Reviews of two new CBC comedies
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Son of a Critch: 4/5
Run the Burbs: 4/5
This winter, CBC expanded their offerings of comedies from the usual once a week on Tuesday to twice a week on Tuesday and Wednesday; they added two all-new shows that will air during the winter.
One of the most important Canadian exports to the world is our comedy. The place to go for noteworthy and inventive Canadian comedies today is CBC. Some of these shows include This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Made in Canada, The Red Green Show, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Schitt’s Creek, and Kim’s Convenience.
This winter, CBC expanded their offerings of comedies from the usual once a week on Tuesday to twice a week, adding Wednesdays. They added two all-new shows that will air during the winter. One shows the childhood of This Hour Has 22 Minutes host Mark Critch, and the other is a dream project of Kim’s Convenience star Andrew Phung.
Based on the autobiography of the same name, Son of a Critch follows young Mark (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) during his first year of school in his home province of Newfoundland in 1986. The show not only shows the influences that made Critch one of the funniest hosts in This Hour Has 22 Minutes and a Newfoundland treasure but also a few aspects I can relate to from elementary school (though Critch himself went to a private school). It is in the vein of prequel shows like Young Sheldon leading me to suspect that this show is a Newfoundland version of that. The first episode tackles bullying as well as what schools in Newfoundland were like during that time, including the use of straps as a punishment which would be unacceptable today. Critch himself is also in the show as his father who works as a traffic reporter at a local radio station.
Then we have another show that I was highly excited for after its announcement in Run the Burbs. Andrew Pham (Phung), his wife Camille (Rakhee Morzaria), and their two children move to a suburb in Toronto. Other people move in the neighbourhood as well and the first thing that the Pham family does in the first episode holds a blockbuster block party.
To try to convince a city inspector to allow them to do the party, the entire family engages with the rest of the neighbourhood to think of ideas for it including Camille organizing a street race with a gang. If you know Phung, you will probably recognize his interests throughout the episode including The Fast and the Furious; famed Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall appears as one of their neighbours and is coaxed into performing at their block party. The dialogue in the show is the type of thing that Phung does in his acting and it is kind of an autobiography of himself because he is also married and has two sons.
CBC’s new comedies this winter are still surprisingly funny and relatable. Also, they have the warmth and humour that you cannot find anywhere else.