Gilbert Lowell (a pre-TV hunk Anthony Edwards who would become the future star of the hit TV series ER) and Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) are a pair of stereotypical nerds who quickly find themselves the odd men out when they start at Adams College.
After the reigning jocks of the Alpha Beta fraternity burn down their frat house, they take over the freshman dorm, kicking out the nerds who end up living in the gym.
Rejected by every fraternity (because the jocks rule the imperious Greek Council), Gilbert and Lewis unite with their fellow campus outcasts – including blithely disgusting slob Booger (Curtis Armstrong); openly gay and exceedingly camp Lamar Latrell (Larry B. Scott); dweeby violinist Arnold Poindexter (Timothy Busfield); precious little squirt Harold Wormser (Andrew Cassese); and the bumbling Takashi (Brian Tochi) – and find a house off campus which they renovate and move into.
With the help of a national all-black fraternity organisation called Lambda Lambda Lambda – they eventually achieve charter status and form their own Tri-Lamb fraternity for un-hip students at Adams.
Joined by a sorority of sister outcasts (the Omega Moo’s), the underdog Tri-Lambs go to war with the evil Alpha Betas – led by hateful uber-jock Stan Gable (Ted McGinley) – and their sister Pi Delta Pi sorority of pretty cheerleading girlfriends – headed up by the stuck-up Betty Childs (Julie Montgomery), using their superior cunning and high IQ to great advantage.
Comic highlights include the nerds’ disastrous frat party; the belching competition between Booger and Ogre (Donald Gibb); a rowdy panty raid where the nerds install hidden surveillance cameras throughout the Pi house to broadcast a peep show back to their own frat house which they enjoy over popcorn (“we’ve got bush, we’ve got bush!”); Booger always cheating at cards with Takashi; and a cool techno-pop song at the homecoming carnival, after which Gilbert makes a stirring speech about ending “nerd persecution” – all the while protected by a phalanx of big black men, their national fraternity brothers.
It’s all somehow immensely satisfying.
Larry B Scott