Pop Attention Span

Trying to keep up with the zeitgeist

How do you update a Britcom from 1978?

Well, here are two shows in development that I wasn’t expecting. For one, the BBC has announced they’re looking at developing an Butterflies for American audiences, a Britcom that ran from 1978 to 1983 and has been a PBS mainstay.

Butterflies — which followed a housewife’s midlife crisis as her sons became slackers in adulthood and debated an affair with an ex-boyfriend — certainly captured the zeitgeist of the time but can it be relevant 30 years later? The series largely dealt with the idea that the concept of marriage had changed and that women were no longer marrying for the same reason that Ria, Butterflies‘ heroine, did. Ria’s husband Ben was a good provider but distant emotionally and the arrival of her ex-boyfriend, Leonard, made her realize her marriage lacked romance.

How do you update such a theme in an era of shows like Weeds, Gilmore Girls or 30 Rock with heroines whose problems make Ria look like a quaint relic? You could say that at the core of Butterflies is the story of a woman contemplating adultery and that’s a story that hasn’t been told sensitively (instead of being played for sensationalism) in a while, but updating Butterflies sounds as daunting as taking Absolutely Fabulous out of the 90s and into the 21st century.

At the least, I’m looking forward to hearing the show’s theme song “Love is Like a Butterfly” (performed by Dolly Parton below) updated.

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October 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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