Tag Archives: Corner Gas

Cultural Catchup-Lite: Parenthood, Doctor Who, Community

Cultural Catchup-Lite: Parenthood, Doctor Who, Community

November 28th, 2010

While I had quite a bit of grading to do over this holiday weekend, my lack of family commitments (being Canadian, and all) meant that the holiday was also a chance to catch up on various things related more to the blog.

First, I’ve finally created a link to my Master’s thesis, which has been “available” via PDF for a while now on Acadia’s library website. Perhaps I just wanted to create some distance between the project and my new endeavor south of the border, but I have been remiss in adding the link to the “About” page. In short form, the thesis is an investigation of national identity in fictional representations of the Canadian small town, with chapters on Canadian television series Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie. You can find the Abstract for the thesis on this page, while you can directly download the PDF here. Also, if you’re new and never visit my “About” page, my undergrad thesis on medieval Romance and Battlestar Galactica is available here if you are so inclined.

Second, I got to some of my viewing backlog, which means I’ve got some brief thoughts about some of those series. While you’ve already read my thoughts on the conclusion of Angel’s second season, I wanted to offer a few thoughts on the second season of Parenthood, Doctor Who’s “The Girl in the Fireplace,” the third and fourth episodes of The Walking Dead, as well as the first season of FX’s Archer.

I also asked my Twitter followers what else they might want to hear more about, and so will dutifully comment on Community (although in less detail, for the sake of my productivity); I’ll be saving thoughts on Fringe’s third season (which has been really good, and structurally fascinating) and Terriers’ first season for later (and by later I mean Wednesday in the case of Terriers, as I’ve seen the finale and will be writing about it and the season at that time).

Similarly, I will probably keep the Walking Dead thoughts for a brief review of tonight’s episode (which I have not seen yet), and might wait to review Archer S1 when the DVD hits on December 28th (I was watching on Netflix); however, thoughts on Parenthood, “The Girl in the Fireplace,” and Community after the jump.

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Series Premieres: CTV’s Hiccups and Dan for Mayor

Personally, Corner Gas had overstayed its welcome when Brent Butt chose to end its run after its sixth season, but the Canadian public didn’t feel the same way: the show was still a success to the point where CTV would have gladly rode the train to Dog River for as long as possible even if it meant diminished returns (or, for me, more diminished returns). I understood Butt’s decision at the time, in terms of being able to end the show on his terms, but I didn’t particularly care about his decision since I wasn’t, after all, watching the show.

But with the arrival of Hiccups and Dan for Mayor, two new CTV comedies that debuted to impressive numbers on Monday, I have come to see the logic behind his decision. CTV has effectively gotten two shows out of one, with Butt creating (and starring in) Hiccups featuring fellow Corner Gas alum (and wife) Nancy Robertson, and Fred Ewanuick taking on the title role in Dan for Mayor as a follow-up to his role as Hank on Butt’s former show. And as someone who had lost my taste for Corner Gas (while maintaining my respect for the show’s starting point, considering I wrote a thesis chapter about it), it’s nice to see the talented people involved bringing two new series to the table. Butt’s decision kept CTV from leaning on a crutch for too long, and instead pushed them to introduce two new series that can only help the state of original Canadian programming.

I don’t necessarily want to pit the shows against each other, but I don’t know if I have enough to say about either to justify separate posts, so I’ll say this much: I really like Dan for Mayor, and I think that Hiccups is pleasant enough.

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Cultural Academics: A Quick (Rough) Glimpse at my Masters’ Thesis

While some regular readers may be entirely disinterested in what follows, I had mentioned an interest in gathering some feedback/response to the introduction to my Masters’ thesis on Twitter and there was some pretty decent response. And so, in order to give everyone a glimpse at why the amount of blog coverage has been (outside of the Emmys) down a bit over the past few months, the following is a glimpse at the project that I’ve put together. Any feedback is more than welcome, of course.

Introduction

“You think there’s not a lot going on / Look closer, baby, you’re so wrong”
– Theme Song to Corner Gas

If you were to run a survey asking participants to describe the Canadian small town with a single adjective, the answers you receive will vary depending on the location of your survey. In a rural environment, the small town could be described as peaceful or serene, a welcoming and inclusive community. In an urban environment, meanwhile, the small town could be described as quaint, or backwards, or simple. While this thesis will engage with these types of responses, and the paradigms they represent, it is more concerned with another adjective that might not immediately jump onto one’s tongue: nation.

While the historical position of the small town, once the centerpiece of Canadian society and now a marginalized setting isolated within a predominantly urban nation, will be discussed throughout this thesis, the most fascinating quality of the Canadian small town is its continued role in the nation’s cultural production. Although the small town has only become more and more marginalized, it has emerged as the setting for the twenty-first century’s two most successful Canadian television comedies, Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie. That these two series, set in rural small towns but airing to a predominantly urban audience, have found success indicates that history alone does not define the Canadian small town.

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