A decade later, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules still reigns supreme


Keegan Honig

St. Louis students are still in love with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Keegan Honig, Editor

It’s a decade since one of the most defining movies of our childhood was released March 25, 2011. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules had a tremendous impact on students back in elementary school, and this impact is still felt today.

Based on the book by the same name, which was written by Jeff Kinney, this movie follows Greg Heffley and how he navigates the trials of middle school. He gets into trouble alongside his best friend Rowley Jefferson and with his older brother Rodrick.

The film was a sequel to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which was released the year before. Both were wildly successful as both grossed over $70 million in Worldwide Box Office according to the-numbers.com, but the sequel had arguably more of a cultural impact. For instance, as you may be able to discern by the title, this movie put Rodrick more in the spotlight compared to the first film. Instantly, Rodrick became an icon, and the memory of his legacy is still remembered today. On the popular app TikTok, teenagers and young adults reminisce about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but Rodrick Heffley is the highlight. In fact, the hashtag “#rodrickheffley” on TikTok has 224.2 million views and counting.

St. Louis High School junior Hunter Salladay shares, “I believe that Rodrick is still quite prominent in today’s society with his great words still carrying meaning with today’s youth.”

Additionally, senior Chloe Baxter notes, “Many would argue that the teen heartthrob of the 21st century is Edward Cullen of Twilight or Peeta of The Hunger Games, but above all of them stands Rodrick. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules has set the standard for teenage boys all over the world. The character Rodrick has influenced some of the biggest fashion and makeup trends on TikTok and is still catching the hearts of teen girls everywhere, even after a full decade. Not only are people bewitched by him, but the movie as a whole is a cinematic masterpiece that one day I’m sure will be used to understand the complexities of the human life in the early 2010s.”

Not only has the character Rodrick continued his fame on TikTok, but the two main actors from the film series have blown up on the social media app as well. Zachary Gordon, who portrayed Greg Heffley, and Robert Capron, who played Rowley Jefferson, have both amassed large followings on the platform. Gordon currently has well over one million followers while Capron has over 700,000 of his own. Teenagers and young adults on Tik Tok remembered them from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise and the duo regained some of their fame.

I vividly remember the time of my life when this movie premiered. I was in second grade, and, along with all the other cool elementary school kids, I was up to date with the current Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I remember going to the movie theater with my brother and a couple of friends to watch the movie, but what really stands out in my memory is the anticipation of the release. There was a specific commercial for the movie that came on the T.V. just about every time I sat down to watch, and this commercial featured the song “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha. For some context, “Tik Tok” was an extraordinarily popular song in this time frame, being certified as an eight-time platinum track by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The popularity of this song at the time being paired with the movie’s advertising meant more people knew about the movie and were excited about its release. This commercial is what stands out in my memory because it is what caught my attention and made me want to watch the film. Many others must have been excited about the premier because the movie grossed over $23 million through the opening weekend (the-numbers.com).

Another reason the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise has left a long-standing mark with our generation is due to memes. In the story, Greg has a younger brother named Manny. Manny has become something of a cultural icon as well, mostly due to, again, the app Tik Tok. It became a trend for users to display a “Manny Flag,” which is a yellow and black flag displaying Manny Heffley’s face from the book series. Salladay shares, “The ripples of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series can still be felt today with all of the Manny memes that circulate the web.”

The impact the characters of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series have had on this generation’s upbringing simply cannot be ignored. There’s a reason there have been so many ways in which the franchise’s characters and actors have found a place in today’s social media realm, and that is because they still have a place in the hearts of those who experienced their childhood in the early 2010s.