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Gerry Dee on the Mr. D finale, stand-up and resurrecting a certain sports reporter

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Gerry Dee stars as Gerry Duncan in Mr. D. The final episode of the series airs Dec. 18 on CBC. Photo courtesy CBC
Gerry Dee stars as Gerry Duncan in Mr. D. The final episode of the series airs Dec. 18 on CBC. Photo courtesy CBC

Since 2012, comedian Gerry Dee has starred in the titular role in CBC’s Mr. D, a sitcom following the hapless and under-qualified high school teacher Gerry Duncan. The final episode, entitled “Parting Gift,” is set to air on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 9 p.m. on CBC and streaming on CBC Gem.

Dee spoke with The Mutt prior to the finale’s airdate. This interview has been edited for length.

THE MUTT: So Mr. D has been running since 2012, 88 episodes, with the final one set to air December 19. How does it feel to be bringing the show to an end?

GERRY DEE: There are a lot of emotions. Kinda sad, at the end of the day. We’ve all grown up a lot on this show. There are a lot of memories and a lot of friendships. Like anything, when it comes to an end, it’s a bit sad, but at the same time, what a great experience we all had.

TM: Did you just feel like it was time to bring it to a close?

GD: It felt like, you know, people were moving onto other things. Creatively, it felt like we had done all we could. It feels like the show will live on when people start catching up to it. I just felt like it was a good time to wrap it up.

TM: You were, of course, a high school gym teacher yourself before you got into comedy. I’m sure you’re familiar with characters like Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm, actors playing versions of themselves – Larry says his character is someone he wishes he could be more like in real life. I’m wondering if that applies at all to Gerry Duncan?

GD: No, I’m not really like him in real life. I did a lot of the little things that he did as a teacher, or thought about doing them sometimes, but I cringe at having to act out all the stuff I do sometimes. It’s just so bad.

TM: You’re kind of a master at that cringe comedy. I remember watching your old Gerry Dee: Sports Reporter segments on The Score. How were you able to play awkwardness like that, at a pro level?

GD: You just really have to commit. The Sports Reporter was live, so I didn’t have a chance to laugh. On Mr. D, I can break and start again. So that was fun to do, the Sports Reporter. It was hard in a sense in that I had to make sure I committed even though the athlete may not like it. I got better at that. When you’re in character, when you’re properly in character, you get into it. You feel like a different person. That’s why it worked – I went into those interviews and turned on the switch. I guess I’m good at playing an idiot because I’ve done that two times now. It was something I would love to do again. I’d love to resurrect that character.

TM: Series finales can be tricky to get right, as they can define how people feel about a show as a whole. Did you feel pressure to find a storyline that would work to bring closure to Mr. D?

GD: I didn’t feel pressure. I work with a great group of writers, and we sat in a room and threw around ideas. I think what we landed on works. We wanted to wrap up everybody’s character, and a half hour is tough to do that. We did our best, and it’s an opportunity to kind of close out the stories. It’s a hard thing to do, and you’re not going to please everybody. But you just write what you as a group think works.

TM: What can people expect from the final episode?

GD: I think closure for everybody. You could obviously do a sitcom on what happens with Lisa, what happens with Robert and Bobbi. You could follow that in a show. Everyone broke off and everybody could have a show now. My character, you don’t have a clue what’s going to happen with him. The last scene everybody is kind of in a meeting and they’re going their separate ways, and you get an update on where everybody’s going.

The final episode of Mr. D airs Dec. 18 on CBC. Photo courtesy CBC

The final episode of Mr. D airs Dec. 18 on CBC. Photo courtesy CBC

TM: After the finale, I understand you’ll be heading back out on tour. Is that exciting for you, to be back on the road, or will you miss the routine of filming a sitcom?

GD: I’ll very much miss the routine of the show. That’ll be the toughest part once June rolls around and we’re not going to Halifax to film. But I’m very excited to get back on tour. That’s where this all started for me. I’m going across the country, doing some sets in the spring, and some sets in the fall. But I’m trying to create again and think about what another show could look like. I don’t want the TV side to be done. Until then, I’ll continue to be a stand-up comedian, which I’m lucky to be able to do.

TM: Well, the fact that you talked about the possibility of bringing that Sports Reporter character back is interesting. Even based on your Twitter account, it’s clear you’re a big sports fan. Do you think that the sports world could be home to a future project for you?

GD: Yeah, I mean, there’s already things I’ve written down. I’m thinking along those lines. It’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another to get it on a network. That’s the tough part. The networks have a lot of choices to make. They have a lot of good choices. Sometimes you have to wait, sometimes it’s not the right project. I’m going to keep working at all the ideas I have and see if something else lands. But the Sports Reporter idea certainly is one of them.

TM: On that subject of sports, what leagues or storylines are holding your interest these days?

GD: I’m a big Leafs fan. I’m excited to see where that goes – that’s been a long time coming. The Raptors, same boat. Being from Toronto I’ve followed all those teams closely all my life. I kinda get how Boston felt the last 12 years, 13 years, with all their teams giving it a run. That’s exciting to me. And then my own kids’ sports involvement, they’re getting to the age where they’re getting competitive. I love that, I love going to their stuff. That’s a big part of my life now. So I’m excited for that too. Sports is definitely something that I love having in my life.

The series finale of Mr. D airs Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 9 p.m. on CBC and streaming on CBC Gem.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Brenda

    March 19, 2019 at 12:36 am

    Thanks Gerry Dee for 8 great seasons! I loved watching the show and look forward to any new projects in the future.

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Schitt’s Creek to conclude after next season

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The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.
The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.

The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will end at the conclusion of its sixth season, series co-creator and star Dan Levy announced March 21.

“We are so grateful to have been given the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with a final chapter that we had envisioned from the very beginning,” Levy said in a statement. “It’s not lost on us what a rare privilege it is in this industry to get to decide when your show should take its final bow.”

Schitt’s Creek premiered on CBC in 2015, becoming one of the network’s most successful half-hour comedies ever. The show follows the fish-out-of-water Rose family, forced to assimilate into a small town after they lose their family fortune.

Though the show’s first season received mixed reviews, it grew in regard with both fans and critics over subsequent iterations. Schitt’s Creek’s fifth season, which premiered on January 8, 2019, scored a 100 per cent “Fresh” ranking on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

The show is also among select company among Canadian sitcoms, drawing strong viewership in the United States and elsewhere thanks to distribution on Netflix and the American Pop network. Critics have reacted favourably to recent episodes, with TV Guide’s Megan Vick writing that each season of Schitt’s Creek has “gotten better and better.”

Read Levy’s full statement below.

New episodes of Schitt’s Creek air Tuesday nights at 9/9:30 NT on CBC.

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Watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short “Animal Behaviour”

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The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB
The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB

To get prepped for the 91st Academy Awards, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is offering Canadians the chance to check out Animal Behaviour, nominated tonight in the Best Animated Short Film category.

Animal Behaviour is a new short from Alison Snowden and David Fine, who previously won an Oscar in 1994 for Bob’s Birthday. The short is the 75th Oscar nomination for the NFB, and the first short film for Snowden and Fine since Bob’s Birthday. The 91st Oscars air tonight at 8 Eastern on ABC and CTV.

Watch Animal Behaviour below (expires tonight).

Next up on The Mutt: Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 - "Daddy Lessons/War Paint". Photo courtesy Bell Media
Wynonna Earp Season 4 is in jeopardy, according to the The Hollywood Reporter, due to financial difficulties. Photo courtesy Space

All of a sudden, Wynonna Earp is in Purgatory.

Earpers were stunned Thursday night when executive producer and showrunner Emily Andras posted (and subsequently deleted) a tweet suggesting that fans of the show may soon have to fight for it. Another tweet, posted shortly later, took a decidedly more straight-forward approach.

Andras appeared to be responding to the news that funding for the fourth season of Wynonna Earp appeared to be on shaky ground, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, financial challenges faced by IDW Entertainment have stalled production on Season 4, despite the company being contractually obligated to deliver the show to Syfy.

In response to the news, Earpers took to Twitter with the hashtag #FightForWynonna, which at the time of publication was one of the top Twitter trends in Canada. Though Season 4 has yet to be officially cancelled, IDW has yet to commit to a start date for the new season.

“IDW is committed to continuing to tell the Wynonna Earp story,” the company said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Much like the fans, we are passionate about not only the series, but the comics, the characters and the overall message that the Wynonna Earp franchise carries. We are in the process of working out the details for how the Wynonna story will continue and will share new details very soon.”

Our resident Earper, Ghezal Amiri, was a big fan of Season 3, writing that the show’s season finale, entitled “War Paint”, was a “wildly emotional conclusion.” Read her recap here.

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