The Duplass brothers’ new HBO show Room 104 is an anthology that tracks a new set of guests in the titular room each week.
(Where have I heard this idea before?)
While it’s been said that there are no original ideas, now and then, there are some instances of similarity that land just a bit too close for comfort. Enter, Room 104, a television comedy by the Duplass Brothers (set to air on HBO later in the month). Now, from the trailer, it’s obvious the tone is quite different to my book, Room 702. Clearly, there are entirely different stories happening in their room vs. my room, but the concept of one room being the location for many stories is nearly identical (even if the rooms themselves are quite different). Now, I think it needs to be said that I did research the subject before I set out to write my book. In research for any of my novels, I read tons of similarly themed books (my current list of novels about Queen Victoria is massive). As with Life After Joe (where I depressingly read book after book about widows), with 702, I threw myself into the world of hotels (including fiction, behind the scenes, new books, older books, blogs about hotels, and other articles on the subject). I did this because I didn’t want to write a book that had already been written. I wanted the voice and story of the suite at the Winchester to be a new one.
So, as much as I would like to claim any sort of ownership to the television series, it would be nearly impossible to prove that either of the Duplass’s read my book (and therefore have some sort of instance of infringing on my intellectual property).
I’m mostly bummed because I always thought my book would make a good series. Now, in some way, I guess I’m right. I just wish it was my adaptation rather than theirs. Or, that I had been able to work some part of my story into theirs.
Will I watch this series? Probably, mostly out of morbid curiosity (and that James Van Der Beek is in it). And will I be frustrated if the stories start to overlap like they do in my book? You bet. Do I wish the Duplass Brothers success in this endeavor? Well, I’m not sure if I’m ready to be the bigger person here just yet…
What would you do in this situation?