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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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.