Fast Times (1986) Was a Real Show on TV and I Can Prove It

Fast Times 1986

Not only are there some big names in the cast, but Amy Heckerling produced and directed the seven-episode series, essentially an open-ended remake that didn’t get picked up. I just watched the pilot on YouTube and was entertained, mostly by the San Fernando Valley locations, the fashions, and the dialogue (then 19-year-old Moon Zappa consulted on high school mores and slang).

Claudia Wells (Marty’s girlfriend in Back to the Future) played Linda, the role played by goddess Phoebe Cates in the original movie; Courtney Thorne-Smith played Stacey (Jennifer Jason Leigh in the original); Dean Cameron (Summer School) played Spicoli (!); Patrick Dempsey played Mike (Robert Romanus in the original); Vincent Schiavelli and Ray Walston reprised their roles as Mr. Vargas and Mr. Hand, respectively; and Wallace Langham, who I’ll always remember as Larry’s writer on The Larry Sanders Show, played Ratner.

As critics at the time noted, the necessarily sanitized version of the film left young audiences feeling robbed, especially in the wake of the TV-safe but right-on Square Pegs (1982-1983). There’s nothing interesting in the pilot script, except for a neat segment where Spicoli gives a presentation about what makes his 13-year-old brother a “skate rat,” pointing out the bleached bangs (I had them in ’86), untied high tops (ditto), long skate shirt, etc. Little brother is played by Jason Hervey (Wayne in The Wonder Years), who steals the scene and even does a Boneless off the desk.

The catchy opening theme was written by Danny Elfman and played by Oingo Boingo. Elfman grew up where I did, California’s San Gabriel Valley, and Boingo was constantly playing local shows in the ’80s, even after they hit it big with Dead Man’s Party (1985).

(TV Guide image via Nostalgic Collections/eBay)

1 Response to “<em>Fast Times</em> (1986) Was a Real Show on TV and I Can Prove It”

  1. 1 Don Gates January 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    “…goddess Phoebe Cates…” Heh. Oh yes.

    Sorry, what was this post about again?

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