Saturday, February 25, 2006


In Toobworld, there is quite an international echo when it comes to certain TV shows. One could go to England and meet junk dealers Albert Steptoe and his son Harold; and then travel to Los Angeles where it would be like looking in a "mirror darkly", so to speak, [ahem!], when you encounter Fred Sanford and his son Lamont working the same trade.

Hop a flight back to the Netherlands to meet up with the proprietors of 'Stiefbeen & Zoon' and it's deja vu all over again.

Their situations, their lives all parallel each other.

The best example of this would be the adaptation of the British sitcom 'Till Death Us Do Part' to become the Americanized 'All In The Family'. That proved to be a cultural juggernaut, but many such adaptations fail to translate satisfactorily. Only twelve episodes were ever made of 'Fawlty Towers', but it set a gold standard that 'Amanda's' and 'Payne' couldn't even reach, let alone match.

A few years ago there was a news story about certain American TV shows being remade down in South America; taking the original scripts and tailoring them to fit the new locale, but basically remaining the same. The shows cited were classic prime-time soaps like 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty', I believe; shows that would fit the populace's love for tele-novelas.

Last summer, it was announced that there would be a French version of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' produced, and now they're working on the Gallic edition of 'The Office', to be called 'Le Bureau'.

And of course there are all the variations on those stupid "reality" shows like 'Survivor', 'Big Brother', 'Who Wants To Be A Millioinaire', and 'Idol' (Pop, American, or something else).

Bleep! We've even seen the far-flung future of 'Big Brother' in an episode of 'Doctor Who'!

But now a current cultural phenom here in the USA is going to be reborn with several incarnations in South America, three in Spanish and one in Portugese.....

'Desperate Housewives'.

Each version will have its own cast and cultural references, but they will all be filmed on the same set in Buenos Aires. For Toobworld purposes architecturally, I guess this would be an example of the influence from one particular urban planner; an international Moses or Levitt.

The Spanish versions will be produced for Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador, while the Portugese adaptation is obviously meant for Brazil.

The story format will remain the same, (although more closely resembling telenovelas), so I guess there will be four more suicides to kick off the storylines. But there will be some alterations to reflect the cultural differences of each country.

Fernando Barbosa, senior vice president of its Latin America division, said:

"In the US version there's a plumber (actor James Denton) in that neighbourhood. In Latin America, a plumber is very unlikely to live in such type of neighbourhood, so we'll have to switch that profession."

Here's another change: The Hispanic couple (played in the US version by Eva Longoria and Ricardo Antonio Chavira) will reflect permanent immigrants in each community. In the Colombian version, for example, the couple will be from Ecuador.

Actresses have already been cast in the Argentine version, with Araceli Gonzalez playing Gabriela (Gabrielle in the US version), Gabriela Toscano as Susana (Susan), Carola Reyna as Elisa (Bree) and Mercedes Moran as Lia (Lynette).

I suppose there are several variations on the 'CSI' theme around the world by now. But I'm wondering if any other country will attempt to make their own version of 'Lost'.......


1 comment:

Jaia said...

It looks like we'll be getting something back in return from South American Tv.

ABC and Salma Hayek are working on a pilot for an American version of "Betty de Fea" - "Ugly Betty"