Police Academy – Throwback Thursday

Intro to… Police Academy
Have you ever wanted to be a policeman? I sure did. As a kid I always wanted to be an officer of the law, like the cool detectives you saw on TV. When I was a teen I also briefly considered joining the police academy. Living you life to protect and serve your friends, family, and neighbours felt noble. But my talents and interests drove me towards a different direction. Every now and then I still wonder how I would have ended up had I chosen differently. And what would I do I could sign up right now?

The Plot
The city is overrun with crime. Gangs, thugs, and other lowlifes are ruling the streets. To win them back the new major reforms the hiring practices of the city’s police force; literally everyone can sign up. And they do.

The Police Academy is overflowing with new recruits of all sorts and ages. Most of these people are looking for a second chance, some had always planned to become police officers, and then there is Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg). He is a special case in the sense that he had the choice to either join the academy or get locked up in jail.

Not everyone, however, is happy with this drastic change, least of all the Chief of Police. To ensure that only the “right” people will clear the 14 weeks of training he commands Lieutenant Harris (G.W. Bailey) to drive the recruits so hard that they quit themselves.

Should I Watch It?
Police Academy is a weird mix of controversial angles. We have a female mayor trying to solve the city’s problems with a radical affirmative action plan, and we have the conservative Chief of Police who beliefs that being an officer requires certain requirements and dislikes the change. Now, this is nothing out of the ordinary. It is young versus old, progressive versus conservative. We have seen it a million times.

But then there are the story and script. Within the story there are moments of individual and collective growth, assertiveness, gender role reversal, equality, friendship, and respect. These are all positive elements that you expect from a group that is being trained and educated together. But then there is the script; the script allows racism, sexism, and nudity to be used for comedic purposes and story progression. This makes the seemingly innocent comedy a controversial but interesting piece of work.

Police Academy is a very funny movie that still holds strong today. It is filled with likeable characters you will relate to and root for. In our ever-more-sensitive generation this movie would have never been made, but I sure am glad that did not stop them in the 80s.

Yes, watch it.

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