National Lampoon's Vacation: Could It Happen Today?
It’s the nagging fear that rests in the minds of all who plan a family summer getaway: What if it’s a total disaster? For many former children of the 1980s, that fear stems from memories of “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” The 1983 comedy stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as Clark and Ellen Griswold, an all-American suburban Chicago couple who take their kids on an ill-fated cross-country road trip to a California amusement park.
Yes, the movie is hilarious. But in retrospect, some of the hardships the Griswolds experience — a detour through a dangerous neighborhood, being stranded in a desert, Chevy Chase’s Members Only jacket — are genuinely horrifying enough to scare anyone planning a real-life road trip.
That got us wondering: In the GPS/cell phone/Google Maps era we live in now, is it possible for “Vacation”-style calamities to befall a modern-day trek down the holiday road? Yahoo! Travel looked at 10 of the vacation disasters in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and asked “Could It Happen Today?”
1. “VACATION” DISASTER: Car Switcharoo
Due to a mix-up at the car dealership, the Griswolds are forced to make their cross-country trip in a hideous lemon: a new, “Metallic Pea”-green, wood-paneled station wagon called The Wagon Queen Family Truckster.
COULD IT HAPPEN TODAY?: The station wagons that were the family movers of choice in the 1970s and '80s have largely been replaced by SUVs and minivans. Fortunately, you couldn’t buy one as ugly as the Family Truckster if you tried. Today, the two top-selling minivans — the Honda Odyssey and the Dodge Grand Caravan — aren’t even available in green. As for fake wood paneling on cars, they’re another `80s staple that went the way of leaded gasoline, designer jeans, and music on MTV. VERDICT: Thank heavens, no.
2. “VACATION” DISASTER: Path of Destruction
Clark plots out the family’s cross-country trip on his home computer, which —as was popular practice at the time — was connected to the family TV. But Clark’s kids interrupt his turn-by-turn demonstration by attacking the virtual family car with their favorite video-game characters.
COULD IT HAPPEN TODAY?: The better question is why, more than 30 years later, has no one invented such a GPS on which you can simultaneously play shoot-'em-up video games?!? How awesome would Google Maps be if you could both plot directions to that dreaded family wedding and then have a “Call of Duty” character call in an airstrike on your destination? VERDICT: No, but someone seriously needs to get on that.