Thursday, October 28, 2010

Report From The Set: 'Glory Daze'...

It was an unseasonably warm day in Pasadena CA yesterday. The sun beat down on the grass and reflected off the water in the fountains on the fictional campus of Hayes University. It definitely took me back to my own days in college when I would sit out in the sun for hours between classes, reading, tanning, chatting with friends. But it didn't stop there: I ended up traveling even further back in time, to Hayes' Homecoming 1986. Because that was the episode the new TBS comedy Glory Daze was shooting.
Glory Daze, which premieres on TBS on November 16th at 10pm, follows a new freshmen class as they bumble their way through college life, including bonding with their roommates, pledging fraternities, hitting on sorority girls, and oh yeah, once in awhile attending actual classes. As series regular Eric Nenninger explained, the show is much more about finding one's self and one's place in the world than just simply going through the routine of academia. Therefore, even those who may not have gone to college themselves will be able to relate to these characters and their experiences.

You will be able to read more from my cast interviews over on my Examiner page as it gets closer to the series premiere. You should definitely click subscribe to be sure not to miss anything!

I didn't get to really watch any of the shooting this time around; I was there to have lunch with the guys (and one gal) to talk about their new period piece comedy. And just like the characters they play, I found that everyone was extremely open, funny, down-to-Earth. As
Callard Harris, who plays Reno, the big-time frat recruiter, put it: "We're all huggers on this set!"

But they're also, for the most part, all musicians. Rounding out the cast is
Tim Jo (who you might remember from Bandslam), Drew Seeley (High School Musical tour, anyone?), and James Earl who just released an album available on iTunes called "The Future 3". The guys all discussed the idea of renting some studio time together once the season wraps and maybe even performing a triple bill at a local LA spot. No doubt that once November 17th rolls around many local fans would come out for a night of music featuring the Glory Daze guys!

The series shoots at an abandoned college in Pasadena that shares its grounds with a still-functioning high school. Production signs adorn the lawns and stairs, warning the students of cameras and the crew of minors in the area. The cast joked that on Fridays when the high school has their football games, it makes for instant (and free) background actors should they be shooting exteriors. Only difference is, none of the kids currently enrolled there were even born when the show is set.

Led by
Julianna Guill, who plays Christie, a co-ed who sits next to Joel (Kelly Blatz) in the first day of classes and immediately catches his eye, I was brought on a walking tour of all of the dorm rooms, lecture halls, and mansions that double as frat houses. She gave out lots of little tidbits and trivia, namely to pay close attention to the time-sensitive props and set dressing, like rotary phones, cassette tapes, and old knob-adorned televisions. A few of the Guill's co-stars joined in on the tour, cracking jokes about the size of the spaces and the fringe, Spandex, and denim vests of the wardrobe department, and warning the press that parts of the mansion may even be haunted. Guill had come in on her day off to play hostess, and it was great to see how passionate about the show the group was as a whole and how eager they were to hang out with each other during their "down time".

Glory Daze is the type of show that is fun and different because, as Jo pointed out, it is still a period piece and therefore all of the crazy, debaucherous things the characters do seem just a little bit more wholesome when set in the backdrop of a "simpler time". After all, consider the world in 1986, if you can remember it: they didn't have email; computers were one to a school; and both clothing and hair were oversized. In many ways, Glory Daze will tug at the sentimental heartstrings the way that My Generation did but being a comedy, it's appeal may be just a bit broader, giving it the perfect ingredients for success.

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