Series / Parker Lewis Can't Lose
Parker Lewis Can't Lose
was a sitcom on the Fox
network, running from 1990 to 1993
. It centered around a good-hearted (but low-scrupled) High School
wheeler-dealer and his two associates, and the scams, cons and manipulations that they got away with (mostly) day to day. It starred Corin Nemec, now known for playing the former Trope Namer
for Suspiciously Similar Substitute
on Stargate SG-1
It was clearly influenced by the classic teen movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off
— much more so than the movie's TV adaptation; many consider Parker Lewis Can't Lose
to be the Spiritual Successor
to the Ferris Bueller
film. Parker Lewis Can't Lose
actually had lower
ratings than Ferris Bueller
, but the Fox network was still in its early years and thus had lower expectations, allowing Lewis
to outlast Bueller
by two seasons.
In later seasons, the show's title was truncated to simply Parker Lewis
. In one episode the title character has such unusual bad luck that the main title credit was changed to Parker Lewis Can't Win
This show provides examples of:
- Achilles in His Tent
- Actually Not a Vampire: In one episode, Frank Lemmer is shown avoiding sunlight and other things, prompting Shelly to think he's a vampire. This culminates with her splashing him with a bucket full of holy water.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Shelly Lewis
- Bag of Holding: Jerry's trenchcoat.
- Berserk Button: Kubiak and his lunch, don't ever touch it. Urban Legend states he once punched out (and possibly killed) a nun for sitting on his lunch bag.
- The B Grade: Jerry Steiner
- Catch-Phrase: "Coolness!", "Not a problem," "Synchronise Swatches!" "Food/Eat now!" "Mooomm!"
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lemmer, after season 2.
- Conspiracy Theory:
Come on, Frank! Everyone knows you have the missing eleven minutes of the Watergate tapes!
- Dean Bitterman: Miss Musso and Dr Pankow, which the latter is fitting as he is played by the actor who played the Obstructive Bureaucrat foster father Phil Simpson from Child's Play 2.
- The Dragon: Frank Lemmer.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: "...Lloyd?!"
- Expy: Parker Lewis, of Ferris Bueller.
- Extreme Omnivore: Kube. At one point he's seen eating leaves off a tree.
- Flanderization: In the early episodes, it was made clear that Kube's Hulkspeak and general attitude were an act, and that he was in fact both intelligent, capable of proper speech and highly sensitive.
- Great White Hunter: In "Future Shock", Principal Russo hires Great White Hunter Rex Huston to track down and retrieve Kube who is hiding in the ventilation system to avoid a vaccination.
- Hammer Space: Jerry's velcro-lined coat.
- High School Hustler: Parker Lewis is an iconic example.
- Parker was also a rather sympathetic example. Many of his schemes are designed to help others (like getting Kubiak into college, or helping Mikey talk to a girl he likes). That fact that he often benefits himself is just a bonus. He also has lines he won't cross, like altering grades.
- Hulk Speak: Kubiak
- I Have This Friend...: Inverted in "Close But No Guitar": Parker decides to talk to his parents about Mikey deciding to drop out of school, but since he uses the trope phrase, his parents think he wants to drop out and want him to talk to a psychiatrist.
- Lamarck Was Right: The Reunion episode.
- Love Floats: One episode shows this happening to Jerry every time Shelly says something nice to him.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: The Kube is this in-universe, as the atypical bully act he initially has is just to play up how people view him but he's actually a pretty decent guy at heart.
- Mrs. Robinson: Miss Musso tends to stare at virile young men...just long enough to make it awkward.
- Nerd: Jerry is one of these in the biggest way... and a doormat.
- Operation: [Blank]
- Power Trio: Ego = Parker, Id = Mikey, Superego = Jerry.
- Rebus Bubble
- Shout-Out: Parker describes his rival Matt Styles:
Parker: Who does this Matt guy think he is, Ferris Bueller?
- In the same episode when Matt uses Parker's excuse Rolodex:
- Sitting on the Roof: In later seasons.
- Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Once, during an Imagine Spot.
- Spiritual Successor: To Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
- Subordinate Excuse: Frank Lemmer and Miss Musso.
- Take That!: Soon after the Ferris Bueller series was cancelled, one episode ended with the camera pulling back to reveal the episode (still running) on a movie screen in a small theater. In the theater are two people, Parker Lewis and a teenage boy hidden in shadows. Parker turns to the other boy and says, "See, Ferris? That's how it's supposed to be done."
- In another episode the school marching band can be seen holding up a banner that says "Thank you for not watching Eerie Indiana", which aired on rival network NBC. Amusingly, Fox Kids later ended up airing reruns for Eerie Indiana after NBC cancelled it, which ultimately ended up giving the show a second chance in popularity and recognition.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Dr Pankow.
- Unskilled, but Strong: In one episode, Kubiak reveals that he actually doesn't know how to fight, and simply relied on his size for intimidation, leaving him rattled when a rival bully showed up who was unfazed by him.
- Unusual Euphemism: In the episode "Home Alone with Annie", Parker and his girlfriend keep dancing around the prospect of a... Relationship Upgrade by referring to it as "watching cable (TV)."