Have you seen the new Ferris Bueller Domino’s advertising campaign? Joe Keery (who you probably know from Stranger Things) plays Ferris (though the name “Ferris” is never mentioned) as he does a lot of Ferris-type things all in an effort to get to his beloved Domino’s pizza. I’ve come to the conclusion that the underlying theme to the story being told in these commercials is extremely sad. I will explain.
(Before we start, I should note this isn’t the first time Ferris Bueller has been recreated without Matthew Broderick. In 1990, NBC created a short-lived television series simply titled, Ferris Bueller. In the opening scene, Ferris, played by Charlie Schlatter, takes a chainsaw to a cardboard cutout of the Broderick Ferris, then declares himself the real Ferris. Despite the hyperbolic showmanship, viewers did not agree and only 13 episodes aired. The most notable thing about this series is that Jennifer Aniston played Ferris’ sister, Jeannie.)
In one of the Domino’s commercials, they recreate the scene of Ferris leaving Sloane, rushing home to get back in bed before his parents arrive and realize he’s been faking being sick all along. (You see, in the movie, Ferris wanted a day off from school.) While running home, Ferris notices that the person driving the car right next to him is his father, so Ferris darts through some neighbors’ yards instead to avoid being seen. Now, in this commercial, the Domino’s-loving Ferris is running next a car being driven by Alan Ruck, who plays Ferris’ best friend in the movie, Cameron Frye.
The Domino’s-loving Ferris sees Ruck and quickly changes his path to avoid detection. This tells us that Ruck is playing Ferris’ father. Ruck is even wearing Cameron’s Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe sweater. So Cameron Frye is the father of this teen who loves Domino’s. (Joe Keery is 24, but it’s a safe assumption he’s playing a teenager in these commercials.)
We don’t know for sure if the character in the commercial is named Ferris or not, but observing his behavioral patterns (he narrates his own life; he plays the clarinet, poorly), his choice of clothes, and using catchphrases that Ferris Bueller used to say, it would be surprising if his name weren’t Ferris Frye. So what we can conclude from what we’ve seen: Cameron Frye has a son and his son acts exactly like Ferris Bueller, except for his love of Domino’s pizza, which seems to be Ferris Frye’s only unique character trait.
How did this happen? Cameron obviously has a lot of deep-seated feeling towards Ferris Bueller that probably only exacerbated over time. Cameron loves Bueller, but he also hates him. How many times do we think Cameron’s son had to hear about The Great Ferris Bueller (both said sincerely and sarcastically) over the course of his young life? This would damage any son who only wants the love of his father. So to win his own father’s love, Ferris Frye became Ferris Bueller. And I’m sure young Ferris Frye spent plenty of time around Ferris Bueller, so he’d have many opportunities to mimic the style and fashions. (There’s a popular theory that Ferris Bueller doesn’t exist at all. I don’t buy into that theory, but that would make all of this even much darker than it already is: that Cameron Frye would raise his son in the spirit of an imaginary friend. I refuse to believe this.)
But, yet, Ferris Frye hung on to his love of Domino’s. To be fair, maybe Ferris Bueller loved Domino’s as well, we just didn’t hear him talking about it. But this new Ferris has such an extreme appreciation, it’s hard to believe he picked this up from Bueller. If Bueller loved Domino’s this much, we’d know about it – there would have to be at least one reference. (A theory we can kick around later: What if the location where Chez Quis once stood is now a Domino’s?)
Look, maybe Ferris Frye just likes the taste of Domino’s. That’s fair, I guess. But this is a borderline obsession. It’s very possible that it’s the Domino’s pizza that makes him still feel like an individual and not “Ferris Bueller,” fighting for his father’s love by pretending to be his father’s best friend. In Ferris Frye’s world, it’s the Domino’s that makes him feel alive. It’s the Domino’s that makes him feel anything. And all of this is incredibly sad and I hope these characters can all work out their problems.
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