Quick Thoughts on Caddyshack

Caddyshack poster

So I finally got around to seeing Caddyshack.  I know, only thirty-five years later, right?

I’m not going to try to review one of the most iconic comedy movies of recent(ish) history.  I don’t have nearly the understanding of comedy that I do of other genres anyway.  But I do have a few thoughts:

1)It never even occurred to me, but I had no idea what a “caddyshack” was.  Nor did I ever think to ask.  It was the title of this movie and nothing more.  Now I know.

2) I understand that the movie we see was not the one originally planned.  That Harold Ramis was getting so much wonderful improv material from the comedians that he decided to just run with it.  And he got…well, he got one of the most iconic comedy movies of recent(ish) history, so I guess he made the right choice.  Still, I think I might have liked to see that original movie – the story of the young boy from a (far too large) working-class family who’s trying to make something of himself.  The afternoon of passion with his girlfriend that nearly derailed it for both of them (seriously, that pregnancy scare subplot came and went too quick to make any kind of impact), risking it all for principle and earning a reward that more than makes up for it (no really, I would have liked to see what Al Czervik meant by “I’ll make it worth your while.”  I sure do hope he didn’t mean a ten-buck tip when Danny gave up a scholarship).  I think I would have liked to see that movie.  You know, the one that actually would have revolved around the caddyshack…

3) Speaking of that pregnancy scare.  It may be hard to imagine today, but in the post-Pill, pre-AIDS world, condoms were out of fashion.  And Maggie O’Hooligan (what a name, did they think she wouldn’t seem Irish enough?  I’m convinced the only reason she didn’t have red hair is because they didn’t want her to distract from Lacey Underall), being a good Catholic girl (except for the premarital roll in the hay, of course), there was no way she was on the Pill.  So the closest thing to protection our sweet little couple used was her estimate of her “safe days”.  No wonder they ended up with a scare.  Bets that both of their parents were married in similar circumstances?

3a) Incidentally – Danny?  If you’re staring at one girl mere minutes after you’ve had sex with another?  You’re a douche.

3b) And speaking of that other girl, I’m glad that the movie didn’t feel the need to slut-shame Lacey Underall.  Unless there’s something that didn’t translate from 1980, Lacey’s “zest for life” is just that – she isn’t social climbing, she isn’t (deliberately) breaking up relationships, she’s just having fun.  She really put up with a lot to get into Ty’s britches, I must say.  Must’ve really liked him.

4) One good golfer and the best golfer in the club have the worst game of their lives so Danny can be relevant?  Kinda contrived, innit?

5) Jeez, judge, you of all people should know that you don’t have to beat Czervik in a golf game to get compensation for your boat.

6) This movie came out in 1980, which means that it was filmed in 1979, give or take, and is set in the “modern day”.  I wonder at what point the Irish stopped being the unwanted newcomer immigrants who weren’t really welcome at the country club and started being indistinguishable from your standard WASP.  If in fact that has happened.  Whenever it was, this movie seems to be set a little bit before.

7) I wonder when Roman Catholicism stopped being the strange alien ways that had to be stopped, and just became part of the Religious Right.  Again, whenever it was, this movie seems to be just a little bit before.  They can get into the country club, but they’re not really welcome.

8) Same questions go for Eastern Europeans like Czervik and Jews.  Especially Jews.

9) Does anybody know if The Bishop was Catholic or some other denomination that wears clerical collars?  I was sure it was the former, but Red Molly disagrees.  If he is Catholic, where does he fit into the schema?  Is he the Uncle Tom?  The One of the Good Ones, admitted because of his status, but still forced to laugh along with jokes that target his lesser brethren (and perhaps laughing along in earnest, because he believes that those jokes don’t include him)?

Serious thoughts for a movie that’s mostly some truly great comedians clowning.  But then, I suppose that’s why they stuck with me.  When something is mostly fun and games, the serious parts stand out – and you don’t include a pregnancy scare in the plot if you don’t want it to be at least a little bit serious.

PS – How many of you know that Maggie O’Hooligan was also Clorette DePasto (aka Flounder’s 13-year-old girlfriend) from Animal House?  And that Caddyshack was her last movie?  Her acting career was four years long, with two smash hits, but she now lives an obscure life far from the Hollywood that apparently treated her rather poorly.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Quick Thoughts on Caddyshack

  1. Sorry for an “I’ve never seen the movie but I’ll comment anyway,” but I feel like Catholics and Eastern Europeans are still “They can get into the country club, but they’re not really welcome” in the US South. For (some) conservative evangelicals, Catholics are a couple of rungs above Mormons — they’re useful political allies, but by default they aren’t really Born Again, they aren’t really Saved. Even at my public school, it felt like church and youth group and Bible Study club were such a huge part of the social scene that those kinds of divisions existed, and my intuition is that the secularish protestants had an easier time of things than the secularish catholics. (And this was in a largeish city, in a school with a comparatively high number of Hindus and Muslims.)

    • Hmm…well, the movie was filmed in Florida…

      Seriously, though, if it lingered until that late in the day, then 1980 makes perfect sense. And there’s one point where we see – where one of the more snobbish characters lets us know – that a local young men’s Lutheran organization is the Youth Auxiliary for the local Old Boy’s Club.

  2. I believe this answers your question about the bishop:

    Bishop: I really enjoy working with young people such as yourself down at our new Lutheran Center… Why don’t you drop by sometime, eh?
    Danny Noonan: I’ve often thought of entering the Priesthood.
    Bishop: Oh, are you a Roman Catholic?
    [Danny nods]
    Bishop: Oh, then I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you can’t co

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