Home Television Comedy Parker Lewis Can’t Lose

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose

1 9 9 0 – 1 9 9 3 (USA)

Initially slated as a carbon copy of the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), this US sitcom chronicling the machinations and misadventures of ice-cool, rule-breaking Santo Domingo High School student Parker Lloyd Lewis (Corin ‘Corky’ Nemec) actually had a style of its own.

Made with a single camera, full of unusual angles and special video effects, it erred towards a cartoon-like vibe which ensured almost immediate youth cult status. Adults liked it too.

Parker was an enterprising student who always came out on top. He was the “cool” kid who had an ingenious plan for every situation. He resisted authority and lived by his own rules.

He recorded people on both audio and videotape for “blackmail” purposes, and on the school radio station – WFLM (89.8FM), “The Voice of Santo Domingo High” – he hosted the call-in show, ‘Dr Retro’, with pals Jerry as the host of ‘The Freshman Show’ and Mikey as ‘The Ice-man’, the host of a rock and roll show.

Mikey Randall (Billy Jayne) and Jerry Steiner (Troy Slaten) were Parker’s best friends. Mikey worked as a counter boy at Dog on a Stick fast food, played the guitar, had his coat Scotchgarded twice a month and kept a jar of monkey brains on his desk at school. Jerry loved videogames and had a pet ant called ‘Sparky’.

Parker’s parents, Martin and Judy, owned Mondo Video (VHS tape rentals were $2.99 each). His 13-year-old sister, Shelly (Maia Brewton), assisted her idol – stern, authoritarian principal Grace Musso (Melanie Chartoff) – in an effort to get the goods on Parker and “take him down” (Parker referred to her as “Grace’s pretty, two-faced, sugarplum freshman obedience trainee”).

Shelly was also a member of the snobbish ‘Vogues’, an all-girl club that was the terror of the school. Called the “Glamour Girls of the Campus”, they were selective in their associates and they signalled to each other with air kisses. The rich and spoiled Melinda Harris (Brooke Theiss) was the chapter president.

Larry Kubiac (Abraham Benrubi) was 20 years old and had been a junior at Santo Domingo High for seven years. He weighed 270 pounds and stood 6 feet 7 inches tall. He was mean and, as Parker said, “the most dangerous force ever to squeeze into a high school football uniform”. His only pleasure was eating and his “office” was located in School Bathroom 12.

Parker Lloyd Lewis
Corin ‘Corky’ Nemec
Principal Grace Musso
Melanie Chartoff
Mikey Randall

Billy Jayne
Jerry Steiner

Troy Slaten
Shelly Lewis
Maia Brewton
Larry Kubiac

Abraham Benrubi
Mr Martin Lewis
Timothy Stack
Mrs Judy Lewis
Anne Bloom (1)
Mary Ellen Trainor (2)
Melinda Harris
Brooke Theiss
Annie Sloan
Jennifer Guthrie