The problem with CMCN‘s first season is that it’s a weaker variation of the shows it’s emulating, namely Human Giant and The Whitest Kids U’ Know. While castmembers Howie Miller and Sheldon Elter are talented, the show is just there, a placeholder meant to attract viewers bored shitless by Saturday Night Zombie.
The second-season premiere shows definite improvement in CMCN‘s quality. The show works better live-to-tape in front of an audience. The castmembers are more comfortable, the overall presentation more energetic. It’s like CMCN knows it needs to improve, and is acting on that initiative. I’m impressed.
Miller and Elter are the stars of CAUTION: May Contain Nuts. This isn’t due to APTN’s aboriginal focus, as non-native Matt Alden is head writer.
The non-native castmembers aren’t as distinctive for some reason, aside from James Higuchi. On any other comedy network, Miller and Elter would still be key castmembers. They give CMCN so much of its personality.
The sketches themselves are a mixed bag. A “CMCN News” sketch is only notable for Higuchi giving the finger. Miller’s standup routine is out-of-place, as he’s given only two minutes to talk about his literal McJobs. There’s a reliance on hoary jokes, like cowboys and injuns trading each other in a “hockey” pick-up game.
“Reserve Dogs,” a sketch from CMCN‘s first season, is given a sequel. Mr. Blonde has been replaced by Mr. Yellowcurry, an East Indian. The sketch wields a heavy-handed message about the British historically treating East Indians and aboriginals wrong. Ah, that subtle APTN humour.
Where the “Reserve Dogs” sketch excels is in its full-on Bollywood/Tarantino mashup. That is a truly inspired moment, helped by a convincing dance routine and the fact that the sketch bleeds into the closing credits. I sincerely hope CAUTION: May Contain Nuts has turned a quality corner.
This is the first of two CMCN episodes APTN will air during the XXI Olympic Winter Games. The next episode will air February 21, 2010 at 11:30 PM ET on APTN East. The odd scheduling must be due to APTN’s airing the Olympics, either that or APTN likes to play The Wacky Schedulin’ Game.
At least APTN doesn’t fill its Olympic broadcast time with tons of arse-stiffening filler between sporting events. ARE YOU LISTENING, CTV?! Wait, no, you’re not.
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