Corner Gas Countdown, #1

Here we go! It's been a long way, but now we can say that we have come to the end of the countdown. Let's delve right into it, Corner Gas's series finale is on in just a few short hours!

For a change of pace, we are going to start with the worst episode, do today's HM, and then the #1 Corner Gas episode of all time.

#107: Comedy Night

Somehow... somehow, this episode managed to win the 2005 WGC Canadian Screenwriting Award. Don't ask me how. It stinks. It absolutely positively stinks. There's a comedian (ie. old friend of Brent Butt) in Dog River, and he's stolen Brent's joke and is an ass. Peter Kelamis's character is, along with the foster brother in "Classical Gas", one of the worst acting jobs in the entire series. His character never gives you any emotion other than anger... the anger that valuable electromagnetic radiation has been lost for eternity by being turned into this episode and broadcast into your eyes. The subplots include Hank becoming an insult comic at Lacey's insistance (pretty much some of the most uncomfortable and un-Hankish scenes Hank has in the series), and Brent's involvement in the women's book club. Other than the Fight Club inspired dialogue in the book club, it drags too. Finally, I don't know what part of Colin Mochrie television producers have mistaken for talent, but its not there and please stop putting that worthless snack fairy onto our screens. This episode was an incredible waste. To paraphrase Willaim Shatner in Brad Paisley's "Celebrity" music video, the only good part of this episode...was its ending.

Honourable Mention: Merry Gasmas
In what will hopefully be a Christmas tradition for many years to come, "Merry Gasmas" has been added to my roster of Christmas shows to watch and get into the spirit. Lacey decides to go home to Toronto for the holidays, and miss out on a "Dog River Christmas". The Dog River Christmas takes a serious hit though when Emma decides to use real cranberry sauce and a real Christmas tree. We learn that the Leroy's Christmas memories are basically devoted to ambulance rides, and that Wanda's abilities to spot hot trends in toy manufacturing is basically made up of her willingness to murder any parent who gets in her way. In one of the best Hank flashbacks, we see a reference to his own childhood...but not in the way you first think it will be. As a result, he convinces the cops to help the "poor family" -- only it turns out that they're actually just cheap. Of all the great parts of this episode, the best is Lacey stuck on the ground due to storms. At the Calgary airport, she has to hear a lot of talk about "YYC", "YYZ", "YEG" -- the airports at Edmonton/Calgary/Toronto. Finally putting herself on a bus, she ends up taking Highway 2 to Edmonton International Airport in the hopes of making it to Toronto via Vancouver. She gets to the counter, starts spouting "YYC" and is quickly shot down by the girl at the counter: "this is Edmonton. We don't talk like that here". One of the best parts of the series!

#1: Hero Sandwich

I really wish they had come up with a real life recipe for the Ruby Club: the delicious sandwich turns Dog River's life upside down. The episode opens up with a little magazine banter, and quickly turns into Wanda's goal of getting a tattoo. Brent discovers to his shock that his mother has a tattoo, and even more shocking: Oscar has one that dances when he's on his hands and knees. Emma volunteers to draw one for Wanda, which will be in a secret location on her person: until her annual strip show at the Corner Gas Christmas party. Lacey debuts a new sandwich for Brent: the aforementioned Ruby Club. He likes it, but still gets a Chili Cheese Dog. Over at the Mayor's office, Davis and Karen are learning about traffic studies which show a large spike in traffic. Karen can't buy it: outside the window a lone car idles by as a teenager on a skateboard passes it. The Mayor decides to put up a traffic light and crack down on jaywalking (to bring their down into the 20th century...in 2005). In a return to the "Howler Headlines" gag, Fitzy mentions that Gus promised to "print a gentle reminder". His headline? "CROSSWALK HELL: MAYOR INSANE" The headline catches Brent and Hank's eye at The Ruby, where the boys cannot fathom how Dog River could suffer from an "large amount of traffic" -- an "amount of large traffic" with the tractors and combines seems more likely -- while Hank heartily endorses the Ruby Club despite Lacey's pro-traffic light stance. Oscar barges in, angry as hell about the government nanny state being brought in...and "Call Before You Dig" suddenly loses its impact on him when he finds out about the traffic light. Another bit of brief "Howler Headlines", and suddenly we see that the jaywalking is being taken very seriously by Davis, who treats a farmer like he was a Polish man in the Vancouver airport.

Lacey tries her best to talk Oscar down (showing the classic Corner Gas "shot through the freezer" camera angle) from his anger and promote her "traffic light agenda", along with her Ruby Club. Karen and Davis discuss the jaywalking: Karen feels queezy about it, but Davis says nobody (except Steven Segall) is above the law and so "Goldilocks and Papa Bear" continue their efforts. We swing by The Ruby to find Emma is working hard on Wanda's tattoo, but her designs are pretty hard to comprehend, as Lacey discovers her Ruby Club is enormously popular with table after table ordering them. As Emma presents her drawings, Wanda is scared that she can't use any without offending Brent's mother... and Wanda knows that Emma Leroy is not the sort of person you offend unless you're well armed. Oscar and Hank get more and more worked up about the traffic light, and even more worked up by Lacey's non-opposition. The cops start impacting the main characters as Brent gets a jaywalking ticket from Karen... before forcing her to give herself one too. (If he's not Steven Segall, she's not Jean Claude Van Damm). To console him, he goes for a Ruby Club, only to find that Lacey is now upset that nobody wants anything else. She would pull it off the menu if she hadn't just put it back on. Over at the 4-way stop, Hank and Wanda pull up at the same time as Oscar and another old woman. In a beautifully coordinated scene, you really can't tell who has right of way, and eventually Wanda gives up and U-turns out as the cops look on. Oscar decides to perform civil disobedience, crossing in front of the Dog River Police Department daring them to chase him...they find its easier to harrass Hank. The two of them combine for 13 jaywalking tickets (not counting IOUs) and Oscar goes out on the lam avoiding the heat coming down on him. Lacey continues to get sick of Ruby Clubs as Oscar takes refuge in the restaurant. In the one bad scene of the episode, Wanda comes up with a cockamaimie story about how she's allergic to tattoo ink. When the story starts falling apart she just dashes. Whew, good to have that little 45 second stinker out of the way.

Now the episode goes all out: Hank confronts Fitzy at The Ruby to complain about the jaywalking tickets and the traffic light. Soon Wes and half the town are speaking out...well, Lacey is agnostic on the subject. As the townspeople get upset and the mayor can't respond with a Ruby Club in his mouth, Lacey comes up on the plan to publicly endorse the traffic light with $1 from every Ruby Club sold going towards its construction. As a result, the townspeople have to chose between eating the Ruby Club and fighting the traffic light: and Lacey's plan works perfectly, with people refusing to buy the food she is sick of. Fitzy's finally got his mouth empty and tells people about the traffic increase as Hank sells Oscar out to the cops. Brent and the townpeople can't figure out why the stats show a traffic increase, but Fitzy insists that the counter cable showed an extremely high increase. Now sit down for the best scene of the entire Corner Gas series: as Oscar is captured by Davis, Hank starts to wonder about this "cable counter"... it would just happen to be the yellow box he kept driving over and over again for fun with his truck. The first time I watched the episode I couldn't stop laughing for 5 minutes. Even today its made me laugh and guffaw twice. The look on Hank's face is priceless! The episode winds down with Wanda -- in the doldrums over actually not being able to get a tattoo because of her cover story -- getting a full portrait of Emma's horrible drawing, and bolting like hell when she can't keep up the interest. This episode, with the exception of the Wanda allergy scene, was perfect front to back. All of the subplots connected with each other and not only the main characters but Fitzy and Wes got involved in the act. Great scenes include Oscar's pickle-pricing obsession, Oscar's "eat your peas" speech, Hank's "werewolves" spelling nitpick, the two slow traffic jokes, Davis and Wanda "going after the big fish", and Hank and Lacey bickering over her "pro traffic light agenda" which Hank insists has been going on for "years" despite Lacey only being in town 10 months.


This concludes the Corner Gas countdown. The final episode is going to be on soon, and I am hosting a little soiree here at Third Edge of the Sword World Headquarters. I will be serving chili cheese dogs and Pilsner beer. I might try to whip up a Ruby Club or two, we shall see.


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