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Film: The Waterboy
The Waterboy is a 1998 film starring Adam Sandler and Henry Winkler. Sandler plays Bobby Boucher (pronounced ''Boo-SHAY''), a socially inept (but also intelligent), stuttering waterboy with hidden anger issues due to constant teasing and his mother's (Kathy Bates) excessive sheltering. It is discovered that Bobby's anger issues make him an extraordinary football player. This transfers to the coach and the rest of the team.

You can mess with him, but don't mess with his tropes:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Inverted. Violent tackling tendencies aside, Bobby is an innocent, wholesome Nice Guy and Vicki is attracted to him for these reasons. However, she is a bad girl, but Bobby likes her anyway.
  • Accidental Athlete
  • Alliterative Name: Bobby Boucher, Vicki Vallencourt (the third of Adam Sandler's "V-name" girlfriends), Coach Klein, Farmer Fran, Guy Grenouille.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Invoked by Mama Boucher while having lunch with Vicki Vallencourt. See Never My Fault.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Bobby tackles his biology professor over the fact that alligators get ornery because of their enlarged medulla oblongata, leading to more aggressive emotions, instead of Mama Boucher's explanation that "they got all them teeth and no toothbrush". They're both wrong, because the medulla oblongata has absolutely nothing to do with emotions, being responsible for breathing and heart rate. The amygdala is responsible for emotions.
  • Artistic License - Sports: After interfering with a live practice play despite not being on the roster, dropkicking an opponent during a game, tackling a professor, and being directly linked to the theft of a guest's vehicle, Bobby would have been banned for life from SCLSU after one game at the most. Also, there is absolutely no way that Vicki would have been allowed to attend the Bourbon Bowl, much less watch the game from the field, after having threatened one of Louisiana University's players with a knife to the throat some days prior.
  • Berserk Button: The tagline in the poster above says it all. And give insulting his mother a try, I dare you, I double dare you...
  • Beware the Nice Ones
  • Big "NO!": After imagining his old coach berating him, he delivers this word to Casey before tackling him.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Guy (pronounced Gey) Grenouille's last name is French for "Frog."
  • Black Best Friend: Derek, the only member of the Mud Dogs who Bobby gets along with.
  • Book Dumb: Apparently, Bobby's lack of common knowledge is a result of his sheltered upbringing, rather than some learning disability.
  • Brick Joke: When interviewed at the final game, Vicki tells the sideline interviewer (former football great Lynn Swann) that the final score of the Bourbon Bowl will be 30-27, claiming "That ain't no guess— that's what it's gon be!" in an angry tone when questioned by Swann. With five seconds left in the game, the Mud Dogs are down 24-27 and are in field goal range, but decide to go for the win rather than the tie (which, if successful, would give them a 30-27 win). Swann looks at Vicki in disbelief, and she responds with a smug "I told you so" look.
  • Broken Record: Dan Fouts "Last game of the year, Brent. Can't hold anything back now...", eventually making Brent say "We know." Then, on the last play of the game, he screams at Brent Musberger "IT'S BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HOLD ANYTHING BACK!"
  • Butt Monkey: Colonel Sanders (one of Bobby's college professors, given the nickname by Bobby himself for his resemblance to the KFC icon), who's also The Chew Toy.
    • Bobby had been constantly abused throughout his life.
  • Calling Mama Out: Bobby just about had it with his mother.
    Bobby: Everything is the devil to you, Mama! Well, I like school, and I like football! And I'm gonna keep doin' them both because they make me feel good! (walks towards the door) And by the way, Mama. Alligators are ornery 'cause of their "medulla oblongata"! (walks out, then back in again) And I like Vicki, and she like me back! (almost in tears by this point) And she showed me her boobies and I like them too! (slams the door on Mama)
  • The Cameo: Director Frank Coraci plays Bobby's father.
    • Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cower, and Lawrence Taylor show up as themselves.
  • Captain Ersatz - If you didn't notice the professor strongly resembled Colonel Sanders, one of the characters points it out.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Bobby's dad.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The glacier water Bobby gives to Vicki.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Coach Klein, ever since Coach Red stole his playbook. His first reaction was calling his grandma on a disconnected phone while wearing high heels.
  • Coattail-Riding Relative: Bobby's dad tries to coast on his success at the very end of the movie. Momma tackles him instead.
  • Comically Missing the Point: With a bit of Literal-Minded, when Bobby's at a party:
    Rita: Is there a girl you're seein'?
    Bobby: Seein'? Uh, I see a lot of girls... I see a lot of guys too.
    Rita: (beat) I think that's sexy. You ever been with a guy and girl at the same time?
    Bobby: Oh, yeah, plenty of times. The other night I was with my Mama and Coach Klein at the same time.
    [the other girl flirting with Bobby walks away, disgusted]
  • Crazy Enough to Work: When Bobby shows up at halftime during the Bourbon Bowl, he forces a fumble and runs it in for a touchdown on his first play to make the score 24-7 with the Mud Dogs trailing. So what does the opposing coach do? He tells his quarterback to take three knees on the next possession, because they already have the lead and the Mud Dogs have been completely dependent on Bobby Boucher generating turnovers, so until the Mud Dogs can score on offense, he's content to just try to run out the clock playing defense. It almost works, until the Mud Dogs counter by putting Bobby at halfback on offense. Red Beaulieu then counters that tactic by placing Meaney, his best defensive player, at halfback on offense, essentially copying Klein's strategy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It may be tough to see it under the speech impediment at first, but Bobby is definitely one.
    [Bobby reads a note from the Suggestion Box that says "Eat sh** and die!"]
    Bobby: ...Not exactly what I'd call constructive criticism.

    ''[Bobby is watching Dick Clark on New Year's Eve]
    Bobby: Look who's on TV, Mama. It's the Devil.

    [Meaney, a huge defensive end, is called in as a running back in an attempt to neutralize Bobby]
    Bobby: You sound like a big choo-choo train.

    Lyle Robideaux: Can I get you a drink?
    Bobby: I'll have a scotch and water, hold the scotch.
    Lyle: [smiles slightly] You just make a joke, Bobby?
    Bobby: [smiles] Yes, I did.
    Lyle: [deadpan] Heh heh heh. Good one.
  • Deep South: Specifically, Louisiana.
    • Southern Gothic: A comedic example where the decay and depressing state of the world is used to highlight Bobby's cheerful and optimistic Demeanor.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: All the flashbacks are shown in black and white. During Coach Klein's flashback, everything is black and white except the playbook Red Beaulieu takes from him.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Bobby calls Coach Klein "Mr. Coach Klein".
  • Disability Superpower: Bobby's anger issues transferring to super strength.
  • Disappeared Dad: Bobby's father Robert died of dehydration in a desert while serving in the Peace Corps.
  • Door Focus: It occurs as Bobby Boucher lashes out against his overprotective mother:
    Bobby: I like school! And I like football! And I'm gonna keep doing 'em both because they make me feel good! [leaves, slams the door, then opens it] And alligators get ornery because of their medulla oblongatas! [slams door again, then opens it again] And I like Vicki and she likes me back! And she showed me her boobies, and I like them, too! [slams door for the last time]
  • Expy: Bobby Boucher shares a speech impediment (one which Sandler overcame himself), obsession with water, and a few personality traits with one of Sandler's Saturday Night Live characters, Canteen Boy. They could be the same character. He may have done some canteen jobs on the side.
    • Strangely, though, Bobby has no traits in common with Cajun Man, another of Sandler's characters.
    • Bobby also shares the same voice as The Excited Southerner, a character from Sandler's album What the Hell Happened To Me?.
    • Bobby seems to also be an extremely broad parody of Forrest Gump, a Southern mama's boy and manchild turned college football star.
    • Mama Boucher appears to be an expy of Margaret White from Carrie, until it's explained that her behavior was only an attempt to cope with her heartbreak.
    • The state-level Opposing Sports Team, called the Cougars here, appears to be a riff on the LSU Tigers.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Mama Boucher, until Bobby finds out from old letters that her first name is Helen.
  • Extreme Doormat: Bobby towards the beginning.
  • Eye Poke: Because "Captain Insano shows no mercy."
  • Fake Ultimate Sports Hero: Red Beaulieu's success as a coach is due to his stealing Coach Klein's playbook years ago to pass off as his own. He frustratedly flips through the pages when Coach Klein's starting to beat him.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Farmer Fran's pierced nipples.
    • Ever wonder what Fonzie's ass looks like? Now you know!
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Bobby and the Mud Dogs.
  • Foreshadowing: When Mama Boucher argues with Vicki Vallencourt after dinner, Mama says "Nobody's gonna take him away, especially not some godless Jezebel like you!". This sounds like yet another attempt to smother Bobby, but later on, she reveals that Bobby's father abandoned them to be with "a voodoo woman named Phyllis.".
  • Foreign Queasine: Mama Boucher's meals, which include grilled alligators and a huge snake.
  • The Fundamentalist / Fantasy Forbidding Mother: Mama Boucher.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Vicki is one as she was able to soup up Bobby's Lawnmower to make it go faster than it's ever been. She later fixes up Mama Boucher's fanboat so they could make it to the Bourbon Bowl.
  • Generation Xerox: Apparently Bobby got his anger and ability to hit like a ton of bricks from his mother.
  • Gone Horribly Right: When Coach Klein encourages the other team members to taunt Bobby's love of water in an attempt to fuel Bobby's tackling ability. It not only worked, but Bobby scores the touchdown that leads the Mud Dogs to the Bourbon Bowl.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Coach Klein forging Bobby's transcript would get the school punk-slapped by the NCAA and easily cost them the entire season's worth of wins, and possibly ban them from playing for several years.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Coach Klein forged Bobby's school transcript so that he could play football, because he needs a player like Bobby as much as Bobby needs to play.
  • It Runs in the Family: At the film's end Bobby's dad finds out that Mama has her own little vault of pent up rage.
  • Jerkass: Coach Red and the whole Louisiana Cougars team. Also, most of Bobby's teammates, at first. Especially Guy.
  • Jerkass Fašade: Mama Boucher actually isn't an Evil Matriarch, she's been pretending to be one due to the pain of her husband deserting her and Bobby.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Coach Red Beaulieu, who tormented Bobby in his youth and stole the playbook from Coach Klein for his own purposes. So it's only natural the two of them would take him down in the end. To elaborate: he lost the Championship game to a farm team run by the coach he screwed over, who'd never won a game until they brought on the waterboy he'd fired earlier.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: This trope is the devil!
  • Man Child: Bobby. Although it's mostly due to his mother.
  • Meaningful Name: The Cougars' roughest, most ruthless defensive player, who also happens to be a borderline sociopathic bully, is aptly named "Meaney."
  • My Beloved Smother: Though not without good reason.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bobby, after his mother is put in the hospital. He blames himself for lashing out at her and feels guilty because she was the only person to ever care about him. Turns out she was faking her illness for the sole purpose of getting him to abandon the football team and come back to her.
    • Also Mama herself, once she finally realizes how much she's hurting Bobby by keeping him away from doing the things he loves.
  • My Greatest Failure: Coach Klein regrets not standing up to Coach Red when he originally stole his playbook.
  • Never My Fault: Mama Boucher acts like this when Bobby has Vicki over for lunch and she humiliates him in front of her by telling one embarrassing story after another.
    Bobby: Well, if you'll excuse me, ladies, I'm gonna go hang myself...
    [he hastily leaves, while Mama turns to Vicki]
    Mama: You see what you did?
    Vicki: (enraged) What I did?!
  • Not This One, That One: While looking through Mama's scrapbook, Bobby sees a picture of a young Mama with a hunky guy. When he asks if he was his father, Mama explains he was a guy she dated prior to meeting his father, "That was lust, not love." She turns to a picture of a dopey-looking man, saying "That's your daddy."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "The Medulla Ob-Lon-Ga-Ta!"
    • "Gentlemen, this brings me to my next point: Don't. Smoke. Crack."
  • Ragin' Cajun: The "Cajun" part is way off, but is what they were going for, at least.
  • Salt the Earth: When Bobby arrives for the second half of the Bourbon Bowl Coach Red briefly attempts to not play offensive in an attempt to run out the clock.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Coach Klein, by his own admission, "cried like a ten-year-old girl!" after Coach Red revealed that Bobby's transcripts are a forgery. Getting screwed by Red a second time.
  • Serious Business: Water vs. Gatorade.
  • Take Our Word for It: Lee Corso replays one of Bobby's prior tackles. We see only Bobby yelling, cutting away before the actual tackle, but apparently, it's too difficult for Lee to watch.
  • Thermal Dissonance
  • This Loser Is You: The Mud Dogs team before Bobby joined.
    Guy Grenouille: I don't want that asshole on the team! Everybody's gonna laugh at us!
    Lyle Robideaux: Everybody's already laughing at us. We haven't won a game since 1994.
    • Though he's afraid Bobby will make them even more of a laughingstock.
  • Those Two Guys: Walter and Paco
    Paco: Look at Bobby tackle. I haven't seen a tackle like that since Joe Montana.
    Walter: Joe Montana was a quarterback, you idiot.
    Paco: I said Joe Mantegna.
  • Unnecessary Roughness
  • The Unintelligible: Farmer Fran, who speaks with an incredibly thick Cajun accent.
    "We lib to play annundeh."
  • Unstoppable Rage: It's what makes Bobby such a valuable player. His anger issues make it possible for him to bulldoze guys much larger than himself.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Vicki.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Mama Boucher revealed the truth about his father: He left for New Orleans to make some money to support his family. But after two weeks, he "deserted" them to be with his two new loves: big city-livin' and a "voodoo woman named Phyllis". And changed his name to Roberto. She lied to him about his father because she was afraid Bobby would leave her too, thus the reason why she sheltered him all his life.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Coach Klein and Red Beaulieu used to be fellow assistant coaches at Louisiana State, until Red stole Klein's playbook to pass off as his own, firing him once he got the job.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Bobby mixes in wrestling moves at every available opportunity when tackling someone. The crowner has to be "Power bomb, courtesy of, Captain Insaneo."
  • Your Mom: In one game, Bobby wishes an opposing player good luck in the next play, but the player rudely tells him "I'll be playin' with yo mama tonight.", making Bobby ominously mutter "62", his jersey's number. In the play, Bobby intercepts the ball, but idiotically gives it back to that player, who takes for a touchdown, beating the Mud Dogs. Though Bobby literally dropkicks him after he reaches the end zone. The logic behind Bobby's actions is that he knows that he's only allowed to tackle whichever player on the opposing team has the ball. He barely understands the concept of competition and wanting to win as opposed to lose, so the fact that he cost his team the game means nothing, because he gained revenge on a player who talked bad about his mama.
    Bobby: [after dropkicking #62 and standing over his motionless body] I love my mama very much... now you know that.
    [camera cuts to players on the sideline walking off the field disappointed, with Coach Klein sitting with his head in his hands, crying his eyes out]

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alternative title(s): The Waterboy
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