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Headscratchers / Spaceballs

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     Squandering Air? 
  • How exactly did the Spaceball leaders "foolishly squander" all the atmosphere? Breathing too much?
    • It could have been all used for the life support system in Spaceball One.
    • Perhaps rampant construction and industrial production made their air too poisonous to breathe.
    • Rule of Funny
    • They killed off too much plant life so they're running out of Oxygen, and have too much Carbon Dioxide. Alternately, their technology might have weakened the atmosphere to the point where air is escaping.

     Escape pods 
  • Also why are there only 10 or so escape pods on a ship with thousands of people?
    • A ship that size actually would have the potential for a crew in the MILLIONS. There were probably more escape pods elsewhere on the ship with the 10-ish we see in the movie being the ones on the bridge.
    • Either way, like the RMS Titanic, Spaceball engineers probably grossly miscalculated how many escape pods it would need in an emergency. It would fit with the general theme of gross negligence and incompetence (hiring a cross-eyed gunner, putting the self destruct button under a pane of glass someone could fall into to activate, keeping the Self Destruct Cancellation Button "Out of Order" during ship operations, etc.)
    • This troper always thought what was shown were the escape pods for that section - presumably, there'd be additional banks of pods throughout the ship, but far enough away that the Big Bad Triumvirate couldn't hoof it to them in time (assuming any would left when they got there).

     What's so funny about "the Schwartz"? 
  • I understand that the Schwartz is supposed to be a parody on Star Wars' the Force, but is there anything else beyond this? I'm also aware that Schwartz is "black" in German and it's also used as a surname, but am I missing something else? Or it's not even trying to be funny and I'm looking for meaning where there is none?
    • Inherently Funny Word? Otherwise, we're overthinking it...
      • But... I see your schwartz is as big as mine!
    • The above, plus it's a common name among Ashkenazi Jews, so it's another Jewish reference from Mel Brooks.
    • I'm pretty sure Schwartz is an obscure Yiddish term for penis. Kind of like how 'dick' or 'peter' or 'johnson' is used.
      • No, I think you’re confusing with “schwantz.” (“Schmuck” in Yiddish also has the literal meaning of penis, but I digress...) “Schwartz” simply means black, both in Yiddish and German.

     Out of order sign? 
  • So how did whoever put the "out of order" sign on the self destruct cancellation button know it was out of order? There wouldn't be any reason to press it unless the self destruct was activated, and if it didn't work that time, then there shouldn't be a ship around in the first place. (Yes, yes, Rule of Funny.. I know...)
    • Something doesn't have to break while being used to be marked as out of order. The button may have never have been hooked up, may have been down for scheduled maintenance or simply failed a test use with a simulated destruct sequence.
    • Maybe someone was playing a joke, or just being a butt?
    • Having a cancellation for a self destruct mechanism seems like a rather important feature. Given the number of safeguards they have in place to prevent its activation, it's only reasonable they have one more safeguard to deactivate it.
    • Think about the competence of the Spaceball leadership. The same amount of brilliance probably extends to their engineers, who likely half-assed the job in the first place

     Stealing air 
  • The film actually completely negates its entire premise. The Spaceballs are running out of air and need to steal Druidia's supply. But when Barf, Dot, and Vespa are climbing between ships through outer space, they can breathe just fine.
    • Druidia had the best air. That's why they canned and exported it, and why the Spaceballs wanted it for themselves.
      • That's a good point — after all, that desert planet had plenty of air they could have sucked up instead.
    • Dot, of course, doesn't need to breathe, being a robot. Good point about Barf and Vespa, though.
    • Invisible forcefields maintaining an air supply?
    • Alternate Character Interpretation: The Spaceballs are just that stupid.
      • Which leads to the Alternate Character Interpretation that the Druidians are intentionally letting an entire race believe they are about to suffocate at any given time simply so they can keep exporting their air and keep bringing in the money.
      • Why not get air AND kill those smarmy "peace loving" people at the same time?

     Singing black Christian songs 

     The birth certificate 
  • Why is a birth certificate, much less a royal one, in a language no one but Yogurt can read?
    • It's probably readable on the original planet he's from. Why he was sent away in the first place is another question.
    • Truth in Television: It used to be very common to send away a young royal to a monastery or foster parents just in case something happened at the palace. It was just more common for young princesses to be sent away to a convent, which ensured her education, piety, and marriageability. Being raised by a cloistered group of nuns is pretty good insurance for making sure she has no suitors or doesn't get knocked up before selling her for an alliance with the neighbors. Plus, the "birth certificate" is likely some long dead language that only royalty would bother with.
    • In particular, it was common for the Spare to the Heir to be sent away, partly for redundancy (if some disaster befalls the heir, the younger sibling is less likely to suffer the same fate), and partly to remove them from the political equation (it's much harder for the Spare to plot against the Heir while living in a Monastery, serving in the military, or running a colony in the New World). Plus, it gives the Heir something to do with their lives other than sitting around waiting for their older sibling to kick it.
    • Another factor might be that royal courts often developed their own dialects that could amount to separate languages. When Hirohito announced Japan's surrender in 1945 he used the flowery language of the court and many people in Japan had no idea what he was saying.
    • Or Yogurt may like Lone Starr enough, and/or think the "princesses must marry princes" rule is outdated and stupid enough, that he just made the "birth certificate" translation up. Certainly it would be in keeping with his use of a Magic Feather ring to train Lone Starr to make up whatever B.S. would convince the others to let Vespa hook up with the guy she actually liked.

     Lone Star's debt to Pizza the Hutt 
  • Just how does Pizza the Hutt eating himself get Lone Starr and Barf out of debt? Surely his successor would want to take back the money he was owed. He represents The Mafia and if you get yourself indebted to one boss, you get yourself indebted to them all.
    • By the time the dust settled and Pizza's successor took over operations, Lone Starr would already be married to the Princess of Druidia, and no longer be a simple thug easy to squeeze. So better to cut their losses.
      • Issue: Barf brought up that fact before Lone Starr decided to go back and marry Vespa.
      • The debt could have been personal, rather than professional. He might have owed Pizza specifically, not his organization.
    • Considering who Pizza is based on, the same thing that happened to Jabba's crime empire probably happened here; a dozen bosses like him decided to muscle in and divvy up what got left behind, and by the time the dust settles, that debt is probably going to be small beer. Plus, Druidia initially did offer to pay it all, and they probably would after Lone Starr marries into the royal family.
    • Pizza the Hutt might have run his outfit like many of the traditional gangsters in Real Life who had piss-poor accounting and/or ran their business numbers in their heads instead of on paper. Pizza's successors might not be aware of any pending debts.

     Characters' intelligence levels 
  • As Dark Helmet told Lone Starr, the good guys are pretty dumb in this movie; so what does that make the bad guys, seeing as they still lost?
    • The actual good guys?
    • The premise that Good Is Dumb does not preclude the possibility of Evil also being Dumb.
      • But Helmet’s defeat does seem to disprove his belief that evil always triumphs.
    • Stupid Evil

     Lone Star's education and speech patterns 
  • If Lone Star was raised by monks who had taken vows of silence, how did he learn to speak?
    • He may have been a toddler old enough to talk when he was left at the monastery; he just wasn't old enough to remember what his life had been like before then.
    • Raised by monks doesn't mean he only interacted with monks. Since he clearly didn't take the same vow, he might have been regularly sent out into the nearby town for supplies and such. The monks may also have had some support staff or acolytes who were not under the vow.

      Or they had Space TV.

     how did they get away with so much swearing in a PG movie? 
  • They say "assholes" multiple times and even get away with one "fuck". Shouldn't it be at least PG-13?
    • The MPAA was a lot looser back then. There were even some PG and PG-13 films with nudity at that time!
    • To go into a little more detail: PG-13 was first introduced in 1984, just three years prior to this film, and it took some time before the MPAA adopted uniform standards on what fell into that rating and what didn’t. This was one of just a few films from after PG-13 was introduced to get a mere PG despite featuring the f-word. (Two other examples are Big and Beetlejuice.) By the 1990s, there was a strict rule that even one utterance of the word automatically made a film at least PG-13.

     Why didn't they just watch the whole movie? 
  • In the scene where Colonel Sandurz and Dark Helmet are watching Spaceballs: The Movie why didn't they just watch the whole thing? That way, they could head off various bad things that happen later in the movie (such as the ship self-destructing)?
    • IIRC, they stopped at the "now" scene; had they watched the movie from that point, it would be the same as the audience watching the movie in real time. This actually leads to another Headscratcher of how the technician was able to fast forward the tape from the "now" scene without the entire movie fast forwarding also.
      • Somewhat WMG, but I got the impression they weren’t able to fast forward past the moment they were in. Since they said the movie was still being made, the logical implication is that they can only see the parts that have already happened, not the parts that have yet to happen. The technician didn’t fast-forward from the “now” scene, he rewound, as the desert scene occurred earlier in the film.