For over a decade I have enjoyed watching the Canadian television program The Red Green Show. The series concluded in 2005 after running for 15 seasons and 300 episodes. The series also produced a number of PBS specials and a movie, Duct Tape Forever. More importantly, the show has a loyal following. So much so that the show’s star, Red Green (played by Steve Smith) continues to tour the United States and Canada.
The series focuses on a group of lodge members on Possum Lake in Canada. The lodge, Possum Lodge, is famous for its motto, “Quando omni flunks moritati,” which is latin for “When all else fails, play dead.” The real asset to the series is its cast of characters which includes Red Green, his nephew Harold (Patrick McKenna), sewage expert Winston Rothschild III (Jeff Lumby), thrift shop owner Dalton Humphry (Bob Bainborough), ex-con Mike Hammer (Wayne Robson), explosives enthusiast Edgar K. B. Montrose (Graham Greene), forest ranger and novice animator Ranger Gord (Peter Keleghan), local animal control officer Ed Frid (Jerry Schaefer), master story craftsman Hap Shaughnessy (Gordon Pinsent), and other characters that have come and gone throughout the series. As a running joke, there are a number of mythical characters including Old Man Sedgwick, Moose Thompson, Stinky Peterson, Junior Singleton, Buster Hatfield, and Red’s wife Bernice. Although these characters are never seen on screen, their actions are often central to an episode’s story.
The show has been called a sitcom and sketch variety. It is divided into segments including “Adventures with Bill,” “Ask the Experts,” “If it Ain’t Broke, You’re not Trying,” “The Possum Lodge Word Game,” and many others. The most popular segment, one that is in every episode, is “Handyman Corner.” In this segment, Red explains how the average man can have all of life’s luxuries by building it yourself. All you need is a pile of junk (or an old car), an idea, and – the handy man’s secret weapon – Duct Tape. Red then builds his version of a snow plow or a home car wash. At the end of each segment, Red proclaims, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!” Usually as his latest project proves to be less then successful.
The show has been criticized for its lack of women and many of character’s attitudes toward their wives. Clearly, this is a show geared for a male audience. Red’s friendly talks at his desk are generally geared toward middle-aged or older men, but there have been a few segments directed at women. Possum Lodge is a place for the men of the show to escape their work, children, and most importantly, their wives. At the end of each episode, however, Red concludes by addressing his wife directory and ensuring her that he will be home after the lodge meeting.
The show has gained a cult-like following over the last two decades. It has fans around the world. Although it was on PBS in the United States, it was a nationally syndicated show in Canada. Today, The Red Green Show continues. Steve Smith tours the United States and Canada as Red Green, fans can buy series merchandise and DVDs, and the show continues to run on many PBS stations. Early this year, however, it was announced that fan would have yet another option with the entire series being available on YouTube. All 300 episodes of The Red Green Show have been uploaded and can be watched online…for FREE! It is a great way to discover, or rediscover, the classic TV show.
As a treat to my readers, you do not have to go to YouTube to discover the show. I have included a great episode from the show’s 10th season entitled “DNA All the Way.”
And remember, keep your stick on the ice.