dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

The Hiccups perplex.

I should think that at some point, some of you in the States have seen the Canadian sitcom "Corner Gas" at some point; what you might not realize is that after it left the air, its creator Brett Butt developed a sitcom called "Hiccups" for his wife Nancy Robertson. The premise was something of an inversion of the standard "long-suffering woman stuck parenting her husband" plotline because Ms Robertson portrayed one Millie Upton who was established as being the wealthy creator of a series of children's books about a character named Missy Grumpaloo. The reason it was named Hiccups is because that's Millie's "cute" name for her occasional random outbursts of extreme rage triggered by minor inconveniences.

We saw one of the hiccups in question in the pilot episode when she had to be banned from a coffee shop because she'd made a violent and angry fool of herself because she couldn't bear to wait in line like everyone else. Brett himself was cast as a benign but inept life coach named Stan Dirko who served as the impromptu head of the support team needed to keep Millie from making a horrible mess of her life owing to her oblivious immaturity and anger issues while at the same time keeping her from realizing that she was being micromanaged because the realization she was seen as someone who had to be watched over like an infant who never bothered growing up would, I should think, cause yet another hiccup. Given the need of a friendly and mostly sensible dude to protect an immature scatterbrain with anger issues from herself without her realizing it, I'd say Butt made something of a success in switching the format around.

The interesting part is that the end segment of each episode showed us Millie's personal interpretation of events framed as a Missy Grumpaloo story. What always happened is that we got a self-serving bit of nonsense that showed us that she had no idea what had really happened to her. As an example, the Missy Grumpaloo segment in the pilot episode was as follows:

So, Little Missy Grumpaloo got kicked right out of the coffee shop by the nasty, angry Stinkaloo and even though Missy Grumpaloo was right and smart and pretty, the mean Stinkaloo's words hurt her feelings. And then Doctor Grumpaloo (who wasn't even really a doctor) told her "Don't you worry, Missy! I'll teach you how to be not so loud and not so mad and not so frightened and not so sad!" And that made Missy feel better so she didn't feel like she had to come back and burn down Stinkaloo's coffee shop any more!"

and sort of indicates that we're dealing with a rather immature victim of manic-depressive behaviour with some serious anger issues owing to the fact that the mean, nasty words that hurt Millie's feelings were "You need to settle down;" the reason that the Stinkaloo's words hurt Millie is that she interprets being told to calm down and not take a minor inconvenience so personally as a command from all the Bossaloos in the world to never speak ever again because they're Pickyloos who hate her. One such Pickyloo is someone in her condo complex who tried reminding her that no, she couldn't paint the door of her unit purple just because it was pretty like a field of flowers, a bruise on a kid's face or an eggplant swimming in grape soda because she would be in violation of the terms of her lease; since she never bothered learning that she couldn't do what she wanted and had to follow rules that bored her like she was some boring, ordinary person, she had Missy make his avatar so mad, his face turned the color of an eggplant swimming in grape soda forever and ever.

The reason that this two-season wonder still intrigues me is that while the creator was clearly trying a new twist on the bog-standard child-man sitcom by making the overgrown six year old a woman because they're usually the long-suffering sane people so inverting it would be ever neat, it does sound rather familiar, doesn't it? Granted, Lynn would never approve of a bong with Elly's face on it just because the pot-head who asked her did so nicely but there are certain odd little parallels. We have the studied folksiness, the confusion and anger and childishness and we even get a sort of Lynnsight at the end.
Tags: canadian culture 101

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