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Series / Out of This World (1987)

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Short Version: That show you vaguely remember about the alien girl who could freeze time.

Long Version: Evie Garland (Maureen Flannigan), the main character, is half-alien, which gives her a variety of special powers, which get her in and out of trouble on this syndicated half-hour Sitcom which ran from 1987 to 1991. She lives with her human mother, Donna Garland (Donna Pescow), and only communicates with her Anterian alien father Troy via a crystal on her desk (voiced by Burt Reynolds).

All Anterians have a variety of powers, including the ability to "Gleep", or to will simple, non-mechanical objects into existence. As Evie is only half-Anterian, her powers are less refined than a full-blooded Anterian. Evie's main power is the ability to freeze and unfreeze time by placing her fingers or palms together, respectively. Later in the show, on her sixteenth birthday, she gets the ability to teleport.

Donna and Evie must keep her powers a secret from various nosy side-characters, which include the oblivious Mayor Kyle Applegate (Doug Mc Clure), the dim-witted Buzz Belmondo, and Evie's high school sweetheart Chris Fuller (Steve Burton). Donna's brother, Beano (Joe Alaskey), is also a frequently recurring guest, and the only other character to know Evie's secret.

During the first season, it initially aired as part of "Prime Time Begins at 7:30", a syndication package created by NBC in the fall of 1987, which consisted of five sitcoms that each aired once a week, and were produced and distributed by various production companies and distributors contracted by NBC. The package was aimed at attracting viewers to NBC stations in the half-hour preceding prime time (8:00 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific Time Zone, 7:00 p.m. elsewhere), and was conceived as a result of the FCC's loosening of the Prime Time Access Rule, legislation passed in 1971 that required networks to turn over the 7:30 p.m. (Eastern) time slot to local stations to program local or syndicated content; and the relaxation of the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, which had prevented networks from producing content from their own syndication units to fill the void. Unfortunately, however, the experiment was largely a failure, with every program being regularly pummeled in the ratings by Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy!, talk shows, court shows, and news magazines. Out of this World was the only one of the package to last four seasons, airing mainly on weekends.

Not to be confused with Out of this World (1962), a British sci-fi anthology series. Also not to be confused with Eric Chahi's legendary French side-scrolling adventure game masterpiece, also known as Another World.Also not to be confused with The Jam Handy Organization's surreal short film about bread, which would eventually be riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Out of this World contains examples of:

  • Absurd Phobia: Donna has a fear of gelatin.
    "I don't like the way it wiggles around. It's just not right."
  • Alien Among Us: Evie must keep her half-Anterian powers a secret from the rest of the planet and since she was born and raised on Earth, she sometimes explains concepts to her alien dad.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Evie goes to therapy and brings her mom and dad, or at least, the glowing crystal through which her alien dad communicates. The therapist is very much a muggle but believes them and they appeal to doctor/patient confidentiality to keep their secret safe.
  • And Starring: Maureen Flannigan is listed as "and introducing Maureen Flannigan as Evie."
  • Animorphism: In one episode, Uncle Beano is accidentally gleeped into a dog.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • In one episode Evie uses her powers to pass her driving test, with the result that she gets a license despite not being able to parallel park. This is, obviously, a reprehensible thing, and consequentially, she gets in a car accident the very first time she takes the car out. Everything's reasonable so far, except for the fact that the tester was being a jerk and demanded she park in a space visibly smaller than the car. So the moral is "It's not fair to use your superpowers to succeed at something that would be physically impossible to do without them."
    • "I Want My Evie TV": Evie's recently-arrived Uncle Mick tries to persuade her to use her powers for personal gain. After being repeatedly cautioned about using her powers for personal gain, she uses her powers to make a music video for a school project. She is punished by her mom, for using her powers for personal gain. So far so good, right? In the end, her video gets entered in a contest and she wins $500. And that's the end of the episode. That's it. No confession, no moment of revelation. No moral epiphany. Turns out that using her powers for personal gain just works with no negative consequences.
  • Catchphrase: Donna: "Evie Ethel Garland!"
  • Character as Himself: Evie's father, Troy, is an alien who only "appeared" as a disembodied voice from a communication device. He was is credited "as Himself" and actually voiced by Burt Reynolds.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Uncle Beano vanished without explanation during the fourth season. Happened to a few other minor characters as well.
  • Convenient Replacement Character: Once Beano was gone, Evie suddenly had a new uncle, Mick, who had never been mentioned before.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: Evie Garland is a half-alien on her father's side and possesses the ability to freeze time. Later in the show, on her sixteenth birthday, she gets the ability to teleport.
  • Driving Test: One episode revolves around Evie trying to get her driver's license; she cheats via her powers when it comes to parallel parking, and subsequently has an accident and knocks the bumper off the car when she tries to parallel park without using her powers.
  • Drop-In Character: The Garland household apparently has an open-door policy for neighbors, family members, and local government officials.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Troy Garland, alien visitor from Antareus, has the same middle name as his daughter: Ethel. (Though this may just be a riff on Donna's use of the Full-Name Ultimatum as a Catchphrase).
  • Employee of the Month: Season 2's "The Secret of Evie's Success" sees Evie get hired at a diner and become so successful at her job that she's named "Waitress of the Month", but she soon gets distressed when she finds out the previous "Waitress of the Month" not only lost the title because of her, they lost their job. She proceeds to sabotage her own position, culminating in her gladly getting fired.
  • Evil Twin: Evie splits herself in order to attend a party while also writing a speech about the evils of school uniforms (Specifically, bright yellow dresses with blue baseball caps, and breeches for the boys). Unsurprisingly, the process results in a serious Evie and a reckless Evie. The serious Evie is portrayed as the "real" one, at least until Serious-Evie tries to give her speech and discovers that she's now in favor of the dress code. Troy attributes their eventual recombination to The Power of Love.
  • Fantastic Aesop: Commonly taught "Don't use your special powers to do X" aesops. Should you ever gain the ability to stop time, don't use it for personal gain, or directly to make other people happy. (Using powers to triage a friend's problem is sometimes okay, but just magicking your best friend a cute date is right out.)
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Donna went "Evie Ethel Garland!" a lot - often enough for the show to have episodes where Evie turned it back on her parents. And then there was a case where Chris was present and learned her middle name this way and couldn't help but laugh.
  • Gender Bender: Evie turned herself into "Stevie" in one episode to provide a date for her chronically single best friend. Yes, this was real.
  • Golden Snitch: In one episode, Evie's team sweeps the entire game, netting 900 points. The final question is worth 1000. Surprisingly, they win anyway.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: The opening credits show Dad crossing his fingers on both hands, standing near Maternity Ward when Evie is born.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The series revolves around Evie Ethel Garland, a young girl who discovers on her thirteenth birthday that her father is an alien named Troy, from the planet Antareus, who married her mother and "merged lifeforms" to create Evie. Evie's half-alien heritage gives her superhuman abilities.
  • Interspecies Romance: Donna (Human) and Troy (Antarian), Troy is apparently a Human Alien, though the only time he actually appears "in person", he's a somewhat abstract ghostly form. For the rest of the series, he only "appears" by way of a communication cube, which the other characters often treat as though it actually physically is Troy.
  • The Joy of X: Bring Me the X of Y - after Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974). "Bring me the Head of Donna Garland"
  • Left Hanging: In the finale, Donna and Troy swap places, and she is still stranded on Anterias (and he is still stranded on Earth) at the end. We never find out how they switch back because the series was canceled.
  • Mind over Manners: Evie needed to borrow an ESP power to help with a fundraiser. Because she is a bit young, she has a bit of trouble not commenting on the private thoughts of others, and later needed to procure a magician to lend Plausible Deniability to her trick.
  • New Super Power: Evie will occasionally develop alterations to her powers or random new superpowers due to "glitches".
  • No Fourth Wall: Evie will frequently freeze time to share an aside with another character, or even the audience itself.
  • Obsessed with Food It's a comedy, and every single scene with Beano in it, at least in Season 1 is, in some way, about his weight and how much he loves to eat. It's noticeably rare to hear him utter a line that's not about food.
  • Older Alter Ego: Evie once turned herself into an adult, becoming "Evie's older cousin Yvette," to attract a boy. Attempts to reverse it rendered her seven years old.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: In the episode "Baby Talk", Evie gets a babysitting job and her mom helps her prepare. One of the things she does is carry Evie over her shoulder to demonstrate the fireman's carry, as seen here (at 3:36)
  • Personal Gain Hurts: When Evie used her powers to benefit herself (such as stopping time so she could ace a test in school), her alien father would "ground" her by preventing them from working for a while afterwards.
  • Powers in the First Episode: In the first episode, Evie is introduced to her powers on her 13th birthday.
  • Shout-Out: Evie's mother is named Donna and her father is named Troy. One of the writers must have been a Wonder Girl fan because the main character is Donna Troy.
  • Suicide as Comedy: On an episode, dimwit Chris Fuller was assigned the Teen Help telephone line.
    Jump! note 
  • Tempting Fate: In "Come Fly with Evie", Evie tells her mom they're not really flying. Cut to outside with the house actually flying.
  • Three... Two... One...: When the uncle has some Love Potion in the form of cologne on, and is about to take a swim, the daughter and mother count down for when the instant harem will abandon him.
  • Time Stands Still: Evie could freeze time by touching her index fingers together, and release any individual person from the spell by touching him/her. Pressing her palms together would cancel the effect. It was her most-used trick.
  • Touched by Vorlons: On several occasions, Donna Garland had some of Evie's or Troy's powers transferred to her, which she had difficulty controlling.
  • Two-Timer Date: Evie had a date with Chris and another boy on the same night she was supposed to help her mother, Donna, with housework. Since Evie is a half-alien with superpowers, she was able to freeze time repeatedly to facilitate dashing between the three obligations. This led to Donna figuring out the ruse, as she is aware of Evie's powers, and Evie mistakenly thinking she had frozen Chris in time, when in actuality he was voguing—a new craze at the time.note 
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • In the episode "Guess Who's Coming to Earth", an Antarean comes to visit Donna and Evie, wearing a full-body concealing spacesuit. After dragging the suspense out for a bit, he removes his helmet — and it's not Troy, but his father, Evie's grandfather.
    • Troy finally makes a trip to Earth in the Finale - where a teleport glitch renders him transparent.
  • Useless Superpowers: Evie's almost unbounded "Gleeping" power manages to fail at crucial plot points in pretty much every episode. Evie has powers that basically amount to "Do Anything", but to keep her from solving the problem of the week easily, it will do something other than what she wants it to as if it were a Jerkass Genie and not her own power, and then not let her reverse it until certain requirements (or a certain point in the episode) have been met. This gets worse as the show goes on. At first her only power was freezing time for everyone but her, which was very useful, but not a panacea for reasons that made sense. Her powers became very fond of backfiring once she got to Reality Warper class.
  • The Voice: Evie's alien dad, Troy of Anterias, communicates with her from another planet via a glowing cube in her room (dubbed by Burt Reynolds).
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: On her 16th birthday, Evie is told by her father Troy that she can gain a new power from ten different choices. One of the choices is the ability to change shoes quickly (#6). Troy admits "We don't get a lot of requests for that one..."
    • One of the other listed powers is "A Free Face Lift" (#4).
  • Wild Teen Party: Evie use her powers to clean it up. Then, when her mom is back, the effects stop and the home is messy again in front of the mother.