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‘Dome-ish’ season two aims to explore cultural issues

| Thursday, October 4, 2018

The second season of “Dome-ish,” the television program showcasing diversity and identity problems at the University of Notre Dame, will premiere Thursday in the Duncan Student Center. While carrying over the message of the first season, the second run of “Dome-ish” will have a different stylistic and dramatic focus.

Senior Erin Williams, one of the producers of “Dome-ish,” said the program will explore a variety of themes related to privilege.

“We deal with all issues relating to privilege and inequality. That’s a very general way of saying it,” she said. “But race, gender, poverty, sexuality — more broad than sexual assault, just abuse in general.”

Whereas the last season of “Dome-ish” had a more comedic focus with little or no story carryover between episodes, this season will feature a continuing narrative surrounding a set of characters, junior Durrell Jackson, another producer, said.

“This year, we decided to take a different stylistic approach,” Jackson said. “One thing is we wanted to make an episodic series. We implemented main characters and a storyline that flows from episode to episode. These are main characters that you’re going to be able to follow. … We changed the face of it, but not the idea of it.”

The sketch comedy-focused first season presented some problems, Jackson said. For example, he said the lack of a continued storyline made it difficult for people to get attached to the series.

“Getting feedback from people who were watching it, they didn’t feel the need to follow when it was just skits,” he said. “It was just like ‘oh yeah, I should catch this skit this week and not worry about the rest.’ We wanted to develop something where you want to go back and watch that first episode, you want to follow along, you want to see how these characters develop. … We wanted to develop a following that’s just going to carry.”

Williams and Jackson said the storylines will consist of “realistic fiction.” He said “Dome-ish” will be different from a program like “Show Some Skin” in that not every story will recount an actual occurrence.

Both Williams and Jackson expressed a hope that the episodic series will be more focused.

“We’ve kind of narrowed it on the things that we can talk about, but I would like to say we took 100 cars and put them in four lanes, in the tunnel,” Jackson said. “Before, it was like a million cars in the parking lot all trying to get out. We’re able to slowly feed you a lot of things in a tighter format so it’s easier to receive.”

Williams said that each issue won’t necessarily become the focal point of every episode.

“There may just be one comment that touches on an issue that’s happening on campus,” Williams said.

The season will not just focus on problems at Notre Dame. The producers said the programming will also deal with issues happening in the broader world, as well as family and other at-home issues characters are having. The second season of “Dome-ish” is intended for a wider audience than the first.

On the whole, Williams and Jackson both said they hope “Dome-ish” will serve as an introduction to sometimes overlooked and ignored cultural problems.

“The problem I’ve seen with Notre Dame in trying to bring important issues to the forefront is that we’re always preaching to the choir,” Williams said. “We’re always preaching issues to people who already know and who have already brought them to the mainstream, to the forefront. It’s the majority culture, the dominant culture, that’s sometimes not listening to us. I usually see entertainment as a way of bringing these issues to the forefront and not being so, maybe in other words, aggressive. So, this is our way of introducing issues to the majority culture.”

Jackson said he hopes that the changes made to “Dome-ish” will help expand its reach.

“On the visual side, I wanted to create a different experience and different type of showing of talent in how creative we can get,” he said. “ … We kind of stepped it up from last year. We’re still amateur, don’t get us wrong. We don’t have all the professional equipment, we don’t have all the professional skills. We’re trying to touch a little bit on that level where it’s not just people on campus that are watching. It’s to where it can reach avenues — the South Bend community, our communities at home — where they watch it and say, ‘Oh that show’s nice!’ … We most definitely feel like that we can showcase this here, but also make it wide enough where we can showcase it everywhere.”

The “Dome-ish” premiere will take place in the Duncan Student Center at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The season will consist of eight episodes and be available on YouTube after their official airing.

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About Tom Naatz

Tom is a senior at University of Notre Dame. He is majoring in Political Science and Spanish and is originally from Rockville, Maryland. Formerly The Observer's Notre Dame News Editor, he's now a proud columnist for the paper.

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