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Odd Job Jack

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Odd Job Jack
Created by
  • Adrian Carter
  • Denny Silverthorne Jr.
  • Jeremy Diamond
Directed byAdrian Carter
Denny Silverthorne Jr.
StarringDon McKellar
Theme music composerDenny Silverthorne Jr.
  • Denny Silverthorne Jr.
  • Roger Leavens
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Executive producerJonas Diamond
  • Adrian Carter
  • Denny Silverthorne Jr.
  • Jeremy Diamond
EditorAndrew Anderson
Running time21–23 minutes
Production companySmiley Guy Studios
Original release
NetworkCTV Comedy Channel
ReleaseMarch 5, 2003 (2003-03-05) –
October 14, 2007 (2007-10-14)

Odd Job Jack is a Canadian adult animated sitcom starring Don McKellar, playing the main character of the series named Jack Ryder and his misadventures in temporary employment. Seen on and produced for The Comedy Network, a cable specialty channel, and once available on iTunes,[1] Adult Swim and MuchMusic in Latin America, 2x2 in Russia, Hulu in the United States,[2][3] and MusiquePlus in the French speaking Canada. A total of 52 episodes were produced over four seasons.[4] Reruns also aired in winter 2013 on MTV2.[5]



Odd Job Jack was created by Smiley Guy Studios in Toronto, Ontario. The show was originally developed as a web-based cartoon and based off of an early short the creators made called "The Seen",[6][7] which released in 1997, but quickly moved to cable television distribution.[8] The producers of the show pay homage to their web roots by maintaining a web site that contains unique interactive content to support each episode, largely consisting of Flash games. They advertised this connection as being a "sit.com".[9] An advertising deal with Molson Canadian helped fund the move to television.[10]

On July 14, 2006 in an email to subscribers, Smiley Guy Studios announced FreeJack, an initiative under which they have started releasing the master files of every character, prop, and background from every episode for the upcoming season under a non-commercial share-friendly license.[11][12][13][14][15] However, in 2007, after the fourth season the show definitely ended production.

Every episode is structured by the opening theme, the full episode and the closing credits. The series featured an experimental form of described video, wherein rather than a neutral narrator, the actors would describe visual sequences in-character.[16][17][18][19]



The eponymous character, Jack Ryder, graduates from university with a degree in sociology and becomes a temporary employee at an agency called Odd Jobs which specializes in filling difficult and unusual positions. Each episode ends with Jack adding a chapter to a book which he is writing about his experiences on his laptop.[20]

When not working, Jack often hangs with his eccentric friends, Leopold "Leo" Trench, an agoraphobic computer hacker who, like one of the characters in McKellar's earlier comedy series, Twitch City, is unable to leave his apartment but nonetheless leads a complex and bizarre life, and Bobby Lee, an Asian kid who works in the family store by day, and is a club disc-jockey and masked hero by night.

Jack also spends some time at the beginning and end of each episode at the agency where he attempts to develop a rapport with Betty Styles, the female assignment "associate" while under electronic surveillance from the gruff, imperious, and decidedly unpleasant, manager/owner (Mr. Fister) who is often involved in some way in the bizarre conspiracies, sordid sexual escapades, and crimes which lurk behind the workaday appearances of Jack's assignments.

Mr. Fister never appears in season three, but makes a final appearance in season four, while at the conclusion of season three Betty, after stealing the company jet to rescue Jack from African kidnappers, runs away to a distant country. Instead Jack is greeted in each season four episode with a new assignment associate, each with a personality defect. The first season also featured Jacques, a French Canadian doppelgänger to Jack who serves as an office nemesis.

Season One


Among the unusual situations in which Jack finds employment during the show's first season are mortuary worker; rodent wrangler on the set of a James Bond-like movie produced entirely with rodents; tree-planter in Bigfoot country; waiter in a chi-chi restaurant where something is definitely not right in the kitchen; security guard in a high-tech firm; Eighties-style business executive in a take-over firm; and Christian theme-park employee. None of these assignments are as straightforward as they seem. Jack's co-workers and employers can only be described as contentedly psychotic.[21]

In the rodent wrangler episode, McKellar plays and parodies himself as a stereotypical vain, role-hungry and superficial actor, as well as voicing the anti-hero, Jack, and is the subject of a self-deprecatory episode based on Being John Malkovich in which a tunnel is dug from Jack's kitchen into McKellar the actor's ego.

There are also a number of sly allusions in the episode to McKellar's movies, including The Red Violin (1998) and Highway 61 (1991)[citation needed].





The show features voice work by a number of often Canadian celebrities, especially after the first season: celebrities appear occasionally on the second season,[22] and the third season has a special celebrity guest star for each episode, who either play themselves or voice one of the show's eccentric, if not mad, characters. Celebrities in the first season were Dave Foley, Troy Hurtubise and Gary Farmer. The second season featured the Barenaked Ladies, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, John O'Hurley, Megan Follows, Christopher Plummer, Rick Mercer, Kenny Hotz, Catherine O'Hara and Don Knotts. And the third season sees Tom Arnold, Scott Thompson, James Woods, Tom Green, Leslie Nielsen, Will Arnett, Samantha Bee, and John Goodman accompany Jack on his adventures in the weird world of work.[23]



Odd Job Jack was nominated for the Gemini Awards in 2006 for best "Best Cross Platform Project"[24][25] and the Canadian Comedy Awards in 2007 in the "Writing Series" category,[26] while winning the CFTPA Indie Awards in 2008 for "Best Convergent New Media",[27][28]and the Banff World Television Award for "Interactive Program Enhancements".[29][30] The series achieved over three million views within its first year on Hulu.[31] Writing for TheGATE.ca critic W. Andrew Powell wrote that "“Odd Job Jack” is also pretty damn funny. It’s charm is that it’s extremely funny, without half of the insanity or depravity of shows like “South Park“. Sure, people get chopped up & eaten, dead people get up and dance, and famous people get made fun of, but it’s surprisingly fresh without being utterly offensive."[32] Andrew Ryan for The Globe and Mail noted of the season three premiere that "Odd Job Jack is still sharply written and crudely animated, which is part of its appeal. Be grateful some things remain resistant to change."[33]

See also



  1. ^ Wild, Diane (2009-08-22). "Updated: Canadian TV on iTunes". TV, eh?. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  2. ^ DeMott, Rick (2011-01-13). "Duopoly Launches Odd Job Jack on Hulu.com". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  3. ^ Vlessing, Etan (2011-01-12). "Hulu acquires Odd Job Jack". Playback. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  4. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. pp. 51–52. ISBN 9781476672939.
  5. ^ "MTV2's Winter 2013 Schedule". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  6. ^ "The Seen (Odd Job Jack)". Canadian Film Centre. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  7. ^ "ODD JOB JACK - About The Show". www.oddjobjack.com. Retrieved 2024-06-18.
  8. ^ "Guys plot revolution". Playback. 1999-06-28. Retrieved 2024-06-15.
  9. ^ Ahearn, Victoria (2007-10-10). "Odd Job Jack comes full circle". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2024-06-11. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  10. ^ "Producers buy into branded content". Playback. 2003-02-17. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  11. ^ "FreeJack: Odd Job Jack and Creative Commons". Archived from the original on 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
  12. ^ Gakuru, Alex (2006-11-28). "Odd Job Jack". Creative Commons. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  13. ^ Steuer, Eric (2006-07-26). "Odd Job Jack files released under a CC license". Creative Commons.
  14. ^ Van der Sar, Ernesto (2006-08-04). "Odd Job Jack For Free". Torrent Freak.
  15. ^ Batchelder, Ned (2006-07-29). "FreeJack". Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  16. ^ Fels, D. I.; Udo, J. P.; Ting, P.; Diamond, J. E.; Diamond, J. I. (2006-04-20). "Odd Job Jack described: a universal design approach to described video". Springer Publishing. Universal Access in the Information Society. Retrieved 2024-06-24.
  17. ^ Pedersen, Isabel (2009). ""That is One Big Wiener!": Accessibility, Irony, and Odd Job Jack". cgscholar.com. The International Journal of the Arts in Society.
  18. ^ Konstantinidis, Bertha M.; Price, Emily; Diamond, Jonas; I. Fels, Deborah (January 2008). "Described Video Information and animation: a case study of Odd Job Jack". ResearchGate. International Journal of Social and Humanistic Computing. Retrieved 2024-06-24.
  19. ^ Fels, Deborah I.; Udo, John Patrick; Diamond, Jonas E.; Diamond, Jeremy I. "A Comparison of Alternative Narrative Approaches to Video Description for Animated Comedy". Sage Publishing. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.
  20. ^ Ryan, Andrew (2007-07-20). "Another easy way to easy street". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2024-06-12. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  21. ^ Powell, W. Andrew (2003-03-20). "Review: 'Odd Job Jack' starring Don McKellar". TheGATE.ca. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  22. ^ "Sandra Oh Scrubs In For Odd Job Jack Season Finale". Channel Canada. 2006-09-27. Archived from the original on 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  23. ^ Warner, Tyrone (2007-08-02). "Don McKellar's animated role no 'Odd Job'". CTV.ca. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  24. ^ Wild, Diane (2007-10-10). "In the news: Gemini nominated Odd Job Jack". TV, eh?. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  25. ^ Doyle, John (2007-08-29). "Little Mosque's omission: A joke that's not so funny". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2024-06-13.
  26. ^ Riedemann, Dominic (2007-07-31). "Odd Job Jack Nominated". suite101. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  27. ^ "Moose TV is funniest at Indie Awards". Playback. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  28. ^ Wild, Diane (2008-01-21). "In the news: Canadian indie award nominees". TV, eh?. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  29. ^ Wild, Diane (2008-06-10). "Banff World Television Awards Focus On Shows Instead of Stars". TV, eh?. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  30. ^ Ryan, Andrew (2008-06-11). "Canadian shows scoop awards at Banff festival". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2024-06-13. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  31. ^ Kuburas, Melita (2013-12-13). "Duopoly's Puppets Who Kill heads to Hulu". Playback. Retrieved 2024-06-12.
  32. ^ Powell, W. Andrew (2003-03-20). "Review: 'Odd Job Jack' starring Don McKellar". TheGATE.ca. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  33. ^ Ryan, Andrew (2007-07-20). "Another easy way to easy street". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2024-06-12. Retrieved 2024-06-12.