There is a successful forms of fiction which can easily morph into the basis for dozens of Hollywood movies (usually starring Hugh Grant, Katherine Heigl, or Cheech & Chong). An early model is Plautus’s Menaechmi. The Menaechmi is a comedy about mistaken identity, involving a set of twins and includes various stock characters (Roman at the time but some still around on television sit-coms) including the parasite, the comic courtesan, the comic servant, the domineering wife, the doddering father-in-law and the quack doctor.
This is one of my favorite plays. You may be more familiar with more recent incarnations of the same story including Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors (and Twelfth Night to some degree), Goldoni’s play I due gemelli venetian , and Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest. Of course the idea of having look-alikes (twins) being confused is a common trop in literature, television, and movies (Cat Ballou, Dead Ringer).
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I noticed this in the Washington Post:
Schools in a Pennsylvania county were put on lockdown after a receptionist misunderstood the words of the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which a student had as his cellphone greeting, and thought the teen was going to commit violence.
According to the The Times of Beaver, Pa., the receptionist on Thursday called 19-year-old Travis Clawson, a student at Ambridge Area High School, to remind him of an appointment and heard Clawson’s voice mail greeting, his own rendition of the theme to the 1990s hit show starring Will Smith. She thought she heard the words “shooting people outside of the school,” The Times reported, though the actual words of the song are, “And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school.”
The receptionist called the police, who put all Beaver County schools on lockdown while they looked for Clawson, who, it turned out, was in his guidance counselor’s office. Police took him into custody. …
How threatened did that receptionist feel? With the insane stand-your-ground laws she could have easily blown-away a kid who pulled a cell phone on her.
(Although I wonder about this story: a High School boy of today is into The Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Then again, it is Pennsylvania.)