Mayor Bob Walkup proclaimed March 14 ""Sons of Tucson Day"" at Wednesday's free screening of two episodes of ""Sons of Tucson,"" a new Fox sitcom from executive producer Justin Berfield, who starred in and produced ""Malcolm in the Middle.""
""This new show gives Tucson visual recognition on national television,"" Walkup said. ""To get a show like this in Tucson is an extraordinary thing.""
Mayor Walkup presented Berfield with a gold key, a symbolic gift of appreciation, in Gallagher Theater.
""It's not something we do very often,"" Walkup said of giving a key to the city.
Walkup has given such a key to 11 people in his 10 years as mayor.
""It has to be someone who is a leader and has done great things,"" Walkup said.
""Sons of Tucson"" is the first sitcom to receive a key to the City of Tucson.
Berfield and Tyler Labine, one of the show's stars, responded to questions and comments before and after the screening.
The show is set in Tucson ""because it's a big city, and, as we all say, there's stuff to do here, things to see,"" Berfield said.
Berfield and Labine added that heat plays an important role in the show.
""My character lives in his car and is desperately trying to find air conditioning,"" Labine said.
Berfield said Tucson is a place that Hollywood hasn't really explored. The nine ""Sons of Tucson"" writers have a map of Tucson and try to incorporate real street names in the show, he said.
The show is filmed in Santa Clarita, Calif., but Berfield would like to film episodes in Tucson if Fox picks up the show for another season.
""For economic reasons, we cannot film the show in Tucson,"" Berfield said.
This was Berfield's second visit to Tucson. Berfield came to Tucson when he was a teenager and enjoyed the city.
""Everyone is really gracious and hospitable here,"" he said.
Labine and Berfield came to the UA to reach out to the university community.
""We figure, we're college sons of Tucson, and we thought this would be an appropriate spot,"" Labine said.
Berfield and Labine said their favorite things about Tucson are the UA and El Charro Restaurant.
The screening drew a crowd of UA students, families, children and high school students, among many others. The first 100 visitors got free ""Sons of Tucson"" T-shirts.
Undeclared freshman Iris Gishkin stayed for the duration of both episode screenings.
""The show was pretty funny, but I would have liked to have seen more shots of Tucson,"" Gishkin said. ""It didn't generally look like Tucson. They showed a barren desert, and that's not what Tucson looks like.""