Spoiler Alert! by
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Spoiler Alert!

When Chevy Chase’s movie European Vacation  came out I watched it with my son and we thought it was hilarious.

My husband hadn’t seen it and we regaled him with all the funny bits.  Sometime later we watched it together,  but to our surprise he didn’t find it very funny.

Then he told us he’d seen Mel Brooks’  The Twelve Chairs  which he thought was hilarious and regaled us with all the funny bits.  Sometime later we watched it together,  but to his surprise WE didn’t find it very funny.

I guess that is why they’re called spoiler alerts!


RetroFlash / 100 Words

– Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Khati Hendry says:

    I guess you had to have been there, as they say. The unexpected laugh is always best, and seems each person’s funny bone is unique. But a good laugh is always welcome.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Great RetroFlash, Dana. And you are right that sometimes it is a matter of describing a funny movie can never do it full justice. And other times, it is just a matter of “de gustibus” for different people. In any event, I have tried to be very careful in raving about funny movies to others, lest they ultimately be disappointed and/or think I’m a moron.

  3. Marian says:

    Haven’t seen either of these movies, Dana, but the reactions are understandable. One of my brother’s favorite movies is “The Twelve Chairs,” and now I’m happy I’ve never asked him about it.

  4. Suzy says:

    It’s true, once you’ve heard the best lines in a movie, it takes the fun out of it. I’ve always wondered about movie trailers that contain the best scenes, because then when you see the movie it is bound to be a disappointment.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    It’s true that once you have heard the joke, it’s not so funny the next time. We rewatched Airplane with our grandson and didn’t think it was that funny all these years later. He enjoyed it, but I guess it didn’t stand the test of time.

    • That seems to be true but for me European Vacation was funny the second and third or forth time around.

      And whenever we’re caught in bad traffic, even my husband (who famously didn’t love it as much as I did) says a line from the film you’ll understand if you saw it – “Big Ben, Houses of Parliament”!

  6. Thanks for this amusing commentary on what does and does not amuse us. It brings back to mind that my mother once brought to our family dinner table a very exciting revelation–she had learned the definition (maybe on a radio show?) of what it means to be funny! Here it is(as it was repeated over the years many times): “the unexpected interruption of logical sequence.”
    I guess if you already know the punchline, it’s no longer “unexpected” and therefore it may not be funny.

  7. Interesting response to the prompt, Dana. I’ve been fascinated with the differences in response to [attempts at] humor. Individuals have different reactions and so do whole audiences. The differences between one night’s performance and others remain a topic of endless speculation for performers until they finally give up and say “who the hell knows?”

  8. Betsy Pfau says:

    I think different things strike people differently. So not everyone is amused by the same jokes or bits, but telling the punchlines could definitely be spoiler alerts, Dana. But clearly, you love the same movie every time and that works for you.

  9. Dana: Sometimes the laughter is personal. I began laughing when Chevy Chase (aka Clark Griswold) registered in the hotel, giving the clerk his name, Clark, which is my middle name. From there on it was a roller coaster ride.

    Especially apt was his ignorance of the German language when he appeared at the wrong house for a visit with the wrong relative. The film’s subtitle should have been “A Schlemiel visits Europe.” I could identify.

  10. Dave Ventre says:

    There are some real gems in the Brooks filmography that I have yet to see. Must remedy.

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