Retrovision Retreads 

 

The Phenomenon: TV show movie remakes
The Bars: Zombie Hut, Waikiki Wally’s

I’m going to be honest: I don’t get what’s with these recent TV remakes. Now I know that everyone’s been camping out on the sidewalk to get tickets to Bewitched on opening night, but I really can’t get behind it. I mean, the original show’s dramatic tension came from the idea that obedient wives don’t have supernatural powers outside the home. Since Will Ferrell’s in it I guess maybe the plan is for wackiness to supplant misogyny, but still. Is familiarity so compelling that we need to resurrect Nick at Nite standbys? I s’pose so, because that Gilligan’s Island abomination is still around. See, now Gilligan’s Island was a pretty good show, and I think it could’ve been adapted into an ok movie, but instead, some suit thought folks would prefer watching strippers tarted up in Mary Ann pigtails, pudding wrestling. Which, to be fair, is compelling, but has absolutely nothing to do with why people like Gilligan’s Island. Where are the coconut radios, people? Not on some trollop’s ta-tas, I can tell you that.

But anyway, what I’m trying to get at is that these remakes are always awkward and unnecessary. It’s like the producers can’t decide why they are making the new version: nostalgia? Crazy twist on a classic favorite? Introducing a new audience to an old show? Or what? It used to be that people were into being ‘retro’ because they thought it was funny and ‘ironic.’ Like, ‘how hilarious to dress like June Cleaver in this day and age, how rich!’ Unfortunately, retro has been fully stripped of irony by people like the makers of Bewitched [2005], so now one is left feeling muddled. Campy period bars, like the Zombie Hut (on Smith St) and Waikiki Wally’s (on 2nd St), have this same problem. Presumably, you go to these places to experience a kind of snooty way-back feeling, but now that the snideness is gone, what’ve you got? You’ve got dumb decorations, overpriced blue drinks, weird-ass vibraphone music, and a poor bartender forced to wear a Hawaiian shirt and mix complicated, pointless Singapore Slings all night. In other words, a vague approximation of a 1950s tiki bar that only drives home how lame the 50s were. Which was the point, originally, of the snide fascination with retro styles. Ah well. Maybe they’ll finally make that musical version of F Troop. Now that I would pay to see.

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