Pesky pimples. Sneering bullies. Awkward dances your dad just had to chaperone.
No, there's not a whole lot to love about junior high, as artsy outsider Rafe Khatchadorian (Griffin Gluck) quickly learns in Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (in theaters Friday). The family comedy is adapted from James Patterson's best-selling book series and boasts a cast led by Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham and Review's Andy Daly.
They reminisce with USA TODAY about some of their fondest, funniest middle-school memories:
Lauren Graham (as Jules Khatchadorian)
Favorite class: “English, because I was very bookish.” After she read J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye for the first time, “I said, ‘Dad, this is the best book I’ve ever read.’ He said, ‘You might feel different when you’re older.’ "
For lunch: “My father was a health nut and would send me to school with (healthy) bread and peanut butter. I don’t remember really eating it.”
Andy Daly (as Principal Dwight)
In middle school: "I was pretty nerdy. We had a radio station at our school and I had my own show, where I would basically just impersonate Martin Short's characters on Saturday Night Live. I also wrote for the school newspaper, and wore a fedora to school every day with a 'Press' card in the hat band."
Rotten reputation: "I ran for student council president in eighth grade. Because I really wanted my campaign posters to stand out, I taped rotting vegetables to them. My brother told me that the sense of smell is closest to memory, so it could cause people to associate your candidacy with a smell and think of you. That may be why I didn't win."
Adam Pally (as Mr. Teller)
First girlfriend: “She was a very beautiful Jewish girl. We would kiss on the back of the bus until I got in trouble. I was basically known as a pimp.”
Most embarrassing moment: “I really wanted plaid shorts, so (my mom) bought me a pair and I wore them to school. There was a hole in the middle, which my friends pointed out to be a fly hole, because they were men’s boxer shorts. I had to go the whole day with my tighty-whities peeking out.”
Retta (as Ida Stricker)
Celebrity crush: “I had a picture of Michael Jackson, C. Thomas Howell and Rob Lowe." When she co-starred with Lowe on Parks and Recreation, "I did tell him, but that’s the kind of thing he hears all the time.”
Worst fashion trend: “I remember seeing Janet Jackson had a key in her earring. I started wearing my house key in (mine), which is why my earring hole is long now.”
Rob Riggle (as 'Bear')
In middle school: “I was a late bloomer. Everyone went through puberty and I remained this little child all through junior high. I spent most of my days running for my life.”
Worst offense: “I got suspended for fighting, just for one day. It was a few guys goofing around and it turned into a fight. I was actually sticking up for a guy I didn’t even like.”