How Coolness Is and Is Not Achieved

Joshua Ostroff in Eye Weekly has more about last week’s DVD release of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose as well as star Corin Nemec’s attempts to boost his career on the internet (remember “Star-ving?”).

As for Nemec, he’s said something interesting in recent interviews about the style of Parker Lewis: he points out that much of the show’s visual style is an homage to an ’80s flop movie, Three O’Clock High. It’s about a guy who is due to be beaten up by a school bully at three o’clock, and tries various failed schemes to stay after school so he won’t have to show up for the fight. (This plot was already decades old, of course, and has since been used on various TV shows, including South Park.) Directed by Phil Joanou, a former protege of Steven Spielberg — who for some reason took his name off the movie as producer — the film featured head-on camera angles (shooting people directly facing the camera or two people in profile on opposite sides of the frame), lenses that gave a stylized look to the classrooms, and fast camera movements accompanied by “whoosh” sound effects. It wasn’t as cartoony as Parker Lewis, but the show owes more to Joanou’s film visually than it does to Ferris Bueller. So if Parker is the ancestor of Malcolm in the Middle and Scrubs, then those shows have certain roots in an obscure ’80s teen picture.


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