Many of us must have memories about first love in high school and agree that those memories somehow survive in our heads and hearts many, many years after. High school is also where we meet people who accept us for what we are and where we form friendships that last for decades. And as time passes all those memories are seldom forgotten, more often merely buried; and that process of digging them up can be very special in itself.
The sequel to Ada Apa Dengan Cinta, to me, is like a celebration of nostalgia, both in a textual and contextual sense. Like the characters in the sequel, we are fourteen years older, with fourteen years worth of stories and experiences. The pillars of our characters might remain the same, but the passing time has also allowed us, and them, to evolve. We are more mature, with harder problems to face and harder decisions to make.
It’s only fitting that there are some references to the first Ada Apa Dengan Cinta film made in its sequel; some quite meaningful, some perhaps just for fun. These are ones that I managed to spot, a sort of easter egg list, if you will. I don’t know if all of them are made purposedly, if any of them are made by chance, but I think these parallels are made in just the right amount, no more, no less. Here they are.
Warning: this post is full of spoilers.
1. “You’re nicer when confused.”
In the first film, the first time Rangga smiles and behaves nicely towards her, Cinta says “You’re nicer when confused.” She refers to this when they meet for the first time in the second film, where she says “It used to be nice when you’re confused, now it’s just irritating.”
When Cinta decides to go on a date with Rangga in the first film, she does so by lying to her friends, calling Maura to tell her that she’s feeling sick and unable to join them. After hanging up the phone, she dresses up, gets ready. As a finishing touch she puts on a dark red lipstick, looks at her own reflection in the mirror, and wipes it.
In the second film, while getting ready to see Rangga whom she hasn’t met in nine years, knowing very well that seeing him again might stir something in her, she puts her red lipstick on, once again stares at herself, and wipes it. Both these times, she knows that she’s doing something she perhaps shouldn’t. Both these times, she looks at her own reflection and doubts herself, as if asking “What am I doing?”
3. Finding a taxi.
After Cinta and Rangga’s first date in the first film, Rangga tries to help her find a taxi to get her home. Yet a lady steals the taxi and Rangga ends up walking her home, prolonging their date. At the end of the date, Rangga tells Cinta about his family and, in particular, his mother.
In the second film, after Cinta and Rangga end their discussion about why they broke up nine years prior, Rangga offers to help her find a taxi. Yet conversation leads them to Rangga’s mother and they end up talking some more, prolonging their date once again.
4. See if she turns back.
In the second film, when Cinta first listens to Rangga’s reason for breaking up with her, she loses her temper, slaps him and walks away. I think everyone who saw the first film would instantly get reminded of a similar, iconic scene in it where Cinta, also pissed at Rangga, walks away from him. In the first film, mid-way she turns to look at Rangga while in the second film, she really walks back, returning to Rangga.
4. Mamet and his car.
In both films, the girls go to the airport using Mamet’s car. In the first film, Milly drives, and in the second, Mamet—who is now Milly’s husband—drives.
6. Remember this song?
The song that Mamet, Milly, Karmen, Cinta and Maura sing in the car on the way to the airport in the second film is ‘Kesepian Kita’ by Pas Band. In the first film, they see that band in concert, performing that song.
7. Forgotten date.
My personal favorite. In the first film, unknown to her best friends, Cinta goes on an ‘unofficial date’ with Rangga to a used bookstore. A moment after they just arrive, she realizes that she actually has a date with the girls, she’s supposed to meet them at a concert (the one mentioned in previous point). Rangga, the cynic that he is, is pissed and begins criticizing her about not having her own principles, about how she doesn’t have a mind of her own and how she seems to do things just because her friends do.
In the second film, when they are having dinner, Cinta’s phone rings and Rangga asks if that’s her friends. She then remembers that, yes, her friends are actually waiting for her to join them at dinner. Yet this time, instead of getting pissed, Rangga smiles and tells her to call her friends, make sure that they’re not starving themselves waiting for her.
8. Too many questions!
In the first film, when Cinta’s friends first find out that Cinta has gone on a date with Rangga, Maura and Karmen bombard her with questions, and they do the same thing in the second film, prodding details from her after she has spent a whole day with Rangga. Both times, Cinta confusingly tries to answer both their questions.
9. Confession through the written words.
In both films, Rangga expresses himself best in the form of poetry, that he hands to Cinta. In the first film, he tells Cinta that he’ll come back for her, while in the second film he expresses his wish for a second chance.
Of course, airports. In both films when Rangga is at the airport, he is constantly pausing, turning, searching, hoping that Cinta will magically appear before his eyes. In the first film, she does. In the second, she doesn’t.
11. “And then?”
In the beginning of the first film, Cinta and Rangga basically hate each other’s guts. But then something in Rangga disrupts Cinta, drawing her into him, and after giving back his book that she sort of ‘stole’ from him in the first place, he comes to find her to thank her. That is the first time that they are not hostile towards each other and after thanking her, they both fall into silence and awkwardness. Cinta utters, “And then?” and from that moment on, they start to see each other.
Like bookends, in the end of the second film, Cinta is the one who comes to find Rangga in New York. And Rangga, in return, asks her “And then?” and then, of course, the rest is history.