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Double Corner Gas spinoffs debut: Hiccups and Dan for Mayor Monday March 1

In television on 03/01/2010 at 10:27 am

If you don’t recall or never heard of Corner Gas, you should probably just move on today. The Prairie sitcom from Canadian comic Brent Butt is now the official two-word response when anyone shrugs and says, “Canadian? Isn’t that just another word for ‘bad TV’?” It was fun and sweet and odd and ours.

O’course, it’s dead now, but from its ashes rise two spinoffs debuting tonight on former Corner Gas host, CTV. First up, Hiccups starring Brent Butt and Nancy Robertson; then Dan for Mayor, starring Fred Ewanuick, Keep scrolling for the Dan review.

Series name
Hiccups

Debuts
Monday March 1, at 8 p.m. on CTV

Regularly airs
Mondays at 8 p.m. on CTV

Premise
After waiting quietly for six months in an office straight out of a 1940s gumshoe flick, wannabe life coach Stan (Brent Butt) finally gets a client: a human whirlwind named Millie (Nancy Robertson) who’s on the verge of being fired because of anger issues. He’s good hearted, but making it up as he goes along. Millie’s had it with the real professionals she’s already tried. They’re both thrilled. It’s definitely more than Stan bargained for. Hiccups, by the way, is what Millie’s boss calls her outbursts.

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the pilot and one other episode, I predict…
The first episode made me laugh out loud several times. Butt and Robertson are great together here, as they were in Corner Gas. She is the explosive three-year-old in a grownup’s body and he is a trembling mess of insecurities. Their sessions in the first episode are comic sprints. Listen quickly. Robertson is also very strong in the scenes built around just her: in the opening coffee-shop moment, you see exactly what Millie is all about and it works. However, Butt’s scenes with his wife fizzle. She’s perfect, seamless, the model of grace and … those scenes are sweet, but lose all momentum.  The people in Millie’s workplace are a mixed bag; the receptionist is a bored textaholic (ugh) and the boss is shrill (ugh squared), but Millie’s ally, Taylor (David Ingram), is a nice combo of ambitious and dim and devoted to Millie. There’s a nice “reveal” at the end of the first episode, followed by what will be the show’s cool closing segment; I loved both. Don’t read other reviews because they all kill to surprise. The second episode offered for preview is outright worrisome. It takes the series from promising to formulaic: Stan’s wife criticizes his fashion choices so he gets Taylor to dress him (insert painful fashion tableau here); and Millie gets stuck in a creative rut and sidetracks the entire office with her hijinks. Impressed by the pilot. Might check out other episodes.

Other reviews
John Doyle at the Globe and Robert Cushman at the Post both review both shows, but I’m linking to them with a warning: Both spoil the Hiccups surprise. Spoiler sports.

——————-

Series name
Dan for Mayor

Debuts
Monday March 1, at 8:30 p.m. on CTV

Regularly airs
Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CTV

Premise
Dan (Fred Ewanuick) is a slacker bartender fixated on his Ms. Pacman game and little else. He sees a mayoral campaign ad, wonders how much the mayor gets paid and, impulsively, decides to run against him. The odds are against him — as are his best friend, boss and ex-girlfriend — but it’s the first thing Dan has really wanted. He fumbles and bumbles, sometimes into accidental mini-victories on the campaign trail.

But what do I know anyway? After having seen four episodes, I predict…
This show can be read as a bit of a shot at politics, but mostly you’ll be rooting for Dan in his unlikely but laudable fight to become mayor. Bleak, dry humour, great banter, good chemistry. Ewanuick is a good fit in this character, not so unlike his Corner Gas alter ego. (And, facile as this is, I loved his shirts and hoodies and cardigans; this is a slacker with scruffy but good fashion sense). I also enjoyed: his best friend Jeff (Paul Bates), who stands by Dan even while whispering in his ear that no good will come of it all; Claire (Mary Ashton), Dan’s ex, who knows better but can’t resist helping him; and Claire’s fiance Mike (Ben Ayres), a businessman who is as cheesy and clueless as his mustache declares him to be. Some of the humour is broad, like the recurring bus and ghost gags, but I loved it all. Okay, not ALL. I really, really did not love the waitress at the bar where Dan works, who is the one-note voice of “Boy Dan, you sure are stupid.” Made me grind my teeth.

Other reviews
Doyle and Cushman also covered Dan for Mayor in the reviews mentioned above.

Here’s where you say what you thought. Leave a comment or click on my name to send an email.

— Denise Duguay

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  1. I think you’re using spinoff incorrectly here.

    • Hey Fred. thanks for leaving the comment. you are of course correct. suggestion for substitution?

  2. i without a doubt love all your posting kind, very helpful,
    don’t give up and keep posting due to the fact that it simply that is worth to look through it.
    impatient to looked over a whole lot more of your current content pieces, have a great day 😉

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