Josie in Bottoms is a tomboyish, lesbian, and introverted character played by Ayo Edebiri. The character is somewhat socially inept in comparison to her best friend, PJ. She has her eyes set on the attractive cheerleader, Isabel, who is supposedly the girlfriend of the popular football player Jeff, in their high school. She plays along with the mindless idea of PJ spreading lies, just to start a fight club. This brings to light that the character of Josie is gullible by nature and quite easy to manipulate. Directed by Emma Seligman, the comedy movie Bottoms is replete with queer content. The comic elements could definitely be compared to high-school comedies like Mean Girls and American Pie. However, placing queer characters as the central figures in the movie has set it apart from regular high-school comedies. What the character of Josie does to cope with all the high school drama can be explored further as we move ahead with an extensive analysis.
Is Josie an introvert? How is she responsible for the commotion at her school?
Josie keeps to herself and has almost lost any hope of being romantically involved with someone. She is one of the outcast, queer, and supposedly unattractive girls at her school who mostly keeps her circle tight. She is greatly influenced by PJ, one of her few close friends. They decide on starting a fight club in the name of self-defense for women, just to gain the attention of the attractive cheerleaders. The socially awkward Josie tries to back off at first and tries to reason with PJ that starting the club based on lies would not do them any good. She is, however, influenced by the constant rantings of PJ and gives in. They both start the club, and Josie lies that she was a convict who tried killing a girl in self-defense and had spent time in juvie. These lies help her attain popularity at the beginning, and the hustle at the fight club begins with a small group of girls.
Josie’s lying about the hurdles that she had faced when she was in juvie helped her gain attention from Isabel. Telling Isabel that Jeff was cheating on her with Mrs. Callahan had an even better effect on their chemistry, as she had instantly broken up with Jeff. The true love that Josie had for Isabel is reflected through her eyes, and they end up making love to each other. Later, after being exposed in the auditorium by Jeff and his friend, all her dreams about being with Isabel are shattered. They tell everyone how the fight club has been deceiving everyone. For the first time, we see her losing her calm and being aggressive with PJ after the grand revelation. She loses face at her school, and her friendship with PJ dwindles, which makes her seek advice from Rhodes. This is where she gets to know about the 50-year-long murderous rivalry between the Vikings and the Golden Ferrets. She assumes that some murder was going to happen that night on the football field, which makes her gather herself again and clear the air with all her friends in the fight club to band together to protect their high school football team.
How Does Josie Differ From PJ?
We witness the bond between Josie and PJ from the very beginning of Bottoms. The first scene starts with them ranting to each other about their hopeless love lives. While PJ is quite confident about getting laid, Josie seems to have given up all her hopes. We see Josie always trying to protect her friend and the ones she really cares for. She accidentally hits Jeff’s legs with her car after being instigated by PJ and Isabel. When she’s summoned to the principal’s office for an explanation, she tries to pacify things in contrast to her friend PJ’s aggressive behavior. PJ ends up lying to the principal about a fight club, and Josie has no other choice but to cover up the lies of her friend. Despite being a character who is averse to lies, Josie ends up supporting her friend selflessly.
We see Josie addressing the other members of the fight club with a lot of composure, while PJ addresses them aggressively, and they actually listen. Josie has fewer leadership qualities compared to PJ, but that does not make her any less of a true friend. She has a protective nature, which makes her take matters into her own hands and tackle them in her own way. She even tries to protect Jeff at the playground, the same person who had once tried to demean her and bring her down. Despite having a tomboyish appearance, she is more feminine as compared to PJ. She manages her patience and composure to put up with all the troubles that PJ creates every time. Despite having a softer demeanor, she has a strong personality and has ironically been driven towards a liar and a superficial girlfriend. However, in certain parts of Bottoms, Josie is seen losing herself and being used as a puppet by PJ. Her support for her confidante while not losing herself in the long run is what makes her stand out throughout Bottoms.
The character of Josie is solid as compared to all the other characters in the movie. The character development of Josie has been strong enough to keep you going through the entire film. Otherwise, Bottoms would have been excruciatingly painful for me to watch. It has no proper storyline or any well-rounded characters except for Josie. We feel a sense of empathy for the character as we progress through the film. The sane kid is stuck between a bunch of homophobic, aggressive, and perverted children in a high school. Even the principal and the educators at the school seem to have no morality. I can just hope and pray that no sequels are made.