Mrs Brown’s Boys fans are having a couple of days to savour, with the show winning a National Television Award last night and today star Brendan O’Carroll confirming that the rumours are true and that a film adaptation of the award winning comedy shot is in the works.
He told reporters at the event that shooting will begin this autumn and is set to be released next summer, with the possibility of a fourth series afterwards.
While this might seem great news for fans of the Irish comedy, the history of sitcoms going to the silver screen has usually been rather terrible. So, being the helpful souls we are, we decided to look at the other British comedies that have found their way to the big screen and point out exactly why they didn’t work out that well.
Don’t Go On Holiday!
Looking back over the series of spinoff films that have been made from TV comedies, one through line is more visible than a day glow elephant. The fact that the characters just keep going on holiday.
This could simply be from writers struggling for ideas that don’t involve a brief trip on an airplane but it usually only ends in tired jokes and bad films. From Holiday On The Buses to Kevin And Perry Go Large, making your characters pack their bags and head off for a summer trip never has a good end.
We can only actually see one occasion when sending the characters on holiday worked out, The Inbetweeners Movie. That only worked out as it was a holiday that actually seemed fitting for the characters and had most of the humour be about the four guys themselves, not about them in a strange land.
Keep Your Focus
The most successful two spinoff films, In The Loop and The Inbetweeners Movie, may have seen the characters up-rooted from their locations, but they kept the focus of the comedy on the same subjects that had made their original shows such hits.
For In The Loop, it was the brilliant insults, the lampooning of politics and the coarseness of its characters. With The Inbetweeners, it was the interactions between the four guys and the overriding factor of them actually being more than a little bit rubbish at everything.
If you try and change the focus of the jokes, you’ll end up with the same situation as Ali G InDaHouse, which exchanged the brilliant banter and sharply satirical writing of the original show for crude toilet humour that could only make the most vulgar of 15 year olds laugh.
Don’t Go Big
Ali G InDaHouse had Staine’s favourite son saving the world from the brink of destruction and uncovering a plot to overthrow the British Prime Minister. Bean had the bumbling oaf at its core transporting a priceless painting and The League Of Gentlemen had their characters literally rip through space and time. The other thing these films all share other than shared extremism? They were all pants.
As we said above, focus on what makes the show funny, not on making your lead character have to save the world or making them have to ridiculous tasks. Even The Inbetweeners falls in to this trap now and again, but manages to climb out through very quickly reducing the situation again through self-deprecation.
So, what have we learnt from these three lessons. Firstly, keep the dang characters where they are now, the last thing we need to see is another spinoff the jokes about badly fitting swimming costumes or dealing with ‘those pesky foreigners’. Secondly, if the show is popular enough that it is worthy of a film being green-lit, you obviously have a good formula. Don’t’ break it.
Hopefully for the fans of the show, Brendan O’Carroll will do his homework and realise that it takes much more than just sticking is comedy creation on a two week all inclusive in Corfu to make it work on the big screen.