Carter Thicke is just an average Santa Barbara kid. He’s a junior at Laguna Blanca, plays on the football team as well as some hockey. And he’s at an age where a summertime job working at a restaurant could really teach him the value of a dollar.
And so he’s worked his way up, cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, busing tables, and finally serving food to customers.
Except … not all of this is real. Carter is comedian Alan Thicke’s son. His older brother Robin has a huge summer hit in the charts. And this summer job is all being shot in one day by a Canadian production crew for a quasi-reality show featuring the entire Thicke clan.
Called “In the Thicke of Things,” the show will be shooting around town through November, including shots in Carpinteria, where the Thickes live. Production started three weeks ago.
And the show really will represent our city with real locations, not shooting a place and pretending its something its not.
On this Wednesday the restaurant is Palazzio, and will be shown as such. Owner Ken Boxer has been friends with Alan Thicke for more than 10 years, having met him at a mutual friend’s wedding. Mr. Thicke and family dine there regularly, and he has a favorite dish.
But here’s a bit of fibbery:
“We would never hire (him),” Mr. Boxer says. “He’s too young.” (He probably wouldn’t have him cleaning out toilets like in the scene they shot Wednesday, but hey, toilets are funny.)
For how media friendly Ken Boxer has been over the years (he had a public access show for nearly two decades) this is the first time that a television show like this has used Palazzio.
The episode will show Carter applying for a job after his dad tells him he needs to learn about an honest day’s work. And then a famous customer (the producers want to keep the name a surprise for now, but television audiences will know him or her) gives Carter an outlandish tip. And Alan now has to try to rectify the “lesson.”
The show is scripted but improvised. “It’s kind of a play on ‘Modern Family’ with a bit of Larry David,” says Darren Bryenton, one of the story producers who sat at a nearby table working alongside his producer partner, Catherine Petersen. “Viewers may even see a bit of ‘Duck Dynasty’ in there.”
“We play on their natural daily lives,” says Ms. Petersen.
According to the story producers (and executive producer Carrie Mudd), the whole family will be taking part in various episodes. That includes all three Thicke boys, Alan’s wife, Tanya, their Carpinteria ranch manager, grandchildren, and beyond. Everybody has agreed to be in it.
“We don’t cast, we don’t have extras, everyone that you will see is real,” Mr. Bryenton said.
It will be a mix of Santa Barbara and Carp locations, as well as some detours to Canada and Santa Monica. A lot will be shot at the ranch, featuring Alan Thicke’s rescue horses.
The production has hired some Santa Barbara workers, mostly as production assistants. But they’re valuable. “They know the city better than we do,” says Ms. Petersen.
Carter, who has been a background extra on some of his father’s shoots, has never acted before, but he doesn’t seem fazed by it. And this episode’s plot isn’t too true to life, yet.
“I’ve never actually worked in my life,” said Carter between shoots. “Is that a bad thing?”
But what about being an actor or an entertainer?
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said. “It’s kind of cool and new to me, and frightening at first … but I’m getting used to it.”
Does he want to do it as a career?
“Well, I’ve watched my father and my brother do it and it seems tons of fun so far. I’ll see what happens. It seems like an interesting job.”
The production will be sold to a Canadian broadcaster first, then hit American screens in the new year.