Saturday, September 09, 2006

Not a Problem

Does anybody else remember "Parker Lewis Can't Lose?" it was one of those early shows on the Fox network, when they were doing all kinds of comedy shows that the established network would never do (partly because they wanted to set themselves apart and partly because they were sort of limited to stuff that the big three networks had turned down), like "The Simpsons," which started the same year as "Parker Lewis."

The distinctive things about "Parker Lewis" included its incorporation of all kinds of devices that are now common in single-camera sitcoms, but were unusual then: voice-over narration, time jumps, cutaways, cartoony gags and sound effects. As a show about teenagers, it was like a hipper, funnier version of John Hughes; it's a "Ferris Bueller" knockoff that holds up a lot better than the smarmy original. (There was actually an official "Ferris Bueller" show that premiered at the same time as "Parker Lewis"; it got axed after 13 episodes while "Parker" managed three seasons.) It also produced a lot of the writers and production people who would go on to a somewhat similar -- though not quite as good -- improvement on John Hughes, "Weird Science."

Unfortunately, Sony, which owns it, doesn't seem to have any intention of releasing it on DVD. While we're waiting, here's an excerpt from the pilot episode:

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