn to it because it was the only manuscript in the slush pile written on pink paper.

2. THE "OVESTER" LINE CAME FROM REAL LIFE.

Brown attended a meeting for The Women of Stanford Law, where she heard a woman say she spent three years at Stanford trying to change “semester” to “ovester.” Brown laughed ... but she was the only one.

3. THE TOILET PAPER VOTE WAS REAL, TOO.

Elle’s sorority group voting against the switch from Charmin to generic came from co-screenwriter Karen McCullah Lutz’s time as a sorority sister at James Madison University. Lutz offered her sisters activity points for stealing TP from the administration building.

4. CHLOË SEVIGNY TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF VIVIAN.

Selma Blair played Warner Huntington III’s law school girlfriend after Sevigny opted to take a part in a movie that filmed in Paris instead.

5. THE ACTRESS WHO PLAYED MARGOT HELPED THE ACTRESS WHO PLAYED SERENA GET THE PART.

Alanna Ubach stressed to Jessica Cauffiel—who was already cast as Margot—that she really needed the part, so Cauffiel told her to copy her movements during their screen test together and pretend that they hadn’t planned it together beforehand.

6. REESE WITHERSPOON STUDIED SORORITY BEHAVIOR TO PREPARE FOR HER ROLE.

Witherspoon went to dinner and took trips with sorority girls to Neiman Marcus and their USC and Stanford dorm rooms, paying attention to what they did and said.

7. STANFORD DIDN’T ALLOW FOR THEIR NAME TO BE USED IN THE MOVIE, BUT WAS THE STAND-IN FOR HARVARD LAW SCHOOL.

In Amanda Brown’s book, Elle attended USC before going to Stanford Law. Though neither USC nor Stanford would allow for their university to be associated with the movie, USC did allow shooting to take place on campus. UCLA declined the chance to replace USC as Elle's undergrad college, but also allowed filming on campus. (Elle went to the fictitious CULA in the movie.) Harvard has the opposite policies of Stanford, allowing usage of their name, but cited their long-standing rule of not permitting any commercial filming there to producers.

8. IT WAS ROBERT LUKETIC’S FIRST TIME DIRECTING A FEATURE FILM.

The Australian was “terrified” the night before day one of shooting, and couldn’t sleep. He got the job thanks to his short film Titsiana Booberini, which was about a mustached check-out girl who discovers hair remover.

9. MATTHEW DAVIS HAD A BIG CRUSH ON REESE WITHERSPOON.

The actor playing Warner had a thing for Witherspoon—whom he ruthlessly dumps in the movie—since he was 15 years old, and was such a “bumbling idiot” that producers had to make sure he was feeling okay on set. When he told the married Witherspoon his feelings for her, she professionally told him he was sweet for saying so and that they should get back to work.

10. DAVIS BASED WARNER HUNTINGTON III ON A FORMER PRESIDENT.

He read the autobiography of George W. Bush for research.

11. THE BACKGROUND ACTORS DURING THE OPENING CREDITS WERE REAL CALTECH FRAT BROTHERS CONDUCTING AN INITIATION RITE.

A mother explained to the Los Angeles Times that she spotted her son in a bathing suit covered with shortening and oil in the movie. Her son was involved in the game “Grease Frosh,” where two teams have a race to determine who can carry a freshman from one end of a field to another faster, while covered in grease. On that specific filmed contest, the team that wore absorbent pirate and clown costumes won.

12. THE ENDING WAS CHANGED BECAUSE OF TEST AUDIENCES.

Initially, the movie ended with Witherspoon and Luke Wilson kissing on the courthouse steps, then cutting to Elle Woods and Vivian forming a “Blonde Legal Defense Club.” Test audiences were too invested in what happened to Elle’s life to like that conclusion.

13. PARTS OF THE GRADUATION SCENE WERE SHOT IN LONDON, WITH WIGS.

To address test audience feedback on the ending, a graduation scene was added, set two years later. Because Witherspoon was in England working on her next project, parts of the scene were shot at Dulwich College in London, while some of the other actors were filmed back in California. Witherspoon was wearing a wig because she changed her hair for her role in The Importance of Being Earnest, as was Luke Wilson, who had shaved his head by then for The Royal Tenenbaums.

14. THERE WERE BROADWAY AND WEST END MUSICALS BASED ON THE MOVIE.

There was also a 2007 reality series on MTV to find the next actress to play Elle Woods for the Broadway show (MTV even aired an entire performance). Its London West End production lasted for three years after winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical.

15. A LEGALLY BLONDE PRODUCTION GOT AN OHIO DRAMA TEACHER FIRED IN 2012.

After the news got national attention, Loveland High School went ahead and allowed the musical to continue as planned.

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History
15 Funny Quips from Great American Humorists
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The art of social satire is a tough one, but a great humorist's keen observations, witticisms, and turns of phrase continue to ring true even decades later. "Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations," the musical comedian Victor Borge once noted. "There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth." (In other words, it's funny 'cause it's true.) Here are 15 more quips from some of America's most astute commentators.

1. MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)

Mark Twain
Rischgitz, Getty Images

"Familiarity breeds contempt—and children."

2. DOROTHY PARKER (1893-1967)

Dorothy Parker looks at the camera. There is a man in a tuxedo and wine bottles in the background.
Evening Standard, Getty Images

"That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment."

3. JAMES THURBER (1894-1961)

James Thurber smokes a cigarette sitting in an armchair.
Fred Palumbo, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Last night I dreamed of a small consolation enjoyed only by the blind: Nobody knows the trouble I've not seen!"

4. NORA EPHRON (1941-2012)

Nora Ephron smiles for press at an event.
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

"Summer bachelors, like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be."

5. GORE VIDAL (1925-2012)

Gore Vidal
Central Press, Getty Images

"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."

6. ARTEMUS WARD (1834-1867)

A sepia-toned cabinet card of Artemus Ward
TCS 1.3788, Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"They drink with impunity, or anybody who invites them."

7. GERTRUDE STEIN (1874-1946)

Gertrude Stein sits at a desk with a pen in her hand.
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

"The thing that differentiates man from animals is money."

8. FRANKLIN PIERCE ADAMS (1881-1960)

Franklin Pierce Adams sits at a desk that's covered in papers.
Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory."

9. ETHEL WATERS (1896-1977)

Ethel Waters leans in a doorway.
William P. Gottlieb, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"All the men in my life have been two things: an epic and an epidemic."

10. ROBERT BENCHLEY (1889-1945)

Robert Benchley sits at a desk in a scene from 'Foreign Correspondent.'
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with that it's compounding a felony."

11. AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914)

A seated portrait of Ambrose Bierce
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Saint: A dead sinner revised and edited."

12. MAE WEST (1893-1980)

A portrait of Mae West
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before."

13. GEORGE S. KAUFMAN (1889-1961)

A seated portrait of George S. Kaufman
The Theatre Magazine Company, photograph by Vandamm, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"At dramatic rehearsals, the only author that's better than an absent one is a dead one."

14. VICTOR BORGE (1909-2000)

Victor Borge plays the piano.
Keystone, Getty Images

"Santa Claus has the right idea—visit people only once a year."

15. GEORGE CARLIN (1937-2008)

George Carlin doing a stand-up set
Ken Howard, Getty Images

"Atheism is a non-prophet organization."

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Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May
Netflix
Netflix

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.

MAY 1

27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana

Amelie

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls

Darc

God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2

Shrek

Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors

Sometimes

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2

MAY 2

Jailbreak

MAY 4

A Little Help with Carol Burnett

Anon

Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2

Manhunt

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1

MAY 5

Faces Places

MAY 6

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale

MAY 8

Desolation

Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives

MAY 9

Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16

89

Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom

Wanted

MAY 18

Cargo

Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23

Explained

MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25

Ibiza

Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

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