So, where is the show headed at this point? Are we in for a prolonged romantic chase between Gary and April? Will it be a Seinfeldesque show about nothing?
Three episodes in, I can say that there is almost certainly a psychology major on the writing staff. Last week's primary storyline vaguely followed a stages of grief track and this week's focused on addiction issues. What's next? Dream analysis?
The characters and their relationships are starting to come into sharper focus but I'd say there's still work to do. Unfortunately, I don't find Gary particularly likable. He is portrayed as both insecure and manipulative - not inspiring qualities for a leading man. Matt actually comes across much better in this week's "Diet Pop Withdrawal" saga. Not that likability is everything. If Mad Men has proven anything, it's that one can build a compelling show around utterly detestable characters. But Don Draper, Sam Malone and other flawed leading men like them occasionally have heroic moments which preserve them in our esteem enough to care about what happens to them. I have yet to see that in Gary. Plus, he really only has developed relationships with two of the other characters: April and Matt.
The female characters could use some development as well. Despite her female lead status, we don't know a whole lot about April yet. She's an accountant. She's from Edmonton. She's addicted to caffeine. I think more interactions with the other female characters would help to develop her more. Furthermore, Tannis and Rani are portrayed as little more than nags.
I am more comfortable with where the other three characters seem to have settled. Matt is the goofy yet dependable confidant. Pramesh is the lovable nerd. Bill is the dumb slob.
I was pleased to see more curling in this episode. Pramesh, ice shy from his fall in the "Yurk!" story with Bill, is replaced for the game by Stevie, performed by Benjamin Beauchemin who definitely has a Daniel Radcliffe quality to him. I would have to say, however, that Gary's shoddy treatment of Stevie before he got his diet pop fix fell short of the Spirit of Curling.
Canadian English lesson: it seems they say pop in Canada rather than soda. Or at least they do in Winnipeg, where the show is filmed. I suppose it's not surprising that midwestern Canada would have some of the same lingo as the midwestern US.
Episode 3 - Quitting Time (viewable only in Canada)