Once upon a time…girl met boy…girl fell in love with boy…boy was from Canada…boy told girl about great Canadian sitcom…girl fell in love with the sitcom, also. And so, that is how I grew to love Corner Gas even more than many Canadians. Well, that’s not the whole story.
Josh and I had been dating (long distance but that’s a story for another time) for a while when, one night, he told me he had to let me go (on the phone) because he and his mom had to watch Corner Gas. I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. While I wondered what in a television show could be more fascinating than me (self-deprecating and sarcastic laugh) especially a television show I had never heard of, I was a bit…hurt.
Flash forward a few months. I boarded a plan bound for Toronto from Dallas on almost no sleep (Did I mention it was a red eye flight?) with a connection to the closest airport to Josh’s house. On the in-air screen there was the choice of watching Corner Gas. So, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. And after one episode, I was hooked.
The week that I was there in Canada (in addition to spending time meeting Josh’s relatives and spending time with Josh, of course) I was obsessed with watching as much of Corner Gas as I could. The episode that I saw on the plane was one from season 1 (Oh, Baby!), and the new episodes were in season 4.
I searched for it on YouTube once I got home and managed to get caught up. And watched them again and again. I figure the best way to discuss my love of CG and all that I’ve learned from it is to approach it one season at a time (not to overwhelm you with the awesomeness). So, here goes: Season 1.
Episode 1: Ruby Reborn: Lacey Burrows moves to Dog River, Saskatchewan, to re-open the cafe that she inherited from her aunt Ruby. There, she meets a cast of quirky characters including Brent Leroy (who owns Corner Gas, a gas station attached to the cafe), Wanda Dollard (Brent’s caustic employee), Hank Yarbo (Brent’s ne’er-do-well best friend), Emma and Oscar Leroy (Brent’s parents), Karen Pelly (the “rookie” constable), and Davis Quinton (the constable with seniority). Also, in episode 1, Brent is trying to add movie rentals to the gas station, but Oscar (who used to own the gas station) balks at the idea. Hank is angry about Lacey trying to remake the cafe, but is happy when she renames it. This is the episode that started it all, but it’s not the episode that I saw first. What has always struck me about this ensemble cast show (and is especially pertinent in this episode) is that everyone has a plot in each episode. Davis and Karen in this episode are arguing hanging out at the “surveillance bush.” Emma gets in on the act with trying to play peacemaker with Brent and Oscar. I just appreciate the cohesiveness and all-encompassingness of this show.
Trivia questions for the episode (to be answered with the Summary Sunday post): 1) What does Lacey rename the cafe? 2) What prompts Brent at the end of the episode to carry a protest sign sporting, “Save the Dogs”? 3) What movie does Oscar end up renting?
Episode 2: Tax Man: A tax man (not to be mistaken with the tax man) appears in Dog River asking Brent questions about the gas station. It turns out that Oscar may not have paid his business taxes and cannot find the paperwork, even though Emma tries to remind him where it is. Hank tries to come up with several plans to thwart the tax man, and Wanda argues with Hank and Brent about proper article use. Lacey butts heads with Karen and Davis when she won’t give them free coffee. This episode is comic gold. Especially the part about proper article use (I’ve often wanted to use that clip to teach my students the difference between definite and indefinite articles, but there is some language in the eps that I wouldn’t be allowed to show).
Trivia questions for the episode: 1) Where did Emma put the tax papers? 2) Who ends up solving Lacey’s coffee dilemma and how? 3) What are Brent and Oscar watching when Emma tells them where the tax papers are?
Episode 3: Pilates Twist: Lacey is all set to start teaching a pilates class, but because of some confusion, no one wants to take the class except Davis (especially Wanda). Brent and Hank argue over wearing the same shirt each day (Karen and Lacey solve it for them). Karen tries to explain to Lacey how to use fonts properly. Emma has to deal with Oscar making a coffin in the basement (including one for her) as he does not want to be made fun of for his coffin at his funeral. I learned quite a few things in this episode: button placement on shirts, how to mix (or not mix) fonts (and since I’m font-sessed that’s extremely important), and how confusion over names can lead to some very funny moments.
Trivia questions for the episode: 1) Why does most of the town (except Wanda) not want to take Lacey’s pilates class? 2) How is the Brent/Hank shirt drama resolved? 3) Why is Wanda so angry about Lacey’s pilates class?
Episode 4: Oh Baby!: For me, the episode that started it all. Wanda has a toothache and is going to have to have the tooth pulled at a dentist in town. So Lacey helps her to convince Brent to watch Tanner, Wanda’s son. It seems many people in town have babysat Tanner (who should be named Terror), including Hank, who is awfully scared of squeeze mayo for some reason. Karen tries to bust up a ring of people betting on Brent’s fate with Tanner. Lacey shows up to save Brent at Wanda’s house but soon suggests that he call his mom. Oscar is taking care of the store in Brent’s absence and does his best to antagonize the customers. Keep in mind, this is the episode that got me hooked! This is also the episode that taught me to choose a dentist by his or her name. And the super child psychology skills of Dr. Spearamint Fur. Classic!
Trivia questions for the episode: 1) Why is Hank afraid of the mayo? 2) What does Tanner throw at Brent and Lacey? 3) What is Lacey’s bet? 4) What convinces Brent to watch Tanner?
Episode 5: Grad ’68: Karen decides to go Poirot/Marple and try to figure out the significance of Grad ’68 painted on the water tower. In her line of inquiry, she finds out that Oscar didn’t want to go to Brent’s graduation, Davis likes to direct traffic, and Hank didn’t have his picture taken for the yearbook. She also discovers how far Emma will go to help reach Brent’s after-high-school yearbook goals. The denouement is revealed at Lacey’s wings night at the cafe. From this episode, I learned about the limits of spray paint cans.
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) Why was Grad ’68 painted on the water tower? 2) What was Davis’s involvement in the Grad ’68 scheme? 3) How did Emma help Brent reach his goal?
Episode 6: World’s Biggest Thing: Hank comes up with an idea to help raise tourism in the town and tries to enlist Brent’s help at the town council meeting. Karen desperately wants to know what goes on at the town meetings, and Davis feels his age. Meanwhile, Oscar thinks Lacey has a crush on him, and Emma teases him for it. Wanda comes up with a plan to help steer Oscar away from Lacey and vice versa. This episode is one of my favorites. It teaches you to do your research when you come up with a great idea and how little old ladies can come up with some unintentionally raunchy ideas.
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) Who comes up with the idea of the World’s Biggest Hoe? 2) What prop does Wanda suggest to use to separate Oscar and Lacey? 3) What is the second greatest show on Earth? (according to the episode)
Episode 7: All My Ex’s Live in Toronto: Lacey gets word that her former fiance (that she broke up with to move to Dog River) is coming to visit. Hank decides to act as Lacey’s boyfriend to scare her ex off. Brent ends up getting blamed for the plan. Emma tries to get Oscar and then Brent to go to the doctor. Karen and Davis investigate the possibility that Lacey’s Ex might be a criminal. This is the episode that made me want to make sure that interrogation rooms worked and to watch Kojak and Kolchak.
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) Where does Emma go when she’s telling everyone she’s going to the doctor? 2) What’s the profession of Lacey’s ex? 3) What causes Lacey’s ex to get a ticket after he leaves Dog River?
Episode 8: Cousin Carl: Brent’s cousin Carl (whom he detests) visits. Hank and Lacey seem to like him (Hank almost to the point of hero-worship). Emma is happy her nephew is visiting. Oscar is preoccupied with selling back his empty beer bottles (that no one seems to want) until he decides to put them into a new use. Everyone else is focused on the town talent show led by Wanda (and judged by Lacey). Brent and Carl, Hank, Davis the puppeteer, and Karen (also as puppeteer) are just a few of the acts. This episode is great because who doesn’t know a braggart (who they may or may not be related to…in my case not related) who brags to make others feel bad?
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) What does Carl give to Hank? 2) What brand of beer bottles is Oscar trying to sell back? 3) What is the name of Brent and Carl’s act for the talent show?
Episode 9: Cell Phone: Brent and Davis are engaged in a “Who has the smallest phone?” contest. Meanwhile, Lacey wants to get onto the Chamber of Commerce (causing Hank to ponder exactly what a Chamber of Commerce is) and also get rid of the rats in the area. Everyone is excited about the new cell phone tower that is going up soon. Emma’s worried because Oscar is hanging around the bar all the time (not for drinking). Wanda continues to imitate sound effects from the Police Academy movies. The mayor has issued new buttons that say I ❤ Dog River, and Karen and Davis argue about what they are. This episode is awesome because of two words: Barbie phones!
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) Who says “Barbie phones” and why? 2) Why is Oscar hanging out at the bar? 3) What does Lacey decide is causing the rats in the area and what does she do about it?
Episode 10: Comedy Night: In this episode, a comic who had been in Dog River last year steals Brent’s best joke. Davis is dubious when he hears how Hank reacted at last year’s performance. Hank gets the job of being the warm-up comic at the comic’s visit this year and asks Lacey to give him some tips. Lacey also gives the comic some tips…with hilarious results. Lacey also starts up a book club and asks Brent to join. Wanda, Emma, and Karen prefer his book club selections to hers. Oscar is obsessed with dingoes and wants to watch animal specials about dingoes. The quotables: “Dingoes, dingoes!” “Bring back mean Hank!” “Let’s hear it for the best town in all of Saskatchewan…Wullerton!–Boos and spits”
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) What is the name of the selection that Lacey makes for the book club? 2) What makes the crowd say, “Bring back mean Hank!”? 3) What town does Lacey say that she and the comic are in?
Episode 11: Hook, Line, and Sinker: Lacey and Brent lock horns over their new sign and what the slogan should be. Wanda displays a new talent: rearranging the letters in words to say something embarrassing. Karen is upset because Davis has bowed out of a fishing trip with Hank, saying that he has to visit an aromatherapist, leaving her to go fishing with Hank alone. Brent and Emma enlist the town’s help in making Oscar think that he has started to lose his memory. This episode is another one of my favorites because of the quotable lines. “I didn’t sleep with Hank!” “Everyone knows you don’t eat the ‘E’s’!” “My thighs are hot for goat felons.” And for the merits of Alphaghetti over Dinoghetti. (according to Oscar)
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) What slogan proves to be the most popular on the sign? 2) Who said, “Everyone knows you don’t eat the ‘E’s'”? 3) Who ends up having to tell Oscar of the plot?
Episode 12: Face Off: Brent, Davis, Hank, and some of the other guys in Dog River are about to play their hockey rivals. The best player of the rival hockey team offers to make Brent a member of his team. Lacey decides she wants to be the coach of the River Dogs, and Wanda acts as commentator of the game. Emma and Oscar struggle to make it to the game to see Brent play, and Karen tries to lend a helping hand. Again the quotables: “The Dogs are playing like my grandma, only less physical.”
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) What does Lacey say she used to wish her nickname was? 2) What position does Brent play on the team? 3) What does Oscar use to “fix” the car?
Episode 13: I Love Lacey: This episode takes place on the way to the Grey Cup. Lacey and Brent travel together, but they run out of gas. Emma and Wanda decide to do some shopping on the way. Karen and Davis think they lose the tickets. Oscar and Hank try to make a visit to one of Oscar’s friends, but something goes horribly wrong. This episode was the end of season 1 and has a mini cliffhanger (and is one of the few episodes to directly lead into another episode, the season premiere of season 2). This is also the will-they-won’t-they episode for Lacey and Brent.
Trivia questions for this episode: 1) What does the farmer confuse Brent and Lacey with when he first sees them? 2) What present of Emma’s did Wanda buy at the dollar store? 3) What does Oscar plan to take from his friend?
If you want to share your memories of CG or even try your hand at some of the answers, or if there is a show that you learned a lot from as well, please let me know by dropping me a line below. I will be posting the answers to the trivia on Sunday with the Summary Sunday post.