New CBC-TV show 18 to Life takes light-hearted look at teenage newlyweds

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - In the new CBC-TV sitcom "18 to Life," Michael Seater plays Tom Bellow, a gangly, charmingly ordinary 18-year-old who finds himself engaged to his neighbour after proposing in a game of truth or dare.
It's not exactly a situation to which the 22-year-old actor can personally relate.
"At 18, I think I had my first serious girlfriend, one of like two that I've had. I'm definitely not anywhere near being ready to commit to a marriage, let alone a relationship," the Toronto native told The Canadian Press in a recent telephone interview.
"When I was 12, my sister got married at 22 and I thought, 'She's a full-grown adult.' Now that I'm 22? I'm like, that is ... crazy. At 18, I couldn't even imagine it."
But it doesn't take much for Seater's character to pop the question to his childhood friend (and more recently, his girlfriend), Jessie Hill, played by "Degrassi" alum Stacey Farber.
There's no pregnancy or other plot contrivance dragging the teens to the altar in the pilot of "18 to Life," which airs on Monday (CBC, 8 p.m. ET). Simply put, the characters just love one another, which appealed to Farber.
"I can't imagine being married right now," the 22-year-old Toronto native said. "But I think it's a really sweet idea. And I like that they get married out of love and not because Jessie's pregnant or something like that."
The show is also about the couple's different-as-can-be parents, who become reluctant in-laws.
Seater's character's parents (played by veteran actors Peter Keleghan and Ellen David) are stern and conservative, and fume with disbelief at the news of the engagement.
Farber's character, meanwhile, lives with an almost imposingly liberal pair (Al Goulem and Angela Asher), whose hippy-dippy easygoing attitude (they even offer to lend the fledgling couple their copy of the Kama Sutra) obscures their own deep disapproval of the union - pretty much the only thing they share with their hated neighbours.
Over the course of 12 first-season episodes (the pilot was shot in 2008 in Montreal, with filming for the rest of the first season occurring over the summer), the three couples are thrown together in a variety of situations, while Farber and Seater's newlyweds navigate their transition into adulthood.
Still, the tone remains fairly breezy, with an eye for that sweet spot between embarrassment and laughs.
The actors hope that the show delves further into humiliating humour in the future.
"Tom and Jessie are often the straight men in the show, because the parents are so wacky," Farber said. "So when I have an episode where I get to be ridiculous, that's more fun for me as an actor.
"I usually do have an issue with it initially, but that's just nerves. Then once we're on set and we shoot it and I see a finished product, since I've just been watching a few of the episodes, I'm usually happy with the more awkward episodes."
Added Seater: "If anything, sometimes I wish I had taken more risks and gone a bit bigger with stuff."

Organizations: CBC, Canadian Press

Geographic location: TORONTO, Montreal

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