"The Red Green Show is kind of like the flu; not everybody
gets it." - Red Green
I'm often astonished at the number of people I run across
who have never seen the Red Green Show.
The Canadian show ran for an amazing 15 years, producing 300
and several specials. Show in the US on
(there were even Red Green marathons during pledge drives) the show is
hilarious, but never quite made the inroads like several other PBS
offerings. That's too bad because the
show is genuinely creative and inspired with a decidedly off kilter
look at the
world. But most of all it's just plain
funny. Acorn previously released all 15
seasons in various collections but now they are putting out the
collection in the massive Red Green
Collection. It's a
reasonably priced, that will be sure to please any fan of comedy this
The program was always created on a shoestring budget with
only a few sets, a limited cast in any given episode, and lots of
shots. The low-budget, do it yourself
origins actually work in the show's favor because that's what it's
about: guys messing with things that they
know better than to mess with.
Half skit comedy show, half sitcom, the program sounds like
a low-rent version of Home Improvement,
but it is anything but that. Each episode Red Green (creator/writer
Smith) broadcasts his show from the Possum Lodge aided by the technical
wizardry of his ultra-nerdy and rather awkward nephew Harold (Patrick
McKenna). He relates the latest happenings
lodge, how the members ended up with a 357 cubic inch engine and
turn it into an outboard motor for a canoe with a shower curtain rod,
ceiling fan, and plenty of duct tape for example, while Harold
by transitioning to skits and other events that have taken place in the
"We now come to the part of the show called 'If it ain't
broke, you're not trying!'" - Red Green
It's a simple concept, but it works wonderfully due to Steve
Smith's dry, low-key humor and the series of creative gags he comes up
every episode. In the first season the
crew had very limited time in the studio (a total of eight days for the
episodes. In one of the extras Steve
Smith mentions that they got through 84 pages of dialog, in a single,
long, day. For the rest of the content
they took a crew out on location. One of
the reoccurring segments they recorded consisted of Red, bundled up in
middle of a Canadian winter next to a small camp site reciting humorous
poetry. These were called "The Winter of
Our Discount Tent:"
It is winter. A friend hits you in the face with a snowball.
And as it melts, you become aware that he has a new puppy.
One of the most popular segments is the Handyman's Corner,
where Red, with the help of "the Handyman's secret weapon:
duct tape" would show the viewers to home how
to build or repair something. Like
turning a patio table into a surf board, or making a household
system out of a used toilet. He always
ended these segments with the immortal words "If the women don't find
handsome, they should at least find you handy."
Adventures with Bill
featured the shows director, Bill Green, in a silent, black and white,
slapstick comedy. Aided by Red, Bill
would try to go sledding, or play basketball, and the result was always
slapstick comedy. These were narrated by
Red, and though a few of them miss the mark, when they hit it the skit
My personal favorite installment, which didn't start until
one of the later seasons, is the Possum Lodge Word Game.
A take off on the old game show Password,
Harold would provide a clue and if Red could get another member of the
say it, they'd win some terribly underwhelming prize, such as a free
cone with purchase of a scoop of ice cream from the House of Vanilla,
vegetables and a leg of fish from the Longshot Family Restaurant. In one episode Red tries to get fellow lodge
member Mike Hamar to guess the word "father:"
Red: All right, Mike, your mother is married to...
Mike: Uh, her job. Exotic dancing's her life.
Red: Alright, okay, okay, I'm talking about, the man who
took care of you when you were young was your...
Mike: Ummm ...truant officer.
Red: No, this- this
is a family member, Mike. The man who slept with your mother.
Mike: Could you be
Red: Okay, growing up with just a mom, you knew you had a...
Red: Another word for "daddy".
Red: (inspired) Alright, alright, Mike, if your wife has
kids, you'll be...
Mike: Long gone.
Red: (shaking his finger) Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! Just like
Red: There we go!
The banter between Red and Harold was often inspired too, and
what makes it better is that a lot of the jokes are delivered in such a
manner that if you don't pay attention you'll miss them.
Red: Well, I'm not gonna be calling the U.S. Air Force,
Harold. What do I say? "We've got a missile?" They take that as a
in real trouble!
Harold: Well, then, contact the Canadian Air Force.
Red: Harold, it's after six; he's gone home.
Of course, the show isn't prefect. Like
any skit show, the gags can be hit or
miss and sometimes Red does miss a few in a row. The
good jokes are hilarious though and more
than make up for the duds.
The other thing I have to mention is the laugh track.
It's grating and annoying and way too
loud. The thing that makes this even
more irritating is that it wasn't originally aired with one. It was only when it was imported to the US
canned laughter was added. I guess PBS
didn't think its viewers were bright enough to tell when something was
The entire 300 episodes plus five specials totally an amazing
124+ hours worth of comedy arrive on an impressive 50 DVDs. They're housed in 15 single-width cases that
hold three DVDs each, one per season and another for the specials (a
case). These all come in a thin
pressboard box made to look like a toolbox with plenty of duct tape
together. I do wish this box was a
little more substantial, especially since the contents weigh so much,
but it is
As far as I could tell, these are the same discs as Acorn's
original releases, so if you have those, there's nothing additional to
in this set aside from the packaging.
The show comes with the original stereo audio track, which
is nothing special. It was a low budget
show, and the fidelity isn't the greatest but the program is generally
and easy on the ears. There were a
couple of segments in various shows that did have some background
noise, but it
was never distracting and it was pretty rare, at least among the
The original 1.33:1 aspect ratio is preserved and it looks
pretty good. It doesn't look polished as
slick, like the latest hot show from Hollywood
but that fits in with the show's do-it-yourself brand of humor. The image is clean lacking specs and dirt,
and while there's a slight amount of banding in a few spots, only
anal-retentive DVD reviewers are likely to notice.
It's a decent looking show, given the
There are a whole slew of extras included with this
set. First off are the five specials: We Can't Help It, We're Men (65 minutes) - a hilarious
collection of skits about 'the various sexes" Hindsight is 20/20 (60 minutes) - a look back
at the show; Duct Tape Virtuoso Deluxe (64 minutes) - a great
collection devoted to the handyman's secret weapon:
duct tape; The Red Green
minutes) - a collection of clips, audition reels and production
go behind the scenes and tells the story of the Red Green Show;
It's a Wonderful Red Green Christmas (60 minutes) - this special tells you all
to know to celebrate the holidays just like the members of the Possum
would be plenty for many releases, but Acorn doesn't stop there. There's Red Green's of Cars and Men (71 minutes) - a
collection of car skits, A Merry Red Green Christmas (45 minutes) - more
holiday cheer, Red Green style; Behind-the scenes comments by star and
Steve Smith, A tour of a duct tape factory guided by Red, Fan-made duct
creations, and introductions to several of the seasons by Steve Smith.
if that wasn't enough, there's also a collection of production photos,
Harold text character profiles and biographies of stars Steve Smith and
looks like the only thing really missing is the Red Green movie, Duct
I assume the rights are held by another
company and would require a separate license.
Even without that single entry, there's enough to keep fans busy
This is a hilarious show and getting the entire 15 years
worth of episodes in one bundle is a joy.
Filled with off the wall humor that guys will find particularly
it would make a great gift this holiday season.
The price may seem a little steep, but it retails for a dollar
episode (and that's not counting the specials or the copious extras)
street price is much lower than that.
It's a great package that comes Highly