The writers of ‘Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’ had a thing for ‘Ernest Goes to Camp’

The writers for early ’90s Fox television show Parker Lewis Can’t Lose really liked referencing Ernest Goes to Camp in the show.

Though it only lasted three seasons, the 1987 movie was referenced four times.

Season 2, Episode 24 – “Home Alone With Annie”

Parker (Corin Nemec) tries to take advantage of his parents going out of town for a video convention, but gets his romantic evening interrupted by a phone call from his parents.

“You’re never going to guess who I just met,” Parker’s dad says. “Big big star the one-name kind.”

Parker: “Sting? Cher?”
Parker’s Dad: “Better, Ernest the guy who is always going to prison or camp. Well guess where Ernest is going next?”
Parker: “Prison Camp?”
Parker’s Dad: “Our video store. He’s going to make a personal experience.”

Season 2, Episode 17 – “Civil Wars”

Parker’s mom, Judy (Anne Bloom) decides to go back to school, upsetting the equalibrium of his parents’ relationship and business partnership. After her first day of class, Parker’s dad asks how her day went.

“It was great,” she says. “I’ve never felt more alive or more challenged. Professor Moss led us through Kant’s theory of universal truth then dove into Schopenhauer’s take on existentialism. What a rush, honey.”

“I know how you feel,” he replies. “I spent three hours installing the Ernest Goes to Camp standee.”

Season 2, Episode 9 – “The Parker Chronicles”

Larry Kubiac (Abraham Benrubi) mention the movie while telling a story to a group of underclassmen, who don’t get any of his references.

“It was back in the days before Velcro, before CDs, before Ernest Goes to Camp,” Kubiac tells the students. “Reagan was just beginning his first term…Fleetwood Mac had just broken up.”

Season 1, Episode 21 – “Jerry’s First Date”parkerlewiscantloseernestgoestocamp

Parker tells his principal that he has to help his dad out on Saturday and can’t serve a punishment but it turns out his dad really does need his help.

“It’s Video Amnesty Day the one day a year every social reprobate can return their overdue videos penalty fee,” Parker’s dad Marty (Timothy Stack) tells him.

“Great, just what I need a whole day of rewinding copies of Ernest Goes to Camp when I should be helping Jerry,” Parker says in a voice-over.


Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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