Dean Parisot

Dean Parisot

Parisot's focus switched to television in the early 90s with recurring directing stints for the off-beat series Fox's "Get a Life" (in 1991) and CBS' "Northern Exposure" (for the 1992-93 season). While these programs were disparate in scope and humor, Parisot's flair for and experience with comedic directing served both well, employing appropriately uneven and quick pacing for Chris Elliot's bizarre and somewhat sophomoric "Get a Life" and taking a more subtle and visually quirky approach with "Northern Exposure," a match for the likable eccentrics populating Cicely, Alaska. As a producer and director of Fox's odd police comedy "Bakersfield P.D." (1993-94), Parisot continued to bring unconventional television to viewers. In 1995, he helmed episodes of ABC's "The Marshal" and NBC's "ER," as well as a Francis Ford Coppola-produced remake of "The Conversation," a failed pilot aired as a TV-movie on NBC. Following the success of his partnership with Wright, Parisot directed comediennes Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney in their award-winning "Kathy and Mo: The Dark Side," on stage and in its subsequent CableACE Award-winning airing on HBO in 1995. Parisot virtually disappeared from television by 1996 (save for a one-episode directing shot on "L.A. Doctors" in 1998) and emerged two years later in feature film. "Home Fries," a 1998 entry starring Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson marked his directorial debut. Part biting black comedy and part fluffy romance, the film met with mixed reviews despite the cast's uniformly strong performances. The twisted plot revolved around the budding relationship between fast food workers Sally and Dorian. Of course, Sally is pregnant with Dorian's stepfather's child, and Dorian has been sent by his vengeful mother to kill Sally, as she was an inadvertent witness to the roundabout murder of her lover/his stepfather at the hands of Dorian and his brother Angus. Deftly helmed by the newcomer, employing the economy he honed in shorts and comedy specials, "Home Fries" was well-crafted and appropriately fast-paced, and no doubt met with criticisms due to the somewhat disorienting duality of the sweet/snide script.Parisot fared better with the following year's special-effects laden holiday family film "Galaxy Quest." The feature followed actors (played by Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Daryl Mitchell, Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell) late of the titular "Star Trek"-like TV series now working little aside from appearances at science fiction conventions. Here they meet up with a persistent group of fans who have traveled very far to seek out their "expert" advice. These Thermians, a race of aliens who received satellite transmissions of the series and believe them to be "historical documents," draft the crew of the fictional space craft to aid them in the battle for their freedom. Parisot was able to draw upon his television experience to add an expertly placed measure of intimacy to this big budget actioner, and really hit the mark with the humorously spot-on recreation of early 80s genre programs in the flashbacks to the fictional "Galaxy Quest" series. Surprisingly heartfelt (even in its treatment of the oft-maligned sci-fi fan population) and packed with good-natured and genuinely funny material, the film was a hit with critics although it failed to reach the top in box office returns.