Slings & Arrows

Slings & Arrows Box SetI’m not done yet with the three seasons of the Canadian comedy Slings & Arrows (set for release on DVD in early February), but I am ready to call it one of the best TV comedies ever. This look at the all-round ego-fest that is the fictional New Burbage Theatre Festival combines the best of The Office and Waiting for Guffman. Mark McKinney of Kids in the Hall plays the bumbling business director who turns to a New Age ad agency to boost subscriptions to the festival, whose patrons are so old they are literally dying in their seats. The agency servese up chai and Nixonian platitudes and suggests reprinting the festival’s worst reviews in big type on billboards. “The idea was tested by a puppeteer, a figure skater and a 9-year-old,” the ad director crows.Meanwhile, the artistic end is held down by Geoffrey, a theatrical genius who went mad seven years before in the middle of a performance of Hamlet because his director (Oliver Welles, a play on Sir Laurence and Orson) was sleeping with his girlfriend actress, Ellen. Oliver died in a terrible accident (he was run over by a truck carrying Canada’s Greatest Ham) but has a running part as a very picky ghost overseeing Geoffrey’s productions of Hamlet and Macbeth. The show manages to be raucous, profane, witty and, best of all, really in love with the agony of putting on a show. Too bad there are only 18 episodes in all, but sometimes it’s better to get out on top than to linger on.

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