HOLLYWOOD, CA–Noting the astonishing commercial success, long-time profitability, and fan adoration of its long-running franchise, Fast & Furious (originally, The Fast & The Furious)–the 10th highest-grossing film series of all time–series creator Gary Scott Thomas and Universal Pictures CEO Jeff Shell today announced in a joint-press release that the franchise was entering (at long last) the foyer of primetime situational romantic comedy with the support of its parent company NBC’s time-tested network. When asked about the upcoming series, future show-runner Gary Scott Thomas said:
Listen, fans love Fast. As you know, the series has evolved over the years–well past street racers boosting cars on the side to larger and more epic heists, unbelievable action sequences, and frankly romantic motifs stronger and more poignant than we’ve seen on the silver screen since An Affair to Remember. Fans are fast and furious when they get to the theaters to see from us much more than cars blowing up and hair-raising precision drifting that our movies have long been associated with. They’re here for the will-they-won’t-they romances and steamy exchanges between our world-class cast members. They’re here to tune in on Sundays at 10 to see how these relationships will grow and mature, like a fine wine (in old age).
The Fast & Furious franchise, which has to-date released 8 films, has several sequels lined up for release: F9, which is completed and slated to release this year, as well as two untitled projects that would represent a tenth and eleventh film, respectively. When asked about naming conventions, Scott Thomas noted: “The titles were getting too long to fit neatly on the screen and the promotional materials and we were running out of superlative adjectives to describe how fast and furious our films were. Some of the working titles included: ‘The Fastest and the Most Furious,’ ‘The Most Fast and the Most Furious to the Second Power,’ ‘The Most Fast and Most Furious Times Infinity.’ ‘Fast & Furious: Infinity War’ (That’s a Fast & Furious-Avengers crossover). You get the idea.”
Creator Gary Scott Thomas was similarly asked about his new series: The Flaccid & The Furious, which is spurring a lot of intrigue:
Our characters are known for how fast and furious they are (that is, how fast and with how much fury they go, in their cars), but like I said about their romantic through-lines, this series will be a chance to develop them into more robust, deeper, and more compelling and touching narratives. Plus, the Fast crew is known for all the crazy shit they’ve been through–helicopters exploding into tanks, monster trucks plowing through supermarkets. But you gotta wonder what happens after all the shit has hit the fan and the dust has settled. What are the longer-term ramifications for these characters, the physical traumas and ailments that plague them in later life? That’s what we want to explore in The Flaccid.
The Flaccid & The Furious, Scott Thomas tells us, takes place several decades after Dominic Toretto has finished his seemingly, endlessly long and winding career as a heist-master, when as an old man he suffers from erectile dysfunction. The 30-minute sit-com traces Toretto as he trades in his seemingly cursed, repeatedly rebuilt Dodge Charger at a used car dealership in Phoenix, AZ–where he relocated to a retirement community–for a 1990 Buick Regal, whose engine he later upgrades with a blower intake (old habits die hard). It then follows him through his golden year escapades as he finds love (with his doctor, a much younger woman), friendship (fellow retirees with an automotive passion), and forms a golf cart racing racket in their gated retirement community.
Excited about the series’ prospect for long-term primetime success, Universal announced that several high-profile actors had signed on to the project: Robert Duvall, as Dominic Torretto in old age, will play opposite Sandra Bullock as Toretto’s love interest, and they are joined by veteran actors Samuel L. Jackson, Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, and Christopher Walken.
“It’s already a huge success!” long-time Fast & Furious collaborators, director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan, agreed. Despite the duo’s satisfaction with the new project, early input on the show’s pilot (viewed in a secretive showing to reporters) from film critics is generally negative: “Why does this series exist?” questioned one such film viewer writing for The New York Times, adding: “It seems like an offensive concept bound to fail.” Another negative review coming from The Chicago Sun Times expressed paralleling distaste for the show’s existence: “Please stop. We don’t need a Fast & Furious sit-com, especially with this premise.” Positive reviews came from right-wing news site OAN News, which called the series “a masterpiece,” as well as the fringe film review show On Cinema whose reviewers Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington (who frequently award any and every film featured with a “5 bags of popcorn” rating) rated the series with “5 bags of popcorn” on a scale of 1 to 5 bags of popcorn. On the other hand, actor, director, and self-professed poet James Franco, known for his critically acclaimed film and television projects, also praised the series, proclaiming it a “poetic masterpiece.” The Thirsty Thespian’s own Monsieur (Mick) Montage had this to say: “The Flaccid & The Furious is a bold and brave undertaking by NBC, transforming a guilty pleasure into the truest expression of the human experience. It should be a flourishing, long-lasting series that will stand the test of time.”
At press time, Universal had announced that primetime powerhouse Shonda Rhimes, known as the show-runner and creator of ABC’s longest scripted primetime series Grey’s Anatomy, a commercial and critical success, had signed on as co-show-runner, co-creator, executive producer, and head writer of The Flaccid & The Furious, replacing former screenwriter Chris Morgan.
Shonda knows primetime. She knows drama and she knows romantic drama. She is exactly who we need at the helm of The Flaccid & The Furious, and through her guidance with this series we’ll transcend what was initially thought possible with TV ratings. This show will be more than a hit. It will be an instant classic and remain suspended in history as a timeless treasure of love and commanding dramatic expression.