Saturday, February 14, 2015

What Might've Been: Jennifer Slept Here (1983)

As fantasy sitcoms go, this one was a few years too late to find an audience.

In fact, one critic dismissed Jennifer Slept Here as a cheap knockoff of Topper, except that the titular ghost (Ann Jillian) was an actress who was killed when she was run over by, of all things, an ice cream truck. Time passes, and Jennifer's lawyer and his family move into Jennifer's old home in LA.

Jennifer bonds with the lawyer's teenage son (Glenn Scarpelli, ex-One Day at a Time), and there were hints that she was more than just the kid's ghostly guardian. Unfortunately, the series initially aired on Fridays, and was thumped in the ratings by Dukes of Hazzard. Enough said there, but NBC tried it out as a summer replacement on Wednesdays to recoup production costs. While the ratings were better, it wasn't enough to save the show.

After the series, Ann Jillian, who co-wrote the show's theme song, sung by Joey Scarbury (Greatest American Hero), revealed she had breast cancer. That would spark interest in her earlier series, It's a Living, such that it would be revived a couple of years later, though Jillian would only appear during the first year of the revival.

Gilmore Box provides the open to Jennifer Slept Here.

No rating.


magicdog said...

I do remember this show - but it seemed to be one of those "blink and they're gone" efforts.

I remember her best from "It's a Living" (my sister LOVED that show in its original airing) and as one of Michael Keaton's oversexed neighbors in the film, "Mr. Mom".

I also remember her going public about her breast cancer, which was considered quite personal at the time.

I do agree this show was derivative of Topper and similar movies/shows, but what on TV isn't derivative of something.

You mention there were hints that there was more behind Jennifer's character and the boy. I didn't catch many episodes, but I'm assuming the kid was supposed to have been a child she had out of wedlock and gave to the lawyer before her death to raise as his own - correct?

hobbyfan said...

Not sure about the details, but I had read something to the effect that he was crushing on her. Maybe I was wrong, 'cause I don't really know the story.