I became a fan of the Three Stooges when I was in my early teens. I’m sure my hoped it was just a phase I was going through, but I still enjoy watching them today when I have time. I loved everything about them – especially their trademark slapstick comedy and off-the-wall humor. Though it’s been 85 years since the Stooges first film, I think that their basic premise would work today if updated for modern life.
Would The Stooges Concept Work Today?
The Stooges, above all, were a creation of the time period they lived in. Their generation endured the strife of World Wars I and II as well as the breadlines and unemployment of the Great Depression in between the wars. Their classic short films give us a glimpse of what life was like back then, even if we see is through a filter of satire. The four members of the ‘classic’ Stooges (Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp) were all Jewish – they were among the first in Hollywood to point out the danger Hitler presented in pre-War Germany. Their portrayals of him were brutal.
What facets of modern living could we insert the Stooges into? For starters, they could examine all of the -isms of today: racism, sexism, terrorism and many more. In work situations, they would fit everywhere from a cubicle farm to a corrupt boardroom. Reality television, biased media outlets and sports would be natural targets from the entertainment world (I’d love to see the Stooges dropped into the world of The Walking Dead). Don’t get me started on politics, there has been and always will be fertile territory for comedy there. From healthcare to job outsourcing, there are any number of economic realities the Stooges could address.
If none of those work, you could always have them get into a mud fight.
What Wouldn’t Work
I’d caution against limiting the cast to the three typical Stooge archetypes – i.e. the mean leader (Moe), the chubby maniac (Curly), and the quiet pseudo-straight man (Larry). We live in a time of rapid change, so flexibility is a must. I’d rather form a mixed gender, racially diverse ensemble cast of 8-10 actors, any three of which could be plugged into a story depending on who fit the script best.
So, that’s my plan for bringing back the mayhem of the Three Stooges and making them relevant in the current day. If you have any plot ideas for a new Stooge incarnation, please post it below in the comments.