In Defense Of Judge Smails From “Caddyshack”

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In Defense Of Judge Smails From

The country club in America is one of the last bastions of true classism. I’m talking about a real country club. A place where non-members are looked at funny and people have names like Muffy, Tripp, and Yates.

Think about Augusta National where golf plays its flagship Masters tournament every year. Their first two members who didn’t have penises weren’t invited to join until 2012. 2012! And yes, for those of you who are confused, you can’t just apply to be a member at a place like Augusta. If you want to join, you’ve got to be invited and you better be ready to make a sizable donation to the club if, in fact, you are allowed to get a green jacket. Every member at Augusta gets one, and their television policy and strict rules every year for The Masters are so beyond ridiculous that I have no choice but to respect them.

I find it kind of crazy that no one talks about the no women policy considering feminist Twitter is more powerful than they have ever been. Prior to 2012 though, Billy Payne refused to allow women members. And it’s not even like the two women they let in were progressive in any way. They let in Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State For Bush II, and Darla fucking Moore. If you don’t know who Darla Moore is, just know this: she’s a filthy rich businesswoman and I’m guessing she has never voted anything but straight ticket Republican.

So country clubs are elitist. I think I’ve gotten my point across. Popular opinion says that a kid who grows up at a country club is a spoiled brat. Brought up crushing Pepsis and chicken fingers in between private lessons with a tennis coach and golf pro. Country club kids aren’t playing contact sports until the age of 14 when he or she is released to a public high school for four years before going to Dad’s alma mater. If they’re really rich they’ll attend a prep school instead of public school, perform very modestly on standardized tests, and still get their pick of the Ivy League litter upon completion of requirements from St. Whatever’s Academy. That’s a rash generalization regarding people who had the pleasure of growing up with access to a country club, and I know that it isn’t true for a majority, but I’m riding the wave with that one because this is my column.

You’ll find the financial elite of every profession at your local country club. Or rather, the elites offspring and the help. I think it was more prevalent in the ’80s than when I was growing up in the mid to late nineties. By the time I was becoming old enough to do more than shit in diapers, country clubs all over the country were either going fully public or “semi-private” because members kept leaving and the cost to run the place as a private club escalated.

One of the underlying themes of Caddyshack is that of development. Al Czervik is a guy who flies by the seat of his pants and wants to develop apartment complexes on what is, at present in the movie, a private country club called Bushwood.

This battle – the one between high-ranking officials at Bushwood and developer Al Czervik – is how we begin the classic tale of the snobs versus the slobs. Ty Webb, Al Czervik, Dr. Beeper, and Judge Smails. Sprinkle in a little nudity and you have the makings of an instant classic. These four characters get locked into a bet for $40,000 dollars, which, by even today’s standards, is patently absurd for four people. It’s assumed that should Czervik and Webb win, Bushwood probably gets shut down and the condos get built. Everyone is obviously supposed to be rooting against Dr. Beeper and Judge Smails, but I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be. Judge Smails might be one of the most misunderstood movie characters ever.

Think about how accomplished this man is. He’s a judge for Christ’s sake. He sentences boys younger than Danny Noonan to the gas chambers on the regular. It’s a difficult job, and at the end of a long, exhausting week, how can you fault the man for wanting to have a place like Bushwood around to kick his feet up and fucking relax? God knows a judge has enough stress to deal with without some dickhead real estate developer trying to take away his golf.

And yeah, he’s a terrible cheater, but I think Judge Smails is merely misunderstood. Without Czervik, Judge Smails is just a snooty prick with a terrible slice and a bad temperament. But with him, he becomes an unlikely hero for anyone who stands up for rest, relaxation, and a little mid-afternoon golf. If you’re planning on staying in tonight, go back and revisit Caddyshack without rose-colored glasses on. I think you’ll find that at his core, Judge Smails is merely a man who doesn’t want to give up his beloved golf course. When you get to a certain status like the one Judge Smails enjoys, you have the right to act how he does.

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