Back to School Reality Series

If you thought Rodney Dangerfield didn’t get any respect before, just wait until you hear how MGM is using one of the comedian’s classic movies for a television series.

Back to School is a 1986 comedy following the comedian as a millionaire who enrolls in college with his son in order to keep him from dropping out. Of course, wild antics and hilarity ensues on the college campus. Since Hollywood is remaking everything else these days, you would think that the movie would be ripe for a big screen remake. But instead, MGM Television is turning Back to School into an unscripted documentary series that will follow parents who have decided to go back to school at the same university as their kids.

Variety has word on the Back to School reality series, which sounds like a pretty pathetic way to use that intellectual property. There are obvious awkward situations that could arise from the series, whether it’s being put together as roommates, ending up at the same party, or parents walking in on their kids as they’re trying to get some action with a fellow student. The awkward possibilities are endless, and they will likely be very forced and phony.

For some reason, Barry Pznick, MGM’s president of unscripted television, is very excited about the prospect:

“I am so excited to take the premise of one of my favorite films into the unscripted world. Rodney was a comedic genius and his spirit is very much in the DNA of our show’s approach to a dual fish-out-of-water comedic format for audiences to experience along with our parents and kids. I love that grown-ups are going back to school and we are able to capture this with our new series.”

Indeed, the late Rodney Dangerfield was a comedic genius, and this show will clearly have none of the cleverness that made the original movie great. The idea of adults going back to school sounds like a compelling documentary concept on its own, especially with the changes in school policies and technology since their teenage years. But forcing them to be in school with their kids just feels like a cheap gimmick.

MGM Television is expected to distribute the series internationally, and Mark Burnett is executive producing along with Joan Dangerfield, the comedian’s widow. As far as United States distribution is concerned, we’re not sure if the series is intended for a network or cable channel, or if MGM is looking to put the series on their forthcoming streaming service collaboration with Vudu that was announced last fall. We’ll find out soon enough.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this clip from Back to School featuring Sam Kinison as a college professor:

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