TV Review | The Ron James Show 1.1

When The Ron James Show (CBC: premiered September 25, 8:00 PM ET/PT) was announced as the replacement for Royal Canadian Air Farce, I wasn’t expecting much.  The verbose Nova Scotia comic has plied his trade in a series of decreasingly entertaining CBC comedy specials.

There’s also the matter of Blackfly, the Global series that managed two seasons – TWO SEASONS! – despite being a manky, Blackadder-baiting piece of shit.  While anything is better than more Royal Canadian Air Farce*, Ron James has that major failure under his belt.

As a bonus, The Ron James Show executive producer Garry Campbell was responsible for The Good Germany.  I’m well aware of the depths to which Campbell’s shows can plumb.

The Ron James Show doesn’t oversell itself – James does some monologues, appears in all of the sketches, nothing fancy.  There’s an animated segment called “L’il Ronnie,” which sucks, but is still better than the average Air Farce Alan Park segment.

The Ron James Show benefits from slick production values.  The opening credits alone look more expensive than an episode of Royal Canadian Air Farce.  Most of the sketches are of average quality, but none of them descend into Comedy Inc. levels of inanity.

The final sketch, where James experiences life as a slave on the Underground Railroad Weekend Experience, is a highlight.  It’s a fairly edgy sketch for an 8:00 PM show, what with blacks exploiting whites for cheap labour.  The Wendy Mesley voiceover cameo is a bonus.  I hope the writing gets stronger in future episodes, in order to counteract Rick Mercer’s gradual transformation into Shelagh Rogers.

I’m not going to recommend The Ron James Show on the basis of its one aired episode.  The real test is whether subsequent episodes improve on The Ron James Show‘s initial outing.  I’m just surprised this show is anything at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather see Rob Pue with a show, but you know, Canada.

*Except for Comedy Inc.