Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Are we ready for a sitcom about Africa?

What is it about white people in Africa that just seems to fascinate Hollywood folk? A confession: I picked this as the lead item at least partly because I've got Africa on the brain; this white dude is going to South Africa for two weeks in June, and I'm rather excited about it.

In the meantime, however, HBO has signed on for what just may be the most offensive show in TV history, in either a good or bad way. Jane Bussmann is a former "South Park" writer who came up with, among other things, the crazy episode in which Cartman turns to a "dog whisperer" to make him a good little boy.

Now, she's signed to develop a half-hour romantic comedy series about a former teacher who gets more than she bargains for when she leaves behind her husband in the U.S. to work for an NGO in Africa. Love, of course, will be in the air, but some quotes from Bussmann in Variety make me think this could be really good or bad, but definitely not boring. The first:

"She has come to hug kids and be a good person, but it's not easy to be a good person when you're surrounded by both extremely hot colleagues and war crimes," Bussmann said. I don't know about you, but I'm laughing already.

What really will make this work, I think, is that it's at least semi-autobiographical. Bussmann is a former journalist who moved to Uganda ostensibly to pursue a freelance career but mostly, she says, to track down an attractive peace activist.

As to how far the show will push the limits? "I'm not making jokes about child soldiers," she said. "I'm making jokes about some of the people who go to help child soldiers." Again, very funny.

I think the other reason I'm rooting for this is that one of my favorite books is "Mating" by Norman Rush. It's essentially a comedy of manners set in Botswana, but it just works for me.

And as to the question that led off this segment, I'l leave that to a sociologist with a much higher pay grade. I'm just here for the entertainment.

The "Citizen Kane" of stoner movies?

I'm gonna cut it a bit short today so I can watch a little "Wire" before I have to go to work, but I just had to pass on something I found yesterday that definitely caught my eye.

And I'm sure at this point that Seth Rogen doesn't need me to pimp for him, but until the world figures out just how funny he is, I'm gonna keep it up. It seems his next script, for something called "The Pineapple Express," will be directed by none other than David Gordon Green. The director of "George Washington" (which I loved) and "Snow Angels" (which I haven't managed to see yet) surely must have something better than do than this silly fare, but I'll be interested to see what he comes up with.

And even better than all that for you "Freaks and Geeks" fans is that Rogen and James Franco, two of the chief freaks, will star in this. The two will play toking pals who get mixed up with a drug gang. Amanda Heard ("North Country") will play Rogen's girlfriend who makes him promise to give up the ganja.

I know I shouldn't get so excited about a silly stoner movie that's just entering preproduction, but I need something to fill the void until "Spider-Man 3." And, as further proof that I won't grow up anytime soon, I bought a ticket for the midnight screening of Spidey's new ride, even though I have to be at work early the next morning, so feel free to check in Friday morning for as lucid as a review as I can manage in the wee hours of the day.


james higham said...

Are we ready for a sitcome about Africa?

Not in the least.

By the way, Keith, a little thing up about you now.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the head's up ... I'll have to check it now

kookiejar said...

You are going to South Africa? How cool is that? Be sure and take some pictures.

Reel Fanatic said...

I, at least, think it's rather cool ... I have to admit that in that way I am extremely spoiled .. My parents like to travel to all corners of the world, and they often, as in this case, take my brother and I along for the ride

kookiejar said...

Lucky dog.