Chapter Two

Police Academy 2 and Revenge of the Nerds II

By Brett Ballard-Beach

October 11, 2012

Soon to be the stars of a reality show on TBS!

New at BOP:
Share & Save
Digg Button  
Print this column
This week’s column is dedicated to the memory of my former elementary school teacher, who passed away from cancer in 2006. She could appreciate the humor of G.W. Bailey’s head up a horse’s ass just as much as my nine-year-old self could.

A trio of (increasingly less relevant) facts to start with:

The five directors of the first six Police Academy films (Hugh Wilson, Jerry Paris, Jim Drake, Alan Myerson, Peter Bonerz) have between them episodes (in many cases multiple) for about 150 different television shows under their respective belts. (I highlight the word different as many of them worked on the same series as creators, writers, directors, or in the case of Paris and Bonerz, as actors. This doesn’t take into account the scores of made-for-television movies the men also directed or the big screen careers several of them also carved out, most notably Wilson, who also helmed The First Wives Club and Blast from the Past, among others.)

Paris, the director of Police Academy 2 and 3, directed all but 17 episodes of Happy Days from 1974-1984, tallying 238 in total (as ascertained by IMDb). He passed away from complications surrounding surgery for brain cancer only one week after Police Academy 3 opened.

Corinne Bohrer, an actress best known in the last decade for playing Veronica Mars’s absentee mother on multiple episodes of the cult CW series, played the love interest in the fourth installment of both the Police Academy and Revenge of the Nerds series, in each one portraying the love object for the most unhinged/spaztastic character (Zed and Booger, respectively.)

I must be upfront and affirm that this week’s column is not an attempt to rescue Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment and Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise from the fogs of time and reclaim one or both as a lost comic masterpiece. Time has not been kind to either, nor to their respective franchise launchers, both of which debuted in 1984 (Although that hasn’t stopped would-be reboots of both in recent years from proceeding. More on that later).


My approach was initially analytical: what does it mean when a successful, R-rated, raunchy comedy spawns an increasingly family-friendly lineage, in both cases winding up on the small screen? For comparison’s sake, imagine if Warner Bros had decided that The Hangover Part II should have been PG-13 because the first one was so successful that they wanted to broaden the fan base. Would audiences have turned out in the numbers they did to make the second one another $200 million plus grosser? My guess is not. And yet, Warner Bros (and 20th Century Fox) did precisely that, to increasingly declining returns, as will be noted.

I was under the mistaken assumption that this had happened numerous times in the ‘80s, at least as far as T & A comedies were concerned. And yet, when all was said and done, I found only four instances: the two covered in this week’s column and two discussed about two years ago in my Chapter Two on Chevy Chase (Caddyshack begat Caddyshack II which was PG, and National Lampoon’s Vacation led to two PG-13 installments, a PG trip and several made for television movies). There is an interesting side note about a series doing the reverse: Meatballs and Meatballs Part II were PG whereas numbers three and four were hard Rs.

I do note the timing of the advent of the PG-13 rating in late 1984, which could have made a difference regarding the R rating. Revenge of the Nerds would have remained an R regardless. Police Academy? It was certainly more sitcom-like and cartoonish than Revenge of the Nerds and its path towards PG-level shenanigans can already be glimpsed, in-between the blowjobs and boobies. With only a few trims, it would easily be PG-13 today.

Continued:       1       2       3       4



Need to contact us? E-mail a Box Office Prophet.
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
© 2024 Box Office Prophets, a division of One Of Us, Inc.