Watching the “Apatow’d” version of 21 Jump Street last week, a thought occurred to me: How come there aren’t any dramatic movie adaptations of popular comedy shows of yesteryear?
21 Jump Street is one of those endless line of films that takes a drama show that’s at least a couple of decades old and turns it into a comedy, replacing the dramatic actors of the original show with bankable comedy stars of the day. Right off the top of my head I think of the movie versions of Starsky & Hutch and Dragnet.
Sure Starsky & Hutch and 21 Jump Street had their share of childish humor, but they were cop shows, which still went under the category of one-hour drama series. Dragnet, on the other hand, was completely serious and straight-faced as a TV show.
The trend doesn’t stop at just cop shows either. The Will Ferrel vehicle Casa de mi Padre, even though it isn’t based on an established show, spoofs Mexican telenovelas, which are very serious and melodramatic.
So why doesn’t the tide turn the other way? How come there aren’t any dramatic films adapted from comedy shows that were popular a couple of decades ago? I know that this concept wouldn’t be as popular or bankable, but at least an attempt would make going to the movies very interesting.
So, here are a couple of pitches for my comedy-show-to-dramatic-film ideas:
MARRIED WITH CHILDREN:
Al Bundy (Michael Shannon) is a washed-up shoe salesman trying desperately to cling on to his glory days as a high school football hero. He hates his job, and his family hates him.
His alcoholic wife Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is an absolute mess who also lives in the past, when she was the popular high school slut. Whatever love or affection that once existed between them is long gone.
His sex-addict son Bud (Joseph-Gordon Levitt) is in jail for lewd acts with a minor and his daughter Kelly (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes the school slut as a desperate attempt to gain his father’s attention.
When Al finds out Kelly dropped out of school and turned to prostitution and pornography, the family’s already thin bond is completely broken and Al tries helplessly to pull the family back together. Directed by Alexander Payne.
Dr. Frasier Crane (Michael Fassbender) is a very reserved, almost anti-social Psychiatrist who hosts a morning radio show. He is also a closeted homosexual.
His love life is non-existent, due to his inability to express his real feelings to anyone. His only social relationship is with his clinically depressed younger brother Niles (Ewan Mcgregor), whose wife Maris cheats on him every chance she gets.
One day, Frasier’s solitary existence is torn to pieces when his racist, homophobic ex-cop father with serious anger issues, Martin (Anthony Hopkins), moves in with him due to high legal fees defending himself after being accused of a homophobic hate crime.
Martin’s hatred towards gay people makes Frasier’s secret that much harder to confess as he is tormented by his true feelings. Directed by Steve McQueen.
Jerry Seinfeld (Russell Crowe) is a successful comedian whose night life and insomnia has him sometimes confused about what’s real and what’s imaginary.
Jerry is startled and a bit afraid by his new next door neighbor Kramer (John Turturro), who is an odd man with psychotic tendencies without any sense of personal space.
After he blacks out one night, Jerry finds his best friends George (John Goodman) and Elaine (Jessica Chastain) brutally murdered in his house. Jerry suspects that Kramer killed them and tries to frame him.
After getting rid of the bodies, Jerry decides to prove Kramer is a serial killer. But is he sure? Is Kramer even real? Directed by Darren Aronofski.