October 23, 2006

Farrelly Bros. To Remake BBC's "I'm With Stupid" For U.S. TV

The Hollywood Reporter, um, reports edgy filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly have joined forces with the producer of the U.S. version of "The Office" to bring the new British comedy "I'm With Stupid" to American viewers.

"Stupid" centers on a down-and-out guy who befriends a young wheelchair user and winds up moving into his group home. Yes, that kind of group home. The show (well, the British version, at least) is funnier than it sounds. The pilot for the BBC 3 original earned kudos in Britain last year for its multidimensional portrayal, and perhaps even better yet, it's casting of people with disabilities which eventually led to a six episode series last Summer.

Whereas the producers of the original series took great pains to be more mainstream, the Farrelly approach is likely to be quite different if one considers what they've done previously.

Peter Farrelly is set to direct the pilot, and both brothers will serve as executive producers. The Farrelly's have covered disabilities (to both acclaim and derision) in such films as "The Ringer" and "Shallow Hal." Known for outrageous, high-concept comedies, their most recent feature credits include last year's "Fever Pitch" and 2003's "Stuck on You."

Also executive producing is Ben Silverman, riding high with NBC's Emmy-winning "The Office" and ABC's promising newcomer "Ugly Betty," an adaptation of the hit Colombian telenovela. Wil Calhoun ("Friends") will write the pilot.

With Josh Blue winning "Last Comic Standing" and now "I'm With Stupid" set to hit TV screens all across the United States with an A-List of writers and producers, could comedy spearhead the next wave of American crip culture? Moreover, will the sometimes touchy American disability community lambaste or support these programs and will audiences -- disabled or not -- watch?

Stay tuned.

Lawrence Carter-Long is the Founder, Curator & Janitor of The disTHIS! Film Series: disability through a whole new lens which showcases quality narrative, short, documentary and feature films with disability themes beyond clich├ęs. He was interviewed by NPR's Weekend America on the "best and the worst depictions of people with disabilities in popular culture" (including The Farrelly produced film, "The Ringer") in December 2005.

Posted on October 23, 2006