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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Parker Lewis Can't Lose DVD Review by Jessica Friedman

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose The Complete First Season DVD Review

By Jessica Friedman

Ah, the 1990s. It was the decade during which Ian and I began to gain a knowledge for and appreciation of pop culture and, as such, we are ‘90s nostalgia freaks. Forget the ‘80s—for us, grunge music and plaid shirts were much more influential than hair bands and spandex.

As children of the ‘90s, Ian and I are always on the lookout for dvd releases for some of our favorite shows of that era. For me, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose was one of those shows. I remember being a young kid who was enthralled by the logistics of the “synchronized Swatches” and was fascinated by Kubiac (the big lug played by E.R.’s Abraham Benrubi) and Miss Musso (played by Melanie Chartoff). As a late twentysomething some years later (wow…that makes me feel old), I wondered if I would still enjoy this show to the extent that I did when I was nine.

Surprisingly, the episodes really do hold up. I still enjoy the camaraderie between the eponymous Parker Lewis (played by Corin Nemec) and his best friend, Mikey (played by Billy Jayne). The hilariously nebbish Jerry (played by Troy W. Slaten) reminds me now of Paul on The Wonder Years and Marcy from Peanuts (since he calls everyone “Sir” all of the time). Even though Parker Lewis is the ridiculously good-looking and popular cool guy in school (think Zach Morris mixed with Ferris Bueller), my favorite character will always be Larry Kubiac. When he told people he was hungry, they would feed him fish into his mouth! That’s just one of the many surreal elements to this show. A predecessor to later programs such as Scrubs and Andy Richter Controls the Universe, PLCL was full of crazy, off-the-wall , and completely cartoonish moments that make viewing the show that much more enjoyable. The DVD set also comes with some fantastic extras, such as audio commentaries on six episodes and a bonus documentary called “The History of Coolness.”

Another feature of the show that I have come to admire while watching the dvds is the artistic quality of the matching opening and closing segments. I do not believe I have ever seen another show that was so inventive in the way it used common everyday objects (inside of the refrigerator, inside of an attic, etc.) to give a different point of view to the events occurring. One example that I thought was very clever was the opening of the third episode, “Power Play,” during which Parker is yelling at his sister, Shelly (played by Maia Brewton), if she knows where his new jeans are while Shelly is throwing said jeans into the washer with bleach. After a final round of questioning (with the lid of the washer opening up to reveal Shelly’s maniacal face), Parker yells, “Are you sure you haven’t seen my jeans, Shelly? Your Depeche Mode tickets were in the pocket.” Upon hearing this, Shelly obviously freaks out and yells while her brother must be smirking somewhere off-camera, having “won” the game of life once again.

Although PLCL can be corny and dated at times (his dad works at a store that carries electronic items that are essentially obsolete now), a lot of the humor still seems fresh. I highly recommend this dvd set for ‘90s nostalgia freaks or people who just like humorous teen comedy shows.

If that doesn’t entice you, this bit of trivia might—the pilot episode features a young Milla Jovovich as the love interest shared by Parker and Mikey. So, if you ever wanted to see the Resident Evil star wearing crazy outfits from the ‘90s, this DVD set is for you!


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