Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hypothetical questions

1. If I painted a painting -- let's say it's called "Vase With Flowers" -- and hung it in a gallery, and it got tons of positive reviews and people called it a work of genius -- but then some asshole took the painting down, and totally without my knowledge or permission TRACED IT WITH TRACING PAPER, colored it in with fucking Crayolas (and didn't even really stay within the lines, the slob!), slapped it in a plastic neon-orange frame, and hung it in a gallery RIGHT NEXT DOOR, called it "Vase With Flowers," and charged admission to see it, you'd think the guy was an asshole, right? And I'm not talking Andy Warhol, either, let's say this guy was a fucking moustache-twirling huckster of the snake-oil variety, too, so you don't get THAT kind of hypothetical out.

2. If I wrote a book -- let's say it's called "Man Falls On Ass" -- and it got released to huge public acclaim and people loved my book and raved about my book and formed fanclubs about my book, but then some other asshole, totally without my knowledge or permission, retyped the book but made LITTLE TINY INSIGNIFICANT CHANGES like changing the name of the characters, and then REPUBLISHED the book under the title "Bob's Man Falls On Ass" or something and charged a buck more for it, you'd think the guy was not only an asshole but a complete moron, right? Furthermore, wouldn't people be crying plagarism and taking the guy out back and kicking the shit out of him with "Balls to the Wall" playing top volume?

And yet, this is the untenable situation Diablo's friend Edgar Wright finds himself in. See, Edgar (along with his pal Simon Pegg and the awesome Jessica Hynes nee Stevenson -- see her in the Doctor Who episode "Human Nature" if you wanna know how completely fucking awesome she is) created this brilliant comedy called "Spaced" over in the UK. It had -- and still has! -- a massive following, and for good reason: not only is it hysterically funny, its also masterfully directed, much like Edgar's films Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. Making it even more awesome is the brilliant ensemble cast, which also includes Pegg's Fuzz and Shaun foil Nick Frost.

So what happens? Fox buys the rights to the show and decides to make an American version of the thing, thinking they can catch some hot Office bucks. They assign McG, a guy who is responsible for a great deal of cinematic and televised evil (he directed the two Charlie's Angels movies and fucking exec produces The O.C. for which he should be given a good old-fashioned blanket party), to produce the thing. And they hired a second-string TV writer (Adam Barr -- I'm sure he's just fine, he wrote some episodes of Desperate Housewives or whatever, but he's not the level of hysterical genius you NEED for this kind of thing) to write the pilot -- which he does by essentially re-typing the original pilot script with different names. Brilliant.

MAIN PROBLEM: Apart from the fact that we're talking about a McG production, which is its own brand of pure, unimaginable evil, at each and every stage of the game they FAILED TO INFORM OR CONSULT WITH THE ORIGINAL SHOW'S CREATORS. Who are absolutely, rightfully pissed.

See, the reason the US version of The Office worked as well as it did is manifold -- they got top of the line writers and directors (including Paul Feig, Harold Ramis, Joss Whedon, etc), top of the line cast (do I need to list them? You know and love them) and most importantly THEY INVOLVED THE SHOW'S ORIGINAL CREATORS AT EVERY STAGE OF THE GAME.

Fox's decision to NOT involve Edgar, Simon and Jessica means their decision to make this thing comes from the crassest place imaginable -- some cigar-chomping, money-grubbing exec sitting at a boardroom table, going: "Hey, what's hot these days? What's bringing in the ad bucks? The Office? Isn't that a fucking fag British show? Okay, fine, get on the horn and buy me one of those fucking things. What? I don't give two shits from shinola who made it, we're doing this our way. This is the good ol' US of fucking A, I'm not gonna let a bunch of limey ponces tell me what to do. Get me McG on the phone. He's getting a blow-job from a thai hooker? Interrupt him, god dammit, I don't have all afternoon!"

I'm not exactly sure that petitions actually do anything, but signing them sure makes ME feel good. How's about you all go right now and sign the petition and register your distaste at this foul, disgusting situation, and show Edgar, Simon and Jessica some support?

And furthermore, surely you all have multi-region DVD players? (I don't -- but surely you all do, being discerning, intelligent folk, right?) Buy the DVD set of the original series so you're not even slightly tempted to watch the remake.

12 comments:

kelly said...

just signed it. i've been following this on edgar's myspace. poor guys. its so horrible. how did Fox buy it, without buying it directly from edgar and co.? or having their total say as to what happens with it? i dont understand. seems..um..illegal. the last petition i signed was getting the monkees into the rock and roll hall of fame. sadly, i dont think it worked. still, i'm hopelessly optimistic. and your right, signing petitions DOES feel good.

LAP said...

I sort of can't believe that anyone could even imagine that they could do a rubbing of Edgar's type of humor and have it play. Like paying for the rights is enough to make the requisite magic.

Max Sparber said...

Well, there goes my idea of a unauthorized shot for shot remake of Shawn of the Dead starring two squirrels, a hand towel, and a potato knish.

Jon Hunt said...

Max: I would so totally fund that.

Max Sparber said...

I had already cast the potato knish, but I eated it.

mimi said...

lesson learned - READ. THAT. CONTRACT.

It scares the crap out of me the shit I signed two years ago and how that could have screwed up my life if I didn't have a good agent. Oh, first serial? What's that? Go ahead, have it one me! Ugh. This industry SUCKS ASS. Just sent you an email. Small world, getting smaller.

Becky said...

Was always a big fan of Spaced,watched all the series when they aired at home. Hmmm, I can't imagine it translating to an American version. Simon and Jessica's characters are *so* English!

Coco said...

I adore the movies Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead . . .
I had not heard of Spaced yet, though. I am going to have to check it out!

Television execs are fucking morons. And the thing is, you have to know that humor in the UK does not translate 100% over here . ..that's why the Office was so brilliantly done, same concept, similar plot lines, but "Americaned" up if you will (basically, on the whole, we're not as subtle). Ask any comedian who's travelled overseas, you gotta play to your audience. And I'm SURE that involving the original team would have brought that point to the forefront. Infuriating! Besides, why would you go out and get all NEW talent, when you have a pool of highly skilled creators right there for the picking??

Ashley! said...

Fox also elected George Bush and canceled Arrested Development. Proof that satan is very much alive and running Fox.


Edgar is a master, and he deserves to be treated as such. Damn scoundrels at Fox!

Superbadfriend said...

:-(

I am going to sign as well.

Totally mind-blowing what some corporations and certain people can get away with. Just on principal and knowing the creator is upset, they should give it back.

I know it doesn't work that wat, but it should.

Coco said...

Totally unrelated, but who has read this blog?
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/

It's hilarious. AND it mentions Juno as one of the many things white people like, can that be bad?

belsum said...

A friend is going to loan me her set. I've been desperate to see it so I'm very excited. Now I just have to hack our DVD player...