Film: Revenge of the Nerds
Revenge of the Nerds
—Ogre when he first spots Gilbert and Lewis at Adams College
(1984) is a classic '80s
teen sex comedy, one of the rarer breed that takes place in college instead of High School
. After the football team accidentally burns down their shared house in an ill-conceived 'fire breathing
' stunt, they commandeer the freshman dorms as their own. The Freshmen are allowed to pledge fraternities earlier than usual so they'll have a place to live, but your typical frats' well-known aversion to scholarly types leaves the nine nerdiest new students out in the cold.
Not to be discouraged, the nerds decide to start their own frat
, and through an oversight are given permission to set up a branch of the normally all-black fraternity Lambda Lambda Lambda. But all is not well; the existing frats, not to mention the resident jocks, don't appreciate nerds horning in on their territory, and so begins a war of attrition that involves vandalism, nude photos, the liberal application of 'liquid heat' to jockstraps, and various other wacky hijinks
Was followed by three more sequels, one a theatrical film and the last two Made For TV Movies
- Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987). The second movie sends the nerds to a national fraternity conference in Florida where they once again have to put up with a Jerk Jock fraternity that gives them no end of grief.
- Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation (1992). The third movie focuses on a new batch of nerds going to the same college as the first, which has become a paradise for geeks, nerds and outcasts. However, an alumnus of the college isn't happy with this and, teaming with a former nemesis from the first movie, proceeds to try to change the pecking order of the school. The new cast, of course, goes on the offensive.
- Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love (1994). The fourth and final movie finds one of the original nerds getting married, but the father of the bride objects to the union and tries to break them up. It's up to the original cast to keep the wedding going as scheduled.
The series was going to have a remake in 2007, but complications with shooting ultimately shelved the project.
This movie provides examples of:
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: When the Nerds are victims of vandalism and property damage the local police inform them that civil authorities are powerless to oppose a fraternity and if they want justice they need to talk to the Greek Council (who apparently can out-vote the Dean of Students).
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted with Betty Childs.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Played With. The haughty Pi cheerleaders are certainly considered hot, but the plain jane Omega Mus seem to get just as much tail.
- Alpha Bitch: Betty, though unusually she is only seen picking on boys, not other girls.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Alpha-Betas
- Ambulance Chaser: Dudley "Booger" Dawson from the first film is an attorney by the third film, and when they call him for legal help, he is tailgating an ambulance.
- And Starring: John Goodman as Coach Harris.
- Annoying Laugh: Lewis Skolnick and Gilbert Lowe possess epic examples.
- It's contagious too, with all the Tri-Lambs eventually doing it. Even Ogre after his Heel-Face Turn in the second film!
- Beauty Is Bad: Partially subverted in that Betty and Stan eventually have Heel Face Turns, but played straight for the most part.
- Bed Trick: Lewis engages in covert seduction via a Darth Vader mask. She finds out it's not her boyfriend when he unmasks halfway through, and is briefly upset - but then decides he's a great lover and is in heat for him thereafter.
—Lewis: All jocks ever think about is sports. All we [nerds] ever think about is sex.
- Beef Bandage: In Part IV Booger's fiancee's mother faints when she meets him and bangs her head, so he gets her a steak to put on the wound.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: And played by Jefferson D'arcy!
- Blowing Smoke Rings: During the Lambda Lambda Lambda party, one of the Mus coaxes Lewis up to his room to have sex. Later, he's seen at the top of the stairs wearing a red Hugh Hefner robe, smoking a pipe and blowing smoke rings.
- Brick Joke: Booger demands to see "bush" after the nerds plant hidden cameras in the girls dorm. In the second movie Booger comes across a giant marijuana plant and drops to his knees in awe, exclaiming, "Bush...."
- Burping Contest: Dudley "Booger" Dawson vs. Ogre. Point goes to Booger, thanks to a belch that lasts a full twelve seconds.
- Ogre starts crying when he loses.
- Camp Gay: Lamarr
- Can-Crushing Cranium: Ogre
- Captain Ersatz: Snotty in the second film is a pretty obvious parody of Mr. Miyagi.
- Carload of Cool Kids: The Alpha Beta fraternity let loose a bunch of pigs at the Lambda house. When the Lambdas run outside to see what's going on, the ABs moon them from the back of the pig truck and then drive off.
- The Cavalry: The Tri-Lambda Scary Black Man backup dancers.
- Chekhov's Skill : Worm's aerodynamic "hobby," which is mentioned early in the film and comes in handy during the carnival.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Gilbert in the third movie. In all of sequels, Coach Harris, Burke, and all the other Alpha Betas aside from Stan and Ogre are never seen again.
- Lampshaded in the 4th film when Ogre asks where the hell is Gilbert during that party early in the film.
- College Is High School Part 2: Played straight until the third film, where it's inverted at first.
- Comedic Sociopathy : The establishing "character moment" for Ogre: he drops someone head first off the roof.
- Cool Old Guy: Master Snotty
- Corpsing: In the Belching Contest scene in the first film, keep an eye on John Goodman as the coach. He keeps studying his shoes while simultaneously making sure his hat doesn't come off, all to keep from laughing out loud on camera from the antics of actors Donald Gibb and Curtis Armstrong.
- Cozy Catastrophe: In a small-scale example, the Alpha Betas seem remarkably cheerful about having just lost everything but the clothes on their backs to a fire their own recklessness started.
- They were probably very, very drunk when they were watching the dorms burn.
- Death Glare: U.N. Jefferson's 'reinforcement Tri-Lambs' look ready, willing and eager to rip apart any Alpha Beta dumb enough to step up. The Alpha Betas want no part of these guys, despite outnumbering them significantly.
- Demoted to Extra: Gilbert is a protagonist of the first movie, a supporting character in the second, makes a cameo in the third, and is entirely absent from the fourth.
- Deus ex Machina: Jefferson and several national Tri-Lamb brothers arrive when Gilbert is about to get the crap beat out of him by the Alpha Betas in the Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Disproportionate Retribution: What kicks off the whole conflict when the jocks burn down their frat house then take over the dorms the nerds were staying at. And even then, when the nerds find a place of their own and are living peacefully, the jocks still won't quit.
- Distaff Counterpart: The Omega Mus to the Lambda guys. The Pis are this to the Alphas as well, being the cheerleaders to their jocks.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Lewis smokes one after having sex with one of the Mus during their party.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Lambda Lambda Lambda has been a historically all-black fraternity. Without even realising this, the jocks leave a burning sign on their lawn and send pigs in to their party, all because they are nerds. It's implied UN Jefferson was thinking along the same lines.
- Also somewhat reminiscent the way the nerdy characters are initially treated by just about everyone they come across.
- Dork Horse Candidate: The heroes want to take over the school council and get revenge on the jocks.
- Drugs Are Bad: Inverted; Booger brings pot to the Lambdas' party, and the weed gives the party the kickstart it so desperately needed.
- For the Evulz: When the Nerds move into their own off-campus house, the Alpha Betas continue to try to force them out for its own sake.
- Foreshadowing: Anyone who noticed which Talking Heads song ( "Burning Down The House") was playing at the start of the Gargle Blaster scene wasn't surprised at all by how the Alpha Beta House party ended.
- Gargle Blaster: The "fireball" liquor, which is ridiculously high proof. Stan can't get through a single shot of it without spewing it out in a cloud of liquor vapor. Another brother then starts doing fire blowing tricks with it which ends up burning down the AB house.
- Give Geeks a Chance: Lewis Skolnick and Betty Childs.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Lewis is apparently good enough to win Betty over after one tumble; Stan is shown on several occasions to not care for sex at all, being too busy with football. The way Lewis describes the difference to Betty thusly:
Lewis: All jocks ever think about is sports. All we [nerds] ever think about is sex.
- Hachimaki: Takashi dons the Kamikaze headband before going on the panty raid.
- Heel-Face Turn: Betty, after Lewis pulls the Bed Trick on her. (In her case, it's more a Sex Face Turn.)
- And Ogre in the sequel.
- Stan himself does it in the third movie.
- Hollywood Law:
- In real life, college campus police do have jurisdiction over "Frat Pranks" and so do the regular police! So both sides of this feud could have gotten in serious legal trouble. A Robot Chicken Deconstructive Parody even showed this to be true.
- And the parents could and should have sued Adams College for evicting their sons from the double dorm rooms they'd paid considerable money for, particularly as the eviction proceedings involved the residents and their possessions being bodily flung out doors and windows by the jocks.
- In the third movie, when the nerds claim their basic human rights, the judge replies "Nerds don't have rights!". Turns out they do, Chester.
- The only thing that Coach Harris would really get from punching the dean in the face in front of a large crowd would be a prison term for assault.
- Jerk Jock: There's a whole frat full of them, but in due course, the nerds get their revenge. And again in the second movie...
- Large Ham: Both Coach Harris and Ogre in the first movie. Ogre: "NERDS!!!"
- Let X Be the Unknown: Spoofed in the third movie. A white nerd meets a black nerd wearing an X hat:
Black nerd: Don't you know what this writing on my hat means?
White nerd: Malcolm ten?
- Long-Lost Relative: In Part IV Booger is accused of having a 12 year old daughter out of wedlock in order to scuttle his upcoming wedding. It isn't true, and ultimately doesn't work.
- Loophole Abuse: When the nerds are first applying to different national fraternities to open a chapter in their college, they are rejected by all outright except for Lambda Lambda Lambda, an all-black fraternity. Even then, the chairman tells them that they're very unlikely to get approved (not because only one of them is black but because they're nerds), until one of the nerds points out that, according to the Tri-Lambda bylaws, they are required to give any petitioning group probational membership.
- Lovable Nerd: Most of the protagonists.
- Made-for-TV Movie: The third and fourth movies.
- Masquerade Ball: Lewis takes a page from Judge Turpin's Creative Uses For Awesome Costumes manual. See Bed Trick above.
- Mook Carryover: The character Ogre from the first movie shows up in the sequel in a different chapter of the Alpha Beta fraternity. The brothers he had in the original film are all gone, apparently defeated.
- Or graduated, as they're upper-classmen in the first film, while the nerds are all freshmen.
- Mook-Face Turn: Ogre, in the 2nd movie.
- Mooning: The Alpha Betas. All of them at the same time.
- Nerd: Present and accounted for, in mass quantities.
- Nerds Are Virgins: Played with. Some of the nerds are virgins, but others are clearly more "experienced."
- Nerd in Evil's Helmet: Ogre is revealed to be one at the end of the second movie.
- N-Word Privileges: When used by non-nerds, the word "nerd" is generally offensive.
- In Part IV Nouveau Riche is considered offensive to the Nouveau Riche father of the bride. At the end of the film he embraces it.
- Panty Thief: The Panty Raid.
- A Party Also Known as an Orgy
- The Peeping Tom: The Lambdas in Revenge of the Nerds take this trope to an extreme by installing surveillance cameras in all the bedrooms and showers of the sorority house. They literally stay awake all night, just watching women sleep.
- Police Are Useless: AND HOW! The jocks do things like drop people off buildings (likely killing them) and commit various acts of assault without facing any punishment. While the nerds' actions would be considered illegal in Real Life, the jocks would have gotten arrested long before then. Even the Coach doesn't face the punishment he would have in real life, which would at least include him being fired.
- Proud to Be a Geek: The epiphany speech at the end of the movie, given to an audience entirely composed of jocks.
- Queer People Are Funny: Lamaar's sexuality is often played for laughs.
- Sadistic Teacher: The coach actively encourages the jocks to assault the nerds, berates them when they fail to beat them, strong arms and bullies the dean into giving him what he wants and actually threatens to punch him in the face in front of a large crowd of people when the Dean remembers that as his boss the Coach must do what 'he' says and stands up to the brute.
- Scary Black Man: The 'reinforcements' that accompany U. N. Jefferson when he comes to the aid of the Adams College Tri-Lambs.
- Serious Business: School politics and fraternities are portrayed this way.
- Society Marches On: Lamar's gayness would not make him as much of an outcast as the rest of the Lambdas today.
- While tech-heads aren't the height of cool, the staggering amount of money people like them made would also mean a good deal more tolerance of their habits.
- The nerds are excited at seeing (pre-internet) "fur pie" which now seems odd given that female pubic hair has almost entirely disappeared.
- Stacy's Mom: The sister of the father of the bride in Part IV gets it on with a college-aged Next Generation nerd.
- Start My Own: Fraternity in this case, the premise of the entire movie.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Alphas in the second film. Except Ogre, of course.
- Tar and Feathers: Lewis and Gilbert are tarred and feathered by the Alpha Betas in response to their attempt to seek admittance to the fraternity.
- Teeny Weenie: Tiny from the second film, which is likely where his nickname comes from (which he tries to pass off as an Ironic Nickname). Later in the film, he tries to take on the nickname of "The Meat", which is met with laughs of derision by all the delegates.
- The Brute: Ogre in the first movie, though he becomes The Big Guy and even levels up to Genius Bruiser in the second film.
- The Dog Bites Back: You can only pick on a nerd so much...
- Three-Dimensional Episode: Part IV, which was also presented in Smell-O-Vision using Scratch-and-Sniff cards.
- Title Theme Tune: Revenge of the Nerds! (NERDS!) Revenge of the Nerds! (NERDS!)
Won't be long, mark my words! The time has come for Revenge of the Nerds!
- Twofer Token Minority: Lamar - the only gay nerd, the only black nerd, and the only nerd with a date to the dance!
- Two-Teacher School- The entire staff seems to consist of the Coach and the Dean.
- And nobody is ever shown in a classroom. The closest they get is when Gilbert meets Judy in a computer lab.
- Vader Breath: Louis, when wearing Stan's helmet and gas mask disguise.
- Vanity License Plate: In Part IV Lewis rolls up in an 18-wheeler with the plate "NERD MAN".
- He had one in the third film that said "LEWSTER" as well.
- Villainous Crossdresser: The Alpha Betas dress like cheerleaders for their Greek Games musical skit, and are still in drag when their coach chews them out for the "unmanliness" of losing to nerds.
- Wacky Fratboy Hijinx