For fans of comic absurdity, there was nothing like Fox’s early slate of sitcoms. Perhaps the channel’s early prime-time high point (or nadir, depending on your sense of humor) was Get A Life, the Chris Elliott vehicle that premiered on September 23, 1990, and ran for two seasons. The show starred Elliott as an emotionally stunted and/or possibly crazy man-child, with little ambition beyond being a paper boy.
Get A Life had its cult following (Dan The Automator’s Handsome Boy Modeling School project is a reference to the season two episode “The Prettiest Week Of My Life”), but its legacy is actually far more mainstream. Elliott’s character helped kickstart the ’90s trend of idiotic-savant films—as seen in Adam Sandler’s bumbling ’90s movie characters and films such as Dumb And Dumber—and its gleeful gross-out humor is endemic in movie comedies today.
Perhaps most charming was its DIY attitude toward special effects and filming conventions. As executive producer David Mirkin told Vulture a few years ago, the show took great pride in its offbeat techniques and approaches. These things were most prominent in the Get A Life scenes where Elliott’s character is punched, slapped, kicked, stabbed, shot at, hit by a car, run over, or pushed off a roof. In many cases, he actually dies from this violence, although in a few notable cases (tonsillitis, drinking explosive juice) he brings on the destruction himself.
All of these instances are surreal or slapstick, and not at all scary. Still, the glee with which the fictional Chris is treated like a punching bag is completely in line with Get A Life’s subversive charms. Here’s a supercut of some of these deaths (as well as a compilation of injuries and violence which appeared in the series finale), to get a sense of just what Elliott’s character was up against.