The Hot Shots! Guide to First Dates

Lloyd Bridges summits Western Civilization

Lloyd Bridges summits Western Civilization

Hilarity is informity.


The Hot Shots! movies make us feel light, self-assured, and thanks to the heavy-handed romance, sexually aroused. This is the preferred way to feel after first dates. So the fact that the Hot Shots! franchise can be tapped for awesome first date guidelines is the pinnacle of no coincidence.

Have a recurring joke

The character Admiral Benson, played by Lloyd Bridges, frequently indicates one of his many outlandish war injuries throughout the Hot Shots! movies. The first time he rattles off that his leg is made of ivory because he was impaled by an elephant during World War II, it’s more weird than funny. But by the end of the movie, when he interjects that his eyes are ceramic because he caught a bazooka at Little Big Horn, it’s not only funny, it’s endearing.

The lesson: If you make a bad joke (and if you’re a guy, you will), instead of reeling your personality in, keep making jokes around that same premise. She won’t laugh the first time you mispronounce her name, but if you do it five times throughout the date, you’ll be pinging the hilarity meters.

Narrate the date

The Hot Shots! movies were famous for breaking the fourth wall. In Part Deaux, Ramada explains why she joined Topper on the mission to rescue the hostages: “I had to come. It’s the sequel.”

The lesson: Feeling a lull in the conversation? You can always fall back on talking about what’s going on by saying something like, “you fidget like a squirrel,” “we’re hanging out right now,” or “wow, I am totally cool.” If nothing else, it will keep her mind present so she won’t start thinking about all the guys she knows who are better looking than you.

Keep it moving

When a character makes a joke in Hot Shots!, the movie doesn’t wait to make sure the audience gets the joke, or even to indicate that there was a joke at all (re: reaction shots in sitcoms without a laugh track). The movie keeps things moving, and by doing so, doesn’t ruin the joke.

The lesson: If you happen to make a joke that hits, don’t act like it’s a big deal otherwise the girl will think you’re one of the newer writers for The Simpsons. Just keep things moving as if you’re always funny, unless your recurring joke is that you get full of yourself after making a joke, which would be a totally sweet recurring joke.

Tighten the line

Hot Shots! is more than dumb jokes; it means something, too. But just when you think the movies might be getting too serious, somebody gets hit in the crotch with an I-beam.

The lesson: You want the first date to mean something, but not at the expense of being too serious. If you feel the conversation veer too near the “my dad was never there for me” spiel, bring it back with a “did you just fart?” spiel.

Girls can be fun, but don’t bet on it

The actress Valeria Golina does an awesome job playing the female lead in both Hot Shots! movies, but if the movies relied on only her to be fun, they would have been less funny than an SNL Kristen Wiig sketch.

The lesson: If you want the date to be fun and full of energy, it’s up to you, not the girl. She can be fun too, of course, but it's helpful to go into the interaction as if you were going on a date with a brick wall. If you rely on her to be the foundation of the fun, you will be the foundation of her friend zone.

Imperfection is perfection

As funny and awesome as Hot Shots! is, even Michael Bay could re-write some of the lines to make them funnier and probably even edit down the scenes that lag. These imperfections don’t matter, though, because we’re meant to watch Hot Shots! and movies like them.

The lesson: Just like we want to watch a movie that makes us laugh, girls want to meet you. An attempt to always say the right thing or be impressive will emasculate you—the premise of perfection is that she has no natural reason to be with you.

DatingMark Derian