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Paramount's Ferris Bueller Spin-Off May Be Good - But Jennifer Aniston's Was Not

It's hard to follow up a legacy franchise with a really good sequel; for every "The Conners" or "Dexter," There is a "Dirty Dancing" TV series or an "After M*A*S*H*." But it appears that the latest attempt to create a new spin on "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" seems to be shaping up into something unique. 

Paramount's "Sam and Victor's Day Off" approaches the original film entirely differently — by taking two minor supporting players and putting them at the movie's center. The previously unnamed titular characters are the two valets who take possession of Cameron Frye's (Alan Ruck) father's 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder after the car is left in their care and joyride its odometer to the max. The cast is unknown as of press time — and, in light of the passage of time and the death of Larry "Flash" Jenkins, who played one of the valets, recasting will be a necessity. However, the film picked up a director in the form of David Katzenberg in February 2024.

Regardless of whether or not Sam and Victor's adventures prove to be as memorable as Cameron, Ferris (Matthew Broderick), and Sloane's (Mia Sara) were, it isn't the first spin-off or adaptation of its kind. In 1990, NBC tried to serialize "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" into a TV show. While it introduced the world to Jennifer Aniston — who picked up the mantle of Ferris' kid sister, Jeannie, from Jennifer Grey — it could not stand up to its predecessor's legacy or the test of time and was quickly canceled. But that doesn't mean it remains infamous to this day.

A memorably annoying theme song and a future superstar couldn't save Ferris

There's one very memorable thing about "Ferris Bueller" — its utterly bizarre earworm of a theme song, which feels like a dance club practice run for the "Seinfeld" opening titles. Still, it's hard not to at least give the TV adaptation credit for chutzpah. Opening with Charlie Schlatter declaring himself the true Ferris and the film a poor fictionalization of his life, this new take on the character puts a chainsaw through a cutout of the movie version before blasting into the first episode.

The remaining 12 outings of "Ferris Bueller" don't move its characters in any new directions — most of the show's plots are retrograde sitcom ideas, or repetitive notions scraped up from the film itself. Sloane (Ami Dolenz) and Ferris have an on-again/off-again romance, and Cameron (Brandon Douglas) feels small in his best friend's shadow. Only one episode –  "Baby You Can't Drive My Car" — dares to do something unique and has Ferris confront a ghost who doesn't want him to claim his car.

Unfortunately, the show was creamed in the ratings and by critics when compared to yet another take on the Bueller ethos — "Parker Lewis Can't Lose," a Fox sitcom clearly inspired by Ferris' devil-may-care attitude but which lasted two seasons longer. As for Jennifer Aniston, who only managed to get one spotlight episode for Jeannie before the series was canceled, she would bounce from the B-horror classic "Leprechaun" to the Fox sketch comedy show "The Edge" to the one-season wonder "Muddling Through" before becoming one of America's favorite "Friends," finally breaking her Jeannie-esque string of bad luck.