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TV & sitcom DVDs - Robson Arms - Season 2


Robson Arms The Complete Second Season
Gabrielle Miller, John Cassini,
Fred Ewanuick, Alisen Down
2 DVDs 13 Episodes
Originally aired CTV and The Comedy Network 2007
VSC 2007

Robson Arms is a Canadian situation comedy about a bunch of quirky people mostly in their twenties and early thirties living in a somewhat rundown building in Vancouver's West End. Each of the thirteen shows in Robson Arms The Complete Second Season 2 DVD set has a good premise or a really funny bit but not often both at the same time. Although the sitcom features a good cast and some solid and usually comic guest actors, the writing (an example of a witty line for 2007 is "You're the David Koresh of making out") and pacing in Robson Arms are often only slightly better than the Maple Leafs' chances of winning a Stanley Cup this century. This means most shows are decent but not great.

Then again, side from Corner Gas and perhaps the first few episodes of Little House on the Prairie Canadian situation comedies rarely rise above fairly decent and uneven and this includes season 2 of Robson Arms. How can Fred Ewanuick and Gabrielle Miller seem so stilted in Robson Arms when they are great in Corner Gas? How can Nancy Robertson's (Corner Gas again) guest appearance be as just another bland and undefined character? I am more and more convinced Canada has had the three same sitcom writers for the last forty or so years and they just churn out product after product, occasionally altering the names or sexes of characters to fit the new show. As for directing, school crossing guards do a better job on a one-way street on a Sunday.

The war between wheelchair bound Leslie Nielsen and Robson Arms maintenance man John Cassini in episode 1 of Robson Arms The Complete Second Season -and don't tell me a wheelchair bound Leslie Nielsen is not a great set up for some laughs- which could have been brilliant gets diluted in a bunch of secondary stories including one involving the landlord played by noted comic thespian Terry David Mulligan. Both Nielsen and Cassini are at their best though so it's a pretty decent episode.

Gabrielle Miller (Lacey in Corner Gas) is great as the expectant mother who wants nothing for the best for her baby in episode 3 and goes a little crazy about creating a safe home for baby. Unfortunately the rest of the cast and the writing -involving a philandering husband-- just do not measure up. Seriously; one of the jokes in this show is about an Ikea style baby crib and Miller says "The instruction may as well be in Chinese" to the Chinese lady who dropped by (guess what happens next). The show would have been better with just Miller working on her own and being allowed to do the physical comedy she is allowed to give viewers a glimpse of here. This is another example of a Robson Arms the Complete Second Season show with great moments lost in filler aka the line between great and decent or pretty okay.

One of the most even episodes of the shows on the 2 DVD set season two of Robson Arms is show 5, Mr. Lonely, where single guy Fred, traumatized by one of the tenants dying alone, decides to find himself a girlfriend. In this episode everything works: the writing -aside from the Triscuit joke, the acting, and even the little touches in the scene where Fred tries speed dating (notice the size of his name on his Hello! tag).

Episode 6 of Robson Arms season two pretty much goes nowhere with roommates Nick and Hal fighting about Hal being a slacker and Hal annoyed by Nick's new friend, Wayne. There's also a new building manager. This show is a skip over it. Show 7 has Sault Ste. Marie (the redhead) meets coworker Perry Sound at a dead end job and this leads to a fun little song and dance number as the Ontario towns hit it off and this annoys the gay couple in the building. I enjoyed this one for some reason.

Shows on DVD 2 of Robson Arms The Complete Second Season include the one where Jeff and Christine are having a few problems over having kids and whether Jeff is straight or not. The season closes with another show starring Gabrielle Miller as Bobbi fretting over the baby while her husband is away with his mistress. Yuri shows her the baby does not have jaundice by slapping a yellow post-it on its forehead. The baby's birthmark is also worrisome. Once again Gabrielle Miller steals the show though this time the writing and gags are up to her talent.

Special features on Robson Arms the Complete Second Season include bloopers, webisodes, a behind the scenes documentary, deleted scenes, and the godawful Troubadours who insist on singing the show's opening tune have trailers there.

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