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Pop CultureOctober 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Even TV Couldn’t Save Ferris

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For this throwback, we skip school to look at a failed Ferris Bueller’s Day Off television reboot starring a young Jennifer Aniston and a scary Scott Disick clone. //

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This week in TV has been all about old favourites getting a reboot in this golden/platinum/silicon age of television. The world put the collective coffee on at the news of Twin Peaks coming back in 2016. The pilot for a television remake of the fast-talking, racially-tense Chris Tucker/Jackie Chan extravaganza Rush Hour is hilariously in the works (sans Tucker and Chan). Cameron Crowe took to holding a boombox of Twitter objection over his head at the news of NBC making a series based on his 1989 classic rom-com Say Anything, as did the film’s star John Cusack.

It seems that there are no hard and fast rules around making television reboots, no way to predict their success – and certainly no way to please everyone. In the immortal words of the famous Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler 2011 flick, “just go with it” and let the fans decide.

Talking of Jennifer Aniston, she was a part of a film-to-television reboot that didn’t go down so well. I’m not talking about Horrible Undercover Bosses (2018)*, I’m talking about her role in the 1990-1991 series Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and today’s Thursday Throwback:

This ill-fated series was created by Paramount four years after Matthew Broderick gave everyone the elaborate blueprint to skip school forever. Except he didn’t return as Ferris, this guy did (right). The new Ferris was played by Charlie Schlatter and featured a Scott Disick-esque coiff and jaundice tan that made the infamous opening monologue seem more Bateman than Broderick. The chainsaw didn’t help either.

Jennifer Aniston starred as his sister Jeannie, who was played in the original film by Dirty Dancing‘s Jennifer Grey. Fun fact: the pair would later be reunited during Friends in “The One With The Evil Orthodontist” In the episode, J.Grey plays Mindy who is engaged to Barry, but Barry has an illicit affair with Rachel. Hey, nobody puts J.Grey in the corner!

Needless to say, the critics bloody loved this unnecessary fresh take on an instant classic film:

“Ferris Bueller spews contempt for authority, family and responsibility. In a case of the schlock calling the kettle hack, Ferris earns plenty of contempt for itself.” – USA Today

“But if Ferris were to suddenly disappear from prime time, most viewers might agree with the dreadful Mr. Rooney. ”I’ll miss you, Bueller,” he tells him, like a 20-pound boil” – New York Times

The show was cancelled before all of the 13 episodes had aired. The star of the show Charlie Schlatter was last seen voicing Milton the Mole in the video game version of Over the Hedge.


*Horrible Undercover Bosses is not a real thing, but could well be by 2018.

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