Randal Stevens’ Summer Vacation
By Randal Stevens · August 9, 2010
Yes, it's been a while, and for that I apologize. I've been in a crazed, anticipatory state for the last hot minute or so. Here's why:
This weekend will be my first vacation of the summer. I've been looking forward to it for a while now because it provides me an excuse to 1) get away from work for 3 days and 2) drink a lot with a bunch of friends while doing so. Seeing as that's the most noteworthy thing on my horizon and I don't have any other bright ideas, I started thinking about the National Lampoon's Vacation movie franchise.
It's been 13 years since the last incarnation of the Griswold family bumbled their way through Las Vegas and as a fan of the previous 3 Vacation movies, I can say that Vegas Vacation left much to be desired. After that film, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, the only two recurring actors portraying Griswold family members, faded into obscurity. It was clear that Chase's funniest days were behind him and D'Angelo's greatest accomplishment came from her vagina when she birthed Al Pacino's twins. I'd only be taking a guess, but probably an educated one, when I say that with an intake of less than $40 million at the box office for Vegas Vacation, nobody seemed to care about the shenanigans of the Griswold tribe anymore.
Cut to 2009-2010, though and something has changed. It started in April 2009 when Chevy Chase made guest appearances in three episodes of NBC's "Chuck," playing Ted Roark, the arch-nemesis of the title character's father. I never watched the show, but fans told me that Chase's guest spots were humorous in a "Chuck" sort of way. That seemed to be enough for the executives at NBC because in September 2009, "Community" aired on NBC for the first time featuring Chevy Chase in a supporting role as Pierce Hawthorne. The show started out slowly, but eventually gained momentum as one of the funniest new shows on TV, building a dedicated and enthusiastic following on its way to becoming the heir apparent for the quickly sinking ship called "The Office." Once again, I've yet to watch a single episode of "Community," but fans tell me that the show and actors – Chase included – have gotten better and better as the show goes along.
Slowly, it seemed that Chase was working his way back into the consciousness and funny bones of the American public. But that wasn't good enough – Clark W. Griswold needed to receive the same treatment. While the Colts proceeded to piss away their 2nd Super Bowl title to the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV, Clark and Ellen Griswold took their chance to remind tens of millions of television viewers that they were still around and still completely clueless. HomeAway, a vacation rentals company, used Clark and Ellen in a series of pretty humorous commercials advertising how to avoid hotel hell, which as of this writing can still be viewed on the company's website along with a "Griswold Getaway" game complete with the wagon queen family truckster. With Chase now back in the spotlight, I think it's about time for another Vacation sequel.
By now, Rusty and Audrey have no doubt grown up, moved away and begun families of their own. Another Vacation movie would provide opportunities to bring in talented and established comedians to play their parts (I'm thinking Robert Downey Jr. for Rusty and Amy Poehler for Audrey) for more mature situations. WIth the Griswold family scattered, something significant would have to occur in order to bring them back together. In order to send off the family and their franchise properly, I think it would be poignant to see a situation in which Clark is diagnosed with something terminal and struggles with the idea of leaving behind the family members with whom he has so many unforgettable memories. This would undoubtedly lead to more gallows humor than slapstick comedy, but I think there definitely some writers out there capable of tackling it especially considering The Hangover proved last summer that there is a market for R-rated comedy. For starters, why not consider Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, who wrote the aforementioned record-breaking comedy? That film was filled with crudity and intelligent writing with just enough heart. The same could be said of 2005's Wedding Crashers written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher. Let's also not immediately rule out the credentials of bigger names like Jason Segel, who wrote the fantastic Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Jon Hamburg, who cut his teeth at "Stella" before co-writing and directing I Love You, Man.
If those guys are busy, why not look to TV? Robert Carlock and Jack Burditt are both multiple Emmy Award-winners doing fantastic work on "30 Rock." John Enborn, Dan Etheridge, Rob Thomas and Paul Rudd are doing a great job on "Party Down." Or, for someone closer to Chevy Chase's heart, why not look to the creator of "Community," Dan Harmon, who's also written for "The Sarah Silverman Program" and the 81st Academy Awards?
What do you readers think? Would you be down for seeing another Griswold go around? If so, who would you like to see bring it to life?