Cover of Get a Life DVD. Chris Elliott riding his paper delivery bike


Title: Get a Life
Released: 1991

Fix: Theater of the Absurd
Platforms: Netflix

Netflix Summary:

Chris Peterson (Chris Elliott) may just be the reason the term slacker was coined. A bathrobe-wearing 30-year-old who still lives with his parents, Chris delivers newspapers as a means of income, which is pretty much as ambitious as he wants to get. This surreal and infinitely wacky 1990s sitcom co-stars Bob Elliott, Elinor Donahue, Sam Robards and Brian Doyle-Murray.

FYA Summary:

A thirty-year-old sub-moronic paperboy has a series of strange, almost frightening adventures. He adopts a lovable, vomiting space alien that he later eats in a fit of anger, he is exposed to toxic gasses which cause him to become a spelling bee champion, and is killed at the end of about a third of the episodes.

Nothing in the show made a lick of sense. In the final episode Chris falls out of airplane, only to land on a comfortable bed that happens to be sitting in the middle of the street. Unfortunately:

Danger: This Matress Made Entirely of Plastic Explosives

Sadly, only eight of about 35 episodes are available on Netflix.

Familiar Faces:

Chris Elliott in Get a Life

Chris Elliott as Chris Peterson

The former David Letterman writer is the only SNL cast member to be the parent of another cast member. His father, Bob Elliott, plays Chris’s father on the show.

Brian Doyle Murray in Get a Life

Brian Doyle-Murray as Gus

In season two, Chris moves out of his parents’ house. His new landlord, Gus, is a bitter ex-cop who was fired for urinating on his captain.

Another SNL alumnus, Brian is the older brother of Bill Murray.

Chris: You’re like the abusive, alcoholic father I never had.

Gus: Thanks, Kid. You’ve always been like a son to me. Of course, if you really were my son, I would have had you institutionalized years ago.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Guys’ Night

My father and I used to laugh our asses off, while my mother and sister would give us…looks. I’m afraid I’m seeing that same look from my wife, and not just when I watch this show.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Stone Cold Sober

I think watching this show drunk might be an upsetting, even a scarring experience. I’d like to say the alcohol would cause you to miss some of the series’s subtleties, but:

Skeleton of Chris Peterson, from Get a Life
Juice that makes you explode
Vomiting alien from Get a Life

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Theater of the Absurd

In the 19th century, you could pay money to visit a lunatic asylum and watch the inmates. You’re not allowed to do that anymore. But this comes close.


Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.