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Bay State Celebrates 150 Episodes

BUTV10’s long-running soap opera delivers sex, drugs, and murder

Any other school with Beacon Hill College’s reputation for trouble would long ago have been shuttered. But after 26 years of blackmail, cults, a serial killer, and numerous other lurid plotlines, the fictional college forming the backdrop of BU’s student-run soap opera Bay State is alive and well. The show—believed to be the nation’s oldest college soap opera—marks a milestone Thursday evening, when BUTV10 airs its 150th episode.

“I appreciate the freedom as well as the history that the show has,” says Bay State head writer Tom Laverriere (COM’17), who first discovered the show while he was in high school. “It’s fun for me and the writing team to look back at what’s been done and to keep it fresh and keep it going.”

As a teaser for the semester’s first episode Thursday, head producer Laura Goodfriend (COM’16) reveals that a main character will be murdered, and the audience will watch each of the suspects being interrogated by police. “Since ‘Sex, drugs, and murder’ is our motto, we wanted to keep with that theme for this episode,” Goodfriend says.

The Bay State team airs three new episodes a semester, but planning and production begin months before taping. Laverriere encourages his writers to draw inspiration from absurd or quirky things that have happened in their own lives. He also watches old episodes of network soaps like The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless and adapts their plotlines for a college audience. “I like to say we’re like a college version of Degrassi,” he says.

Absurdity aside, Laverriere says many of the show’s storylines have been taking a more serious tone. Another plot development introduced in the 150th episode involves a sexual assault. Subsequent episodes will deal with its aftermath.

Eric Betancourt on the set of BUTV10 soap opera Bay State

Eric Betancourt (CAS'17) plays Dylan on Bay State.

“What I’ve taken away from Bay State most is the passion for telling stories that can make a difference or start a dialogue,” he says. “Our show has had a consistent representation of LGBT characters, and that’s a really important voice that’s not always present in TV. I started thinking about how I can use what I’ve been doing at BU and merge it with a meaningful path, how I have the opportunity to use storytelling to expose more people to important issues or to start a dialogue.”

Many students working on the show first joined as freshmen, rising through the ranks from production assistants to more senior cast and crew members. The show’s running gag is that none of the characters ever gets to “just” graduate.

“We’ve had people go to prison, murdered, sometimes a job offer, go abroad, or get married,” Laverriere says. “But usually it’s more elaborate than that.”

Bay State’s 150th episode will air Thursday, January 28, at 8 p.m. on BUTV10. A special screening of the episode will be held Friday, January 29, at 7 p.m. in the College of Communication, Room B05. The BU community is welcome to attend.

2 Comments
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

2 Comments on Bay State Celebrates 150 Episodes

  • Valenti Voroshilov on 02.12.2016 at 10:36 am

    Congratulations on the 150th episode! Here is an idea. Why wouldn’t BU students started a reality TV show. About BU students. Taking a course. For example – physics. For example with me (V. Voroshilov), during the summer I and II. Could be a dramatic experience for viewers, practical experience for student producers and writers, a field for advertising for add students, an experiment in the field of emerging media, and in the end two MOOCs – physics and TV production – for everyone who wants to learn physics (and have some fun with it).

    • Helen on 02.16.2016 at 8:26 am

      Sounds great! Would there be any major-related polices? I’m not majoring in phisics but I am very interested in this reality TV show idea!

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