DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “Poseurs” by Deborah Vankin & Rick Mays

poseurs

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Poseurs by Deborah Vankin (w) and Rick Mays (a)

The Premise: The lives of three high-school kids intersect in the Hollywood nightlife as cash-strapped Jenna lands a job as a professional party guest and becomes friends with Pouri, a wealthy “parachute kid” living it up far away from her parents, and Mac, a busboy obsessed with popular slang. What starts out as a life of clubs and lavish mansions eventually takes a dark turn, though, as the trio gets caught up in a kidnapping plot that takes them from L.A. night clubs to dangerous, underground hangouts of West Coast gangs.

The Pitch: The original pitch for this graphic novel from Los Angeles Times writer Deborah Vankin frames it as “‘Gossip Girl’ meets Bret Easton Ellis for the comic book crowd,” which is actually a pretty accurate comparison — though it offers a decidedly more PG-rated, young-adult take on youth culture than Ellis’ novels. And while “Gossip Girl” restricted itself to the teenage wealthy elite, Poseurs offers a more varied mix of backgrounds and social strata in L.A. culture, and takes readers inside (and behind) the glamour from each character’s perspective.

What sets Poseurs apart from the two elements in that pitch and makes it an even more attractive subject for adaptation, however, is the genuine sense of heart in the story that makes the characters feel more like real people instead of amalgams of night-life archetypes. With a film or television series based on Poseurs — and it could be a good fit in either format, really — there’s a real chance for character development and drama that spans social and economic classes, and a cool “party noir” tale that unfolds in a much broader environment than the typical young-adult story.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s no shortage of roles in a “Poseurs” film or TV series that could be culled from young Hollywood — and the ethnic diversity of the story’s cast would certainly give the series a more authentic, melting-pot vibe than most projects aimed at teenage audiences these days.

There are also ample opportunities for adult actors in the project, too — and it’s easy to picture any number of prominent character actresses playing Jenna’s serial-dating mother or her boss at the company that pays her to attend parties, Raz. While the adult characters occupy supporting roles in the book, the story leaves a lot of room for capable actors to put their stamp on each character and make them their own.

In many ways, Poseurs fits the profile of every good young-adult film or TV series, with its cast of high-school characters that appeal to a wide range of demographics and a story that has them dealing with very real (and dangerous) adult issues that transcend the normal high-school drama. (But don’t worry — there’s still quite a bit of high-school drama slipped in there for good measure, too.)

Finally, like any good project aimed at young audiences, the teenage characters are often smarter than the adults when it comes to solving their problems, but it usually takes some help from their closest friends.

The Closing Argument: Any network looking for something that ratchets down the glitz of “Gossip Girls” but offers a rougher edge and tighter narrative than the typical fare on The CW would do well to check out Poseurs. Vankin’s narrative manages to find the balance between teen drama and compelling, adult themes in a clever story that crosses age and cultural demographics.

And while the “party noir” tale that introduces the cast leaves room to continue the narrative beyond the first book, there’s also a nice finale to Vankin’s story that would allow it to do fine as a standalone film.


Do you think “Poseurs” would make a good movie or television series? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.