July 25, 2011

TV Review | The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour 1.1, 1.2

The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (Action: Pope Productions/Happy Funtime Productions, 2011) is a case study in Canadian television not meeting its potential.  Drunk and on Drugs stars actors from Trailer Park Boys, one of the rare Canadian television phenomena of the past decade.  Amy Sedaris and Jay Baruchel, two reasonably popular celebrities, appear in small roles.  In addition, Drunk and on Drugs is the late Maury Chaykin’s episodic television swan song.

Where does Shaw Media air Drunk and on Drugs, then?  The channel it was originally slotted for, Showcase?  No, Shaw Media burns it off on an obscure Showcase spinoff channel, in the middle of July, two episodes at a time.  That’s a shame, as The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is the best Canadian television I’ve seen so far this summer.

Robb Wells, Mike Smith and John Paul Tremblay play themselves, as they try to figure out why they’re in random predicaments (in a trashed motel room, inside a giant wooden penis) at the beginning of each episode.  Dr. Funtime (Maury Chaykin), who may or may not be a real scientist and/or Maury Chaykin, has created a blueberry-based hallucinogen that keeps the residents of Port Cockerton in line.

Wells, Smith and Tremblay are also kept in Port Cockerton, for reasons as yet unexplained.  Meanwhile, television executive K. Money (Amy Sedaris) is pissed off, as she tries to assemble hours of show footage into something remotely coherent.  I’m not sure what any of this means, if anything.

Wells, Smith and Tremblay play multiple characters throughout the show.  In lesser hands, Drunk and on Drugs would be a vanity project in the tradition of Single White Spenny and Good Dog.  Thankfully, The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is an ambitious attempt at weaving multiple narratives into a cohesive whole.  Based on the first two episodes, it actually succeeds on this level.

Even given the show’s more outlandish elements (the armless Papa Karlson’s Feetza Pizza, the DJs of all-gay radio station CGAY, the geriatric mob family, Dr. Funtime), Drunk and on Drugs is fairly tightly plotted.  If Trailer Park Boys is Danger Man/Secret Agent, The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is The Prisoner.  That’s not to say Drunk and on Drugs is as good as The Prisoner, just that the two shows inhabit the same plane of weirdness.  I’m interested to see how the remainder of Drunk and on Drugs pans out.

If you’re curious, the first two episodes of The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour are online at drunkandondrugs.com.  The episodes aren’t viewable outside Canada, but one can get around the geoblocking.  See?  Canadian television not meeting its potential.  I hope The Comedy Network doesn’t wrap a similar geofence around Picnicface.


January 30, 2011

News: Pure Pwnage cancelled by Showcase

I am late to this news, as I haven’t seen mention of it at TV, Eh? or other Canadian television sites, but Pure Pwnage has been officially cancelled by Showcase.  Pure Pwnage co-creator/pwnerer Jarett Cale first broke the news with this January 19, 2011 posting.  On January 25, the Showcase Facebook wall confirmed the show’s cancellation.

Reasons given by Cale for the show’s cancellation include “poorer-than-expected ratings, a new direction for [Showcase]…and poorer-than-expected web traffic.”  Pure Pwnage‘s web series is also on hold, perhaps indefinitely.

The most interesting thing about Cale’s post is the announcement of a Pure Pwnage first-TV-season DVD set, due March 2011.  Unfortunately, the set is for Australia, on the ABC DVD label.  It will contain the as-aired shows, as well as supplemental web material.

The Pure Pwnage fans are fairly active in defending the TV show.  There are pro-Pwnage, anti-everything-else ravings on the Showcase Facebook wall, which is to be expected for any cancelled show with a vocal fanbase.  More encouragingly, the fans are actively campaigning for the show to find a new network.

The most logical prospective network for Pure Pwnage is G4 Canada, which hardly produces anything aside from Reviews on the Run and EP Daily.  Pure Pwnage is most likely dead, in both television and webseries forms.  Then again, Kenny vs. Spenny moved from CBC to Showcase.  Paradise Falls managed to drag on until 2008.  Carla Collins still manages to find work.  Hardly anything works the way it should in Canadian television.


January 29, 2011

News: Testees complete series DVD to come out in 2011

Testees, Kenny Hotz and Derek Harvie’s 2008 Showcase/FX sitcom, has earned a two-disc series set in 2011, through Entertainment One Home Video.  The show stars Jeff Kassel and Steve Markle as Ron and Peter, two human guinea pigs testing products for TESTICO.

Kenny Hotz is long-tenured guinea pig Larry, while Joe Pingue carves a niche as obnoxious schemer Nugget.  Kim Schraner appears as bar owner Kate…at least until she’s written off midseason, presumably to make room for more Nugget.

Testees fans might remember this URBMN article, which debunked rumours of a Canada-only second season.  FX Productions and Blueprint Entertainment originally produced the series, and Blueprint has since folded into Entertainment One.  I’d consider Testees‘ cancellation official now.

Both TVShowsonDVD.com and eOne Home Video’s site give the release date as April 26, 2011.  Amazon.ca has it as February 22, 2011.  I assume the amazon.ca date is wrong, but hey, the Testees DVD is out.  That’s more than I can say for Less Than Kind right now.


December 20, 2010

News: Fugget About It graduates from the Teletoon Pilot Project

Fugget About It is the first show greenlit under the auspices of the Teletoon Pilot Project.  As per the press release, Fugget About It will be showrun by Jeff Abugov, writer and/or producer for shows like Two and a Half Men, Grace Under Fire, Roseanne, Caroline in the City and That’s So Raven.  Fugget About It is scheduled to debut for the Fall 2012-13 season.

Fugget About It is focused on teenaged nobody Petey Falcone.  His father Jimmy was once the head of a large crime syndicate, but Jimmy just couldn’t whack his Uncle Cheech.  The Falcones are now in witness protection, living in Regina, Saskatchewan as the MacDougalls.

I still don’t understand this choice, even after a few hours.  I get that 9 Story Entertainment has a prior relationship with Corus Entertainment, having made the upcoming Almost Naked Animals for YTV.  Teletoon aired another 9 Story property, Best Ed, in 2008.  Does anyone remember Best Ed?  Exactly my point.

Seriously, Teletoon, is this the best you can do?  I thought Angora Napkin, Dunce Bucket, Ninjamaica, Nerdland and Space Knights Go! would be greenlit before Fugget About It.  The show’s premise – Mafiosi in small-city Canada – isn’t unworkable, but I don’t understand what Teletoon sees in it.

I think this is a bad decision by Teletoon.  If Teletoon had greenlit Angora Napkin or Ninjamaica first, I would have been fine with the Teletoon Pilot Project, but Fugget About It?  I already have.


November 2, 2010

Teletoon Pilot Project Time | Dunce Bucket, Angora Napkin

This is the first of what I hope will be a few reviews concerning the Teletoon Pilot Project.  The Pilot Project, which has currently aired three of its nine pilots, airs every Sunday at 11:30 PM on…well, you can just guess.

Since URBMN is pilot-friendly, I’m attracted to the Teletoon Pilot Project.  I’ve skipped Fugget About It for now, as the review for it was originally bundled with unpublished reviews for The Dating Guy and Archer.  Also, Fugget About It‘s title describes the show perfectly.  I might not get to Fugget About It for a while.

Dunce Bucket, Angora Napkin Reviews After the Jump


October 28, 2010

News: Sugar Sammy and Dan for Mayor Season 1 on DVD Jan. 18, 2011

Both Sugar Sammy Live in Concert: Direct from Montreal and Dan for Mayor‘s first season will be released on DVD by Video Service Corp., on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.  Dan for Mayor‘s season set contains two discs, while Sugar Sammy Live in Concert has one.

More About Super Paki for Mayor


October 11, 2010

Interview | Troy Little, Angora Napkin

You might have heard of Troy Little’s work.  As a comic book artist/writer, he’s created Chiaroscuro, initially a self-produced seven-issue series published from 2000-03.  Three more issues were completed by 2005, for the graphic novel version of the comic.  The Chiaroscuro graphic novel was republished by IDW in 2007, on the basis of a Dave Sim recommendation.

The Angora Napkin comic, published by IDW in 2009, was recently nominated for a 2010 Eisner Award, in the Best Publication for Teens category.  AN lost to Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden, but the nomination’s still an honour.

Oh, almost forgot, Teletoon commissioned an Angora Napkin pilot.  Said pilot will air October 31, 2010 at 11:30 PM ET/PT, as part of the Teletoon Detour at Night Pilot Project.  You may have seen me promote the Teletoon Pilot Project at some point in time, but don’t quote me on that.

This is an interview with just one of the Angora Napkin creators.  I plan to interview the other AN creator, Nick Cross, later this month.  This might look like favouritism, but you don’t usually see a Ren & Stimpy-like adult animated series on Teletoon.  At least I admit my bias.

Watch me be more biased!


July 28, 2010

News: Three Mike MacDonald CBC/Showtime comedy specials on DVD October 5, 2010

Mike MacDonald: A Comic Stripped will be released by VSC on October 5, 2010.  The single-disc compendium of his CBC/Showtime specials will MSRP for $19.98 CDN.  The listed running time is 130 minutes.

Mike MacDonald: A Comic Stripped covers MacDonald’s three CBC/Showtime standup comedy specials, On Target, My House! My Rules!, and Happy As I Can Be.  Extras include a commentary track and Mike MacDonald performing air guitar.

Mike MacDonald is the star of the 1989-91 CBC series Mosquito Lake, though he can hardly be blamed for that show being an epic comedy abortion.  More importantly, he’s the voice of Rip Friend in the Teletoon/Fox Kids cartoon Ripping Friends (2001-02.)

MacDonald is one of Canada’s great standup comics, and it’s too bad he hasn’t become bigger than he is.  How CBC goes from Mike MacDonald and The Kids in the Hall to Ron James and The Ron James Show, I’ll never know.  At least one of Mike MacDonald’s old films is out on DVD, even if it is Loose Screws.

Here’s Mike MacDonald from the 1987 Just For Laughs Festival.  You may remember 1987 as the year Eddie Windsor spent a few minutes desperately trying to wring laughs from a dog and a hoop.

Ten years later, Eddie Windsor was featured on The Worst of Just For Laughs.  WoJFL aired just after The Just For Laughs 15th Anniversary Special.  Guess who hosted The Just For Laughs 15th Anniversary Special?

Yeah, Kevin Bacon!  You sons of bitches.

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