Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Has Green Acres had a lasting cultural impact? Do the wacky antics of Lisa and Oliver Wendell Douglas (plus a pig that could read) still reverberate through our modern society?
The answer: Not really, no.
Sorry, Green Acres fans, but once you get past the theme song and its uncanny ability to remain stuck in your head for weeks at a time, there’s little staying power in CBS’s farm-based sitcom. Its only tie to contemporary society would be the official Green Acres Slot Machine, where if you win the Hot Cake Bonus, a tiny digital Eva Gabor dishes out plates of hot cakes to a tiny digital Green Acres cast, and the gambler must trade plates back and forth to collect the most cakes and the most money. Which sounds really goddamn confusing for a slot machine.
But here’s another question: has Green Acres spent enough time out of the public eye to be prime remake material?
The answer: Yes!
And so Deadline proudly presents Green Acres: The Movie and Green Acres: The Broadway Show. The Broadway thing has been bandied about for a few years – back in 2012, Green Acres visionary Richard L. Bare,who directed the vast majority of the show’s episodes, had plans for a stage musical. His idea? Treat the musical like another Green Acres episode, nothing more. It’s not clear if Bare’s 2012 plans are also his 2014 plans, but it seems like a fair guess. Bare and producer Phillip Goldfine are also the ones in charge of the Green Acres movie and will be shopping around for a writer/director shortly.
Honestly, the most interesting part of this whole project is Bare, who continues to fight for a modern Green Acres despite being the ripe old age of 100 years old. He’s been chasing this dream for years, his last attempt being a new Green Acres series in 2007. But even with a script and a pilot director all set to go, those plans fizzled away into nothing. But Bare doesn’t stop. Retirement be damned, this man will not let Green Acres go un-rebooted.
If you follow your ’60s TV-to-movie reboots (or, alternatively, if you read the list at the end of the Deadline article), you’ll know many a series has followed this same route. Including, but not limited to, Star Trek, The Fugitive, Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Flintstones and My Favorite Martian. Also Batman, but that only kinda-sorta counts, because The Dark Knight isn’t so much an adaptation of Adam West’s spandex leggings as it is an adaptation of Batman from the printed page.
You’ll also recognize that all the movies that try and sell 1960s humor to a non-1960s audience (yes, I’m looking at you, Bewitched) end up being miserably unfunny. Whereas punching a guy in the mouth ages far better than a joke does, which is why Star Trek and The Fugitive could be remade without turning an audience’s stomach.
There’s your answer. The only way to successfully remake Green Acres is to make it a slam-bang action picture. I’ll leave the finer points, like a cast and a story, to people who do those things for a living – my job is simply to point at things, and say, “hey, this is stupid.” But considering that every member of the Green Acres cast is deceased except Tom Lester (who could always appear in a cameo), it behooves the new Green Acres to hire some younger, living actors. And you’d have to keep the show’s kooky sense of humor with some quips amidst the gunplay, because a dark and gritty reboot of Green Acres is a worse idea than a dark and gritty reboot of The Munsters. Well, maybe they’re about even.
This could work, if you handle it with the right degree of seriousness, and the right degree of “this whole idea is stupid so let’s have some fun with it.” And as a backup plan, you could always make Oliver Wendell and Lisa into two rookie cops who go undercover at a local high school to bust a drug ring. I have it on very good authority that that idea’s a winner.
Here’s to hoping that Green Acres: The Movie is a little different than exactly what we’re expecting Green Acres: The Movie to be. Now click below, and spend the next two weeks awash in “Faaaaaaaaaaaaarm living is the life for me!”