Corner Gas

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Corner Gas
Cornergas logo.png
The Corner Gas logo
Created by Brent Butt
Starring Brent Butt
Gabrielle Miller
Fred Ewanuick
Eric Peterson
Janet Wright
Lorne Cardinal
Tara Spencer-Nairn
Nancy Robertson
Opening theme "Not A Lot Goin' On"
by Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela
Country of origin Canada
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 107 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Brent Butt
David Storey
Virginia Thompson
Running time 22 minutes
Distributor 335 Productions
Vérité Films
CTV Originals
Bell Globemedia
Broadcast
Original channel CTV
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original run January 22, 2004  – April 13, 2009
External links
Corner Gas Website

Corner Gas is a Canadian television sitcom created by Brent Butt. The series ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009. Re-runs still air on CTV, CTV Two and The Comedy Network in Canada. On May 20, 2014, it was announced that Corner Gas: The Movie is in the works, with a budget of $8.5 million.[1] The film is slated to debut in late 2014, with filming beginning on June 23, 2014. The entire cast is set to return.[2][3]

Deriving its name from the roadside gas station in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, Corner Gas is the only gas station for 60 kilometres (37 mi) in any direction. Brent Leroy (Brent Butt) is the proprietor of the station and Wanda Dollard (Nancy Robertson) works at the station's convenience store as a retail assistant. An adjoining coffee shop, The Ruby, is owned by Lacey Burrows (Gabrielle Miller), who inherited it from her Aunt Ruby.

The series completed its run following broadcast of its sixth season on April 13, 2009, with a total of 107 episodes.[4]

The show became an instant hit, averaging a million viewers per episode.[5] Corner Gas has been the recipient of six Gemini Awards, and has been nominated almost 70 times for various awards.[6]

On April 6, 2009, Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall signed a proclamation that declared April 13, 2009 (and the same day every year after), "Corner Gas Day" in Saskatchewan.[7]

Production[edit]

Concept[edit]

The series was created by Canadian comedian Brent Butt, who imagined what his life might be like had he remained in a small Saskatchewan town rather than pursuing stand-up comedy. He originally developed the storyline for CTV and The Comedy Network.[6]

After first watching the series premiere, and with the exception of the first-season finale and second-season premiere episodes, which are linked, most other Corner Gas episodes are stand-alone storylines that can be viewed in virtually any order, though there are occasional incidental references to previous episodes.

The show brings together broad coffee-shop humour within a community. The characters are archetypal. They have the personality of friends and family to which international viewers can relate. The show focuses on the lifestyle of small-town folk. Though set in a small town in Saskatchewan, it is not chiefly about Saskatchewan or Canada, but rather the day-to-day interactions of the residents of Dog River.[8]

Executive producers, directors, and co-producers[edit]

Corner Gas was produced by CTV and Prairie Pants Production.[6] Prairie Pants Production is a company assembled by Brent Butt, Virginia Thompson and 335 Productions.[9] 335 Productions is a partnership between Brent Butt and David Storey. (The name of the production company is derived from the fact that Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Butt's home town, lies at the junction of Saskatchewan Highways 3 and 35.) At The Comedy Network, Michelle Daly is Director of Content and Ed Robinson is the President and General Manager. At CTV Inc., Susanne Boyce is President, Creative, Content and Channels and again Ed Robinson is Executive Vice-President, Programming.[6] Brent Butt was a driving force as creator, writer, showrunner executive producer, actor and occasionally director of the show.[10] Brent Butt created the series Corner Gas. Paul Mather, Mark Farrell, Brent Butt, Andrew Carr, Kevin White, Robert Sheridan, Norm Hiscock, Dylan Wertz (or "Worts") and Gary Pearson all contributed to the writing of the series. David Storey, Mark Farrell, Robert de Lint, Jeff Beesley and Brent Butt provided direction in the program.[11][12]

Corner Gas was promoted by CTV as the network's "first original narrative comedy series."[13] While it is not, in fact, the first Canadian-produced sitcom ever aired on CTV, having been preceded by The Trouble with Tracy, Snow Job, Excuse My French and Check It Out!, it is the first CTV sitcom in which the network itself has held a primary production role, rather than acting solely as a holder of broadcast rights, and the first to postdate the network's late-1990s corporate restructuring from a cooperative of its affiliated stations into a conventional corporation. Corner Gas can also be verifiably called the most successful of these shows.

Filming locations[edit]

Corner Gas was filmed entirely in Saskatchewan. The interior shots (Ruby Cafe interior, Police Department, Oscar and Emma's house, etc.) were filmed at Canada/Saskatchewan Production Studios in Regina. All the outdoor scenes and all scenes that take place in the gas station were filmed on location in Rouleau, Saskatchewan. Rouleau is a small town on Highway 39 between Moose Jaw and Weyburn. The grain elevator was repainted to read "Dog River" instead of "Rouleau"; however, the water tower still reads "Rouleau" – with post production effects used to repaint it to read "Dog River" in the first season episode "Grad 68". Also Regina, Saskatchewan, is known as the "city" in Corner Gas.[14]

On 28 September 2014, the building that was used as the FOO MAR T, the local grocery store, was destroyed in a massive fire.[15]

Episode format[edit]

Each episode of Corner Gas is written following a specific formula: Two or three (almost always three, once four) storylines are presented in each show. The main storyline usually opens and closes the episode and is most of the time driven by a single character. The secondary plots are sometimes slightly intertwined with the other stories.

Opening sequence[edit]

The Corner Gas opening sequence follows a cold open. The theme music, "Not a Lot Goin' On", was written by Craig Northey, of the rock band Odds, and Jesse Valenzuela, formerly of the rock band Gin Blossoms.[16]

Overview[edit]

Corner Gas is the only gas station for 60 kilometres (37 mi) in any direction (according to the first two episodes of season one, "Ruby Reborn" and "Tax Man"). Brent Leroy (Brent Butt) is the proprietor of the station and Wanda Dollard (Nancy Robertson) works at the station's convenience store as a retail assistant. An adjoining diner (The Ruby) is owned by Lacey Burrows (Gabrielle Miller), who inherited it from her Aunt Ruby and moved to Dog River from Toronto. Brent's parents, Oscar Leroy (Eric Peterson) and Emma Leroy (Janet Wright), are lifetime residents of Dog River. Oscar is always up to something, much to the dismay and embarrassment of his wife Emma. Dog River's police force, consisting entirely of veteran Davis Quinton (Lorne Cardinal) and rookie Karen Pelly (Tara Spencer-Nairn), keep the peace in the small town, which proves a very simple task, and the officers have an overabundance of free time. Finally, Brent's best friend Hank Yarbo (Fred Ewanuick), who is constantly unemployed, spends his time "hanging out" with Dog River's residents and drinking coffee at the Ruby (which he rarely pays for).

The first episode of Corner Gas aired on January 22, 2004, and attracted 1.5 million viewers.[6] It became an instant hit. The first season consisted of 13 episodes. Less than two months after the first episode aired, CTV renewed it for a second season of 18 episodes.

Brent's main co-writers were This Hour has 22 Minutes writers Mark Farrell, Paul Mather, Kevin White, and Andrew Carr.

As broadcast of the fourth season finale approached, there was a flurry of news reports suggesting that the series was coming to an unexpected end, based upon televised promotions for the episode, leaked plot details, and wording of a CTV press release issued on March 6, 2007,[17] that implied that the series finale would air on March 12, 2007. Two segments of production footage with time code circulated on YouTube also seemed to indicate a series finale as imminent despite the show's continued success in Canada and recent U.S. sale. On March 7, 2007,[17] CTV clarified its press release, stating it was a season finale, and on March 13, 2007, CTV confirmed an order for a 19-episode fifth season, that premiered on September 24, 2007.[18]

On April 10, 2008, as production of the sixth season began, Brent Butt announced via a press release that he and his production company, Prairie Pants, had decided to conclude production of the series after the sixth season, with the final episodes airing in the spring of 2009. Butt said the decision to end the series while still a popular offering on CTV was "a very difficult decision ... and one I felt I had to make. (CTV) made it clear that they were keen to do more seasons ... I wanted to exit gracefully, on top of our game."[4]

The show's final episode aired on April 13, 2009, airing in simulcast on CTV, The Comedy Network and A. The episode attracted 2,914,000 viewers on terrestrial television and an additional 235,000 on The Comedy Network, for a total viewership of 3,114,000.[19]

Characters[edit]

The surnames of all of the main cast characters and some recurring characters on the show are names of small towns in Saskatchewan.

Main cast[edit]

  • Brent Herbert Leroy[20] (Brent Butt) is the comic book-reading, sarcastic proprietor of Corner Gas. He is almost always good-natured, but has a tendency to fixate on minor details. He is a fan of adventure fiction such as The Saint in New York and The Executioner. His favourite food is chili cheese dogs, to the point where he can identify the individual ingredients by taste. Brent is 'adept' at many sports, such as curling, hockey and softball. His favourite football teams are the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Minnesota Vikings. He and Hank have been best friends since childhood, and Brent often makes fun of him and name multiple instances of Hank's stupidity. As of the Season 5 finale, Brent is 40 years old, and was born on November 6 (thus, his date of birth can be assumed to be November 6, 1967, since Brent graduated high school in 1986). Brent is said to be the hottest guy in Dog River, although other characters on the show acknowledge this is faint praise. He is also the Dog River Table Hockey Champion using a "dump it into the corners" style of play. It is implied that he and Lacey Burrows have feelings for one another, although neither will admit or act upon them. After the end of the series he went on to fulfill his dream of fly-fishing in the Yukon, while looking to wrestle a bear (he didn't find any bears, but he did see either a Sasquatch or an oddly shaped stump).
    • Co-stars Brent Butt and Nancy Robertson married on November 19, 2005, following production of the third season.[21]
  • Lacey Burrows[20] (Gabrielle Miller) took over the previously unnamed coffee shop in Dog River after the death of her aunt and renamed it The Ruby in her honour. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, she is perpetually trying to fit into small-town life, with mixed, often disastrous, results. She is a terrible liar, quick to jump to conclusions, a poor winner, thinks everybody has a crush on her, and is not the best at mathematics. Lacey frequently exhibits insecurity and regret about the path her life has taken. She has also expressed frustration at being unable to find "a stable guy" to date in Dog River. She considers herself a sweetheart and secretly believes that she alone of the town's women deserves the "Woman of Distinction" award (which she eventually wins). She is also very knowledgeable when it comes to hockey, coaching Dog River's hockey team, the Dog River Riverdogs. It is implied that she and Brent Leroy have feelings for one another, although neither will admit or act upon them. In season five Karen describes Lacey as, "Too upbeat, overly fastidious, a little needy – same old Lacey!". Her fashion sense trends toward the revealing. This was mocked in the episode "Doc Small", in which she welcomes Dr. Chris Garner, a doctor from an even smaller town than Dog River, to town, and Garner is shocked by Lacey's "slutty" top, which is actually one of her more conservative tops. After the end of the series, she opened a second Ruby in Wullerton, but it was quickly shut down by local health inspectors.
  • Richard Henry "Hank" Yarbo[20] (Fred Ewanuick) is Brent's perpetually unemployed best friend and most likely candidate for Dog River's village idiot. He often hangs out at Corner Gas talking to Brent about whatever is on his mind. He constantly borrows money from other characters and rarely pays them back, nor does he pay his tab at The Ruby, and is always wearing a hat because of perpetual bad hair days; also, his hat repels mosquitoes as is revealed in season 2. He is a small sort of fellow, considering he can fit into a "Kung-Fu Johnny" T-shirt that Brent wore in grade 5. He has worked a range of jobs, from census worker to crossing guard to city accountant, never being able to hold down or stay focused in one for long. He expressed a goal of working as a rodeo clown. His mother lives in Saskatoon, and his favourite foods are grape Pop Rocks and pickles (despite accidentally choking on the same pickle two times). Hank is quite childish, doing such things as going to see an adventure movie designed for 6-year-olds five times in one week. He is shown to have a lot of interest in the CFL, most notably the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Saskatchewan's football team. In a Christmas-themed episode, it is revealed that as a hockey fan, he likes the Vancouver Canucks. Despite his village idiot routine, Hank actually has experience in many physical and maintenance activities, including auto mechanics, gardening, knitting, woodworking and plumbing, making him something of a jack-of-all-trades. His poetic side emerges when he goes fishing. This may have culminated in him sleeping with Karen. After the series, he continued to remain "awesomely" unemployed.
  • Wanda Dollard[20] (Nancy Robertson) is a quirky cashier at Corner Gas, and the self-professed smartest person in town. She has a sardonic and caustic personality and often enjoys lording her knowledge over others. Wanda is a single mother and has a 6-year-old son, Tanner Vincent Dollard, who has never been seen or heard on screen; the identity of Tanner's father has also never been revealed, although it is implied that Hank is the father (when approached about this, Wanda laughs it off but does not deny it outright). Tanner is portrayed as a living nightmare for prospective babysitters (Season 1, Episode 4) and also quite a handful for his own mother as well – he often puts peanut butter up her nose while she sleeps. Accused of being a know-it-all, Wanda is also one of very few residents of Dog River who has gone to university; she holds a degree in linguistics with a minor in comparative religion but took classes in many other subjects as well. Despite her extensive education, she considers her job at Corner Gas a privilege. She is shown as having a case of mild agoraphobia in one episode. Like Brent and Hank, Wanda grew up in Dog River. After the end of the series, she pursued a Ph.D. in theoretical physics though she still works at Corner Gas, albeit with a pay raise.
  • Oscar Leroy[20] (Eric Peterson) is Brent's angry, stubborn and occasionally senile elderly stereotype father and the retired former owner of Corner Gas. His all-purpose word is "jackass"; during the course of the series, he says it over 1,000 times. (It is also the series's final spoken word.) He often demands that the Dog River police arrest everyone who annoys him. He frequently and belligerently points out to government workers that "My taxes pay your salary!". He tends to exclaim "Holy hell!" on encountering new or surprising things. He rivals Hank in his brain capacity and ability to make mistakes and the two are often shown scheming together. Oscar likes to show his handiwork around the house, but usually makes things worse when he tries to fix something. When Brent presented his idea of selling Corner Gas to a huge company, Oscar replied "How dare you---how dare you keep the Pump and Go people waiting, sell it, sell it now!", showing he had no love of his old job.
  • Emma Leroy[20] (Janet Wright) is Brent's mother, and the brains and muscle of the family. She and Oscar squabble constantly and she usually ends up having to deal with the fallout from his actions, which she usually makes worse. Though he embarrasses and annoys her, she does truly love him. She has also found it hard to "let go" of Brent, and reacts badly when someone else appears to replace her in some aspect of his life. Her main hobbies are knitting, crocheting and gardening and she is active in many of the town's committees. Emma has also been shown to possess great strength (being able to hurl a cinder block at a skunk across the yard with little effort), and other characters often seek her advice. She has a quick-tempered, cunning and domineering personality. After the end of the series, she remained married to Oscar, despite doctor's orders.
  • Sergeant Davis Quinton[20] (Lorne Cardinal) is the overly-sensitive senior police officer in Dog River, who has a habit of misspending the police budget, taking naps on the job, and making up the laws as he goes along (he's never actually read the police manual). He tends to treat his police position more as a 'fun hobby' than a serious job. He is obsessed with Cosmopolitan magazine, retro-TV and classic cartoon shows; and is a science fiction aficionado. He believes that the original Battlestar Galactica may have really happened. His catch phrase is an enthusiastic "All right!". He is a fan of the Saskatchewan Prairie Fire (he is often seen wearing their gear while off duty). Davis once competed in rhythmic gymnastics; he also has a collection of the original Hardy Boys books. He is unable to make coffee, but is unwilling to tell anyone. His mother left him when he was only a baby to join a band. For a long time he thought their cleaning lady was his mom. In the episode named "I Love Lacey", Davis reveals himself to be a member of the Cree Nation. At the end of season 5, Davis is said to be 46 years old, which would make 1961 his year of birth. He was also seen as a police officer in Dog River in 1986 (the "Grad '68" episode in season 1). He lost his sense of smell after being hit on the head as a child, and his smell is regained after falling from a ladder, attempting to get a cat out of the Leroys' tree. Davis is divorced but after the end of the series he eventually remarried someone other than Karen.
  • Constable Karen Pelly[20] (Tara Spencer-Nairn) is the ambitious and sometimes neurotic junior police officer in Dog River. Before becoming a police officer, she ranked fifth in Canada in the sport of static apnea, with a personal best of more than six minutes. She's a very good cook, but does not like to bring it up for fear it will stereotype her. She does not want to admit that she does not know how to ride a bike. She is also at least ten years younger than most other characters on the show, turning 30 in the sixth season. Karen possesses a variety of skills including cooking, martial arts, drums, drawing and table hockey; however, she claims to have never won anything, until the sixth season when she wins a raffle. She tends to take her police position very seriously, unlike her partner Davis, and treats even the most minor problem officially. On one occasion, when she mentions to Davis that she feels she has a good lead on a cold case, he stares at her dumbfounded and asks,"Why?" Karen frequently becomes annoyed with Davis' willingness to obey the mayor in everything and bend rules. They differ greatly on their views of what a police officer should portray; on one occasion, Karen states that "a police officer should be respected by the community", to which Davis casually replies, "Who said that?" Many episodes see them engaged in petty disputes and going to great lengths to one-up each other. Despite their differences, Karen and Davis get along well, although they don't spend much time together outside of work. In the episode "Hook, Line and Sinker" Karen goes fishing with Hank and is seduced by his "sexy fish talk". After the end of the series, she falls in love and marries someone other than Davis.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Fitzy Fitzgerald[20] (Cavan Cunningham) is the mayor of Dog River. He tends to take his position very seriously. He is quite paranoid about losing his job and thinks that anyone will do anything for the position of mayor, although no one really wants it.
  • Wes Humboldt[20] (Mike O'Brien) owns and operates the liquor and insurance store in town. His father died saving his entire platoon in the Korean War, although everyone told him that he ran off to join the circus. Wes later learns the truth when Brent reads out a passage from a book detailing the history of Dog River, not knowing that Wes was not supposed to hear it.
  • Paul Kinistino[20] (Mark Dieter) is the bartender at the Dog River Hotel. He is a Cree man, and speaks a little bit of the Cree language. He went to high school with Brent, Wanda and Hank. In the episode "Cell Phone", he replaces the shuffleboard game in the bar with a claw game, to which Oscar becomes addicted. In "Friend of a Friend", he claims to have a Master's degree in history. In season four, Paul is replaced by a new bartender, Phil Kinistino; but, it's never revealed how they are related.
  • Josh the Cook (Josh Strait) is the only chef at The Ruby and behaves in a very silent and reserved manner. In the episode "Safety First", he temporarily quits his job in order to become a llama farmer. When Lacey asked Brent as to whether or not he was aware Josh wanted to work with llamas, Brent replied, "I didn't even know he could talk." Josh Strait also hosts the tours of the Corner Gas set in Rouleau, Saskatchewan.
  • Helen Jensen (Jean Freeman), the grandmother of the mayor, is also known as "Fitzy's Grandma". In the episode "World's Biggest Thing", she is the one who innocently suggests Dog River build the "World's Biggest Hoe", to honour Dog River's farming heritage. Brent disagrees, but can't bear to tell her about the inappropriate connotations of that phrase.
  • Myrtle Runciman (Gwen Seed) is a batty, elderly neighbour of Oscar and Emma's who appears many times over the course of the show. She is a member of their curling team and in one episode is seen driving a large pickup truck. Often she is vague and senile, but she has been known to make pointed remarks about the other characters.

Notable guest stars[edit]

A number of notable Canadian celebrities and politicians appeared as guest stars or in cameo roles on Corner Gas. Some celebrities made the trip to the Rouleau or Regina sets to film their appearances, others were filmed in the applicable locations (e.g., scenes involving cast members of Canadian Idol and Canada AM were filmed at the respective programs' studios).

Two successive sitting prime ministers, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, made cameo appearances; Corner Gas is the only fictional sitcom (as opposed to sketch comedy series) in which sitting prime ministers have appeared.[22] Two successive sitting premiers of Saskatchewan, Lorne Calvert and Brad Wall, also appeared in episodes, as did former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.[22] Canadian television personality Ben Mulroney, son of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, appeared in a small cameo as himself.[12]

In the first season Kevin McDonald of The Kids in the Hall played Marvin Drey, a disliked Revenue Canada agent in the episode "Tax Man"'. In the same episode Dan Matheson, a news anchor for CTV, appeared as himself. Julie Stewart, played a paint store clerk (parodying her role in Cold Squad) in "Grad 68". Comedian Mike Wilmot played Carl Vawn, Brent's snobby cousin. Colin Mochrie, a prolific Canadian comedy actor best known for his work in the British and American versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, made a cameo appearance in the episode "Comedy Night" as part of a joke about how he seems to turn up on every Canadian TV show. Pamela Wallin, former CBC newscaster, later Canadian Consul General and senator, a native of Wadena, Saskatchewan, played herself. Canadian Idol judges Sass Jordan, Zack Werner, Jake Gold, and Farley Flex appeared as themselves rating Brent's rendition of "It would never rain in Dog River ... If I Could Squeegee the Sky" in the episode "Hook, Line and Sinker". TSN sportscaster (and U8TV: The Lofters alumnus) Jennifer Hedger and her SportsCentre colleague Darren Dutchyshen appeared as themselves in the episode "Face Off".

The second season also attracted notable personalities. "Wedding Card"" featured hockey star Darryl Sittler as himself. "Poor Brent" has an appearance by Lloyd Robertson, long-time CTV National News anchor, playing himself. Canadian and world champion curlers Randy Ferbey and Dave Nedohin (both of whom curl for Alberta) appear as themselves providing advice during the hotly contested Dog River curling championship, the Clavet Cup (named in honour of Archie Clavet, said to be the best curler ever to come out of Dog River) in episode "Hurry Hard". The episode "An American In Saskatchewan" features Mark McKinney, a veteran of both The Kids in the Hall and Saturday Night Live as Bill, an American who visits Dog River by accident. Saskatchewan-born musician Colin James appears as a local musician (although it is implied that Colin James' character really is Colin James) who performs an audition in Brent's garage. The rock group The Tragically Hip appear as "local kids" who practise in Brent's garage. The Tragically Hip play a rough version of "It Can't Be Nashville Every Night" off their In Between Evolution album. Both The Tragically Hip and Colin James are in the episode "Rock On!"[22]

Ben Mulroney, host of TV shows Canadian Idol and eTalk Daily and the son of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, parodies himself during the third season episode "Dog River Vice".[12] "Fun Run" features then Prime Minister Paul Martin as himself. This is the first time a sitting Prime Minister has appeared on a sitcom (although sitting Prime Ministers have appeared on sketch comedy shows like Royal Canadian Air Farce, and other political satire programs like This Hour Has 22 Minutes). Singer Jann Arden appears as herself in "Fun Run".[12] Noted actress Shirley Douglas (mother of Kiefer Sutherland, and daughter of Tommy Douglas former Premier of Saskatchewan) plays a woman with the hots for Oscar. Shirley Douglas is featured in "Trees a Crowd".[12] Then-federal finance minister Ralph Goodale appears as a Ruby Café customer in "Picture Perfect".[12] (The episode aired the same day Goodale filed a "mini-budget" in the House of Commons.) Lorne Calvert, premier of Saskatchewan, appears as himself. He appears three times—twice to poke fun at Sweden and once to almost get hit by a thrown newspaper during the appropriately named "Ruby Newsday". Vicki Gabereau appears as herself during a fantasy sequence in the same episode.[12] Prior to the debut of Corner Gas, the cast had appeared on Gabereau's CTV talk show, during which Brent Butt promised to get the talk show host a guest appearance. "Merry Gasmas" features This Hour has 22 Minutes anchor Gavin Crawford as a worker in the Calgary International Airport. He would always call cities their airport names (YYC, YEG) which confused Lacey horribly. In the same episode Dan Redican from The Frantics, and more recently Puppets Who Kill, makes an appearance as a worker in the Regina International Airport. He repeatedly says "made that call." Comedy Inc. star Roman Danylo makes a cameo as a passenger sitting next to Lacey on a plane from Alberta to Vancouver. He claims to be a "cat doctor," and not a veterinarian. He manages to out-chat Lacey while talking about cats during the same episode. Ken Read, also known as "The Crazy Canuck," is a champion alpine skier and member of the Canadian Olympic Committee. During episode "Physical Credit", Read receives a browbeating from Oscar (which first aired the day after closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics).

Olympic medal winner Cindy Klassen makes a cameo appearance in the fourth season episode "Dog River Dave". "Demolition" features Former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson appears, taking a sledgehammer to an old barn.[22] Mike Holmes, the star of Holmes on Homes, helps to fix Oscar's bathroom. Wanda states that she had formerly dated the Holmes character in the episode "Jail House". CTV CEO Ivan Fecan makes a cameo appearance during the episode "Blog River". "Gopher It" featured Current Prime Minister Stephen Harper as himself.[22][23] Canada AM co-anchors Seamus O'Regan and Beverly Thomson appear, playing themselves. Unlike most cameos, O'Regan and Thomson appear extensively in this episode to parody their on-screen image. CTV National News reporter Rosemary Thompson appears, playing herself in a scrum with the Prime Minister at the gas station.

During the fifth season three episodes bring in notable personalities. In "Coming Distractions", Duane "Dog" Chapman and Beth Smith from Dog the Bounty Hunter appear to arrest Brent during a fantasy sequence.[22] In the episode "Bed and Brake Fast" hockey player Travis Moen makes a cameo appearance with the Stanley Cup. In the episode "Final Countdown" actor Kiefer Sutherland makes a cameo appearance. In the same episode, Shirley Douglas' voice is heard.[22]

Michael Bublé appears in the sixth season episode "TV Free Dog River".

Setting[edit]

Dog River[edit]

Principal shooting set, as of February 12, 2010

Dog River (Rouleau, Saskatchewan) has a population of "about 500" according to "Census Sensibility." According to the Corner Gas tagline, it is 40 kilometres (25 mi) from nowhere, but still within a relatively short drive to "The City," where characters are often shown going to shop or attend "support meetings," in the case of Davis and Lacey. The rival town of Wullerton is 'just down the road.' It is stated in the episode "Tax Man" that Corner Gas is the only gas station for 60 kilometres (37 mi) in any direction. Series creator Brent Butt has said the town lies somewhere between Regina and Saskatoon; these two cities are 257 kilometres (160 mi) apart, so this fact does not contradict anything said on the series. In fact, the term 'the city' has been used at various times in the series to refer to Regina. The third season episode, "Fun Run" has one character drive to Weyburn for a lark, suggesting Dog River is probably closer to Regina than it is to Saskatoon. In the episode "Outside Joke," when the Corner Gas station is believed to actually be outside the town limits, it is said to be in the fictional municipality of Pitt Creek. In "Kid Stuff," Wanda says it is south of the also fictional Crowley Lake.

The town's name is an homage to series creator Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, through which the Doghide River flows. However, in the show itself, the second season episode "Rock On!" revealed that the town was named after a great uncle of Lacey's who drowned a dozen dogs in the river. She discovered this trivia while researching information for a history plaque. In order to play down this unsavoury branch of her family tree, Lacey instead used a story that Karen made up—that pioneers somehow got hold of a hot air balloon, got an aerial view of the town site, and noticed that the creek formed a shape similar to that of a dog's leg. "Block Party" revealed that the town was founded in 1905, and its founder was a Mr. Harold Main after whom Main Street was named (it was later renamed Centennial Street in 2005, the origin of the name being forgotten.) Main also constructed Dog River's first building, a wooden shack that would later be burned down by Hank Yarbo a century later in order to maintain the accuracy of his Lego scale model of the town (he ran out of blocks and could not make a replica of the shack.)

A real-life Regina tour operator regularly takes busloads of tourists to Rouleau to visit "Dog River." Visitors can tour the on-location sets of Corner Gas, including the service station.[24][25] Many components of Dog River are, in fact, real attributes of Rouleau, notably the combined liquor and insurance store.[26]

On February 9, 2010, Google Street View extended its coverage of Canada, including all streets within Rouleau. The remnants of the Corner Gas and Ruby standing sets, along with the grain elevator labelled "Dog River" are visible from ground level at the junction of Highways 39 and 714.

After falling into disrepair when the show ended, the Rouleau sets were purchased by businessman Sylvain Senecal and restored as a souvenir shop.[27] The sets are now open from May 1 until late September where Corner Gas, Saskatchewan and regular convenience store items can be purchased.

The Howler[edit]

The town has its own newspaper, The Dog River Howler (usually just called "The Howler"), to which almost everybody has contributed at one point or another. Its headlines are usually rife with inaccurate, sensationalist reporting. An example of exaggeration can be seen in "Hero Sandwich," in which a proposal to install traffic lights at a four-way intersection prompts the headline "Crosswalk HELL—Mayor Insane." Another example occurs when coyotes wander into town to eat cats, prompting the incorrectly spelled headline "Cattle Slaughtered by Werewolfs." An example of simply untrue reporting can be seen in the first episode, in which a headline reads "Moose Jaw Gets NBA Franchise.", and at an unseen time, they declared that Canada was apparently at war with Switzerland. The paper is also rife with misspellings, for example in the third season that "Hank is phycic [sic]." (the story was "contunied" on page 30) or in the fourth season that "Local cop catches barely thief." (after a character mentions that the person who was caught was 'barely a thief'.)

Emergency services[edit]

The "Police Department", consisting of Davis and Karen, keeps the peace in Dog River, though most of the time their duties consist of shooting pests at farms and using their radar guns to clock the flying speed of sparrows at 40 km/h (24.9 mph). They also park behind the "surveillance bush" waiting for speeders.

In "The Littlest Yarbo," a short-lived Fire Department consisting of two firefighters, David and Carol (both showing remarkable similarities to Davis and Karen, respectively), was established by the mayor when the volunteer fire chief decided to sleep in as opposed to respond to a fire. The volunteer system was reestablished after Hank, Davis, and Oscar lit an uncontrollable leaf fire and the fire department did not respond as they were chasing a stray dog (the same one Hank thought to be "The Littlest Hobo"). Fitzy saw Davis in the aftermath as the only first responder there and gave him the new title of Chief, Volunteer Fire Department.

The Dog River Police have two police cars, both 1994 Ford Crown Victorias. With the exception of the first episode and "Dark Circles," the police use only one of them.

Wullerton rivalry[edit]

The residents of Dog River have a pathological dislike of the residents of Wullerton, a neighboring town, to the point that they spit on the ground whenever the rival town is mentioned (they are so used to it they sometimes do not realize it when they spit, and that the local newspaper will print "(SPIT)" after printing the town's name). Ironically, the people of Wullerton may not hate Dog River, as seen in the fourth season's finale (however, this was only part of Hank's fantasy sequence, and may not accurately reflect Wullerton's actual sentiment towards Dog River). The reason for this was never explained. Publicity for the second season indicated that the season finale would reveal the reason for the spitting; however, the episode as broadcast did not actually do so. It should be noted that this practice of looking down on neighboring towns is common in many prairie communities, primarily those in Saskatchewan and Alberta, such as Tisdale, Melfort, and Wilcox.

Thunderface[edit]

Thunderface is an in-universe fictional band that was formed in the mid-'80s by lead singer Hank Yarbo, lead guitar player Brent Leroy, and bass guitar player Wanda Dollard. In 2005, the band was expanded to include drummer Karen Pelly, the most competent musician in the group.

Thunderface has suffered from relative anonymity due to confusion with their name (as well as the fact that they have had only one gig since 1986). They have been referred to as "Rumblepuss," "Thunderbread," "Thunderchunks," and "Wonderface," among other names. Their sound is described as similar to "a small animal caught in some kind of machinery," and their sole gig since 1986 was booked due to the humorous nature of their poor performance. Along with their gig in 1986, they seemed to have done some school performances considering they blew the principal's eyebrows off. The only song they have been heard to play is "Capital Cash" by Fast Exit, a band that Brent Butt played guitar in before he got into comedy.

The Surveillance Bush[edit]

The Surveillance Bush is a bush that is only seen in the first episode and the last episode. Karen is seen hiding behind it in the Police Cruiser in Ruby Reborn. Davis and Karen are also seen on the last episode hiding behind it before tailing Brent in the final episode. Since there is no wind a cast member is actually lying down shaking the bush. The bush was only planted for those two scenes.

Broadcast and distribution[edit]

First run broadcast[edit]

In 2006, Corner Gas was the only top-20 Canadian TV show in all of Canada (other than hockey), the rest being American imports. It debuted in January 2004, outperforming all U.S. sitcoms among adults 25-54.[28]

Since 2004, the series's production coincided with that of another CTV program, Robson Arms in which Gabrielle Miller and Fred Ewanuick also co-starred. Miller also had a recurring role in the series Alienated in 2004, giving her the rare distinction of playing major roles in three unrelated television series during the same calendar year (although Robson Arms was not broadcast until 2005). As of fall 2007, two seasons of Robson Arms featuring Miller and Ewanuick have been produced and released to DVD.

Early in the run of Corner Gas, Toronto Sun television critic Bill Brioux reported an unconfirmed rumour that it had been unsuccessfully pitched to CBC Television, which came to be cited as evidence that the public broadcaster was out-of-touch with Canadian audiences.[29] This was later revealed to be untrue; The Comedy Network was in fact the first and only network to which the show was proposed.[30]

Fred Ewanuick appeared as Hank on the Royal Canadian Air Farce's 300th episode in a spoof of Corner Gas, in which Yasir (Carlo Rota) and Sarah (Sheila McCarthy) from CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie bought the gas station and fired Brent. Hank then debated with them the location of Mercy (the Saskatchewan town where Little Mosque takes place) in relation to Dog River.

Live episode[edit]

In the summer of 2006, the cast of Corner Gas performed a fund-raising benefit event for Regina's Globe Theatre called Corner Gas...Live, in which the cast performed a live episode of the TV series. The popularity of the hit sitcom caused such a rush for tickets that the Globe Theatre's online ticket sales system briefly went down as a result.[31] Another benefit was held during the summer of 2007.

United States broadcast[edit]

On November 24, 2006, it was announced that Corner Gas would air on the American WGN America beginning September 17, 2007.[32] Corner Gas was syndicated to WGN America by Multi-Platform Distribution Company (MPDC), which acquired the American distribution rights for broadcast stations and cable channels. The show was offered to cable networks such as WGN America on an all-cash basis; the show was also offered to local stations on cash-plus-barter basis,[28] though it was unknown if any channels other than WGN America carried the series. The series was carried by WGN America during the 2008-2009 television season; it was not broadcast in Chicago on WGN-TV.

In an unusual case, WGN America picked up Season 5 episodes while they were airing contemporaneously on the show's home network CTV. In most cases, new episodes usually take a year or more to air in another country.[citation needed]

DVD releases[edit]

The first season was released on DVD in Canada on October 19, 2004.[33] In keeping with the theme of the series, each DVD set included a coupon good for a free coffee at Petro-Canada service stations.[34] At the Canadian Entertainment Network Awards, Season one DVD was honoured as "Best Canadian DVD-English".[12] The second season was released on DVD on September 27, 2005,[33] and features the distinction of being one of the few regular TV series whose DVD box set includes described video for the visually impaired. The second season set was released by CTV and Video Service Corporation and includes a peek at Season 3, bloopers, cast and crew interviews, a Thunderface music video as well as all season 2 episodes.[12] The season three DVD was released on October 3, 2006.[33] Unlike the previous sets, the third season DVD set is presented in widescreen (letterbox). The fourth season was released on DVD on September 18, 2007.[33] This was the first time the DVD set of the previous season was released before the current season started airing; the set includes a series of "Mobisodes" which were short (approximately two minutes each) skits focusing on the main characters. Season 5 was released on DVD on October 7, 2008, and is presented in a bobble-head theme. Besides all nineteen season 5 episodes, the set includes Corner Gas character commentaries, "My Happy Place" in a music video format and bloopers. Season 5 DVD set has enclosed a $10 discount coupon towards a Corner Gas mechanic shirt.[6] Season 6 was released on June 9, 2009, two months after the series finale.

In Australia only the first three series have been released. The cover art for the seasons differ from the Region 1 releases. The first two seasons having the group of the cast in front of the gas station which is in the distant background, while the third season has them in front of the grain silo.[citation needed]

  • Corner Gas – Series 1 (2 Disc Set) – April 13, 2007
  • Corner Gas – Series 2 (3 Disc Set) – July 14, 2009
  • Corner Gas – Series 3 (3 Disc Set) – July 14, 2010[citation needed]

Complementary media[edit]

Comedy tour[edit]

Brent Butt offered the eight city "Gassed Up" tour beginning March 21, 2004. The $70,000 "Great Canadian Gas Giveaway Tour" began September 27, 2004.[35] In late September 2004, to promote the start of the second season, the cast members of Corner Gas travelled to cities across Canada where they pumped gas at local service stations for the day (the fuel being provided to motorists free of charge). By the halfway point of the promotion, more than 40,000 litres of free gasoline had been pumped.[36] The cast of Corner Gas crossed Canada visiting six cities in a comedy tour called CTV Presents Corner Gas Live! which began September 21, 2005.[12] Eight Canadian radio stations broadcast the show live at the start of the fourth season.[35]

Corner Gas Online[edit]

"Corner Gas Online" provides cast biographies, episode synopsis, bloopers, and a visit to Virtual Dog River. The Virtual Dog River features The Howler providing the latest news about the television series. There are online games available such as prairie scramble, combine racing and the perfect pump when visiting various locations in virtual Dog River. At Oscar and Emma Leroy's virtual home you may watch some Corner Gas bloopers. Visiting the Ruby will provide an online chat room. While at the virtual gas station you may shop online for licensed merchandise.[37] Corner Gas episodes can now be watched on demand on The CTV Video Player at CTV.ca and thecomedynetwork.ca.[38]

Licensed merchandise[edit]

Corner Gas has spawned a merchandising business, with hundreds of retail items, sold-out live touring productions, and best-selling DVDs. A companion book to the show, called Tales from Dog River: The Complete Corner Gas Guide, was published on November 4, 2006. It was written by Toronto journalist Michele Sponagle and was produced in conjunction with CTV, Penguin Canada, and Prairie Pants Productions.[39] The book debuted in the number two spot among new releases, behind only Vincent Lam's Giller Prize-winning book Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. On December 12, 2006, it was the top-selling non-fiction paperback in Canada, according to BookMarket data. It includes cast interviews, an episode guide, insider jokes, bloopers, best lines, a look at the real Dog River (Rouleau, Saskatchewan), and a chronology on how the show was created from inception to debut episode.[40] Actor Eric Peterson and author Michele Sponagle went on a book tour to Edmonton, Alberta to promote the book.[41] A follow-up to the book called Dog River Confidential: The Super, Even More Complete Corner Gas Guide, also by author Michele Sponagle, was released by Penguin Canada on November 10, 2009.[42][43]

Motion picture[edit]

Corner Gas: The Movie is currently in pre-production. All of the major cast members are returning for the film, which will premiere in November 2014. A Kickstarter campaign for Corner Gas: The Movie was successfully funded on June 19, 2014.[44] In addition, Fox Sports Live's Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole are in the film,[45] as well as TSN anchor Darren Dutchyshen and Olympic Gold Medalist Jon Montgomery.

Special episodes[edit]

In the first season, the series premiere, "Ruby Reborn", was the fourth episode to be shot. "Tax Man", the second episode to air, was the first to be shot. The first scene of the series filmed was of Oscar rooting in the closet for his tax forms.

The second-season episode "Hero Sandwich" establishes that the events of the first season and the first half of the second season take place over the course of 10 months. Midway through the second season, CTV moved the series from Tuesday to Monday when American Idol returned on Fox (which CTV rebroadcasts), ending up competing with The Rick Mercer Report, on CBC. The third season episode "Dog River Vice" includes a joke that pokes fun at CTV's rescheduling of the show. In the "Rock On!" episode, from season two, "Capital Cash", the song performed by Thunderface, was written by Brent Butt. Butt was in a band called Fast Exit as a guitarist before he got into comedy, and they are mentioned in the episode as the band that originally did the song. In the episode "Mosquito Time" there is one split-screen shot of several characters trying a homemade mosquito repellent recipe (lemon dish soap). The split-screen shot is similar to those from the Fox series 24 which played on CTV's rival station Global during the same Monday evening timeslot as Corner Gas.

During the third season the series occasionally breaks the fourth wall. For example, in "Physical Credit" Wanda and Brent are talking about films with poor production values when a boom microphone (in use recording the scene) drops into the shot and hits Wanda on the head. To promote the "Merry Gasmas" episode in 2005, Brent Butt recorded "Christmas in Dog River" with Craig Northey.

In the fourth season episode, "Dog River Dave", a fictional radio station from Regina, CJKL "The Jackal", was featured. The real CJKL is an FM radio station in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. The name "Jackal" is most likely a reference to the real Regina station CFWF-FM, "The Wolf". In "The Good Old Table Hockey Game" episode, homage is paid to the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union. The title of the episode is an homage to lyrics in "The Hockey Song" by Stompin' Tom Connors.

The fifth season "Classical Gas" was accidentally broadcast by The Comedy Network on December 15, 2007, a full month before it was supposed to first air on CTV. "The Accidental Cleanist" was accidentally broadcast by The Comedy Network on March 29, 2008, two weeks before it was supposed to first air on CTV.

The first season finale "I Love Lacey" takes place during the Grey Cup in November, the third season episode "Merry Gasmas" takes place at Christmas time, the fourth season episode "Hair Comes the Judge" takes place in August, and the fifth season episode "No Time Like the Presents" takes place in July. The Season 2 finale "Harvest Dance" presumably takes place in the fall, and "The Brent Effect" takes place soon after "I Love Lacey". Neither "I Love Lacey" nor "The Brent Effect" shows any signs of it being early winter, despite taking place in November. "Block Party" explicitly takes place sometime in 2005 as it makes references to Saskatchewan's centennial celebrations that year, although the episode itself was not broadcast until February 2006. In the fifth season episode "Outside the Box", Karen, after Lacey tricks her into moving some furniture, is amazed to find that Lacey still hasn't unpacked a box after living for 5 years in Dog River. There is no reaction from Lacey (at least at the time), so it is reasonable to assume that each season lasts about a year.

Beyond Corner Gas: Tales From Dog River was a documentary produced by CTV and 90th Parallel Productions, featuring the impact made by Corner Gas.[citation needed]

Impact[edit]

Corner Gas presently airs in 26 countries.[41] Free land was awarded through the Corner Gas website which enabled a Quebec couple to move to Climax. In Rouleau, a local resident started a "Ruby" café.[12] In the third season episode "Mail Fraud", Brent used the term "staycation" to explain the act of taking a vacation without actually leaving home. This term, originally coined in an article from The Myrtle Beach Sun-News,[46] is now in use on many pages on the internet[47][48] and has passed into the general lexicon, even to the extent of being included in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Also, there is now a band in Australia called Spearmint Fur, named after the fictional author of a child psychology book seen in a season one episode where Brent babysits Wanda's son Tanner.[49] The show was named #9 on Entertainment's Top 10 Greatest Canadian Television Shows.

Awards[edit]

Corner Gas has won a variety of awards since it debuted as a series January 2004 including nine Canadian Comedy Awards and six Gemini Awards. The Canadian Comedy Awards include Best Direction (TV Series)—2004–2006, Best Male Performance (TV)—2004 and 2005 (Brent Butt), 2007 (Eric Peterson), Best Female Performance (TV)—2006 (Janet Wright) and Best Writing (TV Series)—2004 and 2007.

The six Gemini Awards include Best Comedy Program or Series—2005, 2006, and 2007; Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series—for the episode "Gopher It", 2007; Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series—Mark Ferrell for the episode "Gopher It", 2007; and Best Interactive—2005. 2007 was the third consecutive year that Corner Gas won the best comedy award.[50][51]

The show also has eight other Gemini Award nominations. It was nominated for an International Emmy Award in 2004.

In 2004, the show was honoured with the DGC Award win for Outstanding Team Achievement in a TV Series—Comedy. They were also nominated in 2005. Corner Gas received the WGC Award win in 2005 for Best Comedy & Variety Program. Corner Gas also lays claim to seven Leo Award wins.[6]

Corner Gas received two awards at the 7th Canadian Comedy Awards. The awards were given for best direction and to Janet Wright achieved the award for top female performer.[52] Corner Gas writers received an award for the episode "Comedy Night" at the 9th annual Canadian Screenwriting Awards on April 18, 2005.[53] Writers Mark Farrell and Robert Sheridan received the 2008 Canadian Screenwriting Award for best half-hour drama series on April 14, 2008.[54][55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/05/21/corner-gas-movies-8-5m-budget-is-75-from-government-funding-despite-success-of-the-original-tv-series/
  2. ^ "Corner Gas movie starts shooting in Saskatchewan next month" (Press release). CBC. 2014-05-20. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Virginia. "Corner Gas: The Movie". Corner Gas. Kickstarter. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b CBC News: Corner Gas to end in spring 2009, April 10, 2008. Accessed April 10, 2008
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  8. ^ Yanko, Dave (t (1997-2007)). "Funny Guy". Virtual Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2008-09-29.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
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  13. ^ "What A Gas!!" (Press release). CTV Inc. 2004-01-26. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  14. ^ "Corner Gas Escape: Rural Escapes". Tourism Regina. I Love Regina, City of Regina. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
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  19. ^ Bill Brioux, "Let The Games Begin (to Make Money)". tvfeedsmyfamily.blogspot.com.
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  27. ^ Graney, Emma (2012-05-07). "Corner Gas resurrected in Rouleau". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  28. ^ a b Benson, Jim (2006-05-23). "MPDC Fills Tank with Gas". Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
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  30. ^ Denis McGrath, "Corner Gas wrecked Canadian TV's excuses". Toronto Star, April 12, 2009.
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  32. ^ MacDonald, Gayle (2006-11-26). "Corner Gas heads to America". Globe and Mail Update. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
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  44. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1776228079/corner-gas-the-movie
  45. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/Saskatchewan/ID/2470180450/
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  47. ^ Diamond, Janelle Erlichman (2005-08-04). "SHOPPER—Stick Around for the Lazy, Hazy Days of August". Washington Post. pp. C–2. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
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  49. ^ Goldsmith, Belinda (2009-07-10). ""Locavores," "staycations" get official in dictionary". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
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  54. ^ "'Corner Gas' snags screenwriting award". CTV.online. CTVglobemedia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  55. ^ Vlessing, Etan (1986–2008). "Writers hand awards to Corner Gas, Motor City". Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 

External links[edit]