It's been a gas: Brent Butt's 'Corner Gas' wraps up
Published Tuesday, April 14, 2009 7:22AM EDT
TORONTO - "Corner Gas" ended its celebrated six-year run Monday with a plot that saw humble hero Brent Leroy reaffirm his small-town roots and cleverly riffed off series creator Brent Butt's own rise to TV sitcom stardom.
In the final episode, the inhabitants of Dog River, Sask., discover that Brent has been sneaking into the city each week to perform stand-up comedy.
And the jokes he tells? They're all about the group of oddball friends and family that live in his sleepy community, where he runs a gas station.
Not everyone is immediately impressed.
"This is weird, nobody's ignoring him," exclaims Wanda, the retail assistant played by Butt's real-life wife, Nancy Robertson, as she watches a confident Brent crack jokes before an appreciative audience.
"They're all listening to him, or something. Maybe I should have paid more attention to Bret."
"It's Brent," corrects an equally astounded Lacey, who runs The Ruby cafe and is played by Gabrielle Miller.
For longtime fans of the show, it was a satisfying nod to the origins of what's been billed as Canada's most successful sitcom.
Butt started his stand-up career at a Saskatoon comedy club, where it's said that he showed up for amateur night in 1988 armed with jokes he'd honed at the coffee shop in his hometown of Tisdale, Sask.
In 2004, he spun his Prairie-oriented comedy into a Gemini Award-winning sitcom for CTV that earned critical and commercial praise for its folksy charm and broad reach.
Each member of the ensemble cast earned dedicated followings for their portrayals of the outlandish characters, among them acting veterans Eric Peterson and Janet Wright as Brent's bickering parents Oscar and Emma Leroy, and Fred Ewanuick as the dim-witted best friend, Hank.
Meanwhile, Lorne Cardinal and Tara Spencer-Nairn epitomized Prairie law enforcement with their sweet-natured take on officers Davis and Karen.
Along the way, big names from the worlds of politics, music and acting found their way to fictional Dog River. Cameos over the years included appearances by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, jazz crooner Michael Buble and "24" star Kiefer Sutherland.
There was no such big splash for the final instalment, though, which managed to both celebrate the show's warm but humble comic sensibilities while hoisting a toast to the end of a charmed run. Literally.
After 106 episodes, the finale hurrah culminated with Brent assuring the residents of Dog River that his newfound stardom at the comedy club would not lure him out of his hometown.
"Why would I go anywhere when everything I like is right here?" Brent says simply.
"To Brent -- not doing anything, not going anywhere!" says Lacey.
Dog River forever, Brent.