Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Monday, January 27, 2003

queens remade in hollywood's preferred image

This ... is just so desperately WRONG! And it's network stupidity at its finest!

What I'm reacting to, of course, is a pure throwaway moment down near the bottom of a Zap2it article:

Zap2it | TV: NEWS: NEWS DAILY: Cops, 'Queens' Get Pilot Orders: ... An adaptation of the "Sweet Potato Queens" books by Jill Conner Browne is in the works at The WB. In keeping with the Frog's youthful target audience, the middle-aged friends at the center of the books will be younger in the TV series.

Anyone with half a brain cell could have told the WB that, given that their target demographic is 12-34, and given that they're not even vaguely interested in expanding it, The Sweet Potato Queens is just desperately wrong for that network. I mean, I do wish Jill Conner Browne and various and sundry Tammies all the best of luck, and I do not for a moment want to rain on their parade. But the women in those books are actually in their 40s and up. Part of the point is that they discover as they reach that age that they can make some rather impressive changes in their lives, if they want to, and they discover that they want to.

And, frankly, younger women being as determined as those -- at least en masse, so to speak -- might strike people as rather odd. Somehow, although we encourage women to know their minds as young as possible, it looks very odd when they actually do. And it looks even more odd when they are extremely strident and forthcoming about what they want.

Some of the story lines simply aren't going to make sense. For example, a few of the Queens have to cope with being dumped by their husbands who then turn around and marry much younger women. How on earth do you present that when the character is in her mid-to-late 20s? Continuing with that theme, how on earth are they going to present Ms Browne marrying a decade-younger man if the story has already shoved the women back to their late 20s? What is he going to be, a fetus? Will we see a Sweet Potato Queen arrested for statutory rape? That would just be wrong! wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG!

The problem is, the network that would be absolutely right for the material is CBS, which almost certainly doesn't want it. The average age of the CBS audience is already around 54 or so; they wouldn't want a show that wouldn't skew younger.

But making the Queens younger is just WRONG.

(And for those of you who are scratching your heads and saying, "Sweet Potato Queens? Huh? Who? Wha'?", try this article at the St Petersburg Times, as well as one or two recipes from the Big Ass Cookbook -- so-called because that's what you will have if you eat a lot from it, plus there's the whole not-long-delayed coronary to follow -- and of course the Sweet Potato Queens website itself.)

(No, I do NOT want to be a sweet potato queen. That hair looks like it hurts. And green is definitely not my color. Weblogs notwithstanding.)

Posted by iain at 05:35 PM in category