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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The End of Corner Gas

Well, I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the end of that Canadian pop culture phenomenon Corner Gas.

For those who missed the CTV promotional blitz, Corner Gas had its final episode last night. After six seasons, they decided to bring it to an end. And in a way, I applaud them for that. Series creator and star Brent Butt said he wanted to go out while the show was on top. Far too many sitcoms these days are on long after they stop being funny. Besides, it leads into my podcast from a couple weeks ago, where I discussed the concept of finite storytelling and bringing TV shows to an end at a logical point.

But yeah. As much as I loved Corner Gas, I started losing interest. It was early in season 4 where I went, "Oh. They've discovered their formula and they're sticking to it." I've missed pretty much all of season 5 and season 6. I blame CTV for that. It used to be on at 8PM, and because I have to go to bed so early because of my job, I could watch it right before bed. Then some genius had the idea to move it to 10:30PM. Oh, well. I see you can watch most of the episodes at ctv.ca, so maybe I should go do some catch-up. Or, I can also buy the DVDs.

The final episode itself...had a bit of a cute plot. Brent keeps disappearing on Wednesday nights, so finally people decide to follow him to find out where he's been running off to. Turns out he's performing at a comedy club in the city, and is becoming a minor success as a stand-up comic. Of course, the whole set-up was a bit of an in-joke to the genesis of the series. Butt frequently said he came up with the idea for the show back when he was being interviewed for his stand-up shows. Reporters would always ask, "What would you do for a living if you weren't a stand-up comic?" and his answer would always be, "Probably back in my hometown pumping gas."

Butt said that he didn't want to do the massive final episode like most American sitcoms do...that he wanted it to feel just like a regular episode. And in that aspect, he succeeded spectacularly. It really feel just like a regular episode. It reminded me of the final episode of that other Canadian pop culture phenomenon, The Red Green Show. Just like Red Green, Corner Gas even resolved the loose ends with a simple coda saying what all the main characters went on to achieve.

But it was good. And it's gone now. But it'll live forever, online, on DVD, and on reruns on the Comedy Network.

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