On The Write Track

May/June 2010

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On The Write Track

Courtesy FOX

There are any number of reasons someone might defer acceptance to a PhD program, but Greg Bratman  may have added a new one to the list. He will begin his doctorate in Stanford's Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) in the fall after spending this year working on his TV series, Sons of Tucson, which debuted in March on Fox.

The show covers the lives of three kids on the run, making their way without parental interference—Mom is out of the picture and Dad is in jail for financial crimes. When they need an adult, they hire a local con man to stand in as parental authority. Bratman got the idea from observing families in coffee shops with his writing partner, Princeton classmate Tommy Dewey. "We saw how kids were bossing around their parents and thought, who has the power in this relationship?" Bratman says. "We thought we'd make it concrete with kids who actually hire a parent."

That is the extent of the show's real-life inspiration, though. The Palo Alto native is quick to note that none of the inspiration for the swindler "dad" came from his father, Stanford philosophy professor Michael E. Bratman. "If you see the show and you know my dad," Bratman says with a laugh, "you know there couldn't be two more different characters."

Bratman has pursued comedy and environmental work in parallel for some time now. He wrote plays and performed with Dewey in a two-man show after college and then got his master's in environmental science from UC-Santa Barbara while writing the Sons of Tucson pilot. "I'm interested in combining them at some point," Bratman says. For now, he is doing just fine keeping them separate.

SCOTT BLAND, ’10, is an intern at Stanford.

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