A film Spin-Off of Police Squad!, following Police Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) as he continues to get into trouble. The films serve as parodies of the cop genre and (initially) film noir, and let nothing, including the blatant warping of reality and breaks in the fourth wall, get in the way of a good gag. The genius of the Drebin character is that Nielsen plays him almost totally straight: he's a buffoon, but he acts like a completely serious film detective even as lunacy explodes all around him, almost as if he's wandered in from a different movie.
Features slapstick, Visual Puns and Shout-Outs by the bucketful. At three movies, this actually lasted longer than the TV series it was based on. In all three Frank's love interest is Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley).
The films are:
- The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) -While trying to clear the name of Officer Nordberg, Drebin uncovers a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II
- The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) - Drebin meets the new man in Jane's life, who is involved in a kidnapping scheme.
- Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994) - Drebin comes out of retirement and infiltrates a gang in prison. He must also save his faltering marriage.
- A fourth movie is planned with Bill Hader attached to star as Frank Drebin Jr. Franks son. Original Director and Co-creator David Zucker plans to return to direct.
The Naked Gun series provides examples of:
- Accidental Hero: Due to Frank's klutzy tendencies, he often foils crimes completely by accident and without being aware of what's going on. In the second film, it's noted that he's killed one thousand drug dealers, the last two of whom he accidentally backed over with his car.
- Affectionate Parody: Of cop shows, and later spy movies.
- Amusing Injuries: With or without Injury Discretion Shots.
- Artistic License Gun Safety: It's to be expected, really.
- Aside Glance: The standard reaction from characters when another character they are in conversation with says something nonsensical. Which, in this movie series, means almost every conversation, and often switches between who is talking nonsense and who is giving the Aside Glance.
- Ascended Extra: Nordberg - originally used for one-shot gags in Police Squad!, he became the recurring Butt-Monkey for the Naked Gun movies, played by O.J. Simpson.
- Automobile Opening: The credits sequence.
- Big Bad: Ludwig from Police Squad, Quentin from The Smell of Fear and Rocko from The Final Insult.
- Bit Character: Tons of them throughout all three movies, to the point where many characters in the credits are simply identified by the one line they say.
- Brick Joke:
- "Hey, it's Enrico Palazzo!"
- The corpse in the meat factory reappears as a still-ringed finger found in the Big Bad's hot dog.
- The villain of the second film is taken out by the lion that had accidentally been released from the zoo earlier.
- Butt-Monkey: Nordberg, especially in the first two films. Given how O.J. Simpson's life turned out, the commentary track laughs at the Laser-Guided Karma.
- The Cameo: "Weird Al" Yankovic in all three films:
- In the first film, Frank's dramatic speech is cut short when Ed informs him that the massive crowd gathered outside his plane is actually for Weird Al. They go ecstatic when he departs the plane.note
- In The Smell of Fear: As a criminal who has taken Ed, Nordberg, and the rest of the station hostage. Frank accidentally incapacitates him when opening a door too fast.
- The Final Insult: As Himself as Vanna White's escort at the Oscars.
- Dr. Joyce Brothers makes a wordless appearance in the first film as a member of the announcing crew at the baseball game.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Usually Drebin, but the driving instructor in the first movie puts Hindu cows to shame.
- Chalk Outline:
- Spoofed by type and position. For type, there's a stick figure and an Egyptian, and for position, there's Chalk Outlines that appear on a building's walls, or roof, or one that appears floating on the water.
- The second movie has outlines of body parts...
- There was also an outline on an elevator door.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Johnny the shoeshine guy (the Almighty Janitor character from the original series) doesn't appear in the movies.
- The Comically Serious:
- The villain often fills this role.
- Drebin as well, since Leslie Nielsen's shtick is saying the most absurd lines with a straight face.
- Really, everyone in all three movies has to behave this way, since they're ostensibly appearing in a series of film noir crime dramas.
- Creator Cameo: David Zucker (director of the first two films) appears as Davy Crockett and later as the teleprompter operator in 2½ and 33⅓, respectively.
- 33⅓ director Peter Segal has several. In addition to playing the producer of Sawdust and Mildew, hes the voice of the suicide bomber in the Battleship Potemkin/The Untouchables parody at the start of the movie, the voice of the KSAD deejay, the ADRd scream of the inmate escaping prison by pole-vaulting, the real Phil Donahue (before Frank knocks him out and takes his place), and the voice of the man shouting "Stop the stairs, Joey!" at the Academy Awards.
- Credits Gag: Happens in all three films. They include people getting credited by their single spoken line, people getting credited for made-up roles like "Second Second Assistant Director," "NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED DURING THE FILMING... HOWEVER, SOME SPECIES DID BECOME EXTINCT DURING PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY", and the safety warning, "In Case of Tornado: SOUTHWEST CORNER OF BASEMENT."
- Denser and Wackier: The series as a whole. All parodies aside, the first movie actually has some moments of realism. By the second film this has dropped off considerably, being completely gone by the third.
- The Ditz: Frank, despite his Feigning Intelligence.
- Drives Like Crazy:
- Whenever Drebin gets behind the wheel, something bad happens. The scene when Drebin tags along in a driving school car is especially notable, when the driving instructor instructs the student how to flip the bird.
- Drebin gets into a tank; When Cpt Hocken tells him that Frank doesn't know how to drive it, he means it.
- The opening credits are also built on this. A cop car (presumably containing Drebin) viewed from the emergency lights shows absolutely insane or just plain nonsensical driving behavior, including driving on sidewalks, into people's homes, on rollercoasters, into bullfighting arenas, restaurants, hockey rinks, the air, the surface of the Death Star, and prehistoric times.
- (to Jane) "After I met you I noticed things I never saw before. Birds singing, dew glistening off a leaf, stop lights."
- Jane driving the humongous semi in 33 ⅓; When she stops at Rocco's place, she has a road worker stuck at the grill.
- In a Thelma & Louise nod, Jane and her lady friend practically pack their whole house on the trunk of their convertible, constantly spilling appliances down the road.
- Drebin notes when he is being awarded a citation for his 1000th drug dealer killed that he accidentally backed over the last three with his car and only found out they were drug dealers after.
- Disney Villain Death: All three movies have them, including the bad guy from the first movie and a close call for the one in the second.
- Flexibility Equals Sex Ability: Frank asks Ed about Frank's ex and how she's doing with her new guy; Ed tells him the guy's an Olympic gymnast and it's the best sex she's ever had.
- Funny Background Event: Everything that happens concerning the aftermath of Drebin hitting something with his car.
- Hurricane of Puns: It's a ZAZ movie, there are some even hidden in the background.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lt. Frank Drebin. Mostly because he is a very blunt person.
- The Man Behind the Man: Papshmear from parts 1 and 3 who was a liaison for a mysterious organization who's only purpose is to spread mayhem around the world. You can hear him utter "Gaddafi" over the phone in the 3rd movie.
- Manchild: Frank and Jane. "Their song" is "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
- MayDecember Romance: Jane and Frank. Leslie Nielsen was 20 years Priscilla Presley's senior.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Sadly, she is (we're talking about Drebin's first girl).
- Mythology Gag:
- Dozens, the best known of which would be the Automobile Opening.
- The second movie homages the four-foot shootout from the series.
- Once per Episode: A visit to the lab to view the new Q-worthy gadgets
- Private Eye Monologue: Frank is constantly doing this. A particularly memorable one in the first movie had monologuing while walking through town, culminating in "And where the hell was I?" as he notices he's wandered all the way to the foothills outside L.A.
- Punny Name: Papshmear (Pap-Smear).
- Race Lift: Nordberg, who is played by O.J. Simpson in the movies, was white in Police Squad!.
- Ragdoll Physics: A common gag for a non-video game example is to make use of ragdolls for exaggerated physical stunts, such as a "Jane" being swung around in a violent struggle by the villain, or villains (or Nordberg) getting flung over a railing.
- Rule of Funny: Given it's a ZAZ comedy, any nonsensical thing is this.
- Running Gag:
- Drebin's bad driving. Specifically, his actual driving while on the road usually isn't too bad, but he almost always hits something or causes trouble of some kind when parking or pulling up in front of a building. The second half of the gag is that he's almost always completely oblivious to what he's done.
- After saving the day, Drebin being mistaken for a celebrity. In the first, Enrico Palazzo. In the third, Phil Donahue.
- Someone falling out of the upper decks at the baseball stadium.
- Second Love: A throwaway line in the first film indicates that Jane is this to Frank, and a flashback in the third film confirms it.
- Sex Comedy: The movies, at least once a film, will parody dramatic Hollywood sex/romance scenes.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Frank Drebin tries to live this trope from time to time, sadly with more realistic consequences than most Big Damn Heroes.
- Status Quo Is God: played straight in 2 1/2 (Frank's promotion to Captain and proposal to Jane didn't stick) but averted in 33 1/3 (not only are they married, but he's left the force).
- Take That!: Constantly. ("It'll be more embarrassing to the US than Tonya Harding.")
- 555: The driving school's phone number is 555-3900.
- Accidental Pervert: Drebin escapes a burning room through the window, climbing along a row of anatomically-correct male and female statues. Between two statues is an open window, and a woman in her underwear just happens to be standing there. Drebin accidentally... well, guess. He then falls off the building, just saving himself by grabbing a statue's stone Gag Penis. In trying to save himself he manages to break the penis off the statue and fall into the woman's room through the window, brandishing it at her while loudly groaning from exhaustion. He's later before a very angry mayor who reads off the charges against him, which includes "sexual assault with a concrete dildo."
- Acoustic License: An aversion is played for laughs when a hitman tries to deliver a "message" to Drebin from the Big Bad by cursing and opening fire on him. Drebin's response:Drebin: Sorry, I can't hear you! Don't fire the gun while you're talking!
- Acquitted Too Late: Frank finds a plastic box while cleaning his files.Drebin: Hey! The missing evidence in the Kellner case! My god! He really was innocent!
Ed: He went to the chair two years ago, Frank.
[box goes back to the drawer]
- America Saves the Day: Drebin beats the tar out of America's enemies in the first movie's cold open.
- And Another Thing...: Frank to Jane:Drebin: Oh by the way, I faked every orgasm.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Almost literally, as the Mayor chews out Drebin for "Entering without a search warrant, destroying property, arson; sexual assault with a concrete dildo?"
- As You Know:Ed: I can't spare anybody, Frank. You know we're in charge of security for Queen Elizabeth's visit. I'm short-handed already.
- Balcony Escape: Frank Drebin does this. He needs to grab hold of the statues of naked men and women to maintain his balance.
- Blood Knight: Drebin.Drebin: Yes. Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards. That's my policy.
Mayor: That was a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones!
- Bowdlerise: The infamous "Nice beaver!" quote was dubbed with the less funny "Nice one!" in TV airings. Which ruins the gag, as Frank is shown to be complimenting a stuffed beaver.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The villain's various victims.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Or in Frank's case, burglary, arson, and sexual assault with a concrete dildo. Though the last one was Not What It Looks Like, so it falls somewhere between this trope and Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Or in Frank's case, walking around it. As when he first goes to the lab the doctor and the captain walks through the door where he walks around it.
- Butt-Monkey: Enrico Palazzo is Bound and Gagged and impersonated by Frank, and then the TV captions display his name during Drevin's horrible interpretation of the national anthem, adding insult to injury.
- The Cameo: Reggie Jackson is the one brainwashed into trying to assassinate the Queen.
- Chekhov's Gun: The cuff links.
- Comedic Sociopathy: During the romance montage, Frank and Jane come laughing out of a movie only for it to turn out to be Platoon.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Drebin meets a Mook standing at a distance:Mook: Drebin!
Frank: Yeah, I'm Drebin!
Mook: I have a message for ya from Vincent Ludwig! [fires gun] Take that, you lousy cop!
Frank: I'm sorry, I can't hear you! Don't fire the gun while you're talking!
- Cosmopolitan Council: In the beginning of the movie. It includes Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Ugandan President Idi Amin, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, among others. As of Christmas Eve 2017, all of these people are dead except Gorbachev. That's right, it took 19 years for the opening sequence of The Naked Gun to be completely outdated.
- Crazy-Prepared: When Frank and Jane meet, they use condoms during their first bedroom encounter to guarantee "safe sex." Not too strange in itself, until you see that the condoms cover their entire bodies.
- Creator In-Joke: The montage of Drebin and Jane dating featuring "I'm Into Something Good" ends with a freeze-framed credit saying it's on The Naked Gun Soundtrack on Wheelo Records.◊ The movie didn't have a soundtrack album came outnote , but when La La Land Records issued all three scores on a 3-disc set, they have a logo for Wheelo Records on the packaging. (And yes, "I'm Into Something Good" is on the first disc.)
- Crush Parade: At the end, Vincent Ludwig falls off the upper deck of a baseball stadium to the parking lot below where he gets hit by a bus, flattened by a steam-roller, and then trampled by a marching band playing "Louie Louie."Ed: Oh, Frank! It's horrible. It's so horrible!
Frank: [comforting Ed] I know...
Ed: My father went the same way...
- Depraved Homosexual: Downplayed, but Ludwig is off-handedly said to prefer East German men.
- Disaster Dominoes: Both Nordberg in the beginning and later Drebin.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: The opening ends with the police car stopping at a donut shop.
- Driving Test Smashers: In the first movie, Frank does a Follow That Car... on a driving school car.Driving instructor: All right, Stephanie, gently extend your arm. Extend your middle finger. Very good. Well done.
- Empty Fridge, Empty Life: Inside Frank's fridge is nothing but spoiled milk, expired mustard and a Chinese takeout box.Jane: [reads the takeout box] Wong Wu's reopened? I thought they went out of business three years ago.
Frank: Gee, has it been that long? l don't feel like Chinese tonight anyway. [sniffs inside the box and briefly passes out]
- Every Car Is a Pinto: A car-chase ends with the pursued villain crashing his car into the side of a tanker truck. Explosion #1. Then, straddling the flaming remains of his vehicle, he runs into an army missile being towed on a trailer. Explosion #2. Now riding the missile, he plows in through the front door of a fireworks factory. EXPLOSION NUMBER THREE, as Frank Drebin unsuccessfully attempts to shoo away gawking spectators: "Move along! There's nothing to see here!"
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Creatively named locations such as "The Hospital" and "The Police Station" are prominently signed as such. Word of God is that the hospital was supposed to be called "Our Lady Who Never Got The Pickle" but Ricardo Montalbán, a devout Catholic, requested the change. The hospital is name dropped as "Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle."
- Everyone Calls Her "Mayor": Mayor Barkley (Nancy Marchand) is only referred to by her surname name once, very briefly. Ironically, her Expy in the sequel, Comissioner Annabell Brumford, is introduced by her full name early on.
- The Faceless: Al from the first movie, a carry-over character from Police Squad!.
- Falling-in-Love Montage: Parodied. (Among other things, the montage appears to contain at least a week's worth of activities, but occurs right after Drebin is told he has 24 hours to clear Nordberg and save the Queen.)
- Freeze-Frame Ending: Like so many other tropes, parodied. Frank and the other two characters he's with hold their mid-laugh poses all through the credits while the papers he had tossed up gently scatter all over the floor and a cat pokes at them.
- Funny Background Event: At the airport, when Frank addresses the crowd of reporters he's mistaken to be for him, a suitcase is seen being chucked from his plane, missing the baggage cart below and joining several others already on the ground.
- Genre Blindness: The Mayor berates Frank as if they are living in a perfectly normal universe like ours - oblivious to the fact that it's Like Reality Unless Noted.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Drebin has apparently killed at least a thousand drug dealers, any number of fleeing suspects, and an entire Shakespeare In The Park production of Julius Caesar. Throw in his reckless incompetence and inability to drive or park, and he's probably as big a menace as any of the villains.
- He's Got a Weapon!: Thanks for that update, Jane.
- Hidden Depths: The Queen of England throws a mean curve ball.
- History Marches On: Mikhail Gorbachev is among America's enemies. Yet his role in causing The Great Politics Mess-Up soon gave him a Historical Hero Upgrade.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Frank Drebin. Made worse by the fact that he was impersonating a famous opera singer, Enrico Palazzo, while the said singer was tied up and forced to watch.
- Humiliation Conga: Only in the Naked Gun series can you have the villain fall off a stadium ledge, be hit by a bus, flattened by a steam-roller and then have a marching band playing "Louie Louie" trample over him.
- I Knew It!: In-Universe, what Frank says after he puts Mikhail Gorbachev in a headlock and rubs off his famous "wine stain" birthmark.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Frank to Jane near the end, when she's hypnotized into trying to kill him.
- Innocent Innuendo: The first meeting with Frank's future love interest Jane, including one right after she climbs up a ladder. Later innuendo gets a lot less innocent.Drebin: Say, nice beaver.
Jane: Thanks, I just had it stuffed.
[hands down a literal stuffed and mounted beaver]
- Is This Thing Still On?: Frank's microphone stays on as he goes to the bathroom after a press conference. Hilarity Ensues.
- It Came from the Fridge: Frank makes the mistake of sniffing an example of this.
- Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: Frank hears a Kookaburra shouting when he wanders out into the hills of Los Angeles during his Private Eye Monologue.
- Last-Name Basis: Even Nordberg's wife doesn't seem to know his first name.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Burglary, arson, and sexual assault with a concrete dildo.
- Laugh of Love: Played for Laughs with Frank and Jane, who are smiling and laughing in every part of their Falling-in-Love Montage, like when they're at the movies together (the movie in question being Platoon).
- Literal-Minded: Frank is searching Ludwig's office for clues, opens a drawer and shouts "Bingo!"... Has he found a smoking gun? No, he's found a literal bingo card.
- Meaningless Meaningful Words: Frank says quite a lot of profound sounding phrases while trying to get Jane to snap out of her hypnosis.Drebin: The problems of two little people don't amount to a hill of beans, but this is our hill and these are our beans.
- Mistaken for Gay: When trying to gain access to the baseball field, Drebin knocks out one of the umpires so he can steal his outfit. He throws the unconscious umpire on a table and undoes both their pants, when a cleaning guy happens to walk in. He just shrugs it off with "sorry, fellas," and continues his rounds.
- Move Along, Nothing to See Here: In front of an exploding fireworks factory.
- Mugged for Disguise: Repeatedly! Frank takes out Enrico Palazzo to get onto the field, and then beans an umpire with a bat so he can take his clothes as well.
- Multiple Gunshot Death: Subverted for laughs in the opening of the first film. All the gangsters on the boat unload their guns on Nordberg, but not only does he fail to die from it, he subsequently suffers a torrent of abuse so prolonged that even the gangsters look a bit stunned at it.
- Murphy's Bed: Nordberg's bed. He also manages to step in an actual Bear Trap as well.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: Drebin beats up the world's most evil men. Also, whoever Papshmear is working for.
- Nerves of Steel: John Houseman's driving instructor.
- Not What It Looks Like:
- Frank is swapping clothes with the knocked-out umpire. The janitor walks in and assumes something sexual (understandably so, since the umpire's ass is propped up on the table) and says, "Whoops. Sorry, fellas." and backs out.
- The "sexual assault with a concrete dildo" incident.
- In 2 1/2, Frank confronts Earl Hacker (the able-bodied doppleganger for Dr. Meinheimmer, who by contrast is wheelchair-bound). He starts beating him up, but is mistaken for beating up a handicapped person by an onlooker.
- Offhand Backhand: While beating up Ayatollah Khomeini.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Nordberg is shot up in the beginning, but luckily "The bullets missed every major organ". He spends the movie recovering and is just fine in the next movie. Most of the damage that he receives is unwittingly caused by himself or Frank.
- Only Sane Man: The Mayor, who plays the Straight Man when speaking to Frank.
- Performer Guise: Drebin disguises himself as opera singer Enrico Palazzo.
- The Precarious Ledge: Drebin escapes a burning room from a window onto a ledge filled with anatomically correct male and female statues. Hilarity Ensues.
- Ransacked Room: Frank wreaks havoc when he sneaks into Ludwig's office.
- Rasputinian Death: Hapsburg, as listed on Humiliation Conga. And apparently Capt. Hocken's father also died like this!
- Red Herring: The Swiss Army Shoe never gets used.
- Sexophone: When we first meet Jane.
- Sexy Shirt Switch: Played for laughs.
- The scene revealing the induced hypnosis is almost identical to a similar scene from the Charles Bronson classic Telefon: Same setup, dialog, camera angles, you name it.
- "I shoot the bastards. That's *my* policy." is a parody of a similar scene of Dirty Harry about Cowboy Cop antics.
- Jane's introduction at the top of the staircase is from Farewell, My Lovely.
- Frank describing the creation of the universe when he's asked to "start at the begining" is a nod to ZAZ's earlier masterpiece, Airplane!, which has a similar scene after Jonny is asked for a summary of what's happened so far.
- Olson shows Drebin some familiar gadgets including a knife shoe and tranquilizing cuff-links.
- Frank does some very Three Stooges-type moves when beating up the Ayatollah.
- Speaking of James Bond, the opening sequence is meant as a reference to the nefarious organization SPECTRE.
- Sickbed Slaying: A Vorpal Pillow against Nordberg is thwarted by Frank, but not without inflicting some damage to the target.
- Slip into Something More Comfortable: Parodied. After Frank Drebin arrives home late at night, he finds Jane (then working for Ludwig) wearing one of Drebin's shirts. After some suggestive dialog, Frank, who is wearing a collared shirt, slacks, and a tie, says that he will go slip into something more comfortable. He emerges wearing a suit. Then he slips out of it completely by just pulling the collar.
- Spoiler Cover: The flyer shown above reveals the identity of the assassin.
- Stealth Pun: In the bathroom scene, Frank hums "Deep River" as he urinates.
- Took a Level in Badass: The student driver whose car Frank commandeers takes one of the fastest levels in film history, going from frightened newbie to running the bad guy off the road over the course of an approximately 3-minute scene.
- Tranquillizer Dart: Frank Drebin's cufflink tranquilizer darts. However, they're not quite instant enough, since the bad guy staggers around long enough to fall over a railing to a Cruel and Unusual Death.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Goes further than usual with flips and cartwheels while Drebin is searching Ludwig's house.
- Vandalism Backfire: Frank melts down and start sweeping things off a desk and scratching it up with a paperweight, while Al keeps trying to get his attention. When he finally does, he calmly explains that it's his desk Frank is destroying.
- Verbal Backspace: Done by all the other baseball umpires who are arguing against Drebin's (flagrantly incorrect) call, when he draws his gun.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- The Queen seems to be entirely forgotten about after the assassin is foiled. Technically she doesn't need to appear since she's out of danger but it's strange that we don't see her reaction to Frank talking down a hypnotized Jane despite multiple reaction shots from the other people in the stadium.
- To say nothing of the fact that Nordberg was never actually cleared of the crime he was accused of.
- Who Are You?: At the beginning, after beating up the various Arab leaders, Idi Amin and Mikhail Gorbachev:Drebin: I'm Lieutenant Frank Drebin, Police Squad! And don't ever let me catch you guys in America. [Drebin then dramatically pushes open a window covering only to have it swing back and smack him in the face]
- Will Talk for a Price: Parodied. Frank Drebin questions the dock manager during his investigation of the attempted murder on Nordberg. The guy's memory is foggy, so Frank gives him a twenty. When the guy subsequently asks Frank an innocuous question, he gives Frank his twenty back to persuade him to answer, gives him another twenty for another question, and has to borrow an additional twenty from Frank because he's out of money.
- You Just Ruined the Shot: Frank Drebin defends his Cowboy Cop behavior by mentioning the time he saw a bunch of men stabbing someone to death in the park and he shot them. The mayor says that it was a stage-in-the-park production of Julius Caesar, and Frank shot five actors—good ones!
- Accidental Hero: Frank has a habit of pulling this, especially in the second film: He responds to his award for "One Thousandth Drug Dealer Killed" by remarking that he accidentally ran over the last two with his car. In a later scene, he unknowingly saves his colleagues from a crazed gunman.
- Actor Allusion:
- When Drebin crashes the villains' meeting, Peter Mark Richman's Corrupt Corporate Executive character asked what's that smell, which Drebin replies raw sewage, something that Richman's previous character had drowned in a barrel of.
- And another of the group gets one as well: during the final hysterical crowd scene, there's a split second shot of Lloyd Bochner's character clutching a large book and yelling "It's a cookbook!" Bochner starred in a famous episode of the original version of The Twilight Zone which offered up that revelation as a punchline.
- Almost Dead Guy: Two of them, no less. The second guy asks where the first one left off. "All right, who else is almost dead?"
- Ambiguous Syntax: Subverted:Dr. Meinheimer: You're thinking about him again, aren't you? What was his name? "Frank"?
Dr. Meinheimer: You just can't forget about him, can you?
Dr. Meinheimer: ...Frank.
- Angry Collar Grab: Frank does this to two almost dead guys in order to press information from them. His aggressive approach doesn't work out for him though.
- Bait-and-Switch: Lampshaded; Frank asks the bartender to give him the strongest thing he's got, to which a muscle-heavy man walks up. Frank says, "On second thought, how about a Black Russian." The bartender looks at the camera and shakes his head, indicating that he's not going to perform the obvious punchline.
- BFG: Nordberg's cannon. He starts by adding stuff to his Desert Eagle, admittedly a BFG in its own right, which thereby turns into a rifle in the meantime and ends up a 40mm Bofors autocannon.
- Bigger on the Inside: Jane's fridge is deep enough to fit her whole on a single shelf while laying face down, and ample enough for her to turn and knock on the door when it closes behind her.
- Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Frank:Frank: Oh it's all right, I'm sure that we can handle this situation maturely, just like the responsible adults that we are. [to Quentin] Isn't that right, Mr. Poopy Pants?
- Brick Joke: The zoo animals.
- Butt-Monkey: Dr. Meinheimer and Barbara Bush.
- The Cameo: Zsa Zsa Gabor slaps the police siren during the opening credits.
- Captain Obvious: Frank sometimes falls into this, sometimes overlapping with Mathematician's Answer:Frank: I told Jane to meet us at the hotel's rear entrance.
Ed: Where's that, Frank?
Frank: In the back.
- Car Fu: Comes as a byproduct of Frank Driving Like Crazy. He killed his 999th and 1,000th drug dealer by accidentally running over them. It turned out afterwards that they were drug dealers.
- Celebrity Paradox: "Weird Al" Yankovic appears briefly as an unnamed criminal holding the police station hostage, despite the fact that he appears As Himself in the other two movies. Unless that's actually Weird Al holding them hostage...
- Chalk Outline: After the failed assassination attempt on Dr. Meinheimer, the bombing victims are given chalk outlines all over the room, including on the lift door.
- Comically Cross-Eyed: The first Almost Dead Guy, because Frank stepped on his groin.
- Comically Missing the Point:[Frank reads a business card]
Frank: That's the red-light district. I wonder why Savage is hanging around down there.
Ed: Sex, Frank?
Frank: [beat] Uh... no, not right now, Ed.
- Corpsing: In the White House dinner scene, Frank manages to launch a half lemon across the room where it lands in Winnie Mandela's elaborate headpiece. The actress can be seen struggling to keep a straight face.
- Crash in Through the Ceiling: Frank is chased across a rooftop by a guard dog, and accidentally crashes into the villains' hideout via the skylight.
- Crazy-Prepared: Nordberg begins to add accessories to his handgun during a shootout; the next scene shows him pulling parts out of nowhere as he puts together a gun mount; by the time Drebin calls out to him for cover, he has already put together a full-fledged cannon and proceeds to shoot down a massive chunk of wall, disabling every one of Hapsburg's cronies.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Ticked off when he sees Jane and Hapsburg together, Frank starts slinging juvenile insults.
- Crowd Panic: Happens at the end, when everyone learns about the bomb.
- Dirt Force Field: Parodied. Frank falls through a roof window of the building where the villains are. He gets up, all dusty and dirty, and begins to wipe his hair. In the next cut, Frank is completely clean.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Frank fights Savage, who has come to kill Jane (who is in the shower). She hears the ruckus and pulls open the shower curtain to see what's up, whereupon both Frank and Savage stop in mid-grapple to stare.
- Dramatic Unmask: Drebin attempts this with the impersonator, not knowing that the real Dr. Meinheimer had been freed and taken his place while the impersonator had been arrested. Made worse when the means of unmasking involved pulling down the poor doctor's pants because of a Distinguishing Birthmark on his backside. When discovering it is there, he assumes it's a fake and tries to remove it with a buffing machine in front of the entire award banquet audience.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: The villain survives falling out of a window. When he gets up, it seems like he's going to escape. Just then, a lion appears out of nowhere and kills him on the spot. It is however incredibly funny and a great Brick Joke since earlier in the film Drebin released a bunch of animals from the zoo.
- Eek, a Mouse!!: A silent example; Jane, despite being bound and gagged is visibly freaking out while Frank and Hapsburg battle at the climax, only for the camera to zoom out to show a small mouse on a shelf.
- Escaped Animal Rampage: Frank accidentally causes a break out at the zoo, and animals are seen running around in the background of some scenes. In the end, the Big Bad is dispatched by an escaped lion.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: The villain is pounced on by a lion just as he's about to escape.
- Exposition Party: The dinner scene at the White House in the beginning, which establishes that representatives from the coal, oil, and nuclear companies are leery about a renewable energy plan that could jeopardize their profits.
- Funny Background Event: There's a series of framed pictures in the background of the bar Frank's in, all of which are various disasters (the Hindenburg, the sinking of the Titanic, and....Michael Dukakisnote ). Also included: the Hubble Space Telescope, which isn't that much of a disaster anymore.
- Later, Dr. Mainheimer's double got flung out of the window (see Shout-Out) as some ladies are talking in the foreground.
- Fun with Acronyms: The acronyms of the coal, oil, and nuclear companies.Chief of Staff: Thank you. Mr. President, tonight I am extremely proud to welcome our distinguished guests from the nation's energy suppliers. From the coal industry, chairman of the Society for More Coal Energy, or "SMOCE", Mr. Terence Baggett. Representing the oil industry, head of the Society of Petroleum Industry Leaders, better known as "SPIL", Mr. Donald Fenswick...
Fenswick: Thank you, thank you very much.
Chief of Staff: And from the nuclear industry, president of the Key Atomic Benefits Office of Mankind - "KABOOM", Mr. Arthur Dunwell.
- GPS Evidence:
- Parodied when the scientist involved outlines his plan to do an exhaustive study and analysis of the city's soil sample from a footprint found at the crime scene. When the police tell him that they don't have time for him to run his tests, the scientist helpfully suggests getting the criminal's address from the driver's license in his wallet, also found at the crime scene.
- And again when Ted the lab guy tries to analyze the wood fiber in a message from their suspect and determines that it came from a specific tree found only in one region and used as raw material in only one paper mill. The trail unfortunately went cold from there, so it's a good thing the message had their suspect's address on the letterhead, eh?
- Groin Attack:
- Nordberg winds up under a bus that just happens to keep running over road cones, signs, random cactuses...
- As Frank pushes Dr. Meinheimer's double's electric wheelchair, he accidentally bumps into a waiter serving hot coffee, which spilled on the double's crotch (and on his wheelchair).
- When Frank interrogates an injured mook:Frank: Where's Hapsburg?
[mook groans in pain]
Frank: Where were you hit?
Mook: It's not that, you're on my groin!
- Hidden Wire: Frank infiltrates Hapsburg's hideout while wearing one of these. As expected, Frank's not very subtle about saying the codeword into the vest mic to signal the rest of the team to infiltrate the lair (too bad they backed their van up against a utility pole and can't open the doors to get out).Mook: What's that smell?!
Frank: Oh, that would be me. I've been swimming in raw sewage. I love it. [Beat] I love it. [later while getting patted down for a wire] I LOVE IT!!!
- Hometown Nickname: Parodied and subverted in a lengthy dialog scene. Hector Savage turns out to be a former boxer named Joey Chicago. And that's his real name; he fought under the guise of Kid Minneapolis—while actually coming from Detroit. And then there is Tex Colorado, the Arizona Assassin, from North Dakota. And his brother South Dakota from West Virginia.
- I Have Many Names: Joey Chicago a.k.a. Kid Minneapolis a.k.a. Hector Savage.
- IKEA Weaponry: Nordberg pulls out a Desert Eagle and starts adding more and more pieces onto it until he has a mounted cannon complete with army helmet.
- Improbable Weapon User:
- When the hitman who came to kill Jane fights with Frank, they use a whole series of these, including a hair dryer and a towel thrown in Frank's face (a Call-Back to the Vorpal Pillow?), and culminating with a firehose that Drebin accidentally breaks while it's shoved in the hit man's mouth, leading to an off-screen Your Body Asplode. Crosses the Line Twice!
- Not mentioning that before the fight, the mook fits a revolver... with a silencer (not entirely impossible, but tremendously impractical).
- Nordberg's accessorized gun-to-cannon upgrade.
- Intimate Marks: Dr. Meinheimer is identified by a birthmark on his buttcheek. When a criminal disguises himself as the scientist, Frank yanks down the man's pants to expose him... only he grabbed the scientist and not the criminal.
- I Was Young and Needed the Money: The phrase is used by Jane, but that's not what Frank Drebin was looking for.
- Jabba Table Manners: Frank Drebin lays absolute waste to the lobster dinner served at the White House, spraying fragments of lobster shell and flesh around the table as he crudely attempts to dismantle them for eating.
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: "The president of the United States!" No it's not.
- Literal-Minded: When the big bad is described as having "a moustache, about six-foot-three", Frank retorts with "awfully big moustache."
- Mistaken for Gay: Frank is dwelling in a bar with Hocken when they receive a couple of heavily decorated drinks from Jane, who beckons Frank to come closer. Absentmindedly, Frank sits and declares "This is not easy to say. I'm lonely. I'm lost. I need someone to hold," not realizing that he sat in a table next to Jane's, getting a sneer from the butchy guy sitting on the table.
- Mistaken for Pedophile: "I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader! ...I-I mean, at the time, I was dating a lot."
- Negative Continuity: Played for laughs, of course. Frank crashes through the villain's window and is shown appropriately dirty and battered. But in the very next shot, he briefly smoothes his hair before standing up and is now completely clean.
- Noodle Incident:
- After surviving an assassination attempt:Jane: Oh Frank! Who would want to kill you?
Frank: Before tonight? Only the cable company...
- Also this:Frank: Oh congratulations, I understand that Edna's pregnant again.
Ed: Yes, and if I catch the guy who did it—
- After surviving an assassination attempt:
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: A very subtle one. Quentin Hapsburg is playing Solitaire at a gala and begins to get fed up with the cards he's being dealt; he gives up and picks up the pile to look for the cards he needs. He doesn't even have the respect for the rules or the patience for a game where he has no opponents and there's nothing at stake. Also, Hidden Depths, considering how buffoonish the environment of the movies plays out.
- Not Helping Your Case: All three major energy industries (coal, oil, and nuclear) produce commercials that defend their energy brand. However, all are filled with ironic imagery that, if it weren't played for comedy, wouldn't convince people that their energy policy is the way to go. (for example, the nuclear ad features a mutated, two-tailed dog). Add in that the acronyms for the industry organizations for coal, oil, and nuclear are SMOKE, SPIL, and KABOOM
- Obfuscating Disability: Dr. Meinheimer's double.
- Oedipus Complex: Played for laughs as Frank's internal monologue describes Jane as an alluring goddess when he meets her, only to end with noting that she reminds him of his mother. Then when the captain sees Frank's face he tells him to wipe that look off his face as it looks like he just saw his mother.
- Police Brutality: Hilariously averted when Ed tries to beat up a goon whom he thought beat up Prof. Meinheimer.
- Politically Correct Villain: When holed up in a building, Hector Savage demands a car, a plane ticket to Jamaica, and "A nice hotel! Nothing touristy! Something really indicative of the people and their culture!"
- Precision F-Strike: Zsa Zsa Gabor's cameo during the opening credits.Gabor: This happens every fucking time I go shopping.
- Reality Ensues: A rare example. Frank attempts to drive a battering tank, Ed yells that he's not trained to operate it. He isn't, and ends up just crashing it through the house, multiple gardens and a zoo (and inadvertently helping the henchman escape in addition to flooding D.C. with wild animals).
- Say Your Prayers: A punk points a gun at multiple police officers and says this. Luckily, he's knocked out by Frank opening the door and knocking the punk unconscious in the process. Amusingly, Frank doesn't even realize he thwarted a crime when thanked for it.
- Seven Minute Lull: "I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!"
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Dr Meinheimer finally gives his White House speech endorsing clean energy near the end of the movie, the speech the villains went to murderous lengths to prevent...and it puts everyone to sleep because it is so dry and boring.
- Shout-Out: There is a parody of the sexual pottery scene from Ghost. Ghost was directed by Jerry Zucker, who co-created Police Squad and co-wrote the first film.
- Even better, it shouts out the infamous continuity error—Frank and Jane get completely spattered with clay only to be perfectly clean in the next shot, just like Sam and Molly's hands were.
- To Casablanca, when Franck and Jane ask Sam the pianist to play their song.
- A shot of Dr. Mainheimer's double flown out the window with the full moon in the background, a la E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
- Dr. Mainheimer's birthmark, a purple blotch on his rear end, is a reference to the use of the same plot device in The Court Jester.
- Shower Scene: See "Toplessness from the Back" below.
- Stunt Double: Parodied; suddenly, Leslie Nielsen can do multiple front flips and perform a complicated dance with Priscilla Presley.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: When Frank was talking to Jane about how out-of-character Dr. Mainheimer was acting.Frank: Have you noticed anything different about him?
Jane: Well, only that he's a foot taller, and he seems to be left-handed now-- Frank, what are you trying to tell me? That Quentin has somehow found an exact double for Dr. Mainheimer and that tomorrow that double will give a fraudulent report to the president?
Frank: [beat] Why that's brilliant, that's a lot better than what I came up with!
- Talking Is a Free Action: Lampshaded or subverted depending on how you want to look at it - Frank and Jane are having a heartwarming moment when Ed reminds Frank about the huge bomb that's set to explode any second
- Terminator Impersonator: This TV Spot for The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear is a blatant spoof of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, with Leslie Nielsen dressed in the T-800's iconic outfit upon a motorcycle, using his catchphrases and carrying a large minigun. Even the film's Title Card is a note-for-note send up of T2.
- That Came Out Wrong: Jane walks out on Frank at the restaurant, and Frank replies with:Frank: I'm single! I, I love being single! I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!
[music and conversation stops; everyone stares]
Frank: I mean, at the time, I was dating a lot.
- Toplessness from the Back: Hector Savage is about to shoot Jane in the shower, only for Frank to stop him at the last second. During their struggle, the shower curtain is pushed aside, leading to this shot. They stop fighting just to stare, much to Jane's annoyance.
- Umbrella Drink: Frank Drebin tries to drown his sorrows with one of these, only it's so stuffed with accessories (and no straw) that he can't actually drink from it.
- Unconventional Smoothie: Jane's "protein shake" in the second movie.
- Villainous Plan Inertia: Hapsburg is eventually killed by an escaped lion, but the bomb he activated just before is still counting down to zero, leaving Frank and his girlfriend to attempt to disarm it.
- You Are Too Late: Two of the henchmen tell this to Frank as he interrogates them.
- Accidental Pervert: Drebin is at the store squeezing grapefruits to test for ripeness while looking the other way. A woman in a low cut dress walks by, and Drebin mistakes her breast for a grapefruit and squeezes it. He gets slapped. (For added hilarity, it's the same actress he accidentally groped in the first film.)
- Acclaimed Flop: An in-universe example occurs at the Oscars. Sawdust And Mildew was a Box Office Bomb, but got nominated for Best Picture and is mistaken for having won when Frank announces that he's found the bomb.
- Actor Allusion:
- 33 ⅓ isn't the first time Earl Boen has been a psychologist.
- In the third movie, Weird Al is Vanna White's escort to the Oscars, a reference to his song "Stuck In A Closet With Vanna White."
- Frank and Rocco escape from prison in a similar (if parodied) manner to Escape from Alcatraz. Rocco's actor, Fred Ward, portrayed John Anglin in that film.
- Adult Fear: The scene where Jane's harassed by the truck driver who keeps insisting, "I know when a woman says "no", she really means "yes", then actually grabbing her when she gets fed up and tells him "Yes", angrily demanding, "What do you mean, telling me "no"?, forcing her to defend herself. Played for Laughs of course, but it undoubtedly struck a chord with any woman who's ever had to put up with someone hassling them.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: The inmates at the state prison (where Frank has gone undercover) riot in the cafeteria simply because they don't like the food they're being served. As depicted in the film the gag is quite funny, but in fact something like that did once happen at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco (it was known as "The Spaghetti Riot"). In the movie, this culminates in the prisoners making the guards eat the awful food!
- Ambiguous Syntax: When Frank finds the bomb in the Best Picture envelope and shouts "It's the bomb!", the producers of Sawdust and Mildew take it to mean that their movie won and start celebrating.
- Babies Ever After: Although its reveal is unpleasant to Frank...
- Baby Carriage: The first scene, which includes Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) almost spiking the baby after catching it.
- Bland-Name Product: The keeper of the Oscars' envelops works for
- Bowdlerization: The TV version contains an alternate take of Tanya's Unsettling Gender Reveal, replacing the otherly-endowed silhouette with a foreground shot of a hairy backside.
- Brutal Honesty: From the climax:Jane: I was wrong. Taking you away from Police Squad was a mistake. I know now that's why you couldn't perform decent sex with me.
[Frank looks very confused]
- The Cameo: Thanks to the abovementioned Oscars, the third movie has a whole pile of these.
- Catapult Nightmare: Frank wakes up this way from the Dream Intro.
- Celebrity Paradox: Anna Nicole Smith also appears on a Playboy cover in the third movie... which lampshades this at the same time by giving Anna's character a Gag Penis. Think about it for a second.
- Comically Missing the Point: During the Academy Awards sequence, when Frank and Jane are looking for a bomb hidden inside the winner envelopes and one of the presenters says, "This is going to be dynamite."Jane: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Frank: Yes! Florence Henderson's gonna win it! It's about time!
- Comic-Book Time: There's a bit of it early on when the characters remember having seen Tanya Peters in a dance club sometime during the disco era of the late '70s (lets say, 1978). Since Leslie Nielsen and George Kennedy were already middle-aged in '78, seeing them looking more or less the same (except for the '70s Hair, of course) in the disco setting isn't too much of a stretch. But when we see Tanya herself, she's blatantly the same age as in the present day (about her mid-20s); if she had aged along with everyone else, she'd be at least 40 years old throughout most of the movie, which she is not. (Interestingly, Tanya's portrayer, Anna Nicole Smith, was not even a teenager when the disco era ended.)
- Commonplace Rare: Used as a joke. In reality, the "rare" Canary Island Pine is actually one of the most common trees in the world.
- Continuity Nod:
- The car Frank and Jane drive in the flashback to their honeymoon is the same solar-powered car that Hapsburg shows to his co-conspirators in the previous film. This scene was meant to be the previous film's ending, hence Nordberg getting dragged with it.
- The flashback also features Frank's previous love mentioned in the beginning of the first film.
- A deleted scene (which aired in the TV broadcast) showed Frank walking past a cell in the state prison containing a lion. This could be the same lion that mauled Hapsburg to death at the end of the second film; given the "logic" of this series, it's conceivable that the lion would've been charged with homicide.
- Cool Gun: in the opening, Frank wields a LaFrance M16K, which was a relatively obscure conversion to the classic M16A1 series of rifles from the Vietnam era, shortening them from a twenty inch barrel and a fixed stock to an eight-inch barrel with a collapsible stock. Because the carbine variants of the M16 series typically require at least a ten inch barrel to mount the gas system, handguards, and front sight, the M16Ks gas system is reworked and the handguard cap is held on by the flash hider, with the front sight actually being welded into the carry handle on the upper receiver.
- Cut Himself Shaving: Jane removes Frank's shirt to discover whip marks on his back.Jane: Frank! What's this?!
Frank: I... fell. On a rake.
Jane: You're lying! Now I know why Ed's been calling every half hour; you've been back on the case, haven't you?
Frank: No, I swear, it's another woman!
Jane: In your wildest dreams!
- Cutting the Knot: Ted details the elaborate process of tracking down the origin of a document by determining the specific timber used in the paper, tracing that to the forest the timber was harvested from, and then to the mill it was made in. When the trail went cold from there, they decided to just get the address off the document's letterhead.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Frank at the fertility clinic.
- Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Performed by one of the mafia goons in the Untouchables parody opening sequence.
- Death by Looking Up: Rocko's mother gets hit with a falling APPLAUSE sign. Which changes to STANDING OVATION as she's struggling, and makes the crowd indeed applaud.
- Distinction Without a Difference:Frank: Cheer up, Ed, this is not goodbye; it's just I won't ever see you again.
- Dominatrix: Frank Drebin has an encounter with one after he mistakes a sperm bank for a regular doctor's office and asks for "help."PA System: Dr. Rosenblat, foreplay in room 7 please, Dr. Rosenblat.
Dr. Rosenblat: [cracks whip]
- Dream Intro: Turns out the opening shootout was just a nightmare Frank was having.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Rocko Dillon.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Tanya who is a prostitute walks into a room of the Dillon's house wearing a bathing suit to flash her body to everyone there with, Mrs. Dillon tells her "That's no way to walk around. Put some clothes on. And what are you doing in my bathing suit?"
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Sent up when a flashback to the characters in The '70s, and they all have longer hair (but don't look otherwise any younger), culminating in OJ Simpson's character, whose Funny Afro is so big that it gets stuck in the door. A character then says in the present "That's right! You were one of the first test subjects for Minoxidil!"
- Face Palm: Happens when Frank attempts to get the gun from Rocko while holding on the bomb in the envelope only for them to switch places causing everyone including the audience to facepalm.
- Feet-First Introduction: When Frank is re-introduced to Tanya, the camera pans up her long legs... and goes past two sets of knees.
- Funny Afro: '70s Nordberg had one so big, he couldn't get past the disco's door with it.Ed: I do remember! You were one of the first test cases for Minoxidil, weren't you?
- Funny Answering Machine: Frank and Jane's answering machine ends with:Frank: Which button do I press?
Jane: No, not that one!
- Funny Background Event:
- Nordberg celebrating with a baby in his hand in the background when Frank shoots the postal workers in the opening scene.
- One part had a Funny Foreground Event.[Frank walks back into the police office]
First Cop on Phone: Now calm down, ma'am. How many dead bodies did you say you found in your swimming pool?
Second Cop on Phone: Don't worry, sir. In this state, killing a gang member is an $18 fine. Just mail it in.
- Going Postal: Parodied. While Frank is dealing with a number of threats (itself a parody of The Untouchables), a man screams "Oh my god, look! It's disgruntled postal workers!" and he sees a number of mailmen firing assault rifles.note
- Groin Attack: Ted introduces a rather horrifying anti-carjacking device. It places a metal clamp on the carjacker's groin and detaches, leaving it there while the victim drives off. "We call it the Denver jock-strap. Frank and Ed wind up sharing the male pain.
- Hospital Hottie: Tanya goes undercover as one.
- House Husband: Frank takes on this persona after retiring. He actually seems to be pretty good at it.
- Hypocritical Humor: Louise tells Jane that she wants to join her to kill as many men as possible. A few minutes later, while Jane is trying to call Frank, Louise is seen leaving with a man. And not just any man; she went with the seedy truck driver that just tried to hit on Jane.
- I Ate WHAT?!: Frank goes to the crime lab where Ted has been examining the explosive used in the bombing their investigating. Frank dips his finger in the petri dish on Ted's desk, tastes it, and begins to deduce what it tastes like, when Ted informs him that the petri dish contains Fertilizer, evidence relating to a completely separate case. Frank makes a "yuck" face and while Ted continues his monologue, Frank grabs a random beaker full of yellow liquid off his desk to wash the taste out of his mouth with. In a double-whammy of this trope, Ted then takes the beaker off Frank's hands saying, "Let me take that urine specimen from you, Frank.", leading to the mandatory Spit Take.
- Ignore the Fanservice: Tanya's failed attempts to distract a guard. She ultimately pulls it off with bubble wrap.
- Innocent Innuendo: A good example is when Frank goes to a sperm bank thinking it's a regular hospital.
- Insane Troll Logic: Drebin and Rocko's argument over who should have the gun and who should have the bomb. The audience actually does a collective Face Fault.
- Irony: In the climax, Jane tells the women in the audience to hold onto their mates, because "good men don't just fall out of the sky". Cue Frank doing just that and incapacitating Rocco.
- Jail Bake: Lampshaded.
- Juggling Loaded Guns:Rocko Dillon: [firing a gun over the heads of the audience] Freeze, and nobody gets hurt!
[a grip falls from the rafters into the orchestra]
Rocko Dillon: Well... from now on!
- Karma Houdini: Tanya Peters never gets punished (at least not onscreen) for being affiliated with Rocko Dillon's terrorist gang, which is particularly odd since in the end she is the last surviving member of the gang. Sure, we know that she switched sides to the good guys by telling Frank where the bomb had been hidden, but that shouldn't absolve her from punishment for having knowingly collaborated with killers.
- Lame Comeback: Jane is so mad with Frank she calls him a "white Anglo male!" Jane's subplot is a massive spoof of feminist tropes (and one big Shout-Out to Thelma & Louise), so such insult is only to be expected.
- Leitmotif: Tanya has a sultry one.
- Lethal Klutz: Drebin has accidentally killed his fiancee, a fact he remains unaware of.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Subverted; Frank and Jane are a married couple, but Rocco and co. aren't aware of it.Tanya: Hey, look at this. She's married. What if her husband comes looking for her?
Frank: He probably will. He must be a great guy.
Jane: He breaks promises.
Frank: Well, look at you traipsing all over the countryside just to spite a big, wonderful guy.
Jane: He left me.
Frank: More like you left him.
Jane: You should talk.
Frank: Well, listen to you.
Jane: Listen to you.
Frank: Listen to you.
Jane: LISTEN TO YOU!
Frank: LISTEN TO YOU!
Rocco: Jeez, you two knock it off! You'd think you were married or something.
- "L" Is for "Dyslexia": In the first scene, Frank Drebin is reading a newpaper with the headline: "Dyslexia For Cure Found".
- Literal-Minded: When asked by Frank to "start at the beginning," the scientist in the forensics lab starts to describe the creation of the universe.
- Mistaken for Gay: Drebin goes to the Sperm Bank he mistakes for a regular doctor's office and describes an injury he sustained in the back yard with his uncle. He thinks he's talking about his arm describing a football injury. They... don't.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: At the beginning, Frank has a nightmare (which at first is presented as if it's really happening) in which he's at a train station and finds himself trying to stop a Mafia shootout. Things quickly become even more complicated when President Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II wander into the crossfire....and then a gang of deranged postal workers show up....
- No Animals Were Harmed: Although some species went extinct during principal photography, but those are fictional species such as Northern Horned Barn Owl (15 died in a soundstage fire), Red-Striped Heinied Tapir (2 died when a grip truck ran over them) and Woolly Fettered Squirrel (100 killed and served as lunch for the crew).
- Odessa Steps: Parodied in a flashback, as a baby carriage starts down the steps in a train station shootout. Nordberg manages to pull the baby from it in time, before going to spike it - thankfully, the mother stops him before he does.
- Oscar Bait: The movie includes a scene at the Oscar ceremony, where all the films were ridiculously High Concept, like "the story of one woman's triumph over the death of her cat, set against the background of the Hindenburg disaster," and "the story of one woman's triumph over a yeast infection, set against the background of the tragic Buffalo Bills season of 1971."
- Overly Narrow Superlative: "Best Actor in a Columbus movie?"
- Prison Changes People: Spoofed when Frank is undercover in prison and has a talk with fellow inmate Tyrone, a black guy.Tyrone: Take it from me. This place changes a man.
Frank: Oh yeah, in what way?
Tyrone: I used to be white. [Beat] I was a drummer for The Osmonds.
- Prison Rape: Played for laughs and averted.
- Prison Riot: Frank starts one to divert guards' attention from Rocko's escape plan. For completely silly reasons:Frank Drebin: Hey! You call this slop? Real slop has got chunks of things in it! This is more like gruel! And this Château le Blanc '68 is supposed to be served slightly chilled! This is room temperature! What do you think we are? Animals?
- Race Lift: Played for laughs when Tyrone (an ostensibly black prisoner stereotype) points out that prison can change a man, because he used to be white... and played drums for The Osmonds.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Done when Frank is on stage with Raquel Welch. Amusingly, he not only reads the stage directions, but also Raquel's lines as well as his own.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Jane catches Tanya kissing Frank:Jane: How could you!
Tanya: Well, you just shove your tongue as far down his throat as you can.
- Sarcasm-Blind:Frank: Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant, Police Squad.
Guard: Yeah, and I'm Robert De Niro.
Frank: Mr. De Niro, we've got to get inside!
- She's Got Legs: Parodied—Tanya's introduction has the camera scrolling upwards for about 6 solid feet of leg, with two sets of knees.
- The Automobile Opening shows the car driving through Death Star and Jurassic Park.
- After experiencing marital problems, Jane goes with a girlfriend on a Thelma & Louise-style road trip. The friend is even named "Louise" and dresses just like Susan Sarandon did in that movie.
- The film begins with a Cold Open that sends up The Untouchables (and, by extension, The Battleship Potemkin) (see Baby Carriage above)
- The Dillon gang go to a bunker to test their atomic weapon. After the detonation, the explosion blows their hair straight up, making them look like the main characters from Beavis And Butthead, which Rocko himself further alludes to by muttering: "Huh-huh-huh, huh-huh-huh, cool..."
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Frank and Jane reconcile while at the therapist's office:Jane: Oh, honey, it's just that I love you so much.
Frank: My little lover sparrow.
Jane: My puppy wuppy wuvver.
Frank: My little love biscuit.
Jane: My little snookie wookums.
Frank: My little lady cheesy puffy.
Therapist: Mr. and Mrs. Drebin, please, I'm a diabetic. I really think you two ought to go now.
- Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: The bomb that was said to be powerful enough to destroy the Academy Awards only destroys the bad guy's helicopter.
- Statuesque Stunner: Tanya
- Stock Unsolved Mysteries: While rifling through files at Tonya's clinic, Frank bypasses several files labeled "Kennedy assassination", "location of Jimmy Hoffa's body", etc.
- The Unreveal: Rocko thinks that the Academy Awards show is "a pretty big target", but we have no way of knowing until much later.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Tanya's silhouette reveal in her final scene.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Denver jockstrap", anyone?
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Frank vomits into a tuba, but it's not shown.
- Western Terrorists: The Dillon gang. Granted, they are secretly taking their orders from Arabs, but they're obviously plotting bombings more for the money than for hatred of the United States.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Anna Nicole Smith drops out of the film after Drebin discovers she has a penis. Thus, making her a Karma Houdini.
- Whole Plot Reference: Romantic subplot aside, 33⅓ is a comedic retelling of White Heat. A police officer infiltrates a prison, befriends a violent criminal who loves his mother, and helps him escape in order to determine the site of his next crime.
- You Are Too Late: When the police squad arrives at the Academy Award ceremony while Frank is already on the stage, causing mayhem. When they declare they are there to stop a disaster, one of the people behind the stage assumes they are talking about Frank and states "you're too late".