How do you say laughs in Russian? Смех. That was easy.
But Warner Bros. wants a slice of that fabled Russian ha-ha (which fueled the hilarious hit reality shows Five-Year Plan and Being Yuri Andropov), and it’s betting the formula is the same in any language. (Actually, ”formula” is формула. I ”Gogol-ed” it!) The studio, in partnership with Russian broadcaster CTC, is remaking Perfect Strangers (совершенный посторонний человек), Full House (полный дом), Step by Step (шаг около шаг) and, curiously, Suddenly Susan (Внезапно, er, Susansky, pictured). Yes, a giant talent search is on to find the Russian Brooke Shields. (No word on the hunt for the Russian Judd Nelson beyond the official news that he is wounded and will not survive the harsh Carpathian winter.)
The shows will be Russianized, of course: The ”Balki” character on Strangers will be from a remote breakaway republic; ”Larry” will be the urbane Muscovite whose apartment he invades. This being Russian TV, I’m guessing they’ll find common ground in their intense love for President Vladimir Putin.
addCredit(“Suddenly Susan: Everett Collection “)
I’m also guessing that Full House will no longer center onthe home lives of three adorable young girls and their three wackyfather figures, but rather on three adorable loaves of black bread,which must be divided between two wacky father figures (Uncle Joeyhaving been put to death long ago for his subversive Bullwinkleimpression). In the end, they’ll decide to put aside their differencesand vote President Vladimir Putin a sixty-eighth term.
Each show will end its season with a disastrous raid by Russian security services.
This could work. I mean, Tolstoy pretty much penned the cardinalrule of Russian situation comedy: ”All happy families are alike; eachunhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” And that’s not evenfactoring in those wacky neighbors, the Uzbeks! Don’t touch that dial!Really — don’t touch it. There are snipers in position.