CHICAGO, January 28, 2001 — The web has been abuzz lately about the return of 80’s teen icon Ferris Bueller. Those of us of a certain age well remember the pure, unadulterated joy of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. What wouldn’t we give to be cruising around town in that little red Ferrari with the top down and our two best buds along for the ride?
A lot has changed in the 26 years since Ferris took his day off from responsibility to add a bit of a gust to the Windy City. Imagine the fun he could have had if Principal Rooney had had a Blackberry!
The most predictable changes, however, have occurred to Ferris’ fans. We’re all 26 years older, too. We’ve gotten jobs and raised families. We’ve all waited in anguish until the kids were old enough that it would be parentally appropriate to introduce them to Ferris.
There’s more salt than pepper in our hair (at least under the chemical enhancement) and less spring in our step. Whether we like it or not, we totally identify with the gray-headed, middle-aged man in the clip who walks across the room and pulls back the curtains. (See video below.)
Then the camera angle changes, and we see that it’s Ferris. Our shock is mixed with just a twist of melancholy. Ferris was never supposed to grow up. The beauty of Ferris was that he would always be Ferris.
The speed of light is nothing compared to the speed of thoughts and emotions, and in a split second we see the smirk and know that all is well even before he says the words: “How can I handle work on a day like today?” Bow bow. Chicka, chick Aahh.
Yes, he’s grown up. But he’s still Ferris.
So what’s become of him in the past 26 years? Unfortunately, we may never know. Ferris is back but not in a sequel. He’s in a Super Bowl commercial. Selling cars. And he’s selling Hondas, not Ferraris. Apparently, life has been about as good to Ferris as it has to the rest of us, or at least 99% of the rest of us.
OK, technically, he’s not actually sitting in a dealership selling cars. The character and the movie are the theme of Honda’s Super Bowl XLVI commercial, which was directed by Todd Phillips, who also directed the story of Ferris’ young-adulthood, The Hangover. But truthfully, Ferris could be selling cars.
Thinking back on all the glorious characteristics that made Ferris Ferris, car salesman seems to be a fitting career option. People instantly fall victim to his charm and willingly buy whatever line he chooses to sell them. He is a risk taker, though. There’s not too much risk in selling cars. And remember that contraption he set up to convince his mother he was sick? Very inventive. The story he told to get into the fancy restaurant? Creative. And the coup de gras, convincing Cameron to take out that fabulous Ferrari? Where Bueller leads, people will follow.
So we have Ferris: an inventive, creative risk-taker and an infinitely charming leader. Forget selling cars. Ferris has to run for office. A few weeks ago, this column advocated a Newt Gingrich/Hugh Hefner Republican presidential ticket. Forget that. We want Ferris! He can have whomever he wants as his running mate. He will convince us his choice is perfect. And he already has THE MOST important qualification for any candidate, ever!
He’s totally artificial.
Oh, and that fabulous jump scene where the Ferrari soars through the air? Apparently it’s now a Honda CR-V. Really, Honda, wasn’t it bad enough that you made Ferris grow up?
I’m buying a Chevy.
To contact Julia Goralka, see above. She’ll get back to you after she finds out whether her minivan can go as fast as a Ferrari. It’s come close a time or two….
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