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  • Adaptation Displacement: While it's more of a spin-off than a film version, the original TV series did not last very long and was not as popular as the movies, leading many people to believe that the franchise only exists as a movie trilogy. Since the TV show only lasted six half-hour episodes, the movie trilogy actually lasted longer, both in screen time and in real-life-time.
  • Acceptable Political Targets: The Beirut council seen in the first film is a practical who's who of Acceptable Political Targets—communists, Islamists, military dictators, and... whatever the hell Gaddafi was.
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  • Awesome Moments: Ed calling Hector Savage's bluff in and getting him to surrender. Subverted when Frank screws it up with the tank, but it still shows exactly why Ed is the Captain.
  • Awesome Music:
    • In 33⅓ the music in the background during the starting of the Untouchables shootout parody.
    • The main theme that plays during the opening credits counts as well.
    • The arrangement of "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" from 33 1/3. So good that an instrumental is also heard in the end credits.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The reason many of the gags work. Mook getting offed in a vat of stuff in a hot dog factory? Not terribly funny. Big Bad later finds the mook's finger in his hot dog? Hilarious!
    Ed: Don't worry, Wilma. Your husband is gonna be all right. Just think positive. Never let a doubt enter your mind.
    Frank: He's right, Wilma, but I wouldn't wait until the last minute to fill out those organ donor cards. (Wilma starts crying again)
    • Frank cleans out his desk and finds evidence that exonerates a criminal who'd been proclaiming his innocence. Then Ed informs him that the guy already went to the electric chair two years ago, and Frank awkwardly shoves the evidence back inside his desk.
  • Ear Worm:
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    • In the first film, the fast ragtime piano piece that plays on the piano when Frank's wrecking Ludwig's apartment.
    • The main theme has stuck in the heads of an entire generation of moviegoers.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The repeated torment Nordberg (played by O.J. Simpson) suffers is either this or becomes even funnier, depending on your viewpoint. Especially the line that he "wouldn't hurt a fly" spoken by his on-screen wife. In the network TV version, Frank, after unknowingly shutting down Nordberg's life support system and not noticing where the rushing hospital staff are headed, says "Just be glad you're not that guy's wife."
    • During the cop car opening credits in 33⅓ at one point it's flying around LA and headed straight for the tallest building only to sideswipe it at the last moment. Still very disturbing.
    • Three times a person falls out of the top deck at the baseball stadium. It's played for laughs each time, but is significantly less funny after a man died in 2011 from falling from the upper deck at a Texas Rangers game while reaching for a ball. Just to make matters worse this happened right next to his six year-old son.
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    • In the third film, a scene at a Los Angeles high school features every kid with a gun. Not so funny given the myriad of school shootings over the years.
    • The representatives of American Energy Firms included Oil (SPIL), Coal (SMOCE), and Nuclear (KABOOM) became dated for the last one as the issue of Climate Change had made many experts calling for venture into nuclear energy (being cleaner and efficient as long as their waste disposals are properly managed), which had been in decline thanks to widespread (and misinformed) revulsion much to the benefit of Petroleum and Coal industries.
    • At one point in the first film a hospitalized Nordberg tries to inform Frank about a shipment of drugs, and Frank believes that he's asking for painkillers, and demands that the nurses give him some. When Nordberg clarifies "heroin" Frank gives him a confused look and says "Uh, Nordberg... that's a pretty tall order. You're gonna have to give me a couple of days on that one." The entire joke is premised on the assumption that prescription painkillers are totally different from illegal opioids. In the wake of the Opioid epidemic this proved to be dead wrong.
    • The second film's opening has a joke about Frank accidentally running over two men who, fortunately, turned out to be drug dealers. In the 2010s growing concerns over excessive use of force by the police, and the dehumanization of non-violent offenders, makes this joke seem distasteful.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • O.J. Simpson playing a cop.
    • The Hubble Space Telescope appearing on a "Wall of Failures" back before its mirror was fixed.
    • In , Frank casually mentions that he and Jane are ancient history, like the Democratic party. Guess who got elected only one year after this movie came out? For further laughs, note George H. W. Bush's worried facial expression at the end of the film when Frank mentions that he hopes the Democrats will one day put forth a decent candidate.
    • Drebin mangling the American national anthem only got funnier when Christina Aguilera did it in Super Bowl XLVII.
    • One man butchering his own national anthem? How about a army orchestra butchering other nations' anthems, three times, with their heads of state listening?
    • The scene with Drebin going to the bathroom with his radio mic on has happened in real life. Note the woman speaking trying valiantly not to laugh... and failing miserably.
    • Tanya attempting to distract the Price Waterhouse accountant becomes even funnier in the wake of the Best Picture mix-up at the 2017 Academy Awards. A Price Waterhouse accountant was apparently distracted by Emma Stone to the point that he handed the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty.
    • Gorbachev at the Beirut council saying the Americans "[believe he's] a nice guy". The film was released before his policies of perestroika and glasnost unintentionally led to the fall of the Iron Curtain, ironically improving his reputation in the West.
    • Frank "[shooting] the bastards" in the Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of Julius Caesar, thanks to the same production's controversy for its perceived violence by sponsor Delta Airlines in 2017.
  • Memetic Mutation: The mass Face Palm from 33 1/3, frequently used in Internet review shows and as a forum reaction to perceived Epic Fail or What an Idiot! moments.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The "Manchurian candidates" for Vincent Ludwig's plot in the first movie, who go blank-faced and robotically intone: "I....must kill....[Name]" once they're "triggered." It's fairly frightening for younger viewers - particularly when it's revealed that Ludwig's final sleeper agent is Jane!
  • One-Scene Wonder: Numerous examples, though John Houseman's driving instructor from the first film is a particular standout. Also, "Weird Al" Yankovic appears in all three films in this capacity.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Sequelitis: It seems that every movie is relying on sexual/toilet humor more than the last, and the first film is the only one considered uncontroversially great.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Frank's pleas for Jane to snap out of her hypnotic state at the end of the first film. Particularly this line:
    "If you don't love me, you might as well pull that trigger, because without you, I wouldn't want to live anyway."
    • While overall being very funny, the shots of everyone in the ballpark embracing because they're so moved by what they're seeing and hearing can be quite touching, especially of the Jewish man and the Arab man...and the mailman and the dog. If you listen carefully, you can hear the dog whimpering, indicating that he's genuinely apologizing for having barked at/chased/bitten the guy.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Quentin Hapsburg says he plans to hunt rhino in Botswana and moments later gets killed by a lion. It would have been a great example of Laser-Guided Karma if he had been killed by a rhino instead.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • Drebin's crack about the Democratic Party being "ancient history" was a topical reference to the fact that they'd lost the last three presidential elections at the time of the film's release. As always, the current power dynamic between the two major parties is always in flux.
    • The fist film has a Batman Cold Open in which Drebin confronts a rogue's gallery of political figures of the era: Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro, and Mikhail Gorbachev. All of these people are now dead or out of power. In fact, Khomeini died the year after the film released, and Amin had already been in exile for ten years.
  • Values Dissonance: As fitting for a film series that ran in the late 80s to early 90s, this has some of it.
    • The Reveal in 33⅓ that Tanya has a penis, and Frank giving us a Vomit Discretion Shot in response. At best, it was simply crude in the early 90s, but it's much more mean-spirited today with better awareness of transgender rights and "trans panic" being called further into question. In Frank's defense, it was a really deformed penis.
    • While it is not uncommon in American media to paint Arabs as villains, as the Modern Warfare series games prove, the decision to paint all Arabs as evil terrorists without redeeming traits would not fly today, where concerns about Islamphobia are quite high. Most of the media that feature Arabs as villains usually paint the villains as extremists with the majority of Arabs depicted as either allies or as innocent victims of the extremists.
  • Values Resonance: 2 1/2 is all about the coal, oil, and nuclear lobbies controlling interests in Washington, not allowing renewable energy to take a foothold. This struggle is still going on today, except nuclear energy no longer having large political power it once had due to public fears and said coal and oil lobby's roles in its stagnation.
  • Vindicated by History: In The Naked Gun 2 1/2, a museum put the Hubble Space Telescope, which had been launched with a flawed reflector mirror, with the Hindenberg and the Titanic as one of the biggest disasters in human history. Corrective optics installed in 1993 fixed the problem, and it's now considered one of the most successful satellites ever launched.

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