Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
This week, a reboot of National Lampoon’s Vacation hit theaters, but without the National Lampoon name attached. Of course, the comedy namesake’s former magazine editor P.J. O’Rourke seems perfectly fine with that, saying in a guest column at THR that the new take on Vacation is “a summer cineplex dump-fill featuring the Hangover wimp dentist as leading man” and judging by the trailer contains “obvious, pitiful, frenetic, stupid raunchiness.” Yeah, he’s not a fan.
Frankly, I found the Vacation reboot to be amusing and enjoyable. It has a bit of a sloppy script as far as story progression is concerned, but there are some very big laughs, a few great running gags, solid references to the original movie, and a fantastic performance from Ed Helms, who channels Chevy Chase and his charming naivete the whole way through.
But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t find looking back at the original Vacation, and at least one of the sequels, more entertaining. And that’s exactly what I did when I compiled this collection of the 16 Best Scenes from the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise.
See the whole list of National Lampoon’s Vacation best scenes after the jump!
My Sandwich Is All Wet
If we’re honest, it’s the entire running gag with Christie Brinkley (before she was Jerry/Garry/Larry/Terry’s wife on Parks & Recreation) in her big screen debut that’s one of the most iconic parts of the original Vacation, but for me it’s the picnic bit that’s the best one. Chevy Chase desperately trying to dance in a cool way with a bologna sandwich is just one of many examples of how he was a master of physical comedy, and the split second when he realizes it’s soaked in dog piss is comedy gold.
What Did I Say, Nipple?
It’s no highway encounter with Christie Brinkley, but this awkward interaction that Clark Griswold has with a lingerie associate named Mary (no shit?) is a classic. It’s scenes like this that show how charming a younger Chevy Chase could be, even when he was casually being adulterous and hitting on store clerks much young than himself.
Mighty Mississippi / Roll’em Up
This scene has been criticized for its portrayal of race, and 22 years later, is outdated at the very least. Clark’s optimism and cluelessness is at first the butt of the joke, as he doesn’t realize how out of place he is. While the scene maybe isn’t meant to be a universal representation of urban areas like this, it still ends up feeding middle-class fears of the inner-city by showing how wrong Clark’s approach can be.
Thankfully, the scene is still funny, and a line from Rusty (“wonder if these guys know the Commodores”) makes the dated nature of this scene easier to swallow, even showing that he might have inherited some of his father’s naivete.
Honey, have you checked out shitters? This line has become so iconic that it’s made it onto t-shirts that fans throw on around the holidays when Christmas Vacation plays a dozen times a week across various channels. In fact, it’s probably one of the most iconic lines in the entire franchise, and Clark’s reaction to it just makes the scene that much better.