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Caddyshack Makes My Top 10 “Must Knows” of Americana: What’s on Yours?


imgresA team member was relaying the story of a client last week who ran over a chipmunk. The client felt bad about it, and as my team member was telling me the story, and how she and the client eventually started joking about how one less chipmunk means one less ruined garden (no offense to chipmunk lovers everywhere!), we spun into a relaxed conversation as we tend to do occasionally on a Friday.

Then suddenly we had the same thought: Caddyshack! Of course, who can talk about small garden-eating rodents without the image of Bill Murray as Carl Spackler, the ultimate gopher warrior, bombs away on the golf course, throwing everything including the kitchen sink at his nemesis (one of my favorite scenes from the movie …..)

We all know who wins, because we’ve all seen Caddyshack. Or so I thought. 

Our intern, Claire, chimed in that she has never seen Caddyshack. What? We couldn’t believe it! Who has not seen Caddyshack? 

It started us thinking about the fact that Millennials entering the workforce don’t share our Gen-Xer cultural reference points. Do they need to? I would argue, yes, there are certain things that Millennials must study up on so they can laugh along with us.  And, there are some things we Gen-Xers need to bone up on, too.  Goes both ways.

For Claire, Caddyshack is just one of them. What movies or bands would be on your list? Let me know here…

And what might we Gen-Xers need to know?

By the way, Claire has been assigned to watch Caddyshack, and I’m looking forward to having her report.  Maybe I'll ask her to share her thoughts in a future blog post.  And I'm waiting to hear what movie Claire thinks I need to experience.




Millenials might also gain some perspective from watching Saturday Night Live (SNL) episodes and highlights and other movies starring cast members such CaddyShack's Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and others. They not only molded at least one generation's sense of humor, but they also provide commentary on what was happening during the 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. My son is 20 now and I fed him a steady diet of humor, music and culture from my "formative years". I also got him started on Monty Python as soon as he was able to "get" the offbeat references to history and religion. This is an awesome post, David! Made me think and laugh.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 07, 2012 11:41 AM by Patti DeNucci
This has happened to me more and more as I have gotten older, but I have failed to ask the millenial on what I need to come up to speed on. Those Millenials who take the time to learn the famous SNL characters like, Coneheads, Land Shark, Samuri (whatever) and Rossana-Rossana-Dana, will be far ahead of their peers. However I find most millenials need to come up to speed in the lingo and history of where they work. They can do this by asking any Gen Xer to tell them about what it was like working here during (name the time period) or what was it like befofe this computer program or that piece of equipment. Trust me us Gen Xers live for those questions.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 07, 2012 1:46 PM by Richard Marcotte
Hello: Great post and topic. My recommendations to Millenials (and perhaps Gen X and Yers) would be to watch any of these outstanding sitcoms from the 1960s: "Leave It To Beaver," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and "The Andy Griffith Show." Beyond the occasional slapstick, there are true slices of Americana in the scenarios, automobiles, conversation and subtle commentary on life in the U.S.A of the 1906s. And, as for characters: Barney Fife and Jethro Bodine. Need I say more?
Posted @ Tuesday, August 07, 2012 2:03 PM by Edward M. Bury
"Be the Ball" - great movie, and a great post! Given my age, I often bridge the gap between Baby Boomers and the X&Y generations. Star Wars seems to be common ground. Even now with my kids (who are 11) we have easy references. "Do or do not. There is no try." Common frames of reference are great. What is the X & Y frame we need to embrace?
Posted @ Wednesday, August 08, 2012 9:39 AM by Eliz Greene
Hi David, 
Here are the movies I presumptively reference that most often result in furrowed brows from my younger colleagues: 
The Sting, On Golden Pond, Blazing Saddles, Dirty Harry, Fletch, Dead Poets Society, Airplane, Slingblade, and The Blues Brothers. Admittedly, these would provide a broad and odd glimpse at a generation.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 08, 2012 2:20 PM by Todd Kennedy
I would add the following movies to the must watch list: 
The Breakfast Club, Back to the Future ("Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads."), The Terminator, Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride, Top Gun, Flashdance, Risky Business, The Lost Boys, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mad Max, Crocodile Dundee, Lethal Weapon, Less Than Zero, Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man, The Running Man, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Short Circuit
Posted @ Wednesday, August 08, 2012 2:32 PM by Maggie
I am the oldest in my office so run into this frequently. And because I work in Switzerland there's not just a generational gap, but a cultural one as well. Fortunately for me, most of the people here follow American culture enough they are up on current trends.  
But as soon as I mention anything from the 80s they're a bit lost. To the list I would add Band Aid's "Do they know it's Christmastime" (feed the world...) and the National Lampoon's Vacation series. 
I have two tween children, so I feel pretty up to speed with what's hot now. And my kids love stuff from the 80s and 90s and we love sharing it!
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 6:05 AM by Tara
All great suggestions of films and television shows that showcase Americana and provide cultural reference for Millennials. I sat down with some Millennials in my office this week and they suggested we should look into some of their generational classics, such as: TRL (Total Request Live), Family Guy, Laguna Beach, 90210, Scary Movie 1, 2 and 3, and the Beastie Boys. Are any of you familiar? I know I’ve got some research to do…
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 9:03 AM by David Grossman
I think back to the classic TV show of the pre-cable world. Happy Days, Love Boat, Mannix, Cojack, Wonderful World of Disney, Hee Haw. The days when most households had only one TV and the whole family watch together. That concept is probably the equivalent of our parents talking about life before indoor plumbing:) "what you say Willis?"
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 1:55 PM by Sheri
Great additions to the list, Sheri. I enjoyed your comparison of indoor plumbing to having only one TV in a household. Stay tuned for some posts from several of the Millennials in my office. They’re having a field day with this post and topic and doing a lot of Googling! 
Posted @ Friday, August 10, 2012 1:42 PM by David Grossman
Great idea and great suggestions. I agree on Andy Griffith, Beverly Hillbillies, Blues Brothers, and SNL. Princess Bride and Christmas Vacation are also classics that have been mentioned. However, I didn't see anyone mention MASH. That wasn't so much the 80's as the 70's but it's still a classic, especially the early years.
Posted @ Saturday, August 11, 2012 8:31 AM by Mike Henry Sr.
Great topic! Tough to beat old SNL-Mr. Bill and the Church Lady. Also, let's not forget "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..."(Gillian's Island). The Brady Bunch. Tom and Jerry. Rocky Horror Picture Show. Scarface. The Roadrunner. Bugs Bunny. I still hear people using phrases from all of these shows/movies to describe situations in the workplace and society in general, and to reference people as a character from them. What a list from all the blog comments!
Posted @ Thursday, August 30, 2012 2:25 PM by Janet Cox
All great examples, Janet. I agree that it has been really interesting to see all the shows and movies that resonate with different generations. Thanks for sharing.
Posted @ Thursday, September 06, 2012 3:29 PM by David Grossman
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