Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was one of my favorite 80’s movies.Starring Matthew Broderick it was fun romp and the only John Hughes productionI really loved. But that movie had a special something, it would be insane forsomeone to try to make a sitcom out of it….right?

Well someone did and in 1990 we had Ferris Bueller starring the annoying Charlie Schlatter. To say that this guy was no replacement for Matthew Broderick would be an understatement. The show barely lasted half aseason before it quietly disappeared. So what was the premise?


Well to put is simply the show was about Ferris and his experiences at high school. But they made several huge mistakes. The pilot began with Schlatter referring to the original movie, and then pulling out a cardboard cut out of Broderick before destroying it with a chainsaw! The pointwas to convey the fact that the series was not a continuation of the movie. But doing that was like cutting themselves off at the knees. If this isn’t based on the movies aside from the character names, then why do I want to watch it?

But there were bigger flaws in this turkey. In the series Ferris was a nerd who was not the most popular kid in school. Ummm, yeah these shows generally don’t work if the lead is an annoying nerd. There is a reason why Screech was not the main character in Saved By The Bell.  Jeannie was played in the series by Jennifer Aniston, obviously way before Friends, but for some reason she was older in the series unlike the movie where she was younger. Aniston was also the only one in the series who put any effort in and came off as a real person not a cartoon.

Another flaw was the corniness of the world Ferris lived in.For the most part in the movie Ferris lived in the real world. He just refused to follow the rules and did whatever he wanted. Here everything was over thetop and weird. Ferris didn’t stand out, he blended right in! There was also no chemistry between Ferris, Sloan, or Cameron. In fact Cameron was one of the blandest characters ever which is a bad mistake, in the movie Cameron nearly stole the show.

Why did this fail? You can’t blame the time slot. It aired right after Fresh Prince which was a monster at the time. In fact Blossom wouldtake over that time slot and do very well indeed. I watched a couple episodes before I got bored. The characters were all caricatures, and we didn’t care about any of them. It also wasn’t funny. A good film to TV adaptation has to remind us of the movie at least a little, like the way MASH kept the feel ofthe movie it was based on, and this didn’t come close. And Schlatter was awful in the role, grinning every second like an idiot and totally lacking the natural likability that made Broderick so much fun in the movie.

One last problem. Another little show came out at that same time called Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and did what Ferris could not,. Parker Lewis was a hit, and this came off as a cheap copy.

I really don’t remember any specific episodes, and I have one or two on tape in my closet. The series was just a bad idea, it didn’t even come close to the matching the spirit of the movie which is always the risk when you name a sitcome after a movie. I will talk about an even worst one called Working Girl some other time. The show quietly disappeared and no one misses it today.

By richb

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