“Your friends. Your family. Your courts. You’re up.” So reads the poster strapline of Pick City, a pickleball comedy series now available to watch on YouTube.
The first three episodes of Pick City were made available for streaming on December 14, followed by episodes 4-6 at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 28.
A Volunteer Cast Of Local Residents
Filmed in Charlevoix, Northern Michigan, during the summer of this year, the series features a volunteer cast of local residents. Actor Phillip Wampler, recognized for roles in Last Vegas (2013), as Alex in Ghost Squad (2015), and the supernatural thriller Nocturne (2020), takes the lead role and is the driving force behind the production.
The show is based on a combination of real events and fictitious scenarios of actor Phillip Wampler, with fictional roles played by real pickleball players and Phillip’s friends. The Michigan cities in the show are also fictional.
“This Great Group Of People”
A member of the Screen Actors Guild at 24, Wampler found inspiration for the Parks and Recreation-style comedy series during the SAG-AFTRA strike. His idea took seed following the experiences he went through while making ends meet as a waiter at Charlevoix’s Weathervane restaurant.
“I started going to the pickleball courts, and for the next month or two, I got to know this great group of people — who are also in the show — and they really became my family,” he said.
“This whole thing was done while the strikes were going on in California. I was trying to find a new way to get new content out there,” he added. “After I got to know the Charlevoix pickleball community, I presented the idea to them, and they were all really interested in doing it.”
A “Guilt-Trip” Phone Call
The narrative revolves around Wampler’s character Phillip Wampson, a young actor from Los Angeles who unwillingly returns to Northern Michigan after a phone call to his parents guilt-trips him into agreeing to spend the summer there.
Affectionately dubbed “PWamps,” he is a huge fan of television, movies, sports, and, most notably, pickleball.
Joining his uncle Jack (sister of Phillip’s mum, Jill!), portrayed by seasonal resident John Hess, on the local pickleball courts, an engaging story of family, friendship, and the dynamics of competition unfolds.
His Over-Protective Parents
Pick City also features Kathie and Steve Libert as Phillip’s over-protective parents. Leilani Leigh Durbin plays Rachel, the savvy mayor of Bridge City, and her scheming pickleball-mad project manager, Kate Matthews, is portrayed by G.G.
Sawyer Forton is hilarious as the bumbling Pisces, who Rachel says is from another galaxy!
The catchy theme tune was written and performed by Quixote Sound, who also provides the soundtrack to the series, courtesy of local DJ Jeff Stevens as local DJ J.D. Burnett!
The series is quirky, charming, and easy to watch. It has some truly engaging characters and uses pickleball as an interesting metaphor for life and its many facets. It’s well worth a watch!
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