now the story of a wealthy family who incurred the gods’ wrath, and the one son who had no choice but to complete the cycle of revenge. it’s orestes development
Extremely. Limited. Edition. GOOOOOOO!
…purchased. Thanks 13P!
13Purchased! Well, except I only bought one. Which will come in the mail.
Gosh do I admire their artistic model. And a great deal of their work individually. My favorite 13P quote is definitely from Paula Vogel: “I would give anything to be the 14th P.”
So, this is ridiculous. The short version is that a playwright named David Adjmi made a loose parody of Three’s Company titled 3C and is now in legal trouble.
Three’s Company. That old sitcom where John Ritter would often go on two separate dates with two women at the same time and then haphazardly run into his landlord who believed he was gay. The show whose principal cast changed more often than American Idol's. A show that's been out of production for almost thirty years.
Legal trouble for this?! Guys. Come on. Everything is derivative. Three’s Company itself was derivative of another sitcom, Man About the House. If someone directly rips scripts from Lost without permission and adapts them into a well-selling but poor-quality stage musical, besmirching its name while making tons of dirty, filthy money, please sue their asses off. But when a dead property is given new life—new, exciting, well-reviewed life—the correct response isn’t “cease and desist,” it’s “thank you very much.”
But, says Donald Taffner Jr. (a son of one of the producers of the defunct television program), “We’re up for renewal soon with TV Land, and we’re playing around with the idea of doing a theatrical version of Three’s Company ourselves, so we don’t want anything out there that might cause harm, and we think 3C borrows far too many elements to make a fair-use parody argument.” The chief problems with this argument, as the common sense will well reveal, is that if a real Three’s Company play were made, it would:
1. Tank. Duh. Who wants to see more new Three’s Company? I don’t. You probably don’t.
2. More importantly, it would lack the important quality of irony that a derivative work like 3C has.
It’s irony that powers many stage and filmed works in today’s atmosphere of rebootery. Particularly, whenever something older is re-imagined, audiences expect winks and nudges acknowledging that, yes, the source work is a bit campy or old or horridly sexist. Yes, that last one was aimed at Three’s Company. Some people would disagree with my jab here, arguing the show was entirely a conscious satire of its period’s sexual mores. Further examination proves them wrong, revealing that, nope, Three’s Company was a run-of-the-mill sex comedy dominated by male writers and actors.
I digress. Back to irony. The sexual mores that Three’s Company based its humor around are even more dated than its characters’ wardrobes. A derivative play like 3C will acknowledge this, examine it, and move forward. Take Spamalot, half the book of which is spent openly acknowledging the Broadway tropes it’s being forced to give in to—and yet still writing a love letter to the form. Or The Brady Bunch Movie, which openly acknowledges the dated nature of its titular family, and uses their silliness to wax nostalgic on entertainment-at-large’s somewhat tragic loss of wholesomeness. The list goes on. A licensed Three’s Company play created by aged television executives without theatrical knowledge, likely in a committee room of underpaid writers who understand only TV, would almost certainly fail.
There’s a lot in this argument about 3C counting as parody under the First Amendment and that being the reason it’s okay. Perhaps in court this distinction will matter, as U.S. law allows art to exist only within a small set of silly, arbitrary boxes of definition. I’d argue that even if 3C is more accurately a “re-imagining,” a “derivative work,” or even an “unashamed ripoff,” the bit of revenue it’s ultimately making for Adjmi does not constitute grounds for legal action. The people going to see Adjmi’s play are not paying for admission with money they would otherwise spend on the DVD box set of Three’s Company. For the law to assume that to be the case with every ticket bought is ridiculous. To lump this case in legally with piracy, plagiarism, and theft is a gross misuse of the law against art, and threatens to dangerously dilute the myriad artistic abilities stage plays currently have to reference and surpass previous works.
Last summer my creative associate Donnie and I had a play-a-day Tumblr at foptheater.tumblr.com. It was a wonderful thing, because we both had a large excess of dumb ideas that we could finally use. Almost a year later, and just as many bad ideas backlogged in my brain, I figure I’d post a small play or monologue here every once in a while. Here we go!
A man in a business suit, Jerry Generic, addresses the audience.
Jerry Generic: To whom it may concern,
Ever since I was born, I have long wished to work at insert company. My skills at insert trade are generally considered to be unparalleled as an insert past job. I believe this qualifies me for your insert entry-level position, or perhaps even for your insert unreasonable managerial position given only to in-company hires. I keep a picture of your flagship store on my pillow just to remind me that someday I hope to be proverbially in bed with you. When that day arrives, I will certainly, certainly burn that picture in a symbolic gesture of compassion: for when I come to work with you, I assure you I will need no reminders that I am part of your illustrious corporate team. You will, indeed, be a part of my soul.
My skillset includes insert office task, insert menial office task, insert sport, insert task I did only once, insert computer program I bought a For Dummies guide of, insert degrading office task, and what I consider to be my greatest asset, motivation. Were it not for said motivation, I would never have been able to work for insert past job or especially insert job I was fired from or quit unceremoniously and have not provided a reference for. You may be familiar with my work on insert website title, which I am legally required to inform you is unrelated to the Alexa Top 100 website insert website title with slightly different spelling. I feel these skills line up very closely with insert entry-level position, and though the job description notes it is seeking individuals with insert skill certified only by specific four-year degree and would prefer insert skill certified only by specialized masters degree I assure you I am willing to learn. My degree in insert vague college major, probably English gave me widespread knowledge of technology, social media, and insert skill quite clearly out of college major’s likely purview.
I cannot wait to work for insert company. Your philosophies intrigue me, and I feel I would be a valuable asset to your team. I feel my experience with insert personal demon inappropriate to personal introduction has prepared me for a job of this caliber, and you’d be lucky to have me as your devoted underling.