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Series debut, sorta: Less Than Kind on HBO Canada

In television on 02/18/2010 at 9:59 am

(fyi, this is the trailer for Season 1, but the show is born again now, debuting on HBO with Season 2)

Series name
Less Than Kind

Debuts
Having launched Season 1 on Citytv a while back, Less Than Kind moves to HBO Canada for Season 2, starting Friday, Feb. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Regularly airs
Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET on HBO Canada

Premise
Meet the Blecher family, who run a driving school in North End Winnipeg, where it always seems to be winter and where life is complicated for our hero, Sheldon, an overweight teen who is in love with his best friend and usually horrified by his family, especially his father, except when that father is at death’s door, which is where the action opens at the start of Season 2.

Primary cast and crew
Jesse Camacho is Sheldon.
Maury Chaykin is the dad, Sam, and he’s in the hospital.
Benjamin Arthur is Josh, Sheldon’s brother. He wants to be an actor.
Wendel Meldrum is Sheldon’s mom. She’s a big fragile right now, but normally a rock. A crazy rock.
Brooke Palsson is Muriel, Sheldon’s best friend.
Nancy Sorel is Clara, Sheldon’s aunt and the (shaky) pillar anchoring the family business.
Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall) is a producer/writer.

Buzz buzz
Major coup for this show — did I, diehard Winnipegger, mention this is shot in Winnipeg? — to get a much deserved second chance.

But what do I know anyway? After having seen most but not all of the first season and the first two episodes of Season 2, I predict…
I predict you will be sorry if you don’t watch this. Less  Than Kind is a dark comic look at a less-than-perfect family. The seams are all frayed, the crazy is cranked to 11, but it doesn’t seem like it’s trying too hard, like a lot of other family sitcoms. Here, the characters are each worth checking out. And the humour is not the old one-two joke, insert laugh here. Take the Season 2 opener (you don’t have to have seen Season 1 to appreciate it, by the way). The action opens with Sam in the hospital, being ministered over by a doctor played by Dave Foley. The subject is Sam’s failing health. Everyone says their goodbyes. Hackneyed territory? Here, there is the expected dark humour, a twist of the sitcom conventions and and also a couple of moments where I was unexpectedly moved, by Sheldon of course. Jesse Camacho is a very talented young man.

Official websites
The HBO Canada site has all the usual schedule, cast bios, videos, etc., handled in a clean, straightforward way. The show’s official site also has links to the excellent music used on the show (download or listen), a link to Blog Girl / aka Muriel’s blog, a video game that has real Winnipeg landmarks (and slush) and more. Nice.

Twitter
This is Blog Girl’s account. Only a few entries, in character.

— Denise Duguay

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