New TV show looks for laughs and love in post-grad Life

by Christina Jedra / Beacon Staff • September 29, 2011

, Beacon Correspondent/strong

The post-grad struggles many are already worrying about will be the focus of emAt This Point in My Life,/em a new student-created show, a bi-weekly, single-camera comedy airing on the Emerson Channel.

Starring its own creators and including quite a bit of improvisation, the show follows the lives of the three main actors, junior writing, literature, and publishing major and Beacon theater columnist Benjamin Kabialis, senior visual and media arts major Roger Ouellette, and interdisciplinary studies major Quinn Marcus, who studies comedy writing and performance.

The show was inspired by the months the trio spent living together this past summer in an Allston apartment.

But the idea was first sparked while Ouellette was working with Kabialis last year on the Emerson Channel’s emEvery Shade of Wrong/em and with Marcus on last year’s EVVY Awards. When the three got together, they believed they had something special. After spending the summer together in such close quarters the genuine chemistry between the three main actors was undeniable.

“The three of us have different strengths,” said Marcus. She has a history of improv, Kabialis theatrical writing, and Ouellette prefers writing for television. With all the necessary ingredients, the group just needed a premise for their show.

“We got to witness our friends go through the post-grad intermediate [phase],” said Ouellette.  By observing their friends experience employment limbo, the three actors developed the characters of the three post-grads they play on the show. “[Our characters] all have a sense that [they] have to move on,” he says, “but [they’re] all fighting against that.”

While the characters do fight against the realities of growing up, you won’t see much fighting between the characters themselves  — there’s a unique tenderness that sets the show’s mood. “With most comedy shows, there’s a lot of bickering,” Kabialis said in an interview. However, in emAt This Point In My Life/em, the characters use their camaraderie as entertainment and don’t depend on stereotypical roommate conflict as a source of their humor. “We function as a unit and never get angry with each other.”

You can sense the warmth between the characters in the short promo that was presented at the comedy troupe performances during Orientation week, a video that is also available on YouTube.

The premise of the scene is simple: the characters play with Roger’s hair in a small bathroom. However, the single camera angle and flowing, light-hearted dialogue help the audience feel like they are a part of the bonding that occurs in the scene. While the promo isn’t side-splittingly hilarious, it depicts three playful people who enjoy each other’s company.

“It’s basically based on things that have happened to us,” said Kabialis in a phone interview. “We say we’re not going to waste this summer like we’ve wasted all the summers before this, and then it cuts to after summer and we’ve done nothing but stay in the apartment the whole time.”

Their landlord then gives them notice that they have three weeks before they’ll be evicted, in which time the show’s actions take place.

Kabialis describes the material as conversational and realistic, but above all, sincere.

“There are strange things that happen to us ... and sometimes we make mistakes, and then we try to fix them but we usually end up making even bigger mistakes.”

He says the crew strives to ensure that these characters always deal with the odd predicaments they encounter as a unit rather than squabbling with one another.

Production on the show’s seven episodes begins next week. In addition to airing on the Emerson Channel, they will be presented in special screenings at the end of the semester.

strongemAt This Point in My Life/em premieres Wednesday, Oct. 5 and will continue releasing episodes biweekly throughout the semester./strong

emJedra can be reached at christina_jedra@emerson.edu. Tim Strain, Beacon Staff, contributed reporting, and can be reached at timothy.strain@gmail.com./em