A 'Heathers' TV remake is still a bad idea
"Commence vomiting up a stomachful of hull-cleaner mimosa and crash to your death through a coffee table," says Grantland.
"What's your damage, Bravo?" asks Indiewire.
"There's no way that can be good. Good grief, there's just no way," laments The Atlantic Wire.
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"If I may appropriate what the movie's fictional band Big Fun said about teenage suicide: Don't do it," says, well, us -- three years ago. We wrote that when a "Heathers" TV project was in the works at FOX in 2009, and now it's back from the dead, with the same writing team -- Jenny Bicks ("The Big C") and Mark Rizzo -- working on it for Bravo.
When the idea first surfaced in 2009, we wondered how the black comedy of "Heathers" could work as a straight TV remake, but that's apparently not what Bicks and Rizzo have in mind. The update is set 20 years after the movie, with Veronica Sawyer ( Winona Ryder in the movie) returning to Sherwood, Ohio, with her own teenage daughter. Westerburg High is now ruled by a clique of girls known as the Ashleys -- the daughters of surviving Heathers Duke ( Shannen Doherty's character) and McNamara ( Lisanne Falk).
Which brings up a few questions:
- First, who is this show for? If Bravo is targeting Gen-X'ers who, like Veronica, are now about 40 and still love the movie, that probably won't work. The vitriol directed at the idea online Wednesday had a serious "Oh, heeelll no" quality to it. If it's for teenagers, who likely as not have never seen nor even heard of the movie, why yoke the "Heathers" name to it at all? (Also, does Bravo even have much of a teen audience?) Why not just develop your own version of "Pretty Little Liars" and call it something else?
- For those of us who do know and love the movie, why the heck is Veronica back in Sherwood? We'd buy that she got pregnant in her early or mid-20s, but we have trouble with the idea that she would ever return to the town that was so stifling she actually killed people to liven things up. The move home suggests a surrender on the character's part that is a really depressing way to start a series.
- Is there any way a series on ad-supported cable can even approach the super-dark comedy of the movie? Maybe, maybe if Veronica becomes complicit in her daughter bumping off the Ashleys. But it's hard to picture.
- Do Bicks and Rizzo know, as Crushable and others have pointed out, that the Ashleys was also the name of the mean-girl cabal on "Recess"? Yes, Ashley was one of the most popular girl names in the mid-'90s, when the now high school-age characters would have been born, but come on.
The good news, such as it is, is that "Heathers" is just a concept at this point -- it hasn't even been ordered to pilot. The 2009 version of it died somewhere in the development process, and we're not exactly vibrating with excitement over this one. Eskimo, indeed.
What do you think of the idea of a "Heathers" reboot?