I’ve been playing around with ideas for a Felafel TV series. Don’t get too excited because God knows I’m not. I’m just playing around with it in my downtime. There are many obstacles to adaptation, firstly finding somebody with a couple of million dollarydoos to pay for it.
Let’s assume somebody did drop a gigantanormous ward of the folding stuff on me, however. You still gotta get past the book having only two lines of dialogue and no characters who last for more than one or two pages. Most of them come and go within a paragraph.
Doesn’t make for much of a through-line.
The really knotty question, though, is when do you set it? Felafel came out in 1996, over 26 years ago. Yeah, I know, right? We’re all really old, and we’re going to die soon.
So do you set a TV series in that time, at which point it becomes a period piece? A sort of historical comedy-drama. Or do you update it to the present day?
I saw this on the Twitters last night, (in Kara Schlegl’s TL)
… and although it was a striking image that would make a great opening scene for a movie or a TV series, the thing that struck me was this comment.
Sort of gets to the heart of the question, doesn’t it?
I still believe Felafel was successful because it told universal stories, about half a dozen of them in all, that anybody who’s experienced share housing would be familiar with. I can’t imagine those stories have gone away. That stuff would still be happening: mad flatmate, bad flatmate, dirty flatmate, the flatmates who fucked each other when they shouldn’t have. But there would be a whole bunch of other stuff about which I would know nothing because the wheel turns and the world leaves us behind.
My inclination is to set it in the present day, just to capture the interest of a new audience. But perhaps that’s wrong. The larger audience might be those who’ve already lived the life and read the book. It’s not keeping me up at night, but it is a question I'd have to answer before anybody dropped a stack of money on the project.
One thing I did think about, because there's some real weirdness in that book, was having a house where one particular room has become untethered from time. So you go in there and it's 1974, or 2008 or 1996, or whatever, just as long as it's different from the rest of the house.
Why not both? Open with the current generation whinging about the cost of accommodation, and how no one can afford to live on their own and they're forced to share with weirdos, and then Ye Olde Generation can come in with "You think YOU'VE got it bad??? WELL BACK IN MY DAY..." and we get flashbacks to the Felafel days, and then flashforwards to the current generation recoiling in horror at what sharehousing was like Back In Ye Olden Days, and then they can bond over their common hatred of the Boomers who fucked it up for everyone.
I hear Jerry Hall might be coming into a few dollarydoos soon, and you could bond over your mutual hatred.
Love the idea of flashbacks then forwards. to now with taking streaming service logins with you when you leave the house. Using someone else's VBucks on Fortnite. Eating flatmates $12 lettuce could cause punchups galore. The owner of the house is a boomer who lived in share houses in the past but "has changed", or maybe the wife from Ascot won't let him give them any slack.
Could be a goer with the right treatment - after all, the Les Norton books had a short run (although I couldn't quite get into some of the changes they made). Some of the Felafel stories certainly rang true (the 'Bloke Hell' house aligned with a mates' place as I once told you!). Heck, if Bedak could make a play out of it, and whoever made a movie (that I have never seen), then TV could have some scope. I'm liking the flashback idea BTW!
the census just came out: z's and millenials beat the rest of us out so you'll have to set it in current(ish) times. There'll be a house mate that makes a crap tonne of dosh from tiktoks from her room and its the only thing that shows she actually exists, another that travels the world on comp as an influencer but never seems to have enough cash to pay rent (free face cream and hotel towels don't cut it as currency and saying the room is empty half the time isnt an excuse not to pay rent, even though you are renting it out on the side without their knowledge). The recovering smack addict that has a porn collection on beta video would have to be updated (hell, it was out of date when i was sharing a house with that situation). It's been a long time since myself or anyone i know has done share living although i have a couple of kids that will be staring down the barrel of it shortly, maybe it could be used as an instructional video :) I'd probably watch the hell out of it no matter where its set - nostalgia hits nice, the kids want to go see all the old bands to see what uncle Tom was going on about after a few drinks every xmas, but is it enough? The time travelling room would be wacky enough for a niche spot on a streaming service maybe? Dirk Gently got 2 seasons after all.
Bridgerton was frightfully popular: perhaps go the other way and make it a costume period drama? Cadge some scenery and feel from Leviathan?
As someone who didn't grow up down here I really loved reading about 90s Australia and the sharehouse scene. I reckon you gotta keep it set in the 90s after all the zoomers all wanna dress like its 1998 anyways!
Err, wasn't there a movie? Or don't we talk about that?