For Your Consideration: Bruce McCulloch’s Wonderful Autobiographical Sitcom ‘Young Drunk Punk’
Last fall, the day after the election, I went to Canada. These events are unrelated—the trip was pre-planned, but I got to experience a very surreal time in American history from the vantage point of another country. If you have the means by which to go on a mini-vacation while the country doesn’t know what to do with itself, I highly recommend it.
Also, I’m lured to Canada by the comedy there, stuff that you can’t as easily discover in the States, such as the extraordinarily funny Stats Canada book, or the works of Terry Fallis, and, of course, Canadian television. You guys, “Britcoms” are so passé; Canadian sitcoms are where it’s at. There are so many good ones, and my favorite CanCom (coining that) is definitely the refreshing Young Drunk Punk.
Somehow, probably because I live in the cultural hinterlands of America, I, a Kids in the Hall superfan, did not know that Bruce McCulloch had a TV series on the air loosely based on his stage show, Young Drunk Punk, which in turn is based on his pre-Kids days as an actual kid in the hinterlands of western Canada. The action of the breezy, single-camera comedy revolves around Ian (Tim Carlson), a recent high school graduate who doesn’t have many plans for himself, other than hanging around in his basement listening to Buzzcocks records with his best friend Shinky (Atticus Mitchell), and not getting roped into working for his angry dad, who manages the planned community in which they live. The dad is played with a sweetness and barely contained rage by McCulloch himself, a culmination of so much of his career-long obsession with angry dads.
Part of the charm of the show (which you can find on Seeso) is the nostalgia factor. It’s set in the very early ’80s, a time period in between the easily definable other periods so often seen on TV and in movies, such as the disco ’70s and neon ’80s. This is territory that has been tread before by The Goldbergs and Freaks and Geeks, but it doesn’t lean on ’80s references for jokes like the former and it isn’t sad like the latter. Young Drunk Punk is anarchic and silly, and it’s about people, and how life is just kind of ridiculous when you’re young. This is a show in which you laugh with the characters…but also at them. Because they’re, you know, young drunk punks.
Brian Boone edits the Splitsider Humor Section.