This week on Required Viewing we start to get into the Thanksgiving spirit with a trip back to the early ’90s and the heyday of Pauly Shore. Would you believe that our own Annemarie had never experienced a Pauly Shore movie before this one? Well, believe it. As always, kick us off, AM. Why did I make you watch Son in Law? Do you feel like you fully understand the ’90s for the first time? Do you now appreciate the brilliance of that line in Clueless — “searching for a boy in high school is like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie”? How much do you anticipate hating me for saying “munch on some grindage” for at least the next three weeks?
A: I’m fairly certain you made me watch this for the sole reason that I was a Pauly Shore virgin. But no more. I now fully understand ’90s humor and also what Cher was talking about re: high school boys. I admit I was looking for some meaning in this film, but alas, none would be found. I also will admit I found this much funnier than I was anticipating. I say it all the time, but expectations are a funny thing. When they’re low, you find yourself finding things you never would have thought to be funny.
I also thought this film was a straight-up story of a “fish out of water” guy coming home to the farm to meet his girlfriend’s family. I didn’t know that Crawl wasn’t actually even her boyfriend, but sort of her fashion-lifestyle guru friend instead. This film came before the grunge movement really took hold, yes? Because there’s not a baggy pant in sight. Crawl wears mostly ridiculously brightly colored ensembles, and he encourages his new protege to go just as bright, even when they’re heading to the Midwest in late November when they’d be freezing in colored tights with no pants or overcoats. Ahhhh Hollywood magic. My favorite fashion (and quote) moment was early, with Crawl’s Carmen Miranda get-up during the Halloween rager in the dorm. “Do you know of a better party than thiiiiis?”
Brooke, did you experience a freshmen moment anything like Rebecca does? Did you have your own SoCal fashion guru to guide you? And how many raging soirees did you attend within the confines of your dorm room? Do you get why for a moment I was on team Hometown Boyfriend?
B: So first, correct, I did choose this explicitly because you were a Pauly Shore virgin AND this was the only Thanksgiving-themed movie I could think of. However, it’s worth noting that I own this movie on DVD, and I’ve seen it probably 20 times. It’s one of those movies that I will happily watch any time I run across it. I think because it is so unapologetically sweet and joyful. And yes, far funnier than it has any right to be.
You’re quite right, this movie knows nothing of the grunge movement, it must have been on the horizon at least, I mean Kurt Cobain did die in 1994, but he was quite popular before that tragic turn. I think Pauly must have been the flip side of the coin, the exuberant excess of the ’90s to which Kurt and his pals reacted so moodily. And indeed, their style is MUCH more my style. I have been called Daria a number of times, after all. But, I do think this movie probably informed some of my earliest expectations of college life.
But, expectations, like prophecies are a tricky thing, my RA was not as fun or as cool as Crawl. He was actually an awkward nerd, so he didn’t even offer any culture shock to me, he was just like every dude I had ever been friends with. I also did not have a satisfying makeover montage in college, or anyone to teach me cool new slang. Though I did probably use some Pauly-isms in the absence of knowing anything cool from the current days. (I still don’t fully understand how all the Snoop Dogg “izzles” work. Can you tack it onto the end of anything like Pig Latin, or only certain words? It felt like a profanity workaround, but I really don’t know.) BUT, inspired by said airplane getup, I did buy purple tights today. Cool, buddy?!
I think the most raging soiree that ever happened in my dorm room was watching the super early party debates in ’07 or making my friends watch Disturbia and Rear Window in tandem because I’ve always been the monster I am now. Once we ordered Half-Fast and the
stoners sandwich artisans forgot about our order so we got free ginormous shakes. I took a vaguely suggestive portrait of my friend licking said shake that makes me laugh to this day. So yeah, I lived the PARTY LIFE.
I do see why Hometown Boyfriend was hurt, and can even see why he punched Pauly, but I was never into him as an option for our hero Rebecca. See that part where I mentioned being called IRL Daria Morgendorffer above if that comes as any surprise to you.
But what say you, AM, do you see any situation in which you would consider dating Crawl? Would you be a better or worse farmer than Pauly Shore? Would you watch a spin-off buddy road movie with Crawl and The Great Hambino cruising Route 66 in search of “nugs” and life lessons? And most importantly, are you going to adopt any Crawl-isms or internalize any of his teachings?
A: First off, my freshmen dorm life. I picked a 15-floor high rise at Arizona State for my first year of college, thinking that I’d meet a ton of new people since I knew exactly zero humans before starting school. I was aware of the party-school rep that ASU had, but I also was spending a lot of money on college, and wanted to actually learn. However, I was placed on an all-girls floor, and most of the girls on my floor rushed sororities. So our floor was quieter and much, much cleaner than the co-ed floors, but I do admit that I feel like I missed out a bit on the experience. My RAs were both pretty rad, actually. I moved in early because of marching band camp and I helped them decorate our floor before the hoards moved in. Our theme was supposed to be “Jungle” but they were both Guns N Roses fans so they immediately decided that it should be “Welcome to the Jungle” and we made an equal mix of Axl Rose and palm tree cut-outs.
We also used to just order food in and watch TV, so also PARTY LIFE was for me. My first year of college was immediately after our student body president had gotten in some serious trouble for appearing in a “Girls Gone Wild” DVD at a frat party, so there was a fair bit of cracking down on the fraternity soirees. Off-campus drinking was done, but I honestly can say I never drank in my dorm room. They don’t call me Moody Two Shoes for nothing!
I think I would have been entertained by Crawl as my RA. He’s a goof, but he’s worldly in a non-stuck-up way and could be that buddy you went to for advice. I can’t see dating him, but I would have wanted to be friends with him. I like that he quickly stepped in to help his friend when her hometown boyfriend was getting too ahead of himself, but I feel like that’s a conversation Rebecca should have had BEFORE she left for college. Clearly, the boyfriend was going to do what he was going to do, but get a read of the room, bro! She’s gonna say no. My sympathy for him evaporated as soon as he decided it was a good idea to roofie Crawl and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. That’s super not cool, and he’s not the brightest bulb in any room.
I would be a better farmer than Crawl for the simple reason that I know not to get into a tarp-covered combine and start wheeling around. Of all the ridiculous things Crawl does on the farm, that’s the dumbest, but I believe that was done so he could write his name in the fields.
And now, for the main reason I liked this film. THE GREAT HAMBINO! Best supporting little brother ever, and he stole every scene he was in. I’d watch a spin-off with the two of them any day. Perhaps instead of a road trip, they bring Hambino to college for a weekend and just let him loose? Brooke, can I PLEASE whittle some wood with you?
B: Emphatic “yes,” to whittling wood. We both could really use a hobby that causes us to produce something that is both tangible and non-caloric. Here’s a question. Did you ever think we would write more than 1,500 words about a Pauly Shore movie? Well, we have. As of this very moment. And we’re not even done yet, though I daresay we’re nearly there.
In closing, let’s offer up our favorite moments from Son in Law. For me, it has to be the assorted makeover scenes. I love Crawl as the supportive guy who just wants to make people happy, and honestly, I think even Tim Gunn could pick up a catchphrase or two from him when he’s in the zone. There’s something really endearing about this guy who found his own place in college via a simple plan: “I grew the ‘do and gusted some brew,” and is now passing that path on to other people he wants to see flourish. What was your favorite scene, moment, element or line, AM?
A: Favorite part has to be when Crawl is getting the bedroom tour from Hambino (I can’t remember his name, sorry…). Munch some grindage, don’t touch ANYTHING, the rules are pretty simple. I am honestly not that surprised that we waxed poetic on Pauley Shore, it’s what we do and why our motto is “Levity Not Brevity.”
We’re returning next to The Hills crew to continue the madness that is Season 2. Will Brooke finally quit this project because of LC’s bad boy decisions? Join us!