May 15, 2011

TV Review | In Short 1.1, 1.2 – “Pride/Humility,” “Envy/Kindness”

In Short (Bravo!: Bravo!FACT/Bell Media, 2011) is an hour-long short-film program.  I don’t understand why short films aren’t televised more often.  If they are, they’re in shows like In Short and its spiritual predecessor, Bravo!FACT Presents.  At least Bravo! still funds new shorts, something The Comedy Network doesn’t do enough of.

In Short‘s chief weakness reveals itself within the first viewing.  In Short mostly shows clips from the shorts themselves, rather than the full shorts.  In effect, this is a long-form advertisement for Bravo!FACT.

In Short’s Out Long Review

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July 14, 2010

TV Review | Canadian Comedy Shorts 12.1

Canadian Comedy Shorts (The Comedy Network: twelfth season premiered Sunday, July 11, 2010, 10:30 PM ET/PT) is another of those series that I think CTVglobemedia is burning off, not that CTVgm will admit to this.

The copyright date for the new shorts compilation says 2009.  It’s summer, you know?  Unsold pilots bloom.  Reality television is in season.  Programs are dumped onto schedules seemingly at random.  At least CCS isn’t as bad as Upload Yours, which is like saying rectal itch is better than a coma.

Cogswell (Diane) | Cogswell (Diane) is a filmed version of a one-person monologue by Stephanie Domet.  I have no idea what it’s doing on a show called Canadian Comedy Shorts.  Cogswell (Diane) is a decent monologue, but there’s nothing but dry humour in a piece where a woman talks about living in a low-rent neighbourhood.  This piece belongs on Bravo! or CBC.

Cogswell (Diane) kicks off an odd trend for Canadian Comedy Shorts this year.  I’m not sure if CCS has aired reruns its past few years, but Cogswell (Diane) is from 2006.  Wouldn’t a better idea be to debut clips for a season premiere?  Maybe it’s me.

The Woodsmen: “Potato Cult” | CTV publicist Sara McLaren tells me this season of Canadian Comedy Shorts features a mix of acquired shorts, all-new items and reruns.  “Potato Cult” is a rerun from 2006.

The Woodsmen is a very [adult swim] sketch.  Random things happen.  The production values are almost nil.  Hell, The Woodsmen uses Syncro-Vox-esque moving mouths over largely static “animation.”

Frankly, this series tries too hard for an Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Sealab 2021 vibe.  I’m turned off by it.  Even [adult swim] deviates from the absurdist formula with The Venture Bros., The Boondocks and Squidbillies.

I know I’m referencing Squidbillies, by the way.  That show’s about southern American rednecks.  What is The Woodsmen about?  Wasting money?  Potatoes?  Help me out here.

Holy War Dance Party | This is a two-and-a-half-minute song about…well, the title gives it away.  Here’s the Youtube link and the link to the Holy War Dance Party site.

The HWDP Youtube link has earned around 45,000 views over three years.  It’s caught on somewhat, though HWDP is nowhere near the level of Powerthirst.  Dancing for peace is nowhere near as fun as having gratuitous amounts of energy.  Holy War Dance Party should have been made with real lightening.

From the Desk of Ron Sparks: “CN Tower” | From 2004.  Why does The Comedy Network need to air something from more than half a decade ago?  I like Ron Sparks, but I hate rehashes of material this old.  At least Video on Trial, Ed the Sock and Life’s a Zoo.tv have kept Sparks in blow.

From the Desk of Ron Sparks‘ concept is simple.  Sparks writes fake letters to real addresses.  Here, Sparks wants to jump off the CN Tower in a superhero costume.  The piece is slight but entertaining.  I’ve seen better and worse from Ron Sparks.

Check Up | Nathan Fielder saves this CCS episode with his awkward comedy.  Fielder goes to the doctor for a checkup.  Everything is fine until the doctor wants to check his prostate.

The sketch idea isn’t new, but Fielder sells fear very well.  No sane man wants a male doctor to touch his meat and two veg.  It’s one of the few evergreen societal taboos.  In lesser hands, Check Up would be cheap comedy.  In Fielder’s hands, mundane awkwardness is made an art form.

Nathan Fielder now writes for Important Things with Demetri Martin.  I wish Canada would find a use for Fielder beyond nailing him to the side of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.  The Comedy Network has given him an hour-long special, which isn’t enough.


Yikes.  Four segments from 2007 or earlier?  Seriously, how does The Comedy Network swing that?  ZeD showed its share of older clips, but at least it had the good sense to air quality shorts like Flying Saucer Rock’n’Roll.  That was ZeD‘s thing.  It was free-form television.  Canadian Comedy Shorts isn’t.

Maybe I don’t understand CCS‘ format, having watched it for the first time in 2010.  It’s just lazy to build a program over one newish clip and four older ones.  Two or three new clips an episode, fine.  A clip from 2004?  That’s like Teletoon airing Quads! in 2009.

I hope CCS’ next episode improves from the season premiere.  I’d like to see more than one new short per episode.  I don’t even care if one-or-two-year-old shorts are shown.  I just don’t like when CCS shorts are used as blatant filler.  I don’t know who would.

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