Michael Schur’s professional resume (in reverse chronological order: co-created “Parks and Recreation,” wrote for “The Office” and “Saturday Night Live”) is impressive enough on its own. The headline above suggests he’s applying for a particular kind of sainthood: The guy directed a Decemberists video based on the Eschaton game from Infinite Jest.
If you haven’t read Infinite Jest, I’m not going to waste your time or mine explaining the game, because you should read the book so we can talk about it, okay? (It’s long, but it’s worth it!) But the entire notion of Schur, the guy who runs “Parks and Recreation” and occasionally plays Mose on “The Office,” directing a Decemberists video based entirely on this game from Infinite Jest is just wonderful.
Two interesting tidbits from the Times article about the video reached through the monitor and grabbed my attention. First:
Not long after the publication of “Infinite Jest,” Mr. Schur successfully persuaded the attention-shy Wallace to come to Cambridge, Mass., and receive an award from The Harvard Lampoon, the collegiate humor magazine that had been the stomping grounds of John Updike, George Plimpton and William Gaddis. During the visit, Mr. Schur said Wallace talked about his fear that he had unintentionally cribbed the Eschaton section from the Don DeLillo novel “End Zone,” which also uses sports and games as metaphors for war. Though Mr. DeLillo was ultimately unconcerned, Mr. Schur said Wallace “told me that for a week or so he had this really sinking feeling that his whole career was over.”
[Schur] said he did not worry about seeking permission from Wallace’s business representatives because he had recently acquired the film rights to “Infinite Jest.”
(Mr. Schur added that he had no immediate plans to film an “Infinite Jest” feature. “I like my current job a lot,” he said.)
Golly. It’s somewhat reassuring to know that someone who is such a devoted fan has the rights, but I sincerely don’t think the book would work as a movie. I’ve given this an undue amount of thought (naturally) and the only thing that would work would be a miniseries of some kind (maybe 12 episodes, or even two 10-episode seasons). There’s a lot of text and story and tangents and things and a movie would be a very bad idea, but a miniseries — a miniseries from a plainly qualitative person who cares about the material — well, that could be something worthwhile. Maybe. I don’t know. Go watch the video.