News emerged this year that Amy Poehler, the juggernaut of modern comedy, is working on a TV adaptation of the highly successful 2014 Israeli film Zero Motivation. The film told of five young women carrying out their compulsory military service at a distant desert base, biding their time until they can return to civilian life.
The film won multiple awards for its original style and unique subject matter. Clearly it was good enough for someone of Poehler’s stature to be inspired, and she has teamed up with BBC America to develop a series. The writer will be Tami Sagher, who has worked on Broad City, Girls and Inside Amy Schumer. Israeli filmmaker Talya Lavie, who produced and wrote the film, will serve as co-producer, alongside Natasha Lyonne, star of Orange is the New Black. She is also the daughter of Holocaust survivors, making the subject matter extremely personal to her.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last ten years you might not know who Poehler is. Let us jog your memory. Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation are things she has been an integral part of for a long time. She also created Sisters, Mean Girls and Inside Out. Her partner in crime and fellow comedy heavyweight is Tina Fey.
The TV series will have largely the same premise, of young women serving in the IDF, the Israel Defence Forces, and finding it very tedious and dull. There are too many more details about the series at the moment, with a start date expected later this year.
The original has been described as zany and dark, a comedic portrait of normal young females trying to deal with an abnormal and far from funny situation, using comedy as a coping mechanism. It screened at the Tribeca festival of 2014 and won the awards of best drama and best director. It has also won several awards in Israel. The film starred Dana Ivgy, Nelly Tagar, Shani Klein and Yuval Segal, with Ivgy winning best actress in Israel.
There is a lot to look forward to with this series, and it has certainly created a buzz. Firstly, the writing and production team is second to none as you can see. It is also a novel approach, taking something from world cinema and making a series out of it. It is also a fantastic way to tackle a highly controversial topic, that of the activities of the Israeli Defence Forces. Comedy is the only way you will ever get someone opposed to Israel to watch something about the IDF, as it appeals to everyone and shows the human side of something distinctly unfunny. It will be a distinctly unpolitical approach to a highly political subject, and we can’t wait to see what Poehler comes up with this time. In the meantime, give the original a watch to see what you’re in for.
The production companies for the series will be BBC America and Poehler’s own Paper Kite Productions.
What are you most looking forward to about a #ZeroMotivation series? How do you think the comedy style of the original aligns with Poehler’s own TV history, and what could Poehler add to the series that the film might have been lacking? Any favourites from Poehler’s past work?
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