You might not believe this, but a Stripes adaptation is currently in the works at CBS. It’s something that’s not entirely easy to think about since the movie, released in 1981, was later on considered to be such hit that it couldn’t and shouldn’t have been given any thought to being repeated in any way. The story is funny, engaging, and so over the top that you couldn’t possibly imagine anyone in the army attempting to get away with these kind of antics. That’s what made the movie though, the unreal aspects that coupled so nicely with few realistic touches that were tossed in here and there.
It wasn’t a movie about how the US Army really worked, but it was the story of an outsider that was attempting to find his way forward after losing just about everything. He needed to find something to cling to and decided that the Army might be a good idea. Of course the only thing he didn’t count on was that it would actually be a hard, demanding, and back-breaking experience. Trying to capture what the movie brought to the audience in a TV show seems like a bit of a stretch but, as always, if it’s done right it could be entertaining at least.
One very important thing that could mean the difference between a success and a flop however is that back during the production of Stripes there was lot, and I mean A LOT of improvisation. Bill Murray, John Larroquette, and even director Ivan Reitman would improvise whenever they felt the need. It was a different era of filming and while people didn’t always enjoy it on set the effect was hilarious so it was often allowed. Bill Murray was a big believer in improvisation and was known to do it quite often, especially in this movie. It was one of the reasons why he and Sean Young didn’t get along because she couldn’t stand his need to just fly off the hook and say or do what he felt would help the film.
In this day and age improvisation doesn’t really seem like the norm anymore and could possibly detract from a TV show that should by all means allow such a thing to happen. The problems inherent with this however is that while improv is great for actors to practice and learn to adapt to it’s just not a common thing in TV or in movies, at least not as much as it used to be. That’s a big part of what made this film so great though and without it the scripted and contrived nature of the show could possibly drag it down a bit.
The reason why it might be popular is not just the nostalgia it could bring back for those that loved the movie, but because people are still very much into the outsider aspect. Having someone to follow, to cheer for, and to root on as they find their way haphazardly through life is what helps to make some shows.
It might not be the number one show that people are expecting, but it could become something worth watching if it’s done right.