Veering between biting satire and grim realism, Twixters is a comedy series with an edge. Produced by two U of T cinema studies grads, the show mocks the mainstream media’s portrayal of today’s young adults.
“We’re a show about 20-somethings actually written by 20-somethings,” says Aravinth Vince Kesavamoorthy (BA 2003 UC), co-producer with Alan So (BA 2003 Innis). Each of the six characters embodies a generational stereotype, which the writers systematically ridicule. There’s Neil, for example, who works nights at the grocery store in his hometown while he waits to win the lottery, and Ashley, who aspires to be famous for nothing.
2005 Time magazine article coined the term “twixters” to describe the cohort also known as millennials or generation Y: young people caught “betwixt and between” adolescence and adulthood. The article’s message, says Kesavamoorthy, is the same one delivered by many TV shows – that 21st-century 20-somethings lead self-indulgent, irresponsible lives. And the people behind Twixters say that’s definitely not true. “We felt that there were a lot of opinions on our generation from previous generations, but no platform for us for rebuttal,” says Kesavamoorthy, 29. Along with the show’s creators, Dan Speerin and Wes McClintock, and a group of volunteer actors, they shot six five-minute episodes on a shoe string in summer 2007. With fluid camera move ments, an all-knowing narrator and a pseudo-documentary style, Twixters is like Arrested Development on a budget.
The show aired on specialty channel Bite TV in Canada between November 2007 and September 2008. Twixters also has a strong online presence on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace (start at www.twixterstv.com).
Kesavamoorthy and So are taking a break from making new episodes to pursue opportunities that have sprung from the show. This fall they produced The What Is: Election 2008, a panel discussion on federal election issues affecting 20-somethings. It aired on ichannel, Canada’s public and social affairs issues station. They are now at work on the next three The What Is episodes, in which millennials debate topics of the day. As for the fate of Twixters, they are pitching the show to major networks. “We just wanted to start an interesting and intelligent debate between the generations, but now that it’s gotten to this point we feel a responsibility to do more,” says Kesavamoorthy. “This conversation needs to happen on a greater scale.”
By bringing artificial intelligence into chemistry, Prof. Aspuru-Guzik aims to vastly shrink the time it takes to develop new drugs – and almost everything else