Fiction vs. Reality: What If 'Weird Science' Happened in Real Life?

Fiction vs. Reality: What If 'Weird Science' Happened in Real Life?

Oct 25, 2011

Memory is a tricky thing; I can’t remember my first kiss or the first fat kid I pushed down the “up” escalator, but I can remember -- in vivid detail -- the first time I saw a TV spot for John Hughes’ 1985 flick Weird Science. Here was a movie with a premise that couldn’t fail: two geeks build a sex robot. Then, they have sex with it. All at once, the world was imbued with a sense of wonderment and possibility. 

Then, I saw the movie. Incredulity led to rage, if not madness, as I realized that no one was going to sleep with the sex robot. It didn’t even occur to them. Instead, the sex robot taught the boys about the value of self-confidence. I remember pausing the rented VHS tape and collapsing into myself, not unlike a dying star. What kind of a monster creates a sex robot and then forces it to be celibate? It’s a question that still haunts me, even today, during sleepless nights.

The lesson is simple: Hollywood’s version of reality is vastly different from our own. After years of throwing popcorn (and loose change) at the screen as unrealistic scenarios played out, I’ve decided to employ a more academic approach: I will examine moments from iconic movies and provide a sort of reality check.

First up? The movie that started it all: Weird Science.

Scenario # 1

What Happens:
In order to create their sex robot, the boys gain remote access to and steal memory from a government agency.

Hollywood Version:
Other than a dumpy security guard who types furiously on a stenographer machine, nothing happens.

Reality: “Regardless of the technology of the time, our encrypted files and codes would preclude a private citizen from gaining remote access to one of our mainframe computers,” says John Mitchell, deputy director of homeland security.  “If someone were to breach security, the FBI, in conjunction with local authorities, would locate and arrest the suspects within the hour. That type of violation carries with it a mandatory 25-year prison sentence with no chance for parole. And we don’t allow visits from sex robots.”

Scenario # 2
 

What Happens:
While the boys are assembling their creation, a storm front (replete with red clouds and lightning bolts) hovers over Wyatt’s house.

Hollywood Version:
During the storm, billboards explode, aluminum baseball bats break like glass, dogs walk on the ceiling, and people in photographs start break-dancing. And no one reports it.

Reality
“If a house were struck by lightning, most likely nothing abnormal would occur besides a few blown fuses,” says Mark Feurberg, a climatologist and advisor to the EPA. “I have not yet heard of a storm that subverts the basic principles of gravity. The boys’ behavior is irresponsible but ultimately immaterial. If red storm clouds move in and dogs walk on the ceiling, do not bother getting your affairs in order. The world is over.“


Scenario # 3

What happens:
Lisa, the hot female sex robot, appears in Wyatt’s doorway and asks, “So what would you little maniacs like to do first?”

Hollywood Version:
All three of them take a shower together; however, the boys huddle in the corner and clutch onto each other while the naked sex robot bathes alone. Also, the boys are wearing pants. Also, Wyatt asks, “What do we do with her?” Also, I point a shotgun at the screen and the world prepares for my imminent rampage.

Reality:
Gary removes the bra from his head (they wear bras on their heads – don’t ask) and uses it to suffocate Wyatt in an attempt to keep the sex robot to himself. Gary spends the next few decades poking and prodding every orifice of Lisa’s body with anything he can find (including Wyatt’s dead body). 

[Note: Any pleasure Lisa derives from this poking is entirely accidental.]

Twenty years later, Gary is arrested and tried in a court of law. After he explains his story (and Lisa shows up in a thong), the judge and prosecutor dismiss all charges. 

Scenario # 4

What Happens:
Lisa takes the boys to a dive bar where they drink, smoke, and talk “jive” in falsetto voices to a group of intimidating men.

Hollywood Version:
When faced with condescending attitudes and racist stereotypes, the men… love it!  They even become protective of the young boys and their sex robot. 

Reality:
Gary and Wyatt are immediately robbed and knifed in their chests. The guys at the bar have group sex with Lisa. She declares these men her new masters. Collective sighs of relief are breathed from people across the globe and God; finally, someone is sleeping with the sex robot.

Scenario # 5

What Happens:
During a scene at the local mall, the bullies dump a perfectly good cherry Icee onto the heads of Wyatt and Gary.

Hollywood Version:
Everyone in the mall points and laughs at the boys.

Reality:
Same.  Sometimes, Hollywood gets it right.

Scenario # 6

What Happens:
Lisa throws a massive party at Wyatt’s house and is confronted by Wyatt’s grandparents, who attempt to send everyone home.

Hollywood Version:
Lisa freezes them and throws them into a closet.  No one, except Chet – the biggest jerk in the film -- seems to mind.

Reality:
If only it were that easy. Believe me; I’ve tried it. In reality, the grandparents ruin the party with their offering of kettle corn and stories from simpler times. (Note to grandfather: I don’t need to hear your boring tales from the Korean War when M*A*S*H* already covered it so hilariously.)

Scenario # 7

What Happens:
As a confidence-building exercise, Lisa conjures up homicidal rapists to perform motorcycle stunts in the house with the hopes that either Wyatt and Gary will take control or they will be murdered and she will be set free from her forced celibacy. 

Hollywood Version:
After the lead rapist threatens their love interests, the boys fight back using curse words and loaded guns proving the old maxim: violence is never the answer unless you’re really, really good at it. The bikers, self-conscious from all the name-calling, apologize and leave the party.

Reality:
According to Seattle assistant district attorney Samantha Beck, “It’s been my experience that when rapists have to choose between raping and not raping, they almost always choose to rape.”  She continues: “A better confidence-building exercise might be for the boys to speak daily affirmations to themselves.” 

Scenario # 8

What Happens:
After throwing a cool party, the boys become chick magnets. Seconds after his first kiss, Wyatt loudly declares his love for a girl and celebrates this milestone by dancing on her front lawn while water from sprinklers covers his clothes and (one hopes) his shame.

Hollywood Version:
His new girlfriend is elated! Why would she want to be with the popular and cool jock when she can spend time frolicking with Wyatt at school, Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings, and government-run sanitariums?

Reality:
After witnessing his naked display of need, the girl calls Wyatt later that night and breaks up with him saying that things “have changed.” Then, she asks for the number of the biker who held her hostage. Despondent, Wyatt kills himself on her lawn and falls onto her sprinklers. Bullies arrive and dump a cherry Icee on him. They all laugh.

Final Thought: The reality is that nobody likes geeks (regardless of their party-throwing abilities), hacking government computer systems will land you in prison, and, for the love of God, when you build a sex robot at least get to second base with it.

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