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.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.