Corner Gas: Season One

Even though it doesn't have quite the same following as Trailer Park Boys, Corner Gas is one of the best new shows to come out of Canada in the past few years. Created by comedian and Saskatchewan native Brent Butt, this show features a cast of archetypal characters who bring hilarity to the small town of Dog River. Because Butt was raised in Saskatchewan, he knows all the jokes people make about the prairies; mainly that they're flat and there is nothing to do. So he plays on this, knowing what it is really like in this part of Canada, and creates a funny show based around relatively normal people who do a whole lot of nothing. To describe the show's cast of characters would reveal a group that sounds pretty typical, but then again, the description of Seinfeld wouldn't sound overly impressive. First there's Brent Leroy (Brent Butt) who runs the only gas station in town. He's a sarcastic regular Joe who plays the straight man to his best friend Hank, the town's loveable idiot. The only two cops in town are both pretty naïve and inept, but most of the time there isn't any real police business to tend to so they use their radar guns to check the speed of birds passing overhead. Lacey is an import from Toronto who moved to Dog River because she inherited the café next door to the gas station from her deceased aunt. But the funniest character is Brent's father, Oscar Leroy. He's a grump who used to run the gas station before he handed it off to his son. He's the quintessential crabby, old and often confused dad who refuses to listen to people's advice, so he ends up in a lot of amusing situations as a result. In one episode, Brent lends his dad a video, knowing full well that Oscar doesn't have a VCR, so for fun he waits to see what his dad will do with the tape. When Oscar comes back to see Brent, his line ("How am I supposed to watch the Jaws show if I don't have one of those movie machines for my TV") is so typical of an old man who doesn't know much about pop culture that it's hilarious. Despite the fact that this is a well-written show full of Simpsons-like segues and lines that are worth repeating to your friends the next day, it's a bit premature for the first season to be released. The second season has only just started and the special features — some funny commentaries and some not-so-funny blooper reels — aren't worthy of constituting a box set so soon. (VSC, www.videoservicecorp.com)