Smell that? It’s the distinct aroma of bananas, a cloud of weirdness hovering around the vicinity of your TV. This weekend Lifetime, the network of cautionary cinematic tales, hokey holiday fare, and melodramatic true-life tales (see: She’s Too Young, The Twelve Men of Christmas, and William & Kate) has taken on incest, starving children, and homicidal grandmothers with its adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ traumatizing, enlightening classic The Flowers in the Attic.
We want to help other cable networks make equally bizarre choices (adding nuts to the banana split). Here’s what we’re thinking for the next round of straight-to-the-small-screen adaptations:
Rousseau’s Confessions (MTV)
Rousseau’s confessions aren’t like Usher’s. True Life: I’m a Pre-Romantic Philosopher has little “omg” appeal. So why would MTV dramatize Rousseau’s Confessions? Well, they wouldn’t. But here’s my pitch: Jean-Jacques is the Frenchiest name ever, which is super sexy if you’re into that; Rousseau was a music buff and a composer, who even invented a form of musical notation (so MTV can keep up the ruse that it’s still Music Television); he had a long-term sexual relationship with his polyamorous benefactress and a handful of kids he didn’t raise with a woman he never married—all while suffering from bouts of painstaking self-reflection and hypochondria. Confessions the Movie would play well with Instagram addicts and Marc Maron fans.
In the Garden of Beasts (HGTV)
If the execs at HGTV (Home & Garden Television) were checking lists of “celebrated nonfiction works with the words ‘home’ or ‘garden’ in the title” for possible filmed adaptations, they might’ve come across Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts. Of course, pitching an HGTV-movie that’s heavy on Nazis (it follows a U.S. ambassador and his family as they navigate Hitler’s Berlin in the 30s) and light on gardens to run alongside shows appealing to viewers who are partial to “fun doggie décor projects” would probably be rewarded with a pat on the back and casual encouragement to take trip to a sanitarium. Larson’s book is riveting, though, both as a historical account of a perilous time and a study of a colorful American family.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Nickelodeon)
Murakami is great for kids! JK. Whereas a wind-up bird toy can be hours of fun for children, I imagine most youngsters would find a film adaptation of Murakami’s book incredibly dull. Its subtle, mysterious, meandering narrative; symbolism; and affecting character portraits would be entirely lost on the Nickelodeon audience. At least there’s the cat—kids love kitty cats! But Noboru Wataya/Mackerel is lost for most of the novel, so that’s no good.
ESPN makes bank selling ads that air during live events that sports fans JUST CAN’T MISS. It’d be totally wack, off-strategy and hilarious if they did a dry, History Channel–style special on the History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium. What would the guy looking to unwind with a little Sports Center think? If something like this came streaming into his living room? Personally, I’m darn curious.
Blubber on The Food Network
By taking on Judy Blume’s Blubber, The Food Network could address the impact that the likes of Guy Fieri and Paula Dean may be having on impressionable young minds, and perhaps stave off potential lawsuits from the American Diabetes Association. Think about it, Food Network: Open dialogue. Judy Blume. New demographic. Good stuff.