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Boys Will Be Boys
In its original format, the show starred Kiel Martin as Charles Russell, a deceased man, and Matthew Perry as his younger self, who is nicknamed Chazz. On July 29, 2011, Charles dies in a hovercraft accident, and his soul is promptly sent to the high spiritual palace of Saint Peter (Joseph Maher). It is there that Saint Peter determines that Charles is too good for hell but not good enough to get into heaven; therefore, Charles is sent back to Earth in the year 1987, to re-join his life during the teenage years in order to help himself, through the younger Chazz, make more moral choices.
Charles showed up at his childhood home with a different last name, Time, which he assumed from the magazine of the same name; it was also symbolic of his travel back through time and the extra amount of it he was awarded by Saint Peter. He came to rent out an apartment over the Russell garage when his feisty, sensible mother Helen (Randee Heller) needed a boarder to help make ends meet. Charles was a convenience store proprietor by day in between his efforts to reconnect with Chazz, who from the start had no idea that the new tenant hanging around and becoming buddy-like was in fact his older self. The two did form an instant friendship, and Chazz, who was in dire need of a resident father figure, often found himself turning to Charles (either directly or not) when life's dilemmas got too out of hand. Chazz's two best friends were tough, supercool Francis "Booch" Lottabucci (William Gallo) and awkward, geeky Eugene Blooberman (Demian Slade), the latter of which was tolerated by Chazz but always regularly put down by Booch. As the boys cooked up schemes, encountered teenage romance and got into trouble, Charles was there to be the voice of reason, even if Booch and Eugene never always understood why he was involved. In turn, Saint Peter, grading Charles' progress in his effort to grow into a new man the second time around, watched over him like a hawk. He, however, could only be seen or heard by Charles.
The early episodes focused on the Russell's efforts to keep the family home, in wake of Helen's ex-husband (played in guest appearances by Richard Kline) becoming six months behind on his alimony. In the pilot episode, Booch talks Chazz into disguising themselves as older men to purchase lottery tickets, with the idea of eventually stealing from the convenience store if they didn't win the jackpot. It just happened to be the older Charles' convenience store they came to; Charles watched himself (Chazz) and Booch attempt to get away with their plan. He then stepped in and began gently manipulating them with sage advice in order to get the boys (namely himself) to do the right thing. Despite nearly everyone in the picture not catching on to the fact that Charles Time was really the older Chazz Russell, it was Helen who always exclaimed the similarities that both Charles and Chazz had in their behaviors (i.e. synchronizing their movements of picking up utensils and drinking milk at the kitchen table, at the same time) and even in their looks.
By the end of November sweeps, ratings were unsatisfactory even by the standards of the young Fox network, which had yet to rival the established broadcast networks in audience size. Second Chance left the air briefly, as Duclon, Menteer, and company set out to retool the show.
After a little over a month off the air, the series returned in January 1988 under a new title, Boys Will Be Boys. In this revamp, the supernatural element was dropped, causing Kiel Martin and Joseph Maher to exit the cast. As the new title implied, the format now revolved solely around the antics of Chazz, Booch and Eugene. Helen was by now in a much better financial situation, and was able to keep the family home. This was also evidenced by a three-part excursion the cast took to Las Vegas as the retooled series began. Booch, whose alcoholic father had just died, had moved in with the Russells—but not into the main house itself. With the apartment over the garage now tenantless, Chazz and Booch decided to move in there together, getting a taste of independence and the roommate experience already in high school. Eugene, of course, always dropped by to share in their escapades and to annoy Booch.
|Kiel Martin||Charles Russell1||1|
|Matthew L. Perry||Chazz Russell||1|
|William Gallo||Francis Lottabucci||1|
|Demian Slade||Eugene Blooberman||1|
|Randee Heller||Helen Russell||1|
|Joseph Maher||Saint Peter1||1|
1 first nine episodes only
|Season One||September 26, 1987||May 7, 1988||21|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series