Remember the 1990 comedy Problem Child, about a childless couple who unknowingly adopt an innocent looking 7-year-old boy named “Junior” (played by Michael Oliver) who’s so, well, “problematic” that the nuns are pretty sure he’s the spawn of Satan and his orphanage erupts into celebration once he’s been adopted and left the grounds?
For some reason, NBC is in the process of developing it into a single-camera, 30-minute sitcom for the network.
Writer Scot Armstrong (The Hangover Part II, Old School), – who’s had experience converting the 70s TV hit “Starsky and Hutch” to the big screen as its co-writer, will be taking on the role of executive producer on this film-to-TV adaptation with TBD Productions’ Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.
I’m not really sure how I feel about this one as John Ritter (pictured above from Problem Child 2) is one of my favorite actors in the WORLD. I grew up watching him weekly on “Three’s Company” – where I was far too young to understand what exactly was going on, but loved seeing him take pratfalls. I was convinced he was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. What drew me to Problem Child in the first place (which I’ll watch whenever it’s on) was not the kid, but Ritter’s performance as Ben Healy – a guy who just wanted to be a good father to Junior while trying to please his spoiled wife and over-compensating and highly competitive father. Even when Junior threw his very best of his worst at everyone INCLUDING Ben, he never stopped believing Junior was a good kid and loved him like he really WAS his son.
What also makes it a special film is this is also where Ritter met the woman (Amy Yasbeck, who played his wife Flo) who turned out to be his lady love until his untimely passing in 2003. There’s a lot of great actors out there but since I can’t think of a SINGLE ONE who can fill John Ritter’s shoes, I approach this sitcom with great trepidation.
But this could be a good thing for Michael Richards, should they ask him to reprise his role as Martin Beck a.k.a. “The Bow Tie Killer.”
I’m not really worried about who’ll play Junior (precocious children are a dime a dozen in Los Angeles) but I DO wonder if Hollywood is facing an “original idea” drought. I’m not convinced that there isn’t ONE great idea out there that would be better than turning a pretty decent film into a pilot that I have a feeling will crash and burn before the season even starts.
Enough about me – how do YOU think this will pan out?
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