Eight Great Dads in Canadian TV and Film
By Carol Neshevich ● June 14, 2016 11:20
In Canadian television and movies, the characters called “dad” are sometimes sweet, sometimes cranky, occasionally wise, frequently funny, and more often than not, very entertaining to watch. In honour of Father’s Day, it’s time to shine the spotlight on eight great dad roles in Canadian TV and film.
1. Johnny Rose in Schitt’s Creek
After losing all their wealth thanks to a shifty financial advisor, the previously ultra-rich Rose family is now broke and living in the one and only asset they have left: a small, backwards rural town called Schitt’s Creek, which they previously purchased as a joke. While mom Moira (Catherine O’ Hara) and kids David and Alexis (Dan Levy and CFC alumna Annie Murphy) struggle – often hilariously – to find their footing in their completely foreign new surroundings, the optimistic patriarch Johnny Rose (played by CFC board member Eugene Levy) tries his best to keep it all together for the family in this CBC TV comedy.
2. Oscar Leroy on Corner Gas
As the father of main character, Brent Leroy, on CTV sitcom Corner Gas, which ran from 2004 to 2009, Oscar Leroy (played by Eric Peterson) is the town’s dimwitted but lovable curmudgeon with a penchant for calling everyone a “jackass.” He’s the retired former owner of Corner Gas and loves to tell his son Brent, the new owner, how to run the business – almost as much as he enjoys telling government workers that “I pay your salary!”
3. “Chad’s drunk dad” in Kids in the Hall sketch
There’s nothing like a good dose of solid fatherly advice to give a child a leg up in life. And in a 1993 Kids in the Hall sketch called “Chad’s 13th Birthday,” the dad played by Bruce McCulloch has an abundance of fatherly advice to offer his son Chad on his 13th birthday. But whether any of that advice makes sense or not ... well, that’s another story. After guzzling a large bottle of liquor, Chad’s drunk dad offers up slurry gems of wisdom like “Ten bucks is ten bucks; twenty bucks is twenty bucks,” and “Broke my hand on a pineapple. Didn’tevencare.” Wise words, indeed.
4. Rémy in The Barbarian Invasions
In Denys Arcand’s 2003 film The Barbarian Invasions, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004, socialist Montreal college professor Rémy (played by Rémy Girard) learns he’s dying of cancer. His estranged son Sébastien reluctantly returns to Quebec from his home in London at his mother’s insistence. But despite initially being there strictly out of a sense of duty, Sébastien ends up doing all he can to help dad Rémy navigate the healthcare system, while helping to gather all of Rémy’s friends and loved ones for a final send-off. In the process, the father and son form a bond they’ve never had.
5. "Snake" (or Mr. Simpson) in Degrassi: The Next Generation
Years after his days as a student at Degrassi Junior High and then Degrassi High, Archie Simpson – known better to friends as “Snake” – grows up to become a Degrassi teacher in Degrassi: The Next Generation, which ran from 2001 to 2015. Snake (played by Stefan Brogren) ends up marrying former Degrassi classmate Spike and becoming step-dad to Spike’s teenage daughter Emma (now a Degrassi student too), while also fathering his and Spike’s new baby Jack. In true Degrassi form, Snake weathers as many dramatic issues as a dad as he did when he was a student – he grapples with marital infidelity, battles leukemia, deals with false sexual harassment accusations, and generally faces a variety of tricky parenting challenges. (See if you can spot Drake, aka Aubrey Graham, in the trailer below!)
6. Gary Strange in Being Erica
In Being Erica, a CBC TV comedy that ran from 2009 to 2011, the time-travelling lead character Erica Strange (played by Erin Karpluk) may be the star of the show, but her sweet dad Gary Strange (John Boylan) certainly had scene-stealing powers of his own. Gary’s a rabbi who used to be a hippie and a marijuana enthusiast, and is sometimes seen wearing cheeky T-shirts featuring Star Trek references or Jewish puns (like “I’m on Shabbat-ical” or “Kippah the faith”).
7. Malachy Doyle in Republic of Doyle
Malachy Doyle and Jake Doyle are a father-son private detective duo in St. John’s, Newfoundland on Republic of Doyle, a CBC TV series that ran from 2010 to 2014. Dad Malachy (Seán McGinley) is a former police officer with a no-nonsense style, who loves to tease his son Jake. But amid all the cheeky verbal sparring between father and son, their love shines through, and it’s clear that Malachy’s a father who would do just about anything to protect his family.
8. Gordon Cutter in Men With Brooms
In Men With Brooms, a 2002 romantic comedy about curling, the inimitable Leslie Nielsen plays Gordon Cutter, father of the movie’s protagonist Chris Cutter (played by Paul Gross, who also directed the film). Chris and Gordon are estranged at the beginning of the film but they reunite, and the eccentric, magic mushroom-eating dad Gordon – who also happens to be a retired curling champion – agrees to coach Chris’s curling team for the very important Golden Broom Bonspiel. Neilsen’s portrayal of Gordon is infused with the actor’s trademark comedic delivery, prompting a Calgary Herald writer to remark in his review of the film, “Leslie Nielsen is Leslie Nielsen, which in this case is wonderful.”