|Parker Lewis Can't Lose|
|Also known as||Parker Lewis|
|Created by||Clyde Phillips|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||73 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Clyde Phillips|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production companies||Clyde Phillips Productions|
Columbia Pictures Television
|Release||September 2, 1990 –|
June 13, 1993
Parker Lewis Can't Lose (rebranded simply as Parker Lewis for the third and final season) is an American teen sitcom that originally aired on Fox from September 1990 to June 1993. It was produced by Clyde Phillips Productions, in association with Columbia Pictures Television. The series depicts the tribulations of the title character Parker Lewis (played by Corin Nemec), a Santo Domingo High School student, for whom nothing is impossible. It was strongly influenced by the feature film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and outlived that film's subsequent television adaptation.
Parker Lewis Can't Lose features the titular character as frequent narrator of episodes. Alongside Parker, Jerry Steiner and Mikey Randall are main characters whose primary focus is fitting in. The show revolves around the experiences of these characters as they navigate the challenges of adolescence and strive for social acceptance within their high school. Their efforts are often thwarted by Parker's little sister, Shelly, and school principal Grace Musso.
The series focuses on teenage life and has a cartoon-like quality, though it is live action. Many episodes contain references to pop culture, politics and celebrities. The surrealism was toned down in the series' final season, going as far as having Parker acknowledge this by breaking the fourth wall and 'canceling' one of the show's transitions.
|Season||Episodes||First aired||Last aired|
|1||26||September 2, 1990||May 19, 1991|
|2||25||August 11, 1991||May 17, 1992|
|3||22||July 16, 1992||June 13, 1993|
This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (March 2020)
- Parker Lloyd Lewis (played by Corin Nemec) – Parker Lewis is very popular at school. A smart guy with a penchant for garish shirts and cutting classes, Parker usually has a plan up his sleeve, and in turn, it usually involves outsmarting someone else. Plans put into effect begin with the command: "Synchronize Swatches." Parker is famous for his catch phrase "Not a problem," which he often says when faced with trouble. He and his two buds have their high-tech headquarters hidden above the gym. In the final season, Parker finally settles down with one girl, Annie, and appears more mature and less reliant on his "Not a problem" attitude.
- Michael Patrick "Mikey" Randall (played by Billy Jayne) – A rock and roll rebel without a cause and by far the most emotionally driven of the trio, he often quotes or paraphrases famous songs (for example, "To quote Don Henley, this is 'The End of the Innocence'" (episode two), or suggesting to "Paint It, Black" when Jerry betrays the group's trust). Mikey at one point considered dropping out of Santo Domingo HS when a prank by Shelly caused him to unknowingly play a love song, which he had composed for a girl he had feelings for, for the entire school.
- Jerry Steiner (played by Troy Slaten) – A stereotypical nerd. In the first two seasons, he wears a trench coat (said to be made by NASA) from which he produces a wide variety of objects, which are apparently held inside the coat with Velcro. He addresses everyone formally by last name, e.g., "Mr. Lewis", "Mr. Randall", and even "Mr. Kubiac", or collectively as "sirs". At the end of the credits of the pilot episode, Jerry hid in the locker next to Parker's, talking endlessly to Parker through the door, not knowing that he had left, causing him to plaintively call out: "Mr. Lewis? Mr. Randall? Mr. Phillips? (Clyde Phillips, the series' creator and executive producer) Hello?" One notable episode dealt with Parker and Mikey confiscating Jerry's trench coat in help him get to meet a potential girlfriend.
- Grace Musso (played by Melanie Chartoff) – Principal of Santo Domingo High, she is Parker's arch-nemesis; at 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m), she is said to be in her mid-thirties, but is actually older. She wants to get Parker expelled. She often breaks the glass on her office door when she makes her distinctive "thumb swoosh" gesture. She has a racy side which is sometimes exposed; her turn-ons include beards and large hands. She was portrayed as a spinster at first, but seemed to have a skill in men, one time having dated an officer of each of the armed forces. She has many secrets which she would rather be kept quiet, such as living in a $600,000 house on a $38,000 a year salary (episode six), which Parker uses as the necessity arises. However, Parker's blackmail ideas have sometimes backfired on him; one of his actions resulted in Musso's suspension. When a tougher principal is brought in to replace her, Parker cannot handle it going "from bad to worse", and works to get Musso reinstated.
- Shelly Ann Lewis (played by Maia Brewton) – Parker's other nemesis, she is his little sister, who attends the same school as a freshman. She likes to manipulate teachers and parents to her benefit and tries to get Parker into trouble. Shelly also teams up with Musso if she sees a chance to ruin Parker. Most of the time, she is on friendly terms with Jerry and the two seem to end up in a constant relationship at the end of the series. Her favorite saying is: "My brother is a dead man!" whenever she finds an opportunity to bring Parker into an embarrassing situation. She has a tendency to call out "Mom!" when Parker gets one over on her, as seen at the start or end of various programs.
- Martin Lloyd "Marty" Lewis (played by Timothy Stack) – Parker's father, he owns a video rental store called Mondo Video with his wife, and is helped by Parker and Shelly on weekends. He tries hard to keep some of the coolness that he had in his own school days when he was a self-described "young hoodlum". It is shown that he graduated from Santo Domingo High School and had two friends who were similar to Jerry and Mikey. Marty has also played mean pranks on Principal Musso, who had been a classmate of his at Santo Domingo, hence explaining Musso's resentment of Parker. The role of Mr. Lewis was played by Sherman Howard in the pilot episode.
- Judy Lewis (played by Anne Bloom in season one and Mary Ellen Trainor in the pilot episode and seasons two and three) – Parker's mother, she can be loving and gentle, but if her family is threatened, she is ready for battle.
- Francis Lawrence "Larry" Kubiac III (played by Abraham Benrubi) – Known as "Kube", at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) tall and 270 pounds (120 kg) in weight, he is built like a dinosaur with a brain to match, yet with a surprisingly sweet disposition. While walking, Kubiac causes earth tremors. His favorite line is, "Eat now?" In the series' beginning, he was initially introduced as a pure bully, aggressive and hostile towards other characters, but within a few episodes, his character was quickly changed into a more benign and friendly one – a "gentle giant", and he quickly became a helpful character who would often help Parker and his friends in their schemes. Later, it becomes revealed in a moment of confidence with Parker that Larry is more intelligent than he appears, and his dim-witted persona is merely an act.
- Franklin "Frank" Lemmer (played by Taj Johnson) – Principal Musso's ultra-conservative sidekick and "lapdog" with vampiric tendencies, he has been in school 16 years (episode nine), wears black, and seems to have a telepathic connection to the principal and is obsessed with war, strategy, and politics. Musso can summon him with a dog whistle. He is able to teleport at will. Despite him largely being an adversary to Parker, at one time Parker actually agreed to help Frank Lemmer win over a girl named Denise (Andrea Elson), who turns out to be a blood relative of Grace Musso's. He was absent without explanation in the show's final season.
- Annie Faith Sloan (played by Jennifer Guthrie) – She is Parker's love interest from the middle of the second season to the show's end. When Parker's parents were out of town one weekend, he invited Annie to his house with the intent to go all the way, only for Kubiac, Mikey, Jerry and others to show up to his house unannounced all at once and ruining his plans, but ultimately grateful when he learns Annie values abstinence.
- Dr. Norman Pankow (played by Gerrit Graham in seasons one and two) – The principal of rival El Corrado High School with a doctorate in penology, he is Musso's primary adult rival and a devotee of the sculpting of bonsai trees. As tough as Musso is, Pankow is regarded as much worse. One of Parker's stunts had caused Musso's suspension; when Dr. Pankow replaced her, Parker admits he got more than he bargained for and needed to bring about Musso's reinstatement.
- Nick Comstock (played by Paul Johansson) – Manager of the Atlas Diner during the second season, he is very attractive and possesses a supernatural ability to help people with their problems, often dishing out sage advice to Parker.
- Bradley 'Brad' Penny (played by Harold Pruett) – He appeared in the show's final season. He works as a bricklayer, and is athletic and good-looking. Parker sees him as a nemesis, but Brad often only wants to be friends, though misunderstandings come between them. Shelly is intrigued by him.
- Coach Hank Kohler (played by John Pinette). Joining during the show's final season, Hank Kohler served as a father figure for Larry Kubiac and the new owner of the Atlas Diner, which he eventually loses in the show's final episode, "The Last Supper". He is obsessed with Grace Musso, who is completely repulsed by him.
The show premiered in syndication on September 14, 1993, on the USA Network. As of February 2009, minisodes are available on Crackle. In late 2015 the show is airing in syndication on the Family Network on Saturday mornings.
On June 30, 2009, Shout! Factory released the complete first season of Parker Lewis Can't Lose on DVD in Region 1. The 4-DVD set includes special features including exclusive interviews with the cast, crew, and creators. Although the cast and crew discuss both Melanie Chartoff and her character, Grace Musso, Chartoff herself does not appear in any of the supplementary materials. Shout! Factory released Season 2 on January 26, 2010. All 3 seasons have been released on SD Blu-Ray (in DVD quality) in Germany in 2015.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete First Season||26||June 30, 2009|
|The Complete Second Season||25||January 26, 2010|
Awards and nominations
|1991||Young Artist Award||Best New Family Television Comedy Series||Parker Lewis Can't Lose||Nominated|
|Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series||Maia Brewton||Nominated|
|Best Young Actor Supporting or Re-Occurring Role for a TV Series||Troy W. Slaten||Nominated|
|1992||Young Artist Award||Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series||Corin Nemec||Nominated|
|Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series||Maia Brewton||Nominated|
|1993||Young Artist Award||Outstanding Young Comedian in a Television Series||Corin Nemec||Nominated|
|Best Young Actress Co-starring in a Television Series||Maia Brewton||Nominated|
|Best Young Actor Co-starring in a Television Series||Troy W. Slaten||Nominated|
On SWV's 1992 debut album It's About Time, there is a song called "Blak Puddin'" which includes the line "Parker Lewis can't Lose in Santa Domingo."
Childish Gambino refers to the show on his well-known Poundcake Freestyle, performed in October 2013 on Sway in the Morning hosted by Sway Calloway in the Morning with the line "I'm makin moves, couldn't lose, doin Parker Lewis"
The 1992 House of Pain song, "Feel It" includes the line "I can't lose like Parker Lewis, I'm undefeated."
The Royce da 5'9 song "Caterpillar" contains the lyrics "I'm a product of Parker Lewis and Kubiac."
In the Family Guy episode "Family Goy", a cutaway has Peter going through a "Parker Lewis" phase, sporting Parker's haircut and shirt. At dinner time, Peter tells Lois that it reminds him of "the Parker Lewis episode where Parker Lewis eats dinner!", to which Lois tells Peter, "no one cares about your canceled show." Peter then rants to Chris about how Parker Lewis can't lose.
- Voros, Drew (March 19, 1993). "Parker Lewis Parker's Got a Brand New Car". Variety.
- Boone, Brian (November 27, 2018). "Whatever happened to the cast of Parker Lewis Can't Lose?". Looper.com.
- "A chat with Corin Nemec, Corin Nemec interview, Parker Lewis Can't Lose". www.bullz-eye.com.
- "Ready for Prime Time Players, Part II" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 25, 1990. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
- "USA buys 'Facts,' 'Parker,' films. (USA Network; Columbia Pictures Television's shows 'Facts of Life' and 'Parker Lewis')". Multichannel News. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- Lambert, David (February 16, 2009). "Parker Lewis Can't Lose Release Date, etc". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on April 30, 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2009.
- "Parker Lewis Can't Lose DVD news: Announcement for Parker Lewis Can't Lose - the Complete 2nd Season | TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on October 11, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
- ""Parker Lewis - Der Coole von der Schule" Release Information".
- "Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists". www.sen.ca.gov. December 18, 1993. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
- Troy Slaten (actor), Timothy Stack (actor). Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Season 1, Disc 2, Deja Dudes (commentary track) (DVD). Shout! Factory. Event occurs at 7:10.