Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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For most teenagers, high school is filled with obstacles nearly impossible to traverse. But then there is Parker Lewis (Corin Nemec, Stargate SG-1), the one teenager able to overcome any barrier with the use of his wits and the help of his best buds, rock n roller Mikey (William Jayne) and their quintessential nerd assistant Jerry (Troy Slaten). Of course, that does not mean Principal Grace Musso (Melanie Chartoff) will give up her attempts to foil the Buds' plans to maintain total coolness!
With smart writing, a unique style, an amazing supporting cast including Abraham Benrubi (ER) and Timothy Stack (Son Of The Beach)the first season of Parker Lewis Cant Lose ushered in the coolness of the 90s: brightly colored shirts and all!
* The History Of Coolness: A Look Back At Parker Lewis Cant Lose With The Cast And Creators
* Audio Commentaries
Launched by Fox in 1990, Parker Lewis Can't Lose exploded onto the scene like a 1980s flashback. Witness the Ducky-style pompadours, retina-searing shirts, and reggae-goes-new wave theme song. As with Ferris Bueller before him, Parker (Corin Nemec) is the kind of quick-thinking teenager who can charm his peers with ease. He even has a bratty kid sister, Shelly (Maia Brewton), and two “best buds,” guitar-slinging Mikey (William Jayne) and calculator-sporting Jerry (Troy Slaten). Principal Grace Musso (Melanie Chartoff), however, doesn't find Parker's antics--most revolving around his expertise with electronics--quite so endearing.
With the aid of her black-clad henchman, er, special obedience helper Frank Lemmer (Taj Johnson), Parker's pranks rarely go undetected, but due to his ingenuity and friendship with six-foot-seven-inch football player Larry Kubiac (ER's Abraham Benrubi), Lewis rarely does more than detention (and as for that ever-present camcorder: his parents run a video store). During the first season, Parker and buds battle a slick rival, a Heathers-like girl gang, and devious substitute principal-turned-teacher Dr. Norman Pankow (Gerrit Graham). Cartoon sound effects, extreme close-ups, fast-cutting, and film parodies, from Casablanca to The Karate Kid, add considerable zap and pow to their Santo Domingo High misadventures.
Some of the guests to contribute to the first year include Milla Jovovich, Josh Lucas, and Ziggy Marley. Cast, crew, and creators Lon Diamond and Dexter’s Clyde Phillips comment on seven episodes. The other extra, "The History of Coolness," features interviews with most of the main players, including X-Files director Rob Bowman. Though Diamond and Phillips acknowledge the influence of ‘80s icon John Hughes and though Parker debuted the same year as his Ferris Bueller spin-off, the duo beat the odds when their competitor quickly bit the dust, while their show ran for two more seasons. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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While I have enjoyed several other series in their times, and some have humor that has endured through several generations, Parker Lewis Can't Lose is the most unique of all.
The actors were all brilliant and perfectly cast. The direction, lighting, colors, action, effects and timing were impeccable. It's not just a pleasure to watch, but to study!
A few years ago I fell victim to purchasing "all the episodes" on VHS, only to find they were bootleg and mostly unwatchable. I was crushed.
I found myself looking all over the Internet for clues as to who owned the rights and why wasn't this show available for sale when so much lousy "entertainment" filled the shelves! I wrote to Sony and begged them to release the series on DVD. No reply. (I didn't expect one.) As a last resort, I posted the title here on Amazon in a "wish list" just in case SOMEone came out with a kosher copy.
FINALLY it happened, and we are so grateful. We promise we will purchase the rest of the series as soon as you publish them; we want them all.
There was never a bad episode. There were and are many favorites, but never a bad one, never an unwatchable or boring one.
Each show is a gem unto itself.
Thank you, everyone involved with the Creation of "Parker Lewis Can't Lose", and the new releases on DVD. We've waited for you for 19 years.
But the real spirit of Ferris Bueller lived on in Parker Lewis, and now I'll be able to see all the episodes I missed. Now, if we could get Max Headroom and Shewolf of London out on DVD, I could die in peace knowing I'd lived a full life.
It's obvious....Parker himself was ol' Arch, Mikey was Jughead, Jerry was an OBVIOUS Dilton, Kubiak an obvious Big Moose, Lemmer - Reggie AND Ms. Grundy, Musso - Veronica, Anny - Betty...and look in the old comic books...one of the favorite expressions of the writers was "EEP!", a favorite of "Parker's" writers as well, usually uttered by Jerry when he was scared to death, (and just before he put on a dust-cloud-leaving burst of speed.) But Parker went beyond the other "Archie" copiers in so many ways. "Archie" always strived to keep up with the times as far as youth culture and relevance was concerned, and "Parker Lewis" specialized in this. Gags were kept very current, and episode themes were treated likewise.
"Parker Lewis" was one of a raft of shows Fox had on on Sunday night that didn't seem to have any equals on any other network, (except MAYBE ABC)! No one had shows to go up against "Parker" or "In Living Color", "Married, With Children", (although "Roseanne" came close there,) or "The Simpsons". Fox took this Sunday night and built it into the consistent top 20 ratings grabbing network it is today, and it's a shame kids get older and networks cancel shows, because if the cast of "Parker" hadn't aged, it would have been prudent to have kept it on Fox as long as they've had "The Simpsons".
There are commentaries on this disc for the shows involving the cast, including Parker himself, Corin Nemec; Taj Johnson, the actor who played Lemmer; Timothy Stack, Parker's dad; Kubiak, (Abraham Benrubi, looking like Moses,) Maeia Brewton (Shelley) and Troy Slaten, Parker's Dilton, Jerry....along with the ladies who played Parker's mom: Mary Ellen Trainor and Anne Bloom. I LOVED this show when it was on, and was always amazed at how clever and cheeky it was compared to other sitcoms. It was kind of the "Moonlighting" version of "Happy Days", with fourth wall-breaking, voice-over narration, and cartoonish sight gags that worked more often than not.
All I know is, I'm going to sit back, recall fond memories of my pals Parker, Mikey, Kube, Lemmer and bratty Shelley and enjoy seeing them carry on like they did between 19 and 16 years ago, when Fox was just an embryo.
BTW, oddly enough, as happens too often with star vehicles these days, "Parker" wasn't the vehicle that made Corin Nemec, the star of the show....the person who benefited most from being on the show? Abraham Benrubi!! Kubiak! He hasn't STOPPED working since the show was canceled! Nemec showed up on ONE episode of "Smallville" and had a running role on "Stargate: SG1" for a while. Billy Jayne, Troy Slaten and Taj Johnson never pop up anywhere....and I've been keeping my eye out. Mary Ellen Trainor doesn't work anymore, either, and she was hot as a pistol after "Romancing the Stone"! Timothy Stack is another cast member that gets a lot of work.
Why is it supporting actors always get the work from being in these things and the stars pretty much kiss their careers goodbye?? "Star Wars", "Amadeus" and "Married With Children" (Ed O'Neill doesn't get ANYTHING, but Katey Segal and Christina Applegate can't stay OFF of TV!) are perfect examples of vehicles where this has happened!
I'll always be mystified by this! But anyway...."Parker Lewis", as they say, can't lose....and neither does this collection of 1st season episodes!
For the most part, the series holds up in the funny department, even with its absurd concepts and dated dialogue and references -- this is, in my opinion, THE quintessential early '90s teen comedy TV series, and Shout Factory has done a marvelous job in bringing it to DVD for all of its nostalgic fans, loading it with commentaries, extras, and interviews with the cast and crew. If you've never seen the series, it's definitely worth a watch -- especially since Amazon has the first two seasons on sale so cheap.