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Ferris Bueller aired from August until December 1990 on NBC.
The fall 1990 schedule brought 2 conniving teenage series, Parker Lewis Can't Lose and this adaptation of the 1986 Matthew Broderick movie that had inspired both, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Ferris ( played by Charlie Schlatter), was the more mean-spirited of the two. His colorful scams and flimflams at Ocean Park High School in Santa Monica, California, were mostly self centered and often seemed designed to humiliate and punish. A lot depended on high-tech gadgetry; his portable computer that could patch into the school system and alter course assignments, his portable phone for impersonating authorities, his remote control for setting off little disasters at school assemblies. No one was his match-not pompous principal Rooney ( Richard Riehle), his assistant Grace ( Judith Kahan), or Ferris's fuming sister Jeannie ( Jennifer Aniston), who despised how he got away with things. Bill and Barbara ( Sam Freed, Cristine Rose), were his vacuous parents, who believed whatever he told them, Cameron ( Brandon Douglas), his dim-witted best friend, and beautiful Sloan( Ami Dolenz, daughter of former Monkee Mickey Dolenz), the object of his affections-and the one person he couldn't bamboozle.
A leftover episode of this failed series aired on August 11, 1991.
A Review From The New York Times
October 8, 1990
When Boys Will, of Course, Be Boys
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Suppose you're a male teen-ager and aspire to be Big Man in High School. Helpful tips can be found on at least two new prime-time series, NBC's ''Ferris Bueller'' (Mondays at 8:30 P.M.) and Fox's ''Parker Lewis Can't Lose'' (Sundays at 7:30 P.M.).
Some basic television rules: no matter how cynical or smart-alecky you may appear to be, stay cool and cute; never stop manipulating your nincompoop parents; make life miserable for your sister; don't let the other students ever forget that you run the school and that the principal and teachers are merely buffoonish ornaments, and when all else fails, speak directly into the camera, oozing boyish sincerity.
Developed by John Masius (''St. Elsewhere''), the NBC series is based on the ''Ferris Bueller's Day Off,'' the 1986 John Hughes movie starring Matthew Broderick. Television's Ferris is Charlie Schlatter, and in the very first episode he demolished a lifesize cutout of Mr. Broderick, deemed by Mr. Schlatter to be too much of a white-bread sort. That was a mistake.
Ferris's character gets away with his antics precisely because of his seemingly innocent facade, and so Mr. Broderick was perfect for the role. The smirking Mr. Schlatter is likely to leave most viewers reaching instinctively for their wallets.
Proceeding on the premise that ''life is just one damn thing after another,'' television's Ferris has concluded that there are two states of consciousness - un and sub. At home, while his big sister seethes, Ferris has no difficulty charming his gullible parents. (''Don't you wish they were yours?'' he says, winking.) Mom is in real estate. ''Do you know what it's like,'' she cries, ''trying to dump condos in a soft market?'' Sis is not about to let Ferris borrow her car: ''The thought of you using one of my possessions for pleasure makes me want to puke blood.''
At school, there is Mr. Rooney (Richard Riehle), the principal, a pudgy, sweaty man who seems to expend most of his energy trying to foil Ferris. In typical television fashion, whenever the cameras actually wander into a classroom they find only bored, somewhat sullen students overseen by oblivious teachers. In this context, Ferris is, if nothing else, a welcome diversion.
And he does have his special moments. Wearing tights for a dance session with his girlfriend, he tells us: ''Go ahead and laugh. I'm secure in my manhood.'' And managing a student election campaign, he genially advises, ''Think of the Kennedy years: all image.'' But if Ferris were to suddenly disappear from prime time, most viewers might agree with the dreadful Mr. Rooney. ''I'll miss you, Bueller,'' he tells him, like a 20-pound boil.
Fox's ''Parker Lewis Can't Lose'' is obviously a ''Ferris Bueller'' clone, although in interviews the executive producer, Clyde Phillips, has denied being in creative debt to the movie. Nevertheless, a recent episode did have a character describe the plot of a John Hughes movie, prompting this exchange:
''Which John Hughes movie are you talking about?'' ''All of them.'' In any event, Parker takes to television better than Ferris. For one thing, Parker is played by Corin Nemec, who is indeed white-bread perfect for the kind of fellow who finds the very concept of school totally bizarre. For another, like so many other Fox series, ''Parker Lewis'' is so exaggerated that there's not much danger of anyone taking it seriously.
Parker attends Santo Domingo High School, where, as at Ferris's Ocean Park High School, Hispanic students would seem to be as scarce as blacks among the student body. In this case, the principal is the vengeful Ms. Musso (Melanie Chartoff), whose appearances are often signaled by an eerie, blinding glow inspired by ''Close Encounters of the Third Kind.''
Her special ''obedience helper'' is a strange student known as her mutant teen-age henchman. And then there is the giant football star named Kubiak (Abraham Benrubi), who, Parker swears, once killed a nun when she misplaced his lunch. Kubiak allows that ''high school has been the best seven years of my life.''
Parker has the one requisite sister, this one younger. When not locking her in dark attics, he is arranging for her to gargle with his used mouthwash. Meanwhile, she is apt to say, ''I hate you like the phlegm that you are.''
Parker is not without a social conscience. When his best friend threatens to drop out of school to play in a rock band, Parker becomes responsible, warning that the rock scene is ''burnout city,'' leading only to paternity suits filed by groupies. The friend comes back, admitting that he misses ''the buds thing'' with Parker. Then without missing a beat, Parker offers a moving testimonial to rock, calling it the ''sound track of high school, of growing up, of hope.''
Like Ferris - and a good many television programmers - Parker is not terribly concerned about possible contradictions and underlying messages.
Created by John Masius; produced by Pamela Grant for A Maysh Production in association with Paramount Television; Patricia Van Ryker, production designer; Ron Ulin and Kathy Slevin, executive story editors; Steve Pepoon, executive story consultant; Mr. Masius, executive producer. At 8:30 P.M. Monday on NBC.
Ferris Bueller....Charlie Schlatter
Ed Rooney....Richard Riehle
Jeannie Bueller....Jennifer Aniston
Cameron Frye....Brandon Douglas
Barbara Bueller....Cristine Rose
Bill Bueller....Sam Freed
Parker Lewis Can't Lose
Directed by Thom Eberhardt; written by Lon Diamond and Clyde Phillips; produced by John Ziffren for Columbia Pictures Television; Robert Lloyd Lewis, supervising producer; Mr. Phillips, executive producer. At 7:30 P.M. Sundays on Fox.
Parker Lewis....Corin Nemec
Mikey Randall....William Jayne
Jerry Steiner....Troy Slaten
Ms. Musso....Melanie Chartoff
Shelly Lewis....Maia Brewton
An Article from The New York Times
Hear About a Film That Became A Hit TV Series? You're Not Alone
By BILL CARTER
December 17, 1990
Even before "Parenthood" was released as a movie, NBC decided to make it into a television series.
The network saw a rough cut of the film and was convinced that the movie presented a perfect formula for success on television: the multiple family comedy, covering themes both funny and poignant, with well-drawn characters ranging from toddlers to grandparents. Given that range, NBC thought it had a series with the potential to reach every person who watches television.
NBC was so enthusiastic about "Parenthood" the television series that it seriously considered giving the show two separate half-hour time periods in the same week. On Second Thought . . .
If NBC had decided on that double play, it would now have two holes on its schedule instead of one. "Parenthood" was canceled last week, one of the more conspicuous failures of the new crop of shows from the television season in September.
The reasons offered for its quick demise are typical of television failure: wrong time period; no breakthrough characters; not funny enough.
But "Parenthood" carried another potential albatross: it was a television show based on a movie.
For years, television audiences have been rejecting shows based on movies, either because they fall so short of the quality of the film or because the film's one-time-only premise simply won't extend to open-ended series storytelling.
This fall, the networks counted heavily on comedy series generated from hit movies. NBC and CBS both had two new comedies that began as movies; ABC had one. Onto the Junk Heap
All but one concept has been scrapped. Beyond "Parenthood," NBC failed with "Ferris Bueller" this fall in its effort to turn the hit John Hughes film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" into a high school comedy. In the spring, NBC's version of "Working Girl" was quickly rejected.
CBS thought for a time it had a possible exception in "Uncle Buck," a situation comedy derived from another John Hughes film. But after some success on Monday night, the network moved it to Friday where it disappeared. CBS also canceled "Bagdad Cafe," another movie-generated comedy that had started the season on Friday night.
ABC's comedy "Baby Talk," based on the huge hit film "Look Who's Talking," ran into production problems, changed its star and still has not found a time period.
That undistinguished track record is entirely consistent with the long-term history of series based on movies. A short list of failed movie ideas from recent years: "Baby Boom," "Dirty Dancing," "Private Benjamin," "House Calls" and "Animal House."
The exception to such failures is "M*A*S*H," whose enormous success as a television show actually dwarfed the success of the 1970 Robert Altman movie. Looking to the Past
After that the examples are few and somewhat strained. "The Odd Couple" had a good run on ABC. But that concept actually began as a play, not a movie. NBC has a high-rated series based on "In the Heat of the Night." But that movie version goes back 23 years.
"Making a series from a movie is a high-risk venture," said Peter Tortorici, the senior vice president of programming for CBS. "It's always a double-edged sword. People know what it is and come with expectations. But they come with expectations about a look and a production quality, done on an incredibly high budget. They come with expectations about a certain actor in a role. It's really hard for a weekly series to measure up to all of that."
In the case of "Parenthood," Ed Begley Jr. took the role created by Steve Martin. "Uncle Buck," essentially a star vehicle for John Candy, featured Kevin Meaney on television.
"Kevin Meaney did a great job," Mr. Tortorici said. "But John Candy and John Hughes are a tough act to follow."
Ted Harbert, the executive vice president of prime time for ABC, said, "We have to be very cautious with movie ideas." He said he did not like creating television series based on movies, though ABC has three shows that have their roots as films. (The other networks have none.)
Beyond "Baby Talk," ABC has "Eddie Dodd," a drama based on the film "True Believer," which starred James Woods. The ABC version will star Treat Williams. And in September, ABC plans to introduce "Young Indiana Jones," the adventures of the movie character as a 10-year-old. "That one will carry huge expectations," Mr. Harbert said.
Perry Simon, the executive vice president of prime-time programs for NBC, disputed some conclusions being drawn from this year's failures of movie-based series. He said the failure rate was consistent with the exceedingly high failure rate for all television shows. "The audience knows it's not going to see John Candy," he said. "Maybe there is some initial disappointment. That's over by episode 2." A Proven Entity
The problem is, by episode 2 the show is often over. The real reason the networks are attracted to movies as a premise for series, Mr. Harbert said, is that "they are a pre-sold concept." As networks face so much competition from so many channels, pre-sold concepts carry a lot of appeal.
Mr. Simon said he believed, however, that such shows rise or fall on their own merits, exactly as other shows do. But he did say a series can be damaged by having a "new creative interpreter."
Though "Parenthood" was supposed to come to NBC with its creative team from Imagine Films, little of the daily work was actually done by the creators of the movie. And John Hughes, who wrote and directed both "Uncle Buck" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," had nothing to do with either television series.
Despite all the evidence, the networks are not ready to write off ideas based on films. "People always look for absolute rules," Mr. Simon said. "This will be a trend until someone beats the trend with that exception."
Mr. Tortorici said he still believed a movie-based series could work, "but it's got to be executed on as high a level as the film," a task he admitted was "really, really hard."
As ABC seems to have done with "Eddie Dodd," there may be one way to get around the risks. "We may take the premise from some promising movie and just not use the title," Mr. Tortorici said. "Then nobody will come to it with any of those expectations."
To read an article about Ferris Bueller go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JTExAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jAgEAAAAIBAJ&dq=ferris%20bueller%20tv%20show&pg=7100%2C5524404
To watch some clips from Ferris Bueller go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ferris+bueller+tv+show
For a page dedicated to Ferris Bueller go to https://www.tvobscurities.com/articles/ferris_bueller/
For The Official Ami Dolenz Webpage go to http://www.amidolenz.com/
For a website devoted to the movie go to http://www.idiotsavant.com/bueller/
For another website dedicated to the movie go to http://www.80s.com/saveferris/
For a review of Ferris Bueller go to https://filmschoolrejects.com/the-strange-time-ferris-buellers-day-off-became-a-terrible-tv-show-accdf855009e/
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Keywords: The Cast of Ferris Bueller (Links Updated 7/26/18)