James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Seinfeld on the Prairie

It is my duty as a humanitarian and former resident of Saskatchewan to recommend Corner Gas, which will debut on the WGN Superstation next week. You can see some preview clips here.

I credit the courage of WGN execs who signed off on this. Hopefully, this show will click with a good number of Americans. PBS stations air far less intelligent British sitcoms, riding on the myth that if it's British, it's not only funny, it's smart. (The evidence is in: if it's British and it doesn't have John Cleese or Judy Dench in it, it's crap.)

Corner Gas has already run four seasons in Canada (although their tv seasons have fewer episodes than American network shows do). Having watched 2 1/2 seasons on DVD, I can tell you that aside from the first episode, first-season closer and second-season opener, all the shows are self-contained. There are no continuing story lines or romantic tensions. You won't be lost or confused by missing an airing; each episode stands on its own. In that sense, it's a "show about nothing," taking place in the middle of nowhere, even though each episode has a general theme, is sometimes intricately plotted, and is a "comedy of manners" in that it exploits gaps that otherwise normal people have in knowledge and wit. It is like Seinfeld on the Prairie. Or Garrison Keillor meets Comedy.

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