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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Halfway Home is Halfway There

    Comedy Central has made a name for itself as being creative, edgy and pushing the envelope more than most basic cable networks you’ll find like FX. However, it seems like it may be selling out in exchange for a rehashing of old material.

    Comedy Central’s new show Halfway Home, which will be premiering next Wednesday at 10:30 p.m., looked like the latest installment in a trend that beats a formerly innovative formula in to the ground like a dead and currently decaying horse, but some people may have missed the point.

    The premise of the show is a great idea, however exaggerated it may be. When the show begins, five former convicts are represented in one household run by a counselor named Kenny. He symbolizes corrupt leadership by getting caught smoking a bong, even though the show begins with him waking everyone up at 3 a.m. for a urine test.

    But the stereotypes don’t end there. In fact, the show is built on them, or seems to be.

    Kevin Ruf, who co-created the show and plays Kenny, believes the characters, however, are deeper than they appear to be on the surface. He says that if the viewer can learn to see the characters for who they truly are they then appear as real people.

    Sebastian “”C-Bass”” is in the home for Internet fraud. He’s the show’s token black guy who also thinks he’s Muslim. He even made his own urbanized Jihad video and attempts to kill himself with a poorly constructed bomb made out of bug spray.

    Another character, Alan, is not quite the upstanding, stereotypical white male you’d expect. Alan is in for arson, so his tendency towards burning stuff is mildly humorous and unique, but goes way over the top at times.

    The character of Carli, however, seems like the typical young white woman and isn’t very developed into the former drug trafficker that she portrays.

    And what would be more clichǸ than a loud, foul-mouthed, large black woman? They’ve got one. Ironically, her name is Serenity. This might seem like a good joke and her character does bring a great flare to the show.

    She is probably the most real character of them all. The satire of seeing her constantly dominating and at odds with Alan is amusing, but hopefully her antics will evolve in a way that seems fresh in later episodes.

    So whom does that leave? The gay Cuban, that’s who. After Nathan Lane’s The Birdcage, pretty much no one was able to play the comical gay man as good ever again, except for possibly Sean Hayes of Will & Grace. Still, Eulogio, played by Oscar Nunez, is one of the better-executed performances on the show. His role is about as over the top as the others, but his has more of a ceiling than the others as it might turn off certain viewers. There is only so much gay humor a public can take.

    But shows like this aren’t aiming for everyone anyway. Like the groundbreaking All in the Family from the 70’s, it is geared more towards younger viewers, and writers know that. But where Family succeeded in political, social and sexual satire, Halfway Home doesn’t quite make it there. And it also seems that Comedy Central wants to focus on a very specific group of young viewers in this case, particularly those interested in obscenity, pornography, MTV-like culturalism and liberalism.

    But rounding out the characters is more important than the dialogue itself, as Ruf points out. “”This is the ideal way to do it: focus on the characters and let them fill in the dialogue,”” said Ruf.

    As it turns out, very little of the dialogue is even written before the show goes to shooting. They also explain that they first write an outline of the story, and the actors take over from there.

    Ruf said when they were starting the show, they weren’t looking for a message. The creators of Halfway Home are crafting a show around characters more than anything else.

    Rather than saying this is a “”stereotype-driven show,”” it is more like a “”character-driven show.””

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