Get a Life - The Complete Series is coming!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2012 03:40pm | Post a Comment

Get a Life
is finally coming to DVD (and Blu-Ray?). For those that don't know, Get a Life was a sitcom that aired on FOX between 23 September, 1990 and 8 March, 1992. It also may very well be the best thing that ever aired. 

The show starred the comedic visionary Chris Elliott as a 30-year-old man-child paperboy named Chris Peterson who initially lived about his parents' garage. His father was unmistakably played by his real-life father, Bob Elliot of radio's Matinee with Bob and Ray and TV's The Bob & Ray Show. Peterson later moved in with a cranky misanthrope named Gus (played by Brian Doyle Murray) after his parents filled his bedroom with cement to prevent his living there further. 

The show was created by Elliott, fellow Late Night with David Letterman writer, Adam Resnick; and writer/director David Mirkin. Its writers included, among others, Charlie Kaufman and Bob Odenkirk. After the phenomenon of Twin Peaks had occurred, networks seemed to be willing to allow for a greater degree of quirkiness in shows (e.g. Northern Exposure, Eerie, Indiana, Picket Fences, David Lynch's On the Air, &c) but Get a Life was (with the possible exception of On the Air) the most bizarre of the bunch. For a protagonist, Peterson was extremely irritating, stupid  and there was very little continuity from episode to episode -- Peterson died in twelve of them.

Most of the suits at FOX hated it -- describing the show as "disturbing" and Chris Elliot's character as "insane." The first time I saw it was when it premiered -- with the episode "Terror on the Hell Loop 2000." I hated it. The second time I saw it was a re-run of the same episode but something about it made me want to watch it again. I loved it. It quickly became the ONLY show I got excited about airing and, working at the time at Blimpie (and later, Hardee's), I always tried to make sure I had the night off. It was cancelled in 1992 (even as Parker Lewis Can't Lose and Herman's Head survived the axe). I used to look at the Nielsen listings and it was almost always near or on the bottom.

Despite it's unpopularity, I long suspected there was a dedicated cult following for the show and that seemed to be verified in 1999, when Dan "Dan the Automator" Nakamura (Gorillaz, Dr. Octagon, Deltron 3030) and Prince Paul (Stetsasonic, De La Soul, Gravediggaz) teamed up as Handsome Boy Modeling School, a reference to the series' second episode, "The Prettiest Week of My Life." Their debut album, So... How's Your Girl?, was filled with samples and references to Get a Life.

A year later, in 2000, Rhino Home Video stingily released a DVDs with a mere four episodes on it. I bought it. One of the nice special features, however, was the option of watching the show without a laugh track -- which added a whole, new dimension. In 2002 they released another DVD with just four episodes. I didn't buy it. Since there were only 35 half hour episodes, I figured that someday a proper "complete series" release would happen. In the mean time I watched Cabin Boy, Get a Life on Youtube and read and re-read his tell-all autobiography, Daddy's Boy -- A Son's Shocking Account of Life with a Famous Father. I pretty much watched anything Elliott appeared in (thankfully, most of it was good). In 2007, I went to a taping of his series, Chrissy Plain & Simple, which didn't get picked up.

Get a Life - Complete Series - Shout Factory

Ten years of waiting are about to pay off. On 18 September, 2012, Shout Factory is releasing the entire thing in a 5-disc set. Break out your copy of Bent Fabric's Alley Cat and scream like you did when they cancelled Manimal!
Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

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Bob Elliott (1), Fox (2), Dvds (57), Shout Factory (2), The 1990s (2), Rhino Home Video (2), Brian Doyle Murray (1), Adam Resnick (1), David Mirkin (1), Chris Elliott (4), Get A Life (4), Charlie Kaufman (1), Bob Odenkirk (4)