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Heading Back To High School

Heading Back To High SchoolIn his second prime-time comedy, Tufts graduate Kenny Schwartz sends a 34-year-old back in time to re-live his high school days in "Do Over."

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.20.02] While more than a decade has passed since Kenny Schwartz roamed the Boston area as a student at Tufts, the writer and producer has kept the city top of mind. Just as he did with his first prime-time comedy "Two Guys and a Girl," Schwartz has set his newest sitcom in the Boston area, where he sends a 34-year-old back in time to "Do Over" his high school years.

"I went to school in Boston, and I just loved it," the 1989 Tufts graduate told the Newton TAB. "I just loved the city and I loved the surrounding areas, and we were just trying to figure out where to place [my new show] 'Do Over.'"

The city of Newton - just a few miles from Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus - seemed like a good fit for the show, which airs on Thursday nights on the WB.

"I love real settings," Schwartz told the TAB. "It just places the show, I think, in a more real world."

It's an approach he's taken before.

When he created "Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place" - which ran for four years on ABC - Schwartz based the show in a Somerville pizza joint, which he stocked with Tufts banners and signs. One of the comedy's lead characters was a student at Tufts Medical School and the University made a number of appearances in the script - including a full episode dedicated to Tufts' annual Homecoming.

In "Do Over," the plot is a little more far-fetched than Schwartz's first sitcom.

"['Do Over'] begins with a 34-year-old Joel getting zapped back in time where he awakens with his high school gym teacher (Tom Wilson, Biff in the "Back To The Future" movies) standing over him. It's 1980 and Joel is 14, dressed in parachute pants, an Izod shirt with the alligator logo an a Members Only jacket," reported the Pittsburg Post Gazette. "Joel sets out to right the wrongs of the forthcoming 20 years, which includes his parents' divorce, his sister's substance abuse and his own thinning hair and dead-end job."

The script, which is filled with 1980s references, offered Schwartz a chance to explore a scenario that many people have contemplated - even if just for a few minutes.

"We put him back in freshman year in high school, exactly where [co-producer] Rick [Wiener] and I were," Schwartz told the TAB. "And we just thought how great would it be if we could go back and basically have a do-over, and redo the things in our life that would need to be changed."

As the writers explore in the show, not everything was better in high school.

"I completely forgot people beat you up in school," Joel - the show's lead character - observes in the pilot episode. "When you're older, they just go behind your back and complain to human resources."

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