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.


May 31, 2010

News: The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour in production

I know I should be more on top of Canadian television news, but I’m a latecomer to this story.  The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is currently shooting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has been since May 26.  Drunk and on Drugs… is Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay and Mike Smith’s follow-up to Trailer Park Boys, like I really need to state this.

Less Than Kind‘s Maury Chaykin will guest-star as an actor hired to play a wacky German scientist.  Chaykin is filling in for Alex Lifeson, the man originally tagged to play the scientist.  Jay Baruchel, Pat Roach and John Dunsworth also make appearances in the six-episode limited series.

Baruchel’s easily Drunk and on Drugs…‘ hottest guest star, appearing in films like She’s Out of My League, How to Train Your Dragon and The Trotsky.  His climb towards the Hollywood mainstream can only help Drunk and on Drugs… – well, that and Baruchel’s winning CanCon brownie points for The Trotsky.

There’s nothing I can say about The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour that hasn’t already been said.  You’re either excited for Drunk and on Drugs… or pissed off since it’s not Trailer Park Boys.  Hell, maybe you’re both.  TPB-related projects cause conflicting reactions in people.