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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Tucson’ comes to Tucson

    Isn’t it about time Tucson got a little attention on the small screen? Well, we’re in luck. On March 14, Fox premieres its newest comedy, “”Sons of Tucson.”” Executive producer Justin Berfield, best known for his portrayal of Reese on “”Malcolm in the Middle,”” and actor Tyler Labine (“”Reaper,”” “”Invasion””) will visit Gallagher Theater March 10 at 5 p.m. for a free preview event of the first two episodes of the series. The Arizona Daily Wildcat caught up with Berfield to discuss the show.

    Can you give a quick synopsis of “”Sons of Tucson””?

    The show is about three young boys from New Jersey: Robby, Gary and Brandon. Their father goes to jail for a white collar crime, and he’s going to be away for about 20 to 25 years. So, instead of being forced to go to a foster home, the boys decide to head out west to Tucson, Ariz., where their father has an investment home that no one knows about. But once they make it out there, they realize that they need an adult to send them to school, drive them around and to just be a parent. And what kind of guy is going to take a job like this? Ron Snuffkin (Labine). He’s kind of like the town con artist. He’s always trying to make a buck here and there. So the boys find this guy and pay him 300 bucks a week to be their “”dad.”” And he’s happy to do it. He was living in his car before he met these boys. It’s out of convenience at first, but, in the end, they learn that they really need one another.

    What’s the most unique aspect about “”Sons of Tucson””?

    The show explores the American family. We have these three kids who have all the money, and they’re the ones calling the shots. It’s something that really hasn’t been seen on television before.

    How would you categorize the show? Is it more of a family sitcom, or is it more of a dark comedy?

    Well, if you’re into family comedies, you’ll like this. But it’s a little dark around the edges as well. It’s not going to be like a “”Full House”” episode where they’re all hugging at the end. No. These guys are always trying to one-up each other and trying to get the upper hand. So it’s going to be a fun journey that I think the audience, hopefully after watching the first few episodes, will want to follow.

    Why did you choose to set the show in Tucson?

    It’s a big city and very multicultural. The kids are from New Jersey. Tucson is sort of like the Wild West to these boys. Also, Tucson hasn’t really been explored by television very often, so we’re trying something new.

    I love that you’ve chosen to preview the show in Tucson. What kind of reception are you hoping for?

    I’m hoping that everyone is pumped and excited to see the show, and I can’t wait to answer some questions for everybody. There are very few people, besides the people that work on the show, that have seen the first few episodes. And we’re excited to show it because that’s our audience, right there. Our audience members are college-aged kids. So we’re excited to show it and hear their responses.

    Have you ever been to Tucson?

    I’ve been to Tucson once. I was 15 or 16 years old. Someone I knew was doing a concert, and I went there to watch them perform. I loved it.

    Seriously? You loved Tucson?

    (Laughs) I did. I thought it was a fun city.

    How are you able to get the Tucson feel across without actually shooting in Tucson?

    We love the Southwest feel, and our production designer took photos of Tucson. For the design of the home, especially the interior, we tried to replicate the Southwest feel. And all of our scene transitions are real landscape shots of Tucson. So hopefully people who are from there will recognize some of the little pieces that we try to throw in. We really wanted to shoot in Tucson, but it just didn’t work out. We’re hoping, if we’re fortunate to get a second season, that we’ll be able to shoot at least one episode out there. We’d love for the town to enjoy it if we’re a success.

    On a more personal note, you started acting on “”Malcolm in the Middle.”” And you’re still young. You make me feel like a slacker.

    Well, I started really young. I started acting when I was five and a half. I’m sort of late now, I guess. I’ve already been in this business almost 20 years.

    What made you want to make the switch to producing?

    I started a production company with my producing partner towards the end of “”Malcolm.”” I think I was about 18 years old. It felt like I had more control over my future because, especially going through the acting process with (“”Malcolm””), there are so many different variables that are out of your control when you’re acting. I wanted to have a little control myself, and I felt like I could through producing. It’s been fun to use my artistic abilities and not just sit in front of the camera, even though I enjoyed that very much. I actually appear in the final episode of the first season (in “”Sons of Tucson””). I’m not completely out of it, but it’s just a different thing for me for a little while.

    Justin Berfield and Tyler Labine will preview the first two episodes of “”Sons of Tucson”” and answer questions on March 10 at 5 p.m. in the Gallagher Theater. “”Sons of Tucson”” premieres on Fox, March 14, 8:30 p.m. after “”Family Guy.””

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