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How to spend too much time on a joke

…and how to overexplain a joke

On one of the many top secret websites I visit, someone started a thread with this question:

What’s a bizarre sequel to a movie or new season of a previously-canceled show you would like to see where the plot, characters and even tone take a sudden, drastic left turn?

Someone suggested Breaking Badly, a Breaking Bad prequel sitcom with Walter White as a science teacher. But I thought it should go farther. I spent far too long (hours, if you count the time fixing Photoshop crashing) making this:

Walter White Can't Lose!

…and I wrote:

BONUS: I have seen roughly one and one half episodes of the show, so my pitch is based almost exclusively on memes.

PITCH: it’s the 80s. Walter is a student at the school where he teaches in Breaking Bad. He’s a go getter with two jobs: car washer and pizza delivery.

Every adult from the original show is in school with him, even if the ages don’t line up.

His mentor and favorite teacher is a nutty science teacher who tells him “With a little work you could be as famous as Heisenberg!”

His parents are happily married, but dad is always traveling for work. At the end of each episode he shows up in his tricked-out RV (“I can take my business anywhere”) to deliver the moral of the story.

You might think “Why did it take so long to make that graphic? Even if Photoshop died, couldn’t you have made something similar in Paint or something?”

Well, here’s the thing: that’s not just a random jumble of early nineties shapes and colors. It’s a pretty darn accurate re-creation of the title card from the sitcom “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.”

I forgot to put the bevel/emboss effect on the square and triangle. I bet that was bugging you.

There’s an excellent chance you’ve never seen Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. It only ran for three seasons from 1990-1993, and it isn’t on any streaming services in the US. Corin Nemec played Parker, who was like Ferris Bueller if Ferris lived just a bit farther outside the bounds of reality.

Parker Lewis Can't Lose (TV Series 1990–1993) - Photo Gallery - IMDb
Back row: The muscle, the nerd. Front row: The stud, the girlfriend, the inexplicably popular star, the evil principal, the mean sister.

Why did I try so hard to match the original logo? Who would know or care? Why didn’t I pick a show people would actually remember?

Those are all good questions.

Also: a Ferris Bueller TV series started at roughly the same time, and it was not popular. Also, it was not good. But it did have Jennifer Aniston.

Nothing says “high school cool kid” like a guy in his twenties chainsawing a cutout of another guy in his twenties.

The Ferris Bueller TV show was so unbeloved that Parker Lewis would make fun of it on his show. Now they’re both long gone, Corin Nemec (who played Parker) does Lifetime movies, and Charlie Schlatter mostly does voiceover work.

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