The Waterboy

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The Waterboy is a 1998 film starring Adam Sandler and Henry Winkler. Sandler plays Bobby Boucher (pronounced Boo-SHAY), a socially inept (but also intelligent), stuttering waterboy with hidden anger issues due to constant teasing and his mother's excessive sheltering. It is discovered that Bobby's anger issues make him an extraordinary football player. This transfers to the coach and the rest of the team on the final game.


Tropes used in The Waterboy include:
  • Accidental Athlete
  • Alliterative Name: Bobby Boucher, Vicky Vallencourt (the third of Adam's "V-name" girlfriends), Coach Klein, Farmer Fran, Guy Grenouille
  • Artistic License: Biology: Bobby tackles his biology professor over the fact that alligators get ornery because of their enlarged medulla oblongata, leading to more aggressive emotions, instead of Mama Boucher's explanation that "they got all them teeth and no toothbrush". They're both wrong, because the medulla oblongata has absolutely nothing to do with emotions, being responsible for breathing and heart rate. The amygdala is responsible for emotions.
  • Ax Crazy: Vicky.
    • Not really, just to anyone who threatens Bobby.
  • Berserk Button: The tagline in the poster above says it all. And give insulting his mother a try, I dare you, I double dare you...
  • Beware the Nice Ones
  • Bilingual Bonus: Guy Grenouille's last name is French for "Frog".
  • Black Best Friend: Derek, the only member of the Muddogs who Bobby gets along with.
  • Book Dumb: Apparently, Bobby's lack of common knowledge is a result of his sheltered upbringing, rather than some learning disability.
  • Broken Record: "Last game of the year, Brent. Can't hold anything back now...", eventually making Brent say "We know, we know...".
  • Butt Monkey: Colonel Sanders
    • Bobby had been constantly abused throughout his life.
  • Calling Mama Out: Bobby just about had it with his mother.

Bobby: Everything is the devil to you, Mama! Well, I like school, and I like football! And I'm gonna keep doin' them both because they make me feel good! (walks towards the door) And by the way, Mama. Alligators are ornery 'cause of their "medulla oblongata"! (walks out, then back in again) And I like Vicki, and she like me back! (almost in tears by this point) And she showed me her boobies and I like them too! (slams the door on Mama)!

  • The Cameo: Director Frank Coraci plays Bobby's father.
  • Captain Ersatz - If you didn't notice the professor strongly resembled Colonel Sanders, one of the characters points it out.
  • Chekhov MIA: Bobby's dad.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Coach Klein, ever since Coach Red stole his playbook. His first reaction was calling his grandma on a disconnected phone while wearing high heels.
  • Coattail-Riding Relative: Bobby's dad tries to coast on his success at the very end of the movie. Momma tackles him instead.
  • Comically Missing the Point: With a bit of Literal-Minded, when Bobby's at a party:

Rita: Is there a girl you're seein'?
Bobby: Seein'? Uh, I see a lot of girls... I see a lot of guys too.
Rita: (Beat) I think that's sexy. You ever been with a guy and girl at the same time?
Bobby: Oh, yeah, plenty of times. The other night I was with my Mama and Coach Klein at the same time.

  • Deadpan Snarker: It may be tough to see it under the speech impediment at first, but Bobby is definitely one.

(Bobby reads a note from the Suggestion Box that says "Eat sh** and die!")
Bobby: ...Not exactly what I'd call constructive criticism...
(Bobby is watching Dick Clark on New Year's Eve)
Bobby: Look who's on TV, Mama. It's the Devil.
(Meaney, a huge defensive end, is called in as a running back in an attempt to neutralize Bobby)
Meaney: Your ass is mine! WHOOOOOOOOO! WHOOOOOOOOOO! WHOOOOOOOO!
Bobby: You sound like a big choo-choo train"

  • Deep South: Specifically, Louisiana.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Bobby calls Coach Klein "Mr. Coach Klein".
  • Disability Superpower: Bobby's anger issues transferring to super strength.
  • Disappeared Dad: Bobby's father Robert died of dehydration in a desert while serving in the Peace Corps.
  • Expy: Bobby Boucher shares a speech impediment (one which Sandler overcame himself), obsession with water, and a few personality traits with one of Sandler's Saturday Night Live characters, Canteen Boy.
    • They could be the same character. He may have done some canteen jobs on the side.
    • Strangely, though, Bobby has no real traits in common with Cajun Man, another of Sandler's characters.
    • Bobby also shares the same voice as The Excited Southerner, a character from Sandler's album What the Hell Happened To Me?.
    • Bobby seems to also be an extremely broad parody of Forrest Gump, a Southern mama's boy and manchild turned college football star
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Mama Boucher, until Bobby finds out from old letters that her first name is Helen.
  • Eye Poke: Because "Captain Insano shows no mercy."
  • Fan Disservice: Farmer Fran's pierced nipples.
  • Foreign Queasine: Mama Boucher's meals, which include grilled alligators and a huge snake.
  • The Fundamentalist / Fantasy Forbidding Mother: Mama Boucher.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Coach Klein forging Bobby's transcript would get the school punk-slapped by the NCAA and easily cost them the entire season's worth of wins.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-Universe. When Mama Boucher argues with Vicky Vallencourt after dinner, Mama says "Nobody's gonna take him away, especially not some godless Jezebel like you!". This sounds like yet another attempt to smother Bobby, but later on, she reveals that Bobby's father abandoned them to be with "a voodoo woman named Phyllis.".
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Coach Klein forged Bobby's school transcript so that he could play so he could help them both.
  • It Runs in The Family: At the film's end Bobby's dad finds out that Mama has her own little vault of pent up rage.
  • Jerkass: Coach Red and the whole Louisiana Cougars team. Also, most of Bobby's teammates, at first.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Coach Red Beaulieu, who tormented Bobby in his youth and stole the playbook from Coach Klein for his own purposes. So it's only natural the two of them would take him down in the end. To elaborate: he lost the Championship game to a farm team run by the coach he screwed over, who'd never won a game until they brought on the waterboy he'd fired earlier.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: This trope is the devil!
  • My Beloved Smother: Though not without good reason.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bobby Boucher after his mom was in the hospital. He blames himself and feels guilty because she was the only person to ever care about him. She was faking it.
    • And his mama gets this small moment when she realizes that she made Bobby abandon his friends. Though we only see that during the new years.
  • My Greatest Failure: Coach Klein regrets not standing up to Coach Red when he originally stole his playbook.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Paul Wight, aka The Big Show, as "Captain Insane-O", who laughs so hard at the thought of Bobby being his waterboy that he cries.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "The Medulla Ob-Lon-Ga-Ta!"
    • "Gentlemen, this brings me to my next point: Don't. Smoke. Crack."
  • Ragin Cajun: The "Cajun" part is way off, but is what they were going for, at least.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Coach Klein, after Coach Red revealed that Bobby's school transcript was a fake and hid under his desk and "cried like a ten year old girl!".
  • Thermal Dissonance
  • This Loser Is You: The Mud Dogs team before Bobby joined.

Guy Grenouille: I don't want that asshole on the team! Everybody's gonna laugh at us!
Lyle Robideaux: Everybody's already laughing at us. We haven't won a game since 1994.

Paco: Look at Bobby tackle. I haven't seen a tackle like that since Joe Montana.
Water: Joe Montana was a quarterback, you idiot.
Paco: I said Joe Mantegna.

"We lib to play annundeh."

  • Was It All a Lie?: Mama Boucher revealed the truth about his father: He left for New Orleans to make some money to support his family. But after two weeks, he "deserted" them to be with his two new loves: big city-livin' and a "voodoo woman named Phyllis". And changed his name to Roberto. She lied to him about his father because she was afraid Bobby would leave her too, thus the reason why she sheltered him all his life.
  • Your Mom: In one game, Bobby wishes an opposing player good luck in the next play, but the player rudely tells him "I'll be playin' with yo mama tonight.", making Bobby ominously mutter "62", his jersey's number. In the play, Bobby intercepts the ball, but idiotically gives it back to that player, who takes for a touchdown, beating the Muddogs. Though Bobby roughhouses him anyway.