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DVD Review: The Red Green Show – The Delinquent Years

A long-running staple of Canadian comedy, The Red Green Show originally started airing on television in 1991 and ran an impressive fifteen years before finally calling it quits. Set at the fictional Possum Lodge somewhere in a rural northwest Ontario community, the show depicted the misadventures of our titular hero, Red Green (Steve Smith), the stingy, gravel-voiced president of the lodge. Regarded as something of the native Mr. Fix-It by the local lineup of coots and rednecks, Red accomplishes most (if not all) of his tasks with a copious amount of duct tape and little else. He also comes up with more harebrained ideas than every American Presidential Administration combined — much to the dismay of his über-dorky naïve manchild of a nephew, Harold (Patrick McKenna), who more times than naught acts as Red’s foil (and vice versa).

Previously produced under the eyes of several different networks, the 1997 season marked the first time the show was produced by CBC Television — which meant a bigger budget. As such, The Red Green Show’s star/writing team of Steve Smith and Rick Green were able to start being even sillier than the applicable TV laws up there in the Great White North previously allowed (which is saying something). This is evident in the very first episode of The New Red Green Show (as it was known for as a year after the move to CBC) — chronicled in Acorn Media’s newest box-set release, The Red Green Show: The Delinquent Years – Seasons 1997-1999 — as our hero decides to make a Hummer (or “double-wide limo,” as he also calls it) by duct-taping two Hyundai Ponys together for the show’s “Handyman Corner” segment.

Of course, there was no need to alter the entire course of the already-established series any further than that. Never once does the show stray from its “live before a studio audience with pre-recorded skits in-between” format during these so-called “Delinquent Years.” Instead, Smith & Green And Co. keep things simple, stupid — and bring forth the usual amount of clever writing and slapstick humor that earned The Red Green Show nearly two-dozen Gemini Award Nominations from 1993 to 2006. Every episode offers up another jaw-droppingly-inane look at Canada’s equivalent to America’s “Blue Collar Comedy” troupe, including the wonderful “Handyman Corner” (which greatly appeals to people like me, who don’t know a Philips screwdriver from a blowtorch); “Adventures With Bill,” a narrated, black-and-white account of the latest project-turned-accident with co-star/writer Rick Green; and more of Red’s invaluable advice to the over-forty crowd (“North of Forty”).

Although Acorn Media had previously released the 1997 to 1999 seasons on DVD between 2006 and 2008, The Red Green Show: The Delinquent Years marks the first time the three middle seasons of the series have been in a box set. Apart from some new cover art, everything in this nine disc set appears to be identical to the previously-issued releases, right down to the bonus features. The shows are presented in their original 1.33:1 video aspect ratios and are presentable, but nothing worth writing home about, as this is late ‘90s Canadian TV we’re talking about. English 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtracks accompany. On the whole, they‘re rather tinny, but suffice just fine. No subtitles are available with this release, and the aforementioned special features consists of a couple of text-only character bios and notes from Steve Smith.

In short: if you already own the earlier Acorn Media 1997 to 1999 Season sets, there’s really no need for you to pick up The Red Green Show: The Delinquent Years. If you’re new to collecting the series, however, this is just as good a place to start as any; it’s a fun comedy show that provides many memorable laughs.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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