Not fond of the request, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas generally pissed around at the end of a shooting day, talking about various Canadian inanities in the most stereotypical manner ever. The sketches were meant as throwaways, a collective up-yours to government-mandated culture.
Come 2009, Kanadian Korner/Great White North has spawned two albums, a feature-length film, an anniversary special and this new animated series. It’s SCTV‘s most enduring cultural legacy, which is a shame as Count Floyd was a better character. Bob and Doug get Strange Brew while Count Floyd rates a how-to video. It’s an unfair 3D world…of slavechicks! Ha ha ha!
I had apprehensions about Bob & Doug before it debuted. This show had been languishing in development hell since at least 2003. A preview was released as part of the Strange Brew DVD, but that title debuted on DVD in 2002. Needless to say, I had visions of Bob & Doug being unwatchable.
Luckily, Bob & Doug isn’t horrible. It’s not great, but it’s better than I figured it was going to be. For an almost thirty-year-old franchise, Bob & Doug is surprisingly vital.
Dave Coulier is alright as the voice of Bob McKenzie, although he’s no Rick Moranis. Dave Thomas is off-model as Doug McKenzie, which isn’t surprising since he’s edging sixty. Thomas sounds more like himself than he does his principal character. It doesn’t take away from Bob & Doug‘s quality, but it’s noticeable enough.
The voiceover cast includes Patrick McKenna, Derek McGrath, Neil Crone, Ron Pardo and Michael Dunston. It’s a given that the voiceover acting is more jarring than in an American series, but casting Maurice LaMarche for an episode was a good move. The last Canadian adult animated series I heard him in was Tripping the Rift, so Bob & Doug is a step up. I’m also not surprised to hear Jayne Eastwood on the show, since she’s about one-quarter of all Canadian acting.
Bob & Doug takes the post-modern tack of many cartoons, ignoring the fourth wall and making self-aware references to itself. There are asides where Bob & Doug cut from the action to explain the episode’s concept to the audience. The show even parodies popular culture much like The Simpsons. Bob & Doug is Strange Brew on steroids.
Of course, none of this matters if Bob & Doug isn’t funny, and it isn’t much of the time. I can see the promise in the show, yet the gags are stitched together and have the subtlety of a jackhammer. The talent’s there, the writing is sometimes good, but Bob & Doug doesn’t gel the way it should. Strange Brew at least let the jokes unfold when it wasn’t trying to shoehorn Hamlet into a buddy-comedy format.
Bob & Doug‘s animation style honestly reminds me of John Callahan’s Quads! Bob & Doug is not as badly-animated as Quads! – Quads! didn’t even have backgrounds – but it’s still a typical Flash-animated cartoon. Bob & Doug deserves better.
Fox helped develop Bob & Doug, yet its animated shows are usually of a higher standard than this. Bob & Doug seems like a show Fox would air during the summer to burn off. I’ll be amazed if Fox even airs Bob & Doug despite Bob & Doug McKenzie’s cross-border popularity.
While Bob & Doug McKenzie are true Canadian icons, I honestly can’t see a long future for Bob & Doug based on the cheap production values and uneven writing. Of course, Chilly Beach looked worse than Bob & Doug yet found its niche, so anything can happen on Canadian television. At the very least, Bob & Doug ought to earn higher ratings than ‘da Kink in My Hair.