Revenge of the Nerds

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Ogre when he first spots Gilbert and Lewis at Adams College

Revenge of the Nerds (1984) is a classic '80s teen sex comedy, one of the rarer breed that takes place in college instead of High School. After the football team accidentally burns down their shared house in an ill-conceived 'fire breathing' stunt, they commandeer the freshman dorms as their own. The Freshmen are allowed to pledge fraternities earlier than usual so they'll have a place to live, but your typical frats' well-known aversion to scholarly types leaves the nine nerdiest new students out in the cold.

Not to be discouraged, the nerds decide to start their own frat, and through an oversight are given permission to set up a branch of the normally all-black fraternity Lambda Lambda Lambda. But all is not well; the existing frats, not to mention the resident jocks, don't appreciate nerds horning in on their territory, and so begins a war of attrition that involves vandalism, nude photos, the liberal application of 'liquid heat' to jockstraps, and various other wacky hijinks. It's Better Than It Sounds.

Was followed by three more sequels, one a theatrical film and the last two Made For TV Movies:

  • Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987). The second movie sends the nerds to a national fraternity conference in Florida where they once again have to put up with a Jerk Jock fraternity that gives them no end of grief.
  • Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation (1992). The third movie focuses on a new batch of nerds going to the same college as the first, which has become a paradise for geeks, nerds and outcasts. However, an alumnus of the college isn't happy with this and, teaming with a former nemesis from the first movie, proceeds to try to change the pecking order of the school. The new cast, of course, goes on the offensive.
  • Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love (1994). The fourth and final movie finds one of the original nerds getting married, but the father of the bride objects to the union and tries to break them up. It's up to the original cast to keep the wedding going as scheduled.

The series was going to have a remake in 2007, but complications with shooting ultimately shelved the project.

Tropes used in Revenge of the Nerds include:
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders
  • Ambulance Chaser: Dudley "Booger" Dawson from the first film is an attorney by the third film, and when they call him for legal help, he is tailgating an ambulance.
  • And Starring: John Goodman as Coach Harris.
  • Annoying Laugh: Lewis Skolnick and Gilbert Lowe possess epic examples.
    • It's contagious too, with all the Tri-Lambs eventually doing it. Even Ogre after his Heel Face Turn in the second film!
  • Beauty Is Bad
  • Bed Trick: See Rape Is Love, below.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: And played by Jefferson D'arcy!
  • Burping Contest: Dudley "Booger" Dawson vs. Ogre. Point goes to Booger, thanks to a belch that lasts a full twelve seconds.
    • Ogre starts crying when he loses.
  • Camp Gay: Lamarr.
  • Can-Crushing Cranium: Ogre.
  • The Cavalry: The Tri-Lambda Scary Black Man backup dancers.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Gilbert in the third movie. In all of sequels, Coach Harris, Burke, and all the other Alpha Betas aside from Stan and Ogre are never seen again.
  • Cool Old Guy: Master Snotty.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: In a small-scale example, the Alpha Betas seem remarkably cheerful about having just lost everything but the clothes on their backs to a fire their own recklessness started.
    • They were probably very, very drunk when they were watching the dorms burn.
  • Dawson Casting: Robert Carradine (Skolnick) and Curtis Armstrong (Booger) were thirty and thirty-one when the movie came out, playing eighteen year olds.
  • Demoted to Extra: Gilbert is the protagonist of the first movie, a supporting character in the second, makes a cameo in the third, and is entirely absent from the fourth.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Jefferson and several national Tri-Lamb brothers arrive when Gilbert is about to get the crap beat out of him by the Alpha Betas in the Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What kicks off the whole conflict when the jocks burn down their frat house then take over the dorms the nerds were staying at. And even then, when the nerds find a place of their own and are living peacefully, the jocks still won't quit.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The Omega Mu's to the Lambda guys.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Jocks leave a burning sign on their lawn, for God's sake! (See Meaningful Name/Fun with Acronyms below.)
  • The Dog Bites Back: You can only pick on a nerd so much...
  • Dork Horse Candidate: The heroes want to take over the school council and get revenge on the jocks.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Inverted; Booger brings pot to the Lambdas' party, and the weed gives the party the kick-start it so desperately needed.
  • For the Evulz: When the Nerds move into their own off-campus house, the Alpha Betas continue to try to force them out for its own sake.
  • Gargle Blaster: The "fireball" liquor, which is ridiculously high proof.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Lewis Skolnick and Betty Childs.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Lewis is apparently good enough to win Betty over after one tumble; Stan is shown on several occasions to not care for sex at all, being too busy with football. The way Lewis describes the difference to Betty thusly:

Lewis: All jocks ever think about is sports. All we [nerds] ever think about is sex.

  • Hachimaki: Takashi dons the Kamikaze headband before going on the panty raid.
  • Heel Face Turn: Betty, after Lewis pulls the Bed Trick on her (in her case, it's more a Sex Face Turn).
    • And Ogre in the sequel.
    • Stan himself does it in the third movie.
  • Hollywood Law: In real life, college campuses are subject to the local jurisdictions, so both sides of this feud could have gotten in serious legal trouble.
    • It is possible that 'you must put up with fraternity pranks' is a social contract that students accept by enrolling. Of course, while this excuses all the minor torts and misdemeanors it still shouldn't cover actual felonies such as dangling people off of roofs.
    • And the parents could and should have sued Adams College for evicting their sons from the double dorm rooms they'd paid considerable money for, particularly as the eviction proceedings involved the residents and their possessions being bodily flung out doors and windows by the jocks.
    • In the third movie, when the nerds claim their basic human rights, the judge replies "Nerds don't have rights!". Yeah...
  • Jerk Jock: There's a whole frat full of them, but in due course, the nerds get their revenge. And again in the second movie...
  • Large Ham: Both Coach Harris and Ogre in the first movie. Ogre: "NERDS!!!"
  • Lovable Nerd: Most of the protagonists.
  • Made for TV Movie: The third and fourth movies.
  • Masquerade Ball: Lewis takes a page from Judge Turpin's Creative Uses For Awesome Costumes manual. See Rape Is Love, below.
  • Meaningful Name/Fun with Acronyms: "Lambda Lambda Lambda" (ƛƛƛ), the all-black fraternity, would be "LLL" in Roman letters -- which is to say, 1 letter higher than "KKK".
  • Mook Carryover: The character Ogre from the first movie shows up in the sequel in a different chapter of the Alpha Beta fraternity. The brothers he had in the original film are all gone, apparently defeated.
  • Mook Face Turn: Ogre, in the 2nd movie.
  • Mooning: The Alpha Betas. All of them at the same time.
  • Nerd: Present and accounted for, in mass quantities.
  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: Ogre is revealed to be one at the end of the second movie.
  • Nerds Are Virgins
  • Panty Thief: The Panty Raid.
  • A Party - Also Known as an Orgy
  • The Peeping Tom: The Lambdas in Revenge of the Nerds take this trope to an extreme by installing surveillance cameras in all the bedrooms and showers of the sorority house.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: The epiphany speech at the end of the movie, given to an audience entirely composed of jocks.
  • Queer People Are Funny
  • Rape Is Love: Lewis engages in covert seduction via a Darth Vader mask. She finds out it's not her boyfriend when he unmasks halfway through, and is briefly upset - but then decides he's a great lover and is in heat for him thereafter.

Lewis: All jocks ever think about is sports. All we [nerds] ever think about is sex.

    • At that time, tricking someone into sex by impersonation was only rape under California state law if it involved impersonating their spouse.
  • Revival by Commercialization: Queen's We Are The Champions.
  • Scary Black Man: The 'reinforcements' that accompany U. N. Jefferson when he comes to the aid of the Adams College Tri-Lambs.
  • Serious Business: School politics and fraternities are portrayed this way.
  • Society Marches On: Lamar's gayness would not make him as much of an outcast as the rest of the Lambdas today.
  • Start My Own: Fraternity in this case, the premise of the entire movie.
  • Title Theme Tune: Revenge of the Nerds! (NERDS!) Revenge of the Nerds! (NERDS!)

Won't be long, mark my words! The time has come for Revenge of the Nerds!

  • Two-Teacher School: The entire staff seems to consist of the Coach and the Dean.
    • And nobody is ever shown in a classroom. The closest they get is when Gilbert meets Judy in a computer lab.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Lamar - the only gay nerd, the only black nerd, and the only nerd with a date to the dance!
  • Villainous Crossdresser: The Alpha Betas dress like cheerleaders for their Greek Games musical skit, and are still in drag when their coach chews them out for the "unmanliness" of losing to nerds.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx