Few comedies surpass the timelessness of Airplane! (1980) . The iconic disaster-themed film broke into the spoof genre, and remains one of the biggest comedy film hits in history. After this genre explosion came other classic its from the same writing staff, one of them being The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988), commonly referred to as just “The Naked Gun“. Normally ignored, the subtitle accompanying the film refers to the foray of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team into television, a short-lived series called Police Squad! which had a short run of a few months in 1982, with only six episodes.
The show itself is a time capsule of comedy, bridging the gap between hard-boiled crime shows of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, and the kinds of rapid-fire jokes normally seen in television. The team behind the show formed their own comedy brand, the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker school, which focused on quick visual gags, wordplay, and breaking the fourth wall. This mixture of subtlety and straight-faced acting continued to be a success, influencing content for years to come, and continuing to be profitable to studies with the most recent Scary Movie franchise.
The show itself is straightforward. After his break into comedy in the film Airplane!, Leslie Nielsen plays Detective Frank Drebin, assisted by Captain Ed Hockin (Alan North) and Officer Nordberg (Peter Lupus). The cast runs into familiar characters, like the squad’s personal one-man tech division and an elderly shoeshine named Johnny, only loosely tying scenes together into a plot that’s completely muddles by second-long throwaway jokes, with many occurring at the same time. The result is a comedy show that feels like it could be in its fourth season if it were produced today. Put on your badge, your Collegiate Lenses, and hit the siren in this week’s drinking game:
Police Squad! Drinking Game Rules
Take a drink…
- Every time there’s a shot of Frank in his car
- Whenever someone pulls out a gun
- For however many trash cans Frank drives into
- When a new act begins
- Try to stay still during the ending credits, and if you move, take a drink
Take this list as a suggestion, and drink responsibly. As always, enjoy the show.