Get A Life! was a sitcom on the Fox Network that lasted from November 1990 to March 1992 (2 seasons). The star of the show was Chris Elliott, a balding, pot-bellied, wacky man who began his career on Late Night with David Letterman as an intern.
Chris Elliott played Chris Peterson, a paper "boy" living in the fictional town of Greenland with his parents (until the second season). The catch was that he was 30 years old, hence the show's title. The theme song to the show was a cut of "Stand" by R.E.M..
The First Season
Regular Cast (in the order credited)
Note: Bob Elliott was in fact Chris Elliott's real life father
A full episode list will be at the bottom, but the first season, generally, was very funny and goofy, with outrageous, quirky, and sometimes disturbing humor. Obviously fake laugh-tracks guffaw at every joke, which, in of itself, of kind of funny. Highlights of the season included episodes where Chris goes to an amusement park and gets stuck on a roller coaster with Larry, becomes a male model, finally learns to drive (failing partially because he pulled the cop's gun out of his holster), joins the cast of a retarded play (where the cast dressed up as animals, roller skated and berated the audience), was overjoyed when construction workers came to the house (whom he worships), gets in a mail-order submarine with his father in the shower (the floor gives way and they fall to the kitchen below in a downpour of water), and trades lives with Larry because of an ancient Indian curse.
The first season established how pathetic and worthless a human being Chris Peterson is, his only real contribution to society is getting his neighbors their morning papers, which he doesn't always do. Somehow, though, his best friend is relatively-adjusted Larry Potter, husband of bitch-monster Sharon Potter. Sharon is a character worthy of her own show: headstrong, impatient, beautiful, masochistic, and loathes Chris more than any other character in the show. Robin Riker really gives a tour de force performance as Sharon Potter, stealing the show from Chris sometimes.
Another excellent stroke of casting comes with Chris' father, played by Bob Elliott. He's hilarious as the curmudgeonly, quick-witted, sharp-tongued Fred Peterson; the show simply would not have been the same without him. Second banana to him was Gladys Peterson played by the always lovely Elinor Donahue, who played Chris' mother multi-layered: at first she seems flaky and painfully unaware, but she has moments of knowing nastiness wrapped up in a deceptive sugar coating of smiling charm. Gladys is always nice to Chris and Fred is usually mean, but both over the course of the series make it known that they couldn't give a flying shit about their son. That's true, actually, for any and all characters in the show, regular or guest star, with the exception of Larry.
One unusual trait of this outrageous comedy series is that sometimes, at or near the end of an episode, Chris dies. Sometimes he dies inexplicably, sometimes you can see it coming. But just like Wile E. Coyote, he's always back for the next episode. This happens more often as the show progresses.
The Second Season
Regular Cast (in the order credited)
In the first episode of the second season, Chris does what you never thought he would: move out of his parents' house. In the second episode, Larry runs away (this is the only second season episode where Sam Robards appears). Chris finds him again, but only briefly, and by the end of the episode Larry is gone forever. His replacement is retired police officer Gus Borden, whom Chris moved in with the first episode of the season. Brian Doyle-Murray, an SNL alum, is spot on as Gus: grouchy, lively, narcissistic, and even though he took Chris in, like his parents, could really give a shit less about him. That's evident when, upon being taken hostage by his pen pal, a psycho woman (a former inmate in prison), Gus has no qualms about shooting Chris with his rifle instead of trying to hit the woman.
In the second season, the show becomes more and more like a cartoon, with the plots getting more ridiculous (toxic waste turns Chris into an expert speller and Gus into an oragami expert in one installment; Chris travels back into time in another using "time juice" where one ingredient is "a precious lock of Michael J. Fox's hair"), and in virtually every episode Chris dies at the end. The various ways in which Chris bites the dust include: getting his head ripped off, shot, stabbed, blown up (several times), and, of all things, tonsillitis (it kills .001% of all patients, after all). In the unceremonious final episode of the show, which is largely a clip show, he falls out of an airplane. That doesn't kill him, however. Instead he falls on a bed. But unfortunately for Chris, the bed explodes.
Midway through the short season, Chris' parents are phased out. For the final handful of episodes, only Chris, Brian, and Robin appear in the opening credits, even though several episodes before that starts happening the parents don't appear anyway. Episodes begin centering solely on Chris' interaction with Gus, with Robin Riker only getting obligatory screen time in some of them.
The highlight of the season is the second-to-last episode, where, in an E.T. spoof, an alien being crashes to Earth, only to be discovered by Chris who, at first, thinks the sound of the ship crashing is neighborhood kids listening to a Neil Sedaka record (go figure). S.P.E.W.E.Y. ("Special Person Entering the World.....Egg Yolk") is a vile creature, who spews snot everywhere and beats the living crap out of Chris or Gus every chance he gets. Gus beats the alien to death with a rake and the two end up eating his carcass. But S.P.E.W.E.Y. "regenerates from his own leftovers in an accelerated cloning process" and leaves in his spaceship (no transporter; he's carried up tied to a big rope), which dumps a large quantity of the yellow snot that had plagued the cast the entire episode - directly onto Chris and Gus. Fade to black.
Below is an entire list of episodes and air dates I promised earlier, provided by the "Get A Life Program Guide" on www.faqs.org. As you'll notice, running gags are in the episode titles. Some of the episodes, as they're listed, appear a little out of order, but that is according to my fuzzy recollection from actually watching the show over a decade ago.
- 09/23/90 TERROR ON THE HELL LOOP 2000
- 09/30/90 THE PRETTIEST WEEK OF MY LIFE
- 10/07/90 DADICUS
- 10/14/90 A FAMILY AFFAIR
- 10/21/90 PILE OF DEATH
- 11/04/90 PAPERBOY 2000
- 11/11/90 DRIVERS LICENSE
- 11/18/90 THE SITTING
- 12/02/90 BORED STRAIGHT
- 12/16/90 ZOO ANIMALS ON WHEELS
- 01/06/91 ROOTS
- 02/03/91 THE COUNTERFEIT WATCH STORY
- 02/10/91 CHRIS VS. DONALD
- 02/24/91 CHRIS WINS A CELEBRITY
- 03/10/91 HOUSEBOY 2000
- 03/24/91 MARRIED
- 03/31/91 CAMPING 2000
- 04/07/91 THE CONSTRUCTION WORKER SHOW
- 04/21/91 THE BIG CITY
- 04/28/91 NEPTUNE 2000
- 05/12/91 CHRIS AND LARRY SWITCH LIVES
- 05/19/91 PSYCHIC 2000
- 11/09/91 CHRIS MOVES OUT
- 11/16/91 LARRY ON THE LOOSE
- 11/23/91 MEAT LOCKER 2000
- 11/30/91 HEALTH INSPECTOR 2000
- 12/07/91 CHRIS GETS HIS TONSILS OUT
- 12/14/91 PRISONER OF LOVE
- 12/21/91 CHRIS THE ESCORT
- 01/12/92 GIRLFRIEND 2000
- 01/19/92 CHRIS' BRAIN
- 02/02/92 BAD FISH
- 02/09/92 1977 2000
- 03/01/92 SPEWEY AND ME
- 03/08/92 CLIP SHOW