Like Fast Times before it, this sitcom was based upon a successful teen-oriented film. In this case, it was a television adaptation of the 1986 hit Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, now simply titled Ferris Bueller. Though it kept the movie’s characters and sense of liberated coolness intact, Ferris Bueller had an all-new cast and shifted the action from Illinois to California.
At Ocean Park High in Santa Monica, Ferris Bueller was one of the most popular students. Cameron was his slightly-neurotic best friend, and Sloan Peterson was his dreamy girlfriend. Ferris preferred to spend as little time in school as possible and was always hatching schemes either to get out of class or to avoid doing work. Unfortunately, the school’s principal, Ed Rooney, was onto him and was always looking for a chance to bust Ferris. Another problem was Ferris’s sister, Jeannie, who was jealous of Ferris’s ability to get away with murder and wanted to see him get taken down a peg.
No matter who the enemy was, Ferris managed to stay a step ahead as he pulled off his anti-work schemes with an array of nifty gadgets. He had a portable computer to hack the school’s computer system, a cellular phone to imitate the voices of authority figures, and a remote control to foul up various school machines (often during assemblies). He also had to deal with less-technical crises from time to time, such as when Sloan went on a date with a football player to make him jealous, or the time Cameron landed a girlfriend, only to have her become attracted to Ferris.
The show aired only 13 episodes before being cancelled in December of 1990, but it periodically pops up in reruns. It is still affectionately remembered by people who wish they could live out their anti-school-and-establishment fantasies the way Ferris did. The show is also notable for giving the role of Jeannie to Jennifer Aniston, who would later find fame as a cast member on another NBC sitcom, Friends.
USA / NBC – Paramount / 13×25 minute episode / Broadcast 23 August – 16 December 1990
Charlie Schlatter as Ferris Bueller
Jennifer Aniston as Jeanie Bueller
Sam Freed as Bill Bueller
Cristine Rose as Barbara Bueller
Brandon Douglas as Cameron Frye
Richard Riehle as Ed Rooney
Judith Kahan as Grace
Ami Dolenz as Sloan Peterson
Jeff Maynard as Arthur Petrelli