Most of the time PBS is filled with news, educational programming, classical music, and just all around boring television that even your grandparents won’t watch> But every once in a while they pull out a rare gem like Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, Black Adder and Dr. Who. The Red Green Show is one of those rare treasures that ran for 15 seasons from 1991 through 2006.
The show stars Red Green (Steve Smith) and his nerdy nephew Harold (Patrick Mckenna) as they host a public access show from their Canadian lodge at Possum Lake. Red is the president of the lodge and host of the show, while Harold runs all the electronic equipment and offers words of wisdom to his uncle who promptly ignores his advice.
There is usually an overall arc to the episode that involves some crazy idea initiated by Red and his lodge buddies such as the running of the bulls, adopting a highway and using it to setup a roadside carnival, having a bachelor auction for lodge money, or having the lodge declared a historical landmark.
Interspersed throughout the episode are short reoccurring sketches that illustrate the pioneering spirit of the Canadian outdoorsman.
"The Handyman Corner" features Red coming up with one of his brilliant ideas to save money by making something new out of old parts that he already has. Some of his ideas are making an espresso machine out of a hot water heater, a bread maker out of a washing machine and old toaster heating elements, a motorhome out of used appliance doors, and a double-wide limo by attaching two cars side-by-side while using the handyman’s secret weapon, Duct Tape to hold them together. Because, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”
"Adventures with Bill" are silent black and white films that involve Bill (Rick Green) and Red as they go fishing, hunting, hiking, or just trying to build something. Inevitably it turns into a slapstick adventure with Bill hurting himself in the most idiotic of ways while Red narrates the action.
"The Possum Lodge Word Game" is reminiscent of the old TV game show Password where Red tries to get his guest to say the secret word but while the clues are so easy that any moron could get the answer they never seem to get it right.
These three seem to be the most common as well as various campfire songs, words of wisdom for the older viewers of the show, and the repair shop where Red tries to fix his friends’ broken items primarily by using duct tape.
This DVD collection spans Seasons Seven through Nine and is contained on nine DVDs. The Special Features selection is pretty limited containing short comical character bios and then some notes from Steve Smith. After reading his notes you learn that season seven is when the show was picked up by the biggest network in Canada, the CBC. It increased their budget exponentially and allowed them to do two performances a night with permanent sets and increase the live audience from 100 to 300 people. It also explains why in season nine Harold gets a job in the city and Bill is replaced by a stuntman.
The first two seasons in this DVD set are classic Red Green episodes at their finest. The humor is both smart and dumb at the same time leaving the audience to marvel at the genius of what is being created on the stage while wondering what dumbass would have ever thought of it in the first place.
Season Nine has a lot of the same humor in it, but with Harold’s limited role on the show being filled with various lodge members it has a different feel to it. Without Harold, Red becomes the smartest person at the lodge and that’s not really a good thing. But the new chemistry must work somehow as the show lasted for another seven years. It just might take a season or two to get used to the slightly-altered format.