DVD review: ‘Get a Life: The Complete Series’
Back in its early days, when the newly formed Fox TV network was seeking an identity and was willing to take risks, it backed some truly eccentric and innovative sitcoms that shook up the staid old genre – true water-cooler programs such as “Married … With Children,” “It’s Gary Shandling’s Show” and “Get a Life.”
The latter, which showcased the droll and subversive humor of doughy comic Chris Elliott, a break-out star of “Late Night With David Letterman” and son of comedy legend Bob Elliott (of Bob and Ray), is finally available in its full, perverse glory – “The Complete Series,” a long-awaited, six-disc set complete with 35 episodes from its two seasons (1990-92), plus a rich load of bonus extras.
“Get a Life” reveled in playing fast and loose with traditional sitcom conventions (for instance, it killed off its lead character in macabre twists at the end of each episode) and boldly showcased Elliott’s schlumpy manchild whose bizarro flights of fancy and crackbrained schemes were often as maddening as they were hilarious.
Primarily written and produced by David Mirkin (“Newhart,” “The Simpsons”), the show featured Elliott as Chris Peterson, a 30-year-old paperboy still living at home with his pajama-clad parents (the star’s real dad Bob Elliott and Elinor Donahue of “Father Knows Best”) and gleefully intruding on the lives of neighborly pal Larry (Sam Robards) and his shrewish, sharp-tongued wife Sharon (Robin Riker).
Each episode hinged on one of Chris’ progressively freaky schemes – such as Chris doing battle with the robotic paper delivery droid, Paperboy 2000; or Chris conning his dad into participating in the father-son games at the annual newspaper boy picnic; or Chris getting stuck upside-down with Larry on the dizzying Hell Loop 2000 roller coaster.
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