You have read the headline, but for clarity sake, Toyin Abraham is planning on turning her movie Alakada into a sitcom. We are not doomed just yet, the actress-cum-producer can decide to change her mind and discard the idea. But I have a feeling this will inevitably be the case and we have to prepare ourselves for the worst. How Alakada managed to evolve into a mini-franchise is a little perplexing. The first volume was out in 2009, a modest Yoruba comedy film that introduced Abraham into the world of filmmaking and appealed to audiences who appreciate low-brow humour.
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A story about Yetunde Animashaun, played Abraham, a young girl from a poor family background with no self-esteem and had to make up stories in order to fit into the crowd, offered a sequel in 2013. And in 2017, tried to crossover into English Nollywood with the pop-cultural reference of Big Brother Naija which the movie used as an anchor – a star-driven spectacle that felt laboured, messy, and over-the-top. But we are still standing, existing, alive and breathing. This is not a smear campaign on Abraham. She has, quite seamlessly, perfected a unique kind of comedy subgenre from hybridising the ghetto and the urban cool.
Her 2018 film The Ghost and the Tout is a solid thesis on this, trying to straddle audiences along on both side of the divide. That said, it’s easy to see why Abraham is turning Alakada into a sitcom. The movie was reportedly a box office success and joins a couple of Nollywood properties being turned into television series. But what is the Alakada sitcom going to offer that the movie didn’t? This is a pertinent question, given that Abraham’s movies are beginning to feel hackneyed and formulaic. The comedy genre is still Nollywood’s cash cow but cinema-ready comedies are one-dimensional. Throw a handful of familiar stars and release a trailer full of zingers, and you have yourself a comedy.
Undoubtedly, Alakada will find a platform to be aired. Audiences and fans of the actress will be ready. And Abraham knows this.