Recorded 7 February 2017
The premier episode of Lax and Gio Watch Shit
Lax picks Twitch City (1998) Season 1 (6 episodes) a CBC TV show by Don McKellar.
Ken Reid: http://www.ikenreid.com/
S1E1: I Slept with my Mother, 19 January 1998
S1E2: My Pet, My Hero, 26 January 1998
S1E3: I Look Like Joyce DeWitt, 2 February 1998
S1E4: People Who Fight Too Much, 23 February 1998
S1E5: I’m Fat and Proud, 2 March 1998
S1E6: Killed by Cat Food, 9 March 1998
A show about an agoraphobic man, Curtis ( Don McKellar), who is obsessed with television, particularly an evening trash talk TV show, The Rex Riley Show (Bruce McCulloch). The only outside influence are the room mates that filter into his life when his long time room mate Nathan (Daniel MacIvor) is arrested for killing a gay homeless man (Al Waxman) with an impromptu cudgel of cat food, the cheap kind. The first, and continuing, room mate is none other than Nathan’s girlfriend Hope (Molly Parker) but others are in the mix from local convince stop clerk Newbie (Callum Keith Rennie) a cat lady, and even psychoactive cookies.
Twitch City strikes me as a more competent, and Canadian, version of Clerks, but one by someone competent and in colour. I found the show on Canadian basic cable channel Show Case, at a time when it would actually show good movies at weird times, and since the internet was this new thing you could go online and find the schedule a month in advance…with descriptions which you could print out at work and highlight what you wanted to record, on to tape, for watching later at a more convenient time. It was the future, and it was amazing. But hey, I had just stopped living in a closet.
Episode 1: Failure to comply with the Job Wheel, has left Lucky the cat hungry. Curtis won’t go out, so Nathan has to get provisions, just a few minutes after his girlfriend moves in. On the way back, with the cheap cat food because that’s what they sell in convince stores, he is accosted by a homeless man, and ends up clubbing him to death with a sack of cat food. While Nathan is being arrested, Curtis starts making moves on Hope and then turns the Job Wheel into a “For Rent” sign after he finds out about the murder charges.
Episode 2: Hope is busy seeing to Nathan’s legal defense and Curtis is busy renting out his bedroom and moving his good stereo into his room. The new roommate? Psychoactive pineapple almond cookies that totally don’t contain drugs! Hope is forced into the guest room, which may or may not be a closet, and also has to pay rent – especially after her improvements. Hope is the MPDG of your dreams and the search for a new room mate will continues as the cookies decided to leave.
Episode 3: The new room mate is a crazy cat lady, and is played by Don McKellar’s late wife, who only eats the meat out of microwave dinners…or does she? Hope is finally starting to realize that Curtis doesn’t really do all that much, his job is basically taking out the garbage and renting out the room…to a crazy lady who is sings Christmas carols. Cat lady bonds with Lucky until things go bad, and disappears. Hope is told that Curtis never leaves the house, but it doesn’t sink in by Newbie, the convenience store clerk who gives expired food and stripped magazines to Curtis. The Cat lady decompensates, then disappears leaving only a foul smelling cooler that is taped shut and smells like death, always lurking in the corner. Hope finally realizes that Curtis never leaves the apartment, but is distracted when he honks her boob which unlocks her heart. Curtis is out of jail, and comes home just in time to block the consummation and is almost killed by a falling cooler of TV dinner remains.
Episode 4: Jail changes a man but Nathan is released and living with his girlfriend in her closet room, Curtis is his nemesis – but he is letting go, because having another body on him probably wouldn’t be good until the first one is resolved. The new roommate is a Punjabi engineering student kept on track by Curtis, Hope keeps trying to find a way to let Nathan down while having awkward moments with Curtis, who really needs them to pay more money now that it is a double occupancy. While the student is out, his room is rented as a band practice room, and with all the lawerin’ going on Curtis moves into the attic until Nathan goes to back to jail as there is now a witness and a motive. Curtis and Hope share a moment and the search for a new room mate starts anew.
Episode 5: Hope connects with Newbie, and finds out he met Curtis in first year of university, and is now their new room mate, plus he has a job. He’s the kind of guy who moves all his belonging in garbage bags. Hope starts working at the convenience store, now with music. Curtis watches TV to learn from it, not laugh at it, Newbie might be the opposite. Curtis tries to leave, but can’t, Newbie might be taking his place. In a battle of the TV remote, Curtis wins until Craig makes a shot form outside, which Curtis can’t challenge. In the battle of the TV Week, Molly cheats for Curtis, which when revealed brings them closer but drive Craig out.
Episode 6: To deflect his lack of going out, Curtis asks Hope to move in with him while Nathan gets the opportunity to be on the Rex Reilly show. It is revealed that the victim of the Cat Food Killer was gay, which clearly is the motivation. We then cut to Hope returning from the taping, signed book and mug in hand. hope is none to happy that both rooms have now been rented, which was totally not why he asked her to move in with him. On the show, Nathan rages out and threatens Curtis to camera. The new frat bro room mates are not to his liking, he goes to his room to eat some magic cookies before the cat addresses him, he is in the need off a kick in the ass, it is time to fly and drink from the bowl of wisdom. He gay panics the room mates out, gets his shoes and goes to visit Hope at her remote gas station kiosk to let her know the room mates are moving out, maybe he’ll see her tonight and see her he does, they make out while the national anthem plays and the show comes to an end, Curtis of course taking a peek at the screen.
The Canadian Connection, the homeless man is Al Waxman who was Canadian Famous for playing the King of Kensington, which was kind of like Canada’s multicultural All in the Family? Nathan’s mother was also played by the wife of the King. The guy buying cat food in Episode 6, Hugh Dillon, was at that point in the band The Headstones, and is now more known as an actor in shitty Canadian productions.
This show hit me at an odd time in my life, just jumping into being a real adult and I think I really wanted to go back to living in a closet where I could just watch TV, no relationships, not getting stabbed, not having to move forward. This show fucking connected to me in a deep way. It was one of the few TV series I actually kept on VHS, I’m sure I have it somewhere with my Star Wars box sets. It also deeply affected Ken Reid, who might have taken the show a little more to heart as a blueprint. If you know him, he has a couple of lending copies. His contact information and purchase links are in the show notes.
Season 2 is comprised of 7 episodes and aired in 2000.
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