PROVO — A group of BYU and UVU students have created a stylized sitcom reminiscent of the cult favorite "Arrested Development" that they hope to offer to nationwide audiences by the end of summer.
Brigham Young University junior Sean Christensen is executive producer of "Brovo," a sitcom based on the daily lives of five twenty-somethings living in Provo. The show plays on common Provo stereotypes and misconceptions in an attempt to show the rest of the world that the town's residents are just like those of any other moderately sized metropolitan area.
"It's basically a show that — we wanted to kind of have a comedy like a "Portlandia" show — that exhibits the town of Provo, but not in a way where people watching will be like, ‘Oh, that's Mormon culture,' " Christensen said. "More like, ‘Oh, they're just like us.' "
The show focuses on Sean and Bryan, roommates who, while leading very different lives, become friends because of their close proximity. Their friends Armando and Jeff round out the group with personalities that could be found in any set of Provo friends, Christensen said. Together they try to get out of whichever situation they find themselves in at the beginning of the episode.
Christensen, who worked on a skit show for BYUtv, said he wanted something more for "Brovo."
"There are a lot of college kids out there who can appreciate a good comedy," he said. "We wanted something where the characters could develop and be something that people could feel more attached to."
About 10 students, mostly from UVU, are working on the show on a continuous basis since January, Christensen said. Altogether, 30–40 people have contributed to the effort so far. Christensen expects more than 100 to have contributed to the effort by the time the show airs.
He said the group will release episodes first on YouTube, where their current fan base is. They're also looking at options with local TV stations, Netflix and iTunes.
"We wrote the jokes so they wouldn't be over the heads of people watching it elsewhere," Christensen said. "Anyone can appreciate it, but I feel like people in the area will appreciate it more because they're like, ‘Hey, that's my street,' and people in Utah appreciate crazy humor a little more than other people."
The humor is clean, Christensen said, "but not BYUtv clean." The producers wanted something easily relatable by both people in the area and those out of state. The scenarios characters find themselves in are situations any college student could relate to, in theory. Christensen hopes that relatability will make the difference when it comes time to find a production company that will allow the show's creators to retain creative rights.
"We're working hard to make it work. We know we have an uphill battle, but we have a lot of good resources we've tapped into," he said. "We're keeping it local but at the same time we're trying to reach out and find out what we can do better."