SCENE: Inside Memorial Hospital’s OR. Three surgical assistants are dressed in blue surgical scrubs, and hover around the acclaimed DR. THOMPSON, awaiting his orders.

ASSISTANT ONE: (casually) Why are so many hospitals named “Memorial”? Isn’t that a bit foreboding?

ASSISTANT TWO: Yeah! I always thought that too. Shouldn’t we call them “Survival” instead of “Memorial”?

(DR. THOMPSON rises to his full 5’6″ frame and begins to speak. He is world famous, and his every utterance commands respect.)

DR. THOMPSON: Children, please. This patient deserves our full attention, or he WILL die! You there (points at ASSISTANT THREE), change the monitor to channel seven to give us a better view of the galvanized coronary bypass!

ASSISTANT ONE: (aside, to ASSISTANT TWO) That doesn’t even make sense…

DR. THOMPSON: (yelling) FOR GOD’S SAKE MAN, JUST DO IT!


Sorry Burt, hiring the same logo design company 3 years later doesn’t equal a sequel.

(ASSISTANT THREE picks up the remote and begins to change channels. The channel changes from the static hospital station, to golf, to a showing of Kindergarten Cop, and then channel seven.)

DR. THOMPSON: (suddenly) Wait, was that Kindergarten Cop on six?

ASSISTANT THREE: Yes sir, I believe so.

(DR. THOMPSON looks down at his patient, the chest laid bare to the OR air. DR. THOMPSON looks back at the television, then lowers his scalpel, and while continuing to look back and forth from the television to the patient.)

DR. THOMPSON: Eh, put it back on six. We have some time.

ASSISTANT THREE: (quickly changing channels as ASSISTANT ONE and ASSISTANT TWO exchange a high-five) Yes, sir!

Ah, Kindergarten Cop.

Few films have the power to prevent crime, to interrupt sex, and to indefinitely postpone life-saving surgery. Kindergarten Cop has this power, and with unconfirmed, unsubstantiated and completely made up figures attributing 3,750 deaths annually to this mismatched pairing of a bulked up Super Cop with hell-spawn children, Kindergarten Cop ranks as the 37th leading cause of death in the United States, just above watching Gilmore Girls and just below the consumption of urinal cakes.

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Like the Jelly-of-the-Month-Club, Kindergarten Cop is the joke that just keeps on giving, and somehow, keeps us watching and keeps us from doing everything else we SHOULD be doing. That joke is Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose last name is miraculously included in all default Microsoft Word Spell Check dictionaries) as a police officer who eats gunfights and bad guys for breakfast, but who is unable to cope with diaper-soiling, tantrum-throwing, inquisitive kids.

This one-trick My Little Pony of a movie runs variations of this gag on a loop shorter than Tom Sizemore and rehab. A loop shorter than Lindsay Lohan and cocaine. Billy Joel’s car and houses. The Cincinnati Bengals and jail.

Oh, I could go on and on. And, I think I will: Rob Schneider movies and disaster. Mariah Carey and crazy. Michael Moore and fat.

Anywho, a closer examination of Kindergarten Cop reveals no smoking gun, no conclusive reason why or how this movie has carved out such a significant niche in the American social landscape. Why do we put our own wedding day plans on hold to hear the little twins Tina and Rina say, “Our mom says our dad is a real sex machine”? Why do we weigh the consequences, and decide that watching Kindergarten Cop for the 307th time is more important than a midterm worth half our final grade?

Let’s consider the cast: Arnold plays “Detective John Kimble,” who is “A COP, YOU IDIOT!” forced to take on an undercover role as an elementary school teacher. Penelope Ann Miller acts (and I use the term very loosely) as Kimble’s love interest, Joyce. Joyce is on the run from her former drug-kingpin husband, and with good reason: his black-haired ponytail is so bad, even Steven Seagal is offended.

Pamela Reed, Kimble’s partner in the film, is best recognized for the real-life portrayal of herself in “Swan Dive: The Pamela Reed Acting Career Story.”

Academy Award winner Linda Hunt complements the ensemble as the short-statured-yet-fiery-tempered Principal Schlowski. While it’s an unspoken given that her Oscar was NOT for her work in this film, Hunt shows her range by playing a woman. I only bring this up because her Best Supporting Actress in 1982’s The Year of Living Dangerously was won with Ms. Hunt playing a man. No, not a female character playing a man. As a male character.

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So, let’s summarize:

Austrian steroid-chomping, weight-lifting Governator of the Action State. Check.

Mediocre actress who gets a free pass because she was in Carlito’s Way. Check.

Pamela “I played Ruth Powers in three episodes of The Simpsons!” Reed. Check.

Actress who did her best work as a man. Check.

Poor man’s Steven Seagal (can you sink any lower?). Check.

The acting’s terrible. The flimsy plot clearly gave John Travolta hope for Battlefield: Earth. Pamela “Hey, I was in The Right Stuff, too!” Reed has a starring role. And still we watch.

Do we genuinely care about the characters? Is there some part of our inner child that understands that little boy and his tin foil laser beams? How many of us knew that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina before this landmark POS film?

I certainly didn’t. Before this film’s release in 1990, when I complained of a headache, nobody EVER suggested that perhaps I had a tumor. Before this film, I never felt compelled to ask the nice, sweet girl at dinner who her daddy was, and what does he do.

But I watched Kindergarten Cop. Then I had a huge paper due, so I watched Kindergarten Cop again. I needed to pick up my prom date. I watched Kindergarten Cop once more, and then searched TBS, TNT and USA until I found Kindergarten Cop playing again.

Maybe it’s Arnold’s catch phrases. Maybe it’s seeing Arnold completely out of his element. Maybe it’s knowing those adorable kids peaked at age five, and then faded into oblivion.

Or maybe our love affair with Kindergarten Cop is something simpler. Something elemental. Something we all relate to: something we all want. Something we all enjoy.

You know, like Pamela Reed being hit by a car.

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