A few nights ago, one of my favorite 80s film came on HBO, Revenge of The Nerds. I have not watched this film in many years and was presently surprised that it (mostly) still makes me laugh as much as it did when I first watched it many years ago. But I also cringed. Perhaps being a new father to a daughter caused the cringing.
The college fraternity romp was released when I was 7 years old. It was rated “R” and there was no way I was going to see it in the theater. I knew I would have to wait until it came out on HBO a year or so later. I still remember being jealous when I heard my older cousins, who were also under 18, were taken to the theaters by one of our other cousins who was over 18.
Of course, my cousins told me about how funny the movie was. But what they really focused on was one sequence in particular: the panty raid scene/revenge filming of the Pi Delta Pi’s.
Spoiler alert: to get back at the abusive jock fraternity and their sorority cohorts, the nerds break into the PDP’s house and secretly stash cameras throughout, including bedrooms and bathrooms. The nerds then secretly watch the girls as they dress, shower etc. This was a famous scene/sequence, one of the funniest and most talked about. Later in the film we see the nerds sell photos of one of the naked sorority girls to raise money at a homecoming competition between the fraternities. And that sorority girl then falls in love with one of the nerds.
I don’t think such a scene/premise could be replicated these days. Nor do I think it should. Maybe there is something scarier today about the fact that these nerdy guys with superior computer and other knowledge committed such a heinous act: perhaps we laughed back then because we thought it was ridicules and impossible. But these days, such an invasion of privacy is not impossible, it actually happens.
And that is one reason why the Erin Andrews sex crimes verdict was at least one step in the right direction. Last week (March 7, 2016), a jury awarded Erin Andrews $55 million in her civil lawsuit over the secret recording and release of a video showing her naked during a hotel stay.
The other step is just hope that something like the sorority scene in Revenge of the Nerds will never be repeated, in movies or in real life.