Brent: There's lots to see. Nothin' to block your view. Like the mountains back there. They're, uh Well, what the hell? I could've sworn there was a big mountain range back there. Juttin' up into the sky all purple and majestic. I must be thinkin' of a postcard I saw or somethin'. Hey, it is kinda flat, thanks for pointin' that out.
A Sitcom set in the Saskatchewan town of Dog River, Corner Gas follows the lives of the town's residents: Brent, the owner of the titular establishment, his parents Oscar and Emma, his assistant Wanda, his friend Hank, restaurant owner Lacey, and local police officers Davis and Karen.Known for its sly sense of humour, sharp writing, and especially notable for being authentic (actor/writer Brent Butt grew up in small-town Saskatchewan), Corner Gas was eventually brought to a close after its sixth season to allow the show to go out at the top of its game (a move which the cast and crew supported).The series launched in Canada on CTV in 2004. It was picked up for syndication by WGN in the United States in 2007. It ended in April 2009.On May 20, 2014, Brent Butt announced The Movie via Twitter. Its website is here.
Tropes present in the series:
'80s Hair: Brent is embarrassed by high school photographs of himself because he had shoulder-length feathered hair at the time.
In the episode "World's Biggest Thing", the town gets the idea to make its own biggest object. Unfortunately, while out of ideas, Fitzy's grandmother's suggestion for a hoe (the garden tool) becomes predominant because no one wants to speak up about the unfortunate accidental innuendo, or are simply oblivious to it.
In "Slow Pitch," Emma is shopping at the gas station and Hank starts tossing her cans of soup around to test his new baseball glove. She finally snaps, "Stop playing with my cans!" Brent and Wanda are visibly trying not to laugh, but Emma just says, "What?"
Accidental Kiss: After watching a French movie, Hank starts greeting people by kissing them on the cheeks. When he tries to do it with Emma, he accidentally kisses her on the lips instead. He later decides to talk to her about it, which gives us the line "What kiss? You mean when you hit me in the face with your lips?"
The Ace: Both Brent's Cousin Carl and Terry, the door guy.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Parodied in "Dark Circles" when Brent starts wearing a black uniform shirt. Wanda starts acting scared of him, but Lacey gets all dreamy and high school crush-like.
All Just a Dream: The last episode of the fourth season, "Gopher It", is actually just a really long Imagine Spot after Hank is told to think about his idea.
Brent: Hey, is your truck burning oil? Like more than usual?
Almost Famous Name: When a strange man comes into the Ruby in "The Eight Samurai," Brent exclaims, "Look everybody, it's Al Gore!" This prompts Lacey to point out that the man in question looks nothing like Al Gore, and Brent in turn must clarify that his surname is spelled "Goar" and he sells fertilizer for a living.
Justified in that, similar to Al Gore and his quest to raise awareness of global warming, Al Goar is also the head of a regional environmental protection committee and has sought Brent out to present him with an award for improving Corner Gas' sustainability. Much to Lacey's chagrin, because earlier in the episode it was her idea to make Corner Gas and the Ruby greener, while Brent had completely ignored her: changing her light bulbs back to incandescent from fluorescent, refusing to walk to a blue box that she had wanted to situate exactly halfway between their separate businesses, not admitting to his ignorance of what compost really is, and even stealing a customer's bicycle, on top of taking all the credit for doing absolutely nothing.
Ambulance Cut: The Christmas episode "Merry Gasmas" uses this trope four different times. The first three are flashbacks to previous Christmases. Emma tells Oscar to be careful with the sharp carving knives, cut to an ambulance. Emma says her eggnog tastes off and Oscar tells her to drink it anyway, cut to an ambulance. Emma again tells Oscar to be careful with the knives, so Oscar gives them to a very young Brent, cut to an ambulance. At the end of the episode, Brent climbs onto a shaky ladder to take down some mistletoe, time for another ambulance cut. Emma watches the ambulance pull away and says, "Same damn thing every year."
Also when Emma tricks Lacey into delivering her soup order:
Lacey: Hank, I need to deliver this soup to Emma.
Hank: You want me to watch the Ruby while you're gone?
(Whip Pan to fire truck pulling next to the burning Ruby)
Lacey: No, it's not what I meant.
Hank: You want me to deliver it?
(Whip Pan to fire truck pulling next to the burning Leroy house)
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the pilot, when Brent and Hank are discussing Lacey and the reopening of the Ruby, the following exchange occurs:
Hank: Is it so unreasonable to be curious about a new person in town? Does she have a criminal record? That's a reasonable question. Does she do drugs? That's a valid inquiry.
Brent: Maybe she doesn't want us in the coffee shop 'cause she's turning the whole place into a methamphetamine lab. Get the kids hooked on the meth and the crack cocaine, 'cause once they're hooked on that, you know what's next: marijuana. Then jazz music. Forget about it.
When Brent walks into Oscar and Emma's living room while they're putting up Christmas decorations:
Brent: Whoa, what are you doing? Emma: We're building a haunted house for Halloween.
When Lacey plays a game of horseshoes against Hank:
Hank: It's just a friendly game. It's not like you're playing Oscar. He's the Horseshoe King. Lacey: Oh yeah? Why's that? (Beat) Hank:'Cause he's really good at backgammon. Man, no wonder you don't have a cooking show.
When Brent and Hank find a 30 year old Dingle Puff. They phone the company, first wondering if they have a "food museum" to put it in, then wondering if they can eat it:
Employee: Do you have any questions that aren't about eating? (Beat) Brent: Who played Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island?
Two other really good examples come from the episode where Oscar attempts to go to a resort with Emma, but it turns out to be a mediocre motel, and they bond on the car ride home, and in the episode where they attempt to get married, and Lacey, thinking that Oscar is illiterate, reads aloud the love letter he wrote for Emma. The look on her face says it all.
Other episodes show that they go crazy without bickering with each other all the time, presumably because they're so used to it. When Oscar is absent because he's helping out at Corner Gas, Emma Goes Mad from the Isolation and tries to get Oscar back because "his weirdness keeps me sane". When Emma hears that bickering drove another couple to divorce and resolves to be nicer to Oscar, he gets freaked out by her uncharacteristic behaviour and becomes a Stalker with a Crush towards Wanda because she insults him.
Karen: That bathroom is disgusting. When was the last time you cleaned up in there? Brent: I think you might have used the men's. Karen: Don't guys know how to aim? Wanda: Ugh, gross. I don't wanna hear that. Karen: No, I mean it. There were crumpled up paper towels all around the trash. Guys can't aim!
Berserk Button: Do not pick up the cordless phone at Corner Gas before it's fully charged or Wanda will totally bite your head off.
If you work for Canada Customs and Revenue, do not mention this fact to Oscar. Actually, to be on the safe side, just don't mention taxes at all when Oscar is around. Chances are, he'll mention them first anyway, particularly how his taxes pay your salary.
Big Eater: Brent (and Lacey, when she wins the perogie eating contest). Brent even eats an entire bowl of perogies in under five seconds, and says it isn't his best time. He only took so long because Lacey fed him a big plate of chili cheese dogs before their eat-off in an attempt to fill him up.
Big "NO!": Davis in "Physical Credit" just before he dashes to rescue his Hardy Boys books.
Blah Blah Blah: Lacey in "I, Witness" when Oscar and Emma try to explain how to play bridge to her.
A Bloody Mess: When Emma calls up Brent and speaks in a hushed whisper, standing over a large red puddle. Turns out she spilt a can of tomato juice and didn't want Oscar to find out.
Body Horror: Brent seems to consider Fitzy's face slowly turning bright red as he makes a very pained expression to be this.
Brent: I've never seen a human face do that before. Looked like a balloon full of jam.
Book Ends: The first shot in the first episode of Corner Gas is a close-up of the Corner Gas sign, as is the last shot of the last episode.
According to the making-of special "It's Been a Gas", the first and last episodes are also the only two episodes to feature the "surveillance bush".
Boring Yet Practical: The shuttle run from the Canada Fitness Guide. Davis feels there is no real-world value to it, until his Hardy Boys books are nearly run over by a truck and his shuttle run rescues them from being covered in treadmarks.
Bothering by the Book: In "Dog River Dave," Davis and Karen decide to "work to rule" as a form of protest. When they tell the mayor they're working "by the book", the mayor actually gives them a copy of the rule book, which is an encyclopedia-sized tome. They decide to go back to work normally.
A great example is this exchange when Hank gets an electronic organizer
Hank I got my whole day mapped out! 2pm, hang out in Corner Gas. 3pm, eat chips. 4pm, hang out in Corner Gas
Wanda Can you move that to 5, that's when I get off work
Hank (Looks directly in the camera) I don't think it's a good idea to keep moving Corner Gas around the schedule
Break-In Threat: Played for Laughs in "Shirt Disturber." Davis is trying to sell alarm systems, so he breaks into Oscar and Emma's bedroom one morning with coffee. ("This could have been a burglar bringing you coffee!") They buy an alarm system just to make him leave them alone.
Brick Joke: In "Cousin Carl," after trying his homemade beer "Oscar Brδu" (which Brent wonders if it was mixed in a skidoo boot or a crow's nest), Oscar pours the lot on Emma's tomato plants, which were suffering from a lack of food. By the end of the episode, the plants are huge.
Brilliant, but Lazy: The most common explanation for why the apparently brilliant Wanda works in a gas station/convenience store
Caffeine Bullet Time: In "Buzz Driver," Wanda drinks several cans of an energy drink called Haywire and becomes extremely hyper, to the point where she can't sit still or stop talking. Brent and Emma try to take advantage of this by asking her to do various chores at the gas station and the Leroy home. This doesn't work particularly well because the Haywire has seriously affected her concentration, so she just bounces from one task to another without completing anything. Then she crashes and becomes too lethargic to keep her eyes open, let alone help with chores.
Call Back: In the first episode, Hank expresses his distaste at how Lacey has redecorated the (then-unnamed) Ruby by saying "She turned it into a gay bar!". In a later episode, Oscar and Emma have their wedding rehearsal dinner at the Ruby, which has been decorated for the occasion, prompting Hank to say the same line again. Brent responds "Again with the gay bar "
In the series finale, Oscar calls back to several of the jobs the characters have done throughout the show's run. See New Job Episode for the quote.
Calling Shot Gun: Hank does it during a ride-along, causing Karen, the actual policewoman, to ride in the back of the car.
Later in the episode, Karen tries calling shotgun, but is told to grow up.
The Cameo: Often lampshaded, such as when Colin Mochrie appeared directly after Brent mentions "that bald guy who has to make a cameo in everything" or having sports stars randomly show up saying things like "Hi, I'm six-time Olympic medallist Cindy Klassen."
Or having someone randomly asking former Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson if she wants to help tear down an old barn. And she accepts. A few scenes later shows her in a Gilligan Cut swinging a sledgehammer, yelling, "Take That, you stupid barn!"
Canadian Football: Come on, it's set in Saskatchewan. The Riders are frequently mentioned, and the first-season finale centers around the Grey Cupnote or rather, around Brent and Lacey, Karen and Davis, Emma and Wanda, and Oscar and Hank separately getting sidetracked en route there.
Cannot Keep a Secret: One episode revolved around Brent and Lacey competing to see which one of them is a better confidant.
Can't You Read the Sign?: In "Lost and Found," Lacey tells Karen not to play with her hackey sack in the restaurant. Karen says that if it's a rule, there should be a sign posted, to which Lacey replies "We don't have a sign for everything. Read the sign!" and then points to a sign that reads "We don't have a sign for everything. —Lacey".
Captain Obvious: In "Full Load," Davis pulls Hank over for having a broken taillight. He says he'll follow as Hank drives his truck to the police station to be impounded. Hank agrees, but says, "Hey. Don't rear-end me. My taillight's broke."
Catch-22 Dilemma: Brent tries to repair the frames of his glasses, but he can't see well enough to do this unless he has his glasses on.
Catch Phrase: Oscar has quite a few, such as constant declarations of "Jackass," browbeating the police and any employee of the government with "My taxes pay your salary!", and shouting "Holy hell!" when he's surprised and/or annoyed. Lampshaded in "The J Word":
Brent: Honestly, Dad, you gotta give that word a rest.
Oscar: What word?
Brent: Jackass. Davis is a jackass for getting locked in the trunk, yesterday the bread delivery guy was a jackass for wearing a digital watch, and apparently I'm a jackass just for sitting here. Everybody's a jackass.
Oscar: I know! That's why I use the word so often!
Davis himself likes to say "All right!" in a very genuinely excited tone more than a few times.
Cat Scare: In "Lacey Borrows," when watching a scary movie, the experienced horror movie watchers try to predict this, but as it turns out, a buzzsaw pops out and kills someone instead.
Caustic Critic: When Lacey encourages Brent to try new foods instead of just eating chili cheese dogs, he quickly evolves into one of these, unable to enjoy any food (not even Emma's cooking) until eating a chili cheese dog returns him to normal.
Character Blog: Hank's blog "Hank Talkin'" from "Blog River" appeared on the official website for a short time.
Character Name Alias: In "World's Biggest Thing," Brent adds the names Peter Parker, Marge Simpson and Jean-Luc Picard to a list of people who have bounced checks at the gas station. Oscar doesn't recognize the names, gets very angry about the bounced checks, and tells Brent, "Don't take checks from Marge Simpson or that French guy!" Brent finds this hilarious and a few minutes later he tells Lacey that Oscar is still trying to track down Arthur Fonzarelli.
He does recognize the name Marge Simpson, but he thinks that it must mean she's bounced checks at the gas station before, and gets even angrier.
Chick Magnet: Hank, but only when he's talking about fishing.
In "Seeing Things," Brent tells Wanda that he's going to get contact lenses to keep Lacey from finding out that he was afraid to have laser eye surgery:
Brent: It's so crazy it just might work.
Wanda: Crazy? It seems pretty straight forward to me.
Brent: Yeah, me too. I just like tenting my fingers and acting all schemey.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Hank. He often daydreams about various oddities, sometimes confusing other characters.
In one episode, he not only wonders who would win if robots fought werewolves, but also mentions how impressed Vikings would be if they could travel through time and see all the glow in the dark stuff we have.
He also spouts sexy, poetic language while on fishing trips, causing other characters to be attracted to him regardless of their sexual orientation.
One episode of the series takes place almost exclusively in Hank's mind because someone told him to think before he spoke.
Cold Open: Typically of the kind that sets up the plot for the rest of the episode while also making a quick joke.
Comically Small Bribe: In "Hurry Hard", Brent and Wanda and Oscar and Emma each want Lacey to be their fourth for an upcoming curling bonspiel. Oscar and Emma rush to ask Lacey, "Lacey, will you join our curling team?" Wanda then tells Brent to up the ante and he asks, "Lacey, will you be on our team please?" And Wanda sarcastically says "Good ante-ing."
Also the offer to keep Brent on the Dog River hockey team when a rumor has him traded to another team: several coupons, a free sub card (two tokens short) and a roll of police line tape.
Davis initially looks like he's going to try to bribe Wes with a plank of wood in order to get him to get rid of his ATM. Turns out, the bribe is a whole pile of wood!
In "Whataphobia," the owner of the local minigolf course refuses to certify Oscar's apparently record-breaking score because no one witnessed it, causing Oscar to swear the course owner has lost a customer...only for him to point out he lets Oscar play for free anyways
Completely Missing the Point: On his 20th birthday, Brent bought a bottle of 20 year old scotch, with the intention of keeping it for 20 years and then drinking the 40 year old scotch on his 40th birthday. When his 40th birthday comes, he is upset to learn that Emma found the scotch years ago and threw it in the garbage because "it was over 20 years old".
Compressed Abstinence: One episode followed the characters for a year as they tried to follow their New Years resolutions. Only Lacy managed it.
The Conspiracy: When Lacey tries to discover the origin of the Dog River town name, she finds clues disappearing and witnesses being manipulated at every turn, Emma always a few steps ahead of her, until she discovers the Dark Secret: her great-great-uncle had been drowning dogs in the river, and somehow the name stuck.
Also the conspiracy between Hank, Brent, Emma and Davis to paint "Grad '68" on the water tower and then cover up their involvement in this affair.
Continuity Nod: In the season one episode "Oh, Baby," Brent babysits Wanda's son Tanner, who keeps throwing toy cars at his head. In the season three episode "Merry Gasmas," Wanda asks Brent if he wants to see what she got Tanner for Christmas. Brent immediately says, "Ooh, is it something hard he can throw at my head?"
In a Season One episode, Hank asks Brent to loan him some cash and Brent says, "Is that like your official greeting now?" In the Season Two episode "Air Show," Brent is the one who needs money. He asks Hank if he can borrow 20 bucks and Hank replies, "Is that like your official greeting now?" with a big smile on his face.
In the aformentioned "Merry Gasmas" from season 3, Lacey reminisces about watching the fireplace on TV at Christmas time as a kid. In "No Time Like the Presents" from season 5, Emma is buying Christmas gifts for everyone in the Summer. It flashes forward to the ensuing Christmas, where Emma is about to hand everyone their gift. Lacey has to be called away from the floor where she is sitting and watching the fireplace on TV.
Convenience Store Gift Shopping: In "Road Worthy," Oscar tells Wanda that he can't decide on a gift for Emma, to which she says, "Well, coming to the gas station was a great start. There's motor oil, antifreeze, two-liter bottles of pop " Oscar says that Emma likes pop, but Wanda tells him, "Don't get her pop."
Wanda tells Emma that she does all her Christmas shopping at the dollar store, which prompts Emma to wonder about that bracelet Wanda gave her. Wanda trails off and quickly changes subjects. Then at the cash register, the cashier notices that Emma's bracelet is identical to those at the impulse buy 99 cents bin. Hilarity Ensues.
Counterfeit Cash: When Brent has a $100 bill, no one accepts it because they assume it's fake or don't want to bother with change and just gives him what he wants for free. Unfortunately for him, eventually someone is able to make change, at which point everyone else he offered it to comes by to claim their share.
Crack is Cheaper: invokedOscar attempts to track down a certain toy wagon that he badly wanted when he was a kid, but couldn't afford. It cost $12 back then, so he should be able to afford it easily now that he's a grown man, right? Nope, it's now a collector's item that costs $6000.
Crazy Enough to Work: Many of the schemes tried by Brent Leroy and Hank Yarbo (and a pretty significant chunk of the schemes everyone else in the main cast try) fit into this trope. Most of the time the plans fail miserably, but even when they work, the success just creates another problem they hadn't anticipated.
Creepy Basement: Oscar and Emma's basement isn't particularly scary-looking as far as basements go, but after they watch a gruesome horror movie, they go through a phase of being too frightened to go down there.
Creepy Doll: The lawn gnome in "Picture Perfect" that resembles Oscar.
The end of the episode reveals that it was one of a pair. The other one, of course, looks like Emma.
Crossword Puzzle: When a tarot card reader refers to the 18th letter of the alphabet and Wanda immediately says, "R!" Everyone looks at her strangely and she says, "I do thirty crosswords a day."
Curse Cut Short: In "Get the F Off My Lawn," when Lacey realizes that the F and E are missing from her "Cafe" sign:
Lacey: Where's my F 'n' E? Customer: (approaching with a small child) I think we'll eat somewhere else. Lacey: Oh! No, no, don't leave, I wasn't cursing! I was just talking about the (gestures to the sign) Customer: (leaves) Lacey: Aw, sh— (roll credits)
When a curse jar is set in Brent's gas station, Lacey lets out a long string of curses covered up by a nearby train's horn. When the horn dies down, everyone stares at Lacey in disbelief who drops a twenty in the jar.
In an effort to escape her Teacher's Pet status at a spin class taught by Hank, Karen takes out a bar of soap and writes on his windshield "MR. YARBO IS A DIC-" before Hank shows up and catches her.
Hank: Karen! Is that what you think I am?! A dictator?!
Daydream Surprise: Used frequently, most notably in the fourth-season finale, which plays out as if it's the final episode of the entire show, with characters moving away, character arcs being resolved, a Bittersweet Ending and the eponymous gas station being taken over by a megacorporation as Dog River goes from being a small town to a proper city before it's revealed that all of this is just a prolonged daydream sequence on the part of Hank.
Deathbringer the Adorable: Brent names all of his baseball pitches with intimidating names like "Hammer of Thor", but since he's in a slow pitch league...
Lacey: (annoyed) Brent! All your pitches are just big giant arcs! You should name 'em "Rainbow" or... "Pregnant Lady's Belly"...
Death Glare: Emma is wonderful at this, going right back to the pilot episode. Oscar and Brent are having an argument and Emma silences them by narrowing her eyes menacingly and asking, "Do you want me to come over there?"
Department of Redundancy Department: In "Outside Joke," Brent is excited about the gas station's new windshield washer fluid because, "It's red! The old stuff was blue! We used to sell blue, now we're selling red!"
Brent: I can't just turn over my father. There's a bond between father and son that's strong and sacred.
[Oscar storms in]
Oscar:[to Brent] Hey! Idiot! You left the lid on the Dumpster up last night! Crows have scattered garbage all over the place out there and I'll be damned if I'm gonna clean it. It'll be you out there on your hands and knees scrapin' up crow crap!
Brent: I'll tell you whatever you need to know.
Mrs. Jensen: With him, the customer was always number one. Oscar always treated people with great respect.
Oscar:[to Brent] Hey, Jackass, stop talking to this old wingnut and pump my gas!
Did Not Do the Bloody Research: In "Bend It Like Brent," when Davis feels the need to use British English words ('football') over their Canadian English counterparts ('soccer').
Davis: Thanks for donating the footballs.
Lacey: Well, it's the least I could do for our soccer team; give them some soccer balls, to play soccer with.
Davis: The proper term is 'football'. It's good for the kids to hear some of the British terminology.
Lacey: So what's the British term for a person who uses stupid British terms?
Lacey: Good to know.
Given the entirely-innocent grin on Davis' face, he likely didn't realize how offensive the word was. Which was probably part of the joke.
Disaster Dominoes: In "Telescope Trouble," Hank borrows Wanda's TV. As he's walking down the porch steps with it, he bumps into her birdbath and breaks it. This causes the TV to fly out of his arms right through the window of Wanda's car. And this cycle only repeats itself. Hank decides to get Wanda a new birdbath. He leaves it outside the gas station, where Wanda promptly bumps into it while trying to carry her large telescope. The birdbath breaks and the telescope flies through Brent's car window. Birdbaths can cause widespread destruction if you're not careful!
Davis: The Stonewood Saints asked him to play for their team.
Oscar: They WHAT?! Sons of How would they like it if we went there and burnt down their rink?
Karen: That genuinely seems like an appropriate response to you?
Dissimile: When Wanda is rejected for a credit card after being told she was pre-approved, Hank attempts to console her.
Hank: It's okay, Wanda. I got one of those "pre-approved" letters in the mail too.
Wanda: And they rejected you too?
Hank: No, they gave me a credit card. But other than that, same sad story.
The Ditz: Hank, of course. Also Lacey in later seasons.
D.I.Y. Disaster: Wanda's attempt to install a new toilet for Oscar and Emma. Among other things, she shuts off all the water to the house without realizing it.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Davis and Brent's competition over who has the smaller cellphone resembles a competition over who has the bigger penis. From the same episode, Oscar's addiction to the Claw game is portrayed like alcoholism or a gambling addiction
In another episode, Emma discovering that Karen was the one to cook the meal supposedly cooked by Oscar is treated as if the two parties had been having an affair.
In an episode where Brent starts hanging out with Karen at the gas station, Hank starts to feel rejected and tries hanging out with Davis instead. The whole situation is treated like Hank got dumped and is dating someone new. He even gets nervous hanging out with Davis and says it's because he's on the rebound.
Dope Slap: Delivered by Brent to Hank in the first episode after destroying Hank's protest sign against the changes to the Ruby.
Double Entendre: An entire episode is based Brent and Davis trying to buy smaller cell phones than the other. The following dialogue occurs between Davis and his partner, Karen.
"Do you think my new cell phone is small? Brent's got a smaller one. I mean, I wasn't looking at it on purpose, or anything. He had it out and I just sort of... glanced at it. You know, to get an inaccurate idea because you see smaller ones in movies and magazines and stuff. But for a normal person's cell phone, mine is small. Smaller than average. Right?" "I don't think anyone cares as long as it works."
Not to mention the episode involving Davis, the Cosmo-reading somewhat Ambiguously Gay police officer, being locked in a jail cell with Hank, the village idiot. Davis ends up escaping, which leads to this exchange between Karen (Davis' partner) and Hank:
Karen: Davis is out? Hank: Well, that's not for me to say, really
A drug one when half of the cafe letters fall down
Hank: Hey, where's your F 'n' E?
Brent, when trying to install a video camera
"Now no more dirty talk. Hand me that big tool so I can mount this thing."
In another episode, Karen is giving Brent a haircut in the gas station when Oscar and Emma come in:
Emma: What's going on? Brent: I'm just getting a little trim from Karen. ...I mean, Karen's giving me a haircut.
When Brent signs Lacey up for a pyrogy-eating competition.
Lacey: You entered me? Brent: Let's take a moment to switch verbs.
Downer Ending: The fourth season finale had Brent selling Corner Gas, Davis being transferred to Wullerton and, saddest of all, Lacey moving back to Toronto. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
Down on the Farm: The Canadian equivalent is parodied relentlessly whenever an out-of-towner visits.
Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Hank argues with Brent on how this trick is unrealistic and wouldn't work in real life and, of course, Hank falls for it.
Eagle Land: Parodied and inverted. A second-season episode features an American tourist who is polite and understands and appreciates Canadian culture more than most Dog River residents do. Hank's reaction to him is Flavor 2 of this trope played straight, but his attempts at making the tourist look ignorant continually backfire and make him look stupid himself.
Eagleland Osmosis: In "Hair Comes the Judge," Lacey (who paid Hank $100 to varnish the Ruby's deck) addresses impromptu judge Wanda as "Your Honour" during the latter's first case. Though flattered, Wanda promptly informs Lacey that judges in Canada are supposed to be addressed as "My Lord."
Elvis Impersonator: In "Wedding Card," it's revealed that Oscar and Emma had never been married. Near the end of the episode, at their rehearsal dinner, it was revealed that they are married, but had lied to cover up their embarrassing "Elvis wedding". The townspeople all agree that being married by a guy dressed as Elvis isn't something that they should be embarrassed about. Later, Oscar and Emma are seen burning their wedding photos in a fire. They're the ones dressed as Elvis. Both of them.
Enfant Terrible: Wanda's son, Tanner. Babysitting him is an... experience. He tied Hank to a chair and then hung a bird in a cage over his face so it would poop on him. Hank also points out a rather large and imposing man, who has been unable to go ten seconds without looking over his shoulder ever since the night he babysat Tanner.
Oscar's efforts at carpentry inevitably end up as this, lampshaded by Emma.
Eternal Employee: Wanda seems to always be working at the gas station. But to be fair, her boss Brent lets Wanda get away with everything she wants to do, so she probably enjoys practically living there if only Brent would leave her alone.
Karen: Oh, the winner is Fitzy's Grandma. Helen, apparently.
Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: invokedWhen Brent draws cartoons for Lacey's newsletter, Karen and Davis interpret a bunch of non-existent symbolism as Brent taking cheap shots at them. They even convince Lacey that he's taking shots at her too.
Officers Davis and Karen (the entire police force) decide to work to rule. Partly subverted because they don't bother with the rules most of the time anyway (and Davis, the senior officer, had never even seen the rulebook and thought it much thinner) while the mayor is happy letting them dig their own grave with the townsfolk, so the entire episode ends up with Karen and Davis trying to get out of it.
In the episode "Oh, Baby", Brent asks Tanner to stop throwing toy cars at his head. So Tanner throws a truck.
Brent is leaning against a wall talking to Emma while she washes dishes. Emma says that if he's just going to stand there, he should help her, so he says "I better not stand here then" and leaves.
Feminine Women Can Cook: Karen enjoys cooking and is quite good at it, but keeps it a secret out of fear of losing respect as a police officer.
Considering that Davis is a talented and enthusiastic cook himself, this would likely have the opposite effect and increase his confidence in her. Of course, it's probably not Davis' respect for her that she cares about, considering how little respect she has for him.
Fictional Document: At the end of one episode, Brent does an "if you want to find out more, visit your local Library!" segment with the books featured in the episode. One of them he mentions is something the prop guy made for the episode, but it's surprisingly still a good read.
One episode has Wanda being very awkward around a guy she likes. She finally manages to get his phone number but loses it by the end of the episode. The last scene takes place two years later, where we see that Wanda has been dialing random phone numbers the entire time. She finally gets the right one, only to find out that he moved on with his life and is now married with kids.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: Wanda (choleric), Emma (choleric/melancholic), Karen (melancholic), Brent (melancholic/sanguine), Hank (sanguine), Davis (sanguine/choleric), and Oscar and Lacey (leukine/phlegmatic).
Combined with the fact that Emma can scare anyone.
Fundraiser Carnival: There's one in the episode "Dog River Daze." Davis and Hank are both so excited about the dunk tank that they compete with each other to annoy the townsfolk so people will want to dunk them.
Fun-Hating Confiscating Adult: Brent and Hank had a history with one of these when they were kids. One episode has them crossing path with him again.
The Fun in Funeral: A Season 5 episode has Oscar and Wanda crash funerals together for different reasons (Wanda does it to skip work. Oscar does it because Emma gets a job and he doesn't want to have to make his own food). Wanda later puts out sandwiches stolen from the funeral at her kid's birthday party.
Also the episode where Oscar's subplot has him build his own coffin in the basement to save money.
Emma: The Committee to Convince a Young Doctor to Live in Dog River, or
Karen: The CTCAYDTLIDRnote pronounced "kit-kay-duh-tiddle-er" for short.
Lacey: That's short?
Emma: Don't make fun of our acronyms.
Future Me Scares Me: Brent has a daydream about himself twenty years from now. He looks much the same (except with a moustache) and lives in a large mansion. The two Brents chat about how well Future Brent has done for himself when Oscar comes up, wearing dirty, tattered clothes.
Oscar: Hey, Jackass.
Brent: Dad? Do you live here with us?
Oscar: I'm not your dad. I'm you, twenty-two years from now.
Gaslighting: Oscar insists his memory isn't going, so various town members start playing tricks on him to make him think he's forgotten things. First it's Brent and Wanda with Oscar's Alphagetti, then Brent, Lacey, and Emma with a hamburger, and finally it expands to the whole town about to convince Oscar it's simultaneously his sixtieth and seventieth birthdays. This is the point at which Emma tells Brent to quit it and apologize, which he reluctantly does, only for Oscar to have forgotten the whole thing.
Geographic Flexibility: Residents of Dog River, Saskatchewan often refer to (and drive to) "the city" but it's unclear whether it's Saskatoon or Regina they're going to. In some cases Regina is implied, but in one case Moose Jaw is mentioned explicitly, i.e., "You went to Moose Jaw for a morning swim?" The show also subverts the trope, often having a character declare emphatically that Dog River doesn't have an item that many sitcom towns tend to have for story convenience. For example, the above-mentioned "morning swim" comment was the result of Brent pretending that his case of pink eye was the result of taking a dip in an over-chlorinated pool, but Hank and Wanda point out that there's not a swimming pool anywhere in Dog River. Dog River is based on series creator Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale, north of Saskatoon.
Ghost in the Machine: One episode had this, in Hank's head. Lacey almost shows him how to open a notoriously difficult carafe, but he stops her, saying he has a limited amount of room in his head. Cut to Hank sitting at a desk in front of some boxes. Another one comes up to him to place a box of Bannanorama lyrics. A minute later, Hank tries to tell a joke, but he says "Bannannorama" instead of the proper punchline. Cut to his head again, where the boxes have all fallen and mixed together.
Godwin's Law: Oscar initially refused to wear a Corner Gas uniform with the excuse that people would mistake the gas station workers for Nazis.
Gone Horribly Right: Lacey creates a sandwich called the Ruby Club and adds it to the menu. It becomes a huge hit and it's the only thing anybody ever orders, which quickly gets on her nerves.
Got Me Doing It: In an early episode, Lacey complains about the others habit of spitting on the floor when the neighboring town of Wullerton is mentioned. By the end of the scene, she's doing it and realizes she's become one of them.
Brent: It's not just you. Dad's cranky. I saw him yell at a butterfly once. Called it a son of a bitch, told it to get out of his garden.
Oscar complains to the police so often, demanding they arrest everyone who does something he dislikes or which inconveniences him, that when Karen and Davis don't hear any complaints from him for a while they assume he must be dead.
Hand Rubbing: Referenced by Brent after they invite Lacey to their "revenge brunch".
Brent: Hey, how'd you like to come for bunch at my parents' place? Lacey: Really? I'd love to! Oscar: There'll be lots of food, and you'll get yours. Lacey: That sounds great! (walks away) Oscar: (menacingly) Oh, you'll get yours (chuckles) Brent:Subtle. You wanna wring your hands while you do that? (wrings hands)
Happy Place: Brent Leroy's happy place has two scantily clad women, pudding baths, chili cheese dogs and once, The Man from Glad.
Homage: In "The Littlest Yarbo," Hank is convinced a random German Shepard Dog is actually The Littlest Hobo. The episode even ends with the theme song to The Littlest Hobo rather than the normal ending music. The big joke is the dog seen in the episode looks nothing like the dog associated with the classic series.
Hypocritical Humor: Used quite often. A particularly notable example is when it becomes a plot event—planning to go to a comic book convention to get one signed by a comic book artist, Brent doesn't tell Hank about, fearing he'll be 'a boob' there. Naturally, Hank does find out, and plans to do an impression of a character amongst other things there when meeting the artist. Brent specifically tells him not do a number of things and immediately starts stuttering and doing the impression, forgets to get his book signed, and spills coffee on the artist after trying again. The two spend the rest of the episode trying to get it signed. Another example
Karen: "She seems quick to judge. I noticed that right away about her."
A Meta example of hypocritical humor: Brent and Wanda are having a discussion about substance vs. production values, and the boom mic falls into the middle of the shot and thunks Wanda on the head.
Karen locks her keys in the trunk of the police cruiser and Davis spends a great deal of time lecturing her about how stupid and irresponsible this was. When Hank fixes the trunk release and the trunk pops open, it turns out that Davis had locked his keys in there as well.
Hypothetical Fight Debate: Happens a few times. Davis debates with a few people about who would win if Star Wars fought Star Trek. Also, Hank apparently has these types of debates with himself inside his head, such as who would win if a werewolf fought Wanda.
I Call It Vera: Davis calls his billy club "Billy". Karen ends up calling hers "Jennifer" because Davis said she should name it.
Idiot Ball: In "Whataphobia", Lacey is revealed to be terrified of balloons. The rest of the episode centers around different reactions to this fear, such as Hank's misguided attempts to "cure" this fear. In fact, pretty much anything Hank does.
I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: One episode features Lacey getting Brent, Oscar, and Emma hooked on various expensive food and drink. Sometimes it is a food they haven't tried before ("To be honest, I'm not really big on X."), and sometimes it is a more expensive version of something they already enjoyed, and were unable to go back to after trying the more expensive version because their standards had been raised ("I've been bumped up to a new X bracket!"). To get revenge on Lacey they invite her to brunch with lots of expensive and hard-to-make food, but she shows up late and they eat everything before she arrives. She ends up eating some leftover meatloaf and getting hooked on that, much to the Leroys' annoyance, as it's the cheapest, easiest thing they know how to make. Of course, she still falls victim to this trope in the end, as Hank gives her a fancy pen with expensive refills, and she is unable to go back to ballpoint pens because of how smoothly it writes.
I Have This Friend: In "Cable Excess," Hank eggs a cable van and then feels guilty about it. He calls a local cable show called "Peggy's Pets":
Hank: I got this friend who egged a cable van.
Peggy: We only take questions about pets.
Hank: I have this pet, who egged a cable van
I Knew It: In-universe, Davis knew it: He saw the ending to Battlestar Galactica coming back in 2004. Although, he was probably talking about the original.
I Know You Know I Know: The players on the Corner Gas softball team try to hide their public drinking during the games from Davis and Karen who are also on the team. Davis and Karen know about the drinking and don't care, but don't say anything because they all work so hard to hide it that it would just cause an awkward moment. Then it turns out that the rest of the team knows that Davis and Karen know about the drinking, but they don't say anything because Davis and Karen work so hard to pretend they don't know that it would just cause an awkward moment. Indeed, when the team wins the game and celebrates at the bar, Karen raises a glass and gives a toast "to beer that you don't have to pretend is iced tea", it causes a very awkward moment amongst everyone and she gets chastised by Davis for doing so.
Incredibly Obvious Bomb: In "The Eight Samurai," it's said that Hank ruined the relationship between Dog River and their old twin town in Denmark by sending them a gift that represented various aspects of their town including a bag of fertilizer, a couple of pipe cleaners, and a clock, which the town easily mistook for a bomb. When the question arises as to what gift to send their new twin town in Japan, Hank suggests (and produces) a novelty bowling ball candle that looks like a Cartoon Bomb.
I Need to Go Iron My Dog: In "Oh, Baby," Wanda asks Brent if he wants to babysit her son. Brent ducks the question by saying, "Ding ding! Oh, someone's at the pumps!" and walking out of the gas station.
Informed Attractiveness: Played for laughs when the women of Dog River think that Brent is some sort of unattainable sex god, much to Lacey's bafflement
Injury Bookend: Played With. Local cop Davis had no sense of smell because he got hit in the back of the head with a ball when he was young. When he falls off a ladder and hits the back of his head, he regains his sense of smell, but soon finds it overwhelming and wants to go back to lacking it. Oscar asks him how he lost it, then tells him, "Okay, then what you need to do is get hit in the head with a ball again." Davis lampshades the absurdity of this with, "I don't think that will work. This isn't Gilligan's Island".
Insane Troll Logic: When someone asks, "What are the chances that we have a riot in Dog River?" Karen answers in all seriousness, "I'd say 50-50: either we get a riot, or we don't."
Any zany scheme suggested by Hank. Lampshaded mercilessly by the others.
Marvin Drey is a tax man, not the tax man. He considers being called the latter dehumanizing.
Instant Seduction: An inversion: in one episode, Karen becomes attracted to Hank after he waxes poetic about fish. Not because she's into fish at all, but because he's into fishing so much that it brings out his poetic and sensitive side; we even see him from her point of view and he's in soft focus. It's subverted later in the episode after they decide not to continue with things, only for Karen to start in on how she likes gunnery practice, and Hank sees her in soft focus then she fumbles for words and the moment's lost.
Insult Backfire: When Lacey uses the term "scantily clad", Wanda insults her by asking "What are you, 70?". Later, Fitzy's Grandma says "scantily clad", and Lacey tries to use the same insult on her, which she takes as a compliment since she's actually 74 years old.
After Davis jokes about the proposed "World's Biggest Hoe" statue ("You might as well say we have the World's Biggest Prostitute!"), Fitzy's Grandma slaps him and says, "Why do you youngsters always have to have such filthy mouths!?" Davis has been feeling sensitive about his age lately, so he's rather flattered to be referred to as a youngster.
In "Telescope Trouble," Davis orders Brent to get the gas station door fixed because it's a safety issue. Brent says, "Oh, here we go. Big Daddy Government making it hard on the little guy." Instead of getting offended, Davis acts like the phrase is a cool nickname. "I like that. I'm Big Daddy Government."
Brent: Bearing in mind Dad does have a tendency to overstate things.
Oscar: I've never overstated anything in the entire history of the planet!
In "Lost and Found," Wanda comments that Brent is becoming more like Oscar every day, and Brent snaps, "Oh, don't be a jackass!"
Ironic Echo: Hank's car is impounded and accidentally sold to Wanda. Wanda rubs it in by saying "There are no words to describe how pleased I am with myself." When, to get back at Wanda, Hank gets her car impounded and buys it, Hank attempts to perform an Ironic Echo but fails miserably, mangling the quote to a level of incomprehensibility: "I can't express happy words how I feel right."
Which makes it all the more funny because he quite literally can't express how pleased with himself he is.
Ironic Echo Cut: In "Oh, Baby," Brent is babysitting an out-of-control child but he says he won't call Emma for help because, "I'm a grown man. He's six. I should be able to handle it." Cut to Emma on the phone with Brent, saying, "You're a grown man. He's six."
It's Always Spring: The show is eternally spring or summer, despite being filmed on site. Of course, winters are quite brutal in Saskatchewan, and the creator/writer/star Brent Butt has expressed his lack of interest in filming in winter (aside from the Christmas episode).
It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Marvin Drey thinks it is. He keeps pronouncing "Leroy" as "LeRoy", even after Brent corrects him.
From another episode, Brent's description of Oscar's homemade beer:
"Oh, really Dad, it tastes like you beat a skunk to death with a salmon!"
It Will Never Catch On: Brent (jokingly) says that the internet is just another fad that'll be over in a week.
Jerk Ass: Wanda and Oscar mostly, although pretty much everyone's been one for an episode or so
Also Lacey's college friend Connie, who is unbelievably rude to everyone when Lacey isn't around, mostly by assuming they're homeless
Kafka Komedy: This often happens to Fish out of Water Lacey, to the point that during one entire episode she refuses to get involved—and everyone else involves her anyway, either by misinterpreting what she says when she declares that she doesn't want to be involved, or by simply assigning her a position because she's from Toronto.
Kavorka Man: Brent, even though he doesn't have any sex throughout the entire run of the show (that we know of). Why not? All of the women except Lacey think he's way out of their league. Lacey reasons that because the rest of the men in Dog River are so repulsive Brent in comparison seems much more attractive than he actually is, but the other women don't believe her.
Pushed Up to Eleven when Brent trades his usual blue work shirt for a black one, his attitude immediately gaining a flair of danger and mystery.
Then there was the time he locked his keys in his truck, and didn't notice that his passenger side window was down.
In one episode, the trunk release on the patrol car was broken, so Karen needed to open it with her keys ... except she couldn't, because she had accidentally locked her keys in the trunk.
Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Although Brent is hardly a kid, it's revealed he has never seen a slasher flick due to being too scared. Oscar, Emma, and Wanda make fun of him for it, and force him to watch one in order to "make him a man". The inverted version of the trope ends up being used, where Brent ends up being the only one of the four not too scared to go into a dark room after watching the film. Even Oscar was scared, and he slept through the whole movie.
Oscar: I saw the credits. Some of the letters were bleeding.
The Lad-ette: Wanda. Karen, being a woman in a traditionally male job of police officer, attempts to seem more masculine than she actually is, but does enjoy cooking and wears signficantly girlier clothing than Wanda does when off-duty
Lampshade Hanging: Used frequently. One example: When talking about a mocking radio personality called "Dog River Dave" (in the episode of the same name), Brent is surprised someone would ever want to watch/listen to a show about him. Hank then remarks "You could have some cool star cameos!", and then suddenly, coming in through the door: "Hi! I'm six-time Olympic medallist Cindy Klassen!"
On Jonathan, Oscar and Emma's Kenyan foster child:
Wanda: It's not every day we have a special guest from out of town.
When Hank is hired to demolish a barn and decides to blow it up, Oscar offers to help him. When Hank asks him what he knows about blowing things up, we are treated to a montage of stuff blowing up in Oscar's face, the last one being a salad.
Hank: How do you blow up a salad?
Oscar: Happens more than you think!
Brent himself may not be a particularly bad cook, but because he eats all his meals at the Ruby he doesn't keep much food around the house. So when he gets into an argument with Lacey and stops eating at the Ruby out of spite he has to choke down sandwiches such as pickles-and-jam and olives-and-sour-cream for lunch. He pretends he thinks they are delicious in front of Lacey but obviously has trouble getting through them.
Literal-Minded: When Davis misplaces the Grey Cup tickets, Karen suggests looking in the glove compartment. Davis condescendingly responds that they're not in the glove compartment because "that compartment's for gloves, you're not supposed to put other things in there". They were in the glove compartment.
Karen: I'd hate to see what you'd keep in a handbag.
Local Hangout: The Ruby. Also, the characters frequently socialize at the bar of the Dog River Hotel.
Look Behind You: In "Slow Pitch," Lacey is running late for the softball game and Brent's team doesn't want Wes's team to realize they're short a player:
Davis: We gotta keep him distracted till she gets here. Maybe use some misdirection.
Oscar: Good idea. WES! LOOK OUT! A BEAR!
Wanda: Not now! Wait till he starts getting suspicious.
Davis: Well, I'm pretty sure he's suspicious now.
Brent: Well, it's a delicate balance but our trick seems to be working. It would take a pretty clever customer to—
Guy On Wes's Team: Hey! They only have nine players!
Brent: Aw, crap. Hey Wes! A, a bear! A big bear!
Major Injury Underreaction: Played for laughs in "Dog River Vice." Brent accuses Emma of being addicted to knitting and Emma says that knitting never hurt anyone. Then there's a cut to a woman with a knitting needle stuck completely through her arm. She doesn't seem to be in any pain; she just looks at the needle with a perplexed expression and says, "Now how did I do that?"
Man Child: Hank. Frequently Brent when he shares a plotline with him.
Wanda shows signs of this on occasion. She comments that the ball pit at the Swedish furniture store is "a blast" and when Karen says her kid must really enjoy it, Wanda looks slightly uncomfortable and says, "Yeah, my kid." When Lacey sets up a bouncy castle for kids in "Cat River Daze," Wanda insists on jumping in too. When she buys a robot goat toy for her son's Christmas present, she can't resist playing with it herself. When someone annoys her, her reaction often resembles a child's temper tantrum.
Master Chef: Emma's jam and Davis' perogies both qualify as their Magnum Opus with several other instances of their great cooking skill displayed when the plot calls for it.
Karen is a very good cook, and can do Lacey's job better than she can.
In universe, Lacey's Magnum Opus was the Ruby Club. It was so good that it was all that anybody ever ordered. Lacey quickly got sick of everyone's Complacent Gaming Syndrome and had them taken off the menu.
Emma had an "enchanted" potato bowl for years that made any potatoes served in it taste delicious. Wanda accidentally breaks it and desperately searches for a replacement. They turn out to be really cheap on eBay. Soon everyone in town has one or more, and yes, they all work.
Meaningful Name: Dog River. A plot point in the episode where Lacey is asked to write the text of a commemorative plaque and seeks to find the origin of the name of the city. She quickly finds herself chasing down a Dark Secret with witnesses suddenly changing their stories shortly after Emma beats her to them. Emma eventually reveals the truth: Lacey's great-great-uncle Eli had drowned a dozen dogs in the river and the town council, made aware of this fact, inexplicably adopted "Dog River" as their name. Lacey swears herself to protect the secret as part of The Conspiracy.
Men Can't Keep House: Oscar. According to Emma, he once put a loaf of bread in the dishwasher while trying to make a sandwich and broke the toaster while trying to make breakfast (and they weren't even having toast). He doesn't even know what the washing machine looks like, let alone how to use it.
Karen: I thought you said a gun was a cop's best friend.
Davis: Well, a gun is more like a cop's lover. There's some things you tell your gun that you'd never tell a lover. And sometimes your lover and your best friend don't get along. Or maybe you go out with one and the other gets mad at you 'cause you didn't go out with it!
Karen: You're divorced, right?
Hank: Check and mate! The hunter has become the hunted! The fox has become the fox who is catching himself
Middle-of-Nowhere Street: Takes place entirely in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, Canada. The series rarely showed its main characters away from the town.
Missing the Good Stuff: An episode has everyone attempting to go to the Grey Cup, getting stuck in random sitcom situations, and never going. Every single one of them bluffs to the others that they saw the game and it was great.
Mistaken for Gay: In "Doc Small", Brent is mistaken for gay (and thought to be involved with a man into bestiality) as a result of Hank, a logic puzzle and a $100 bill (It Makes Sense in Context). He doesn't notice.
Karen thinks she is being Mistaken For Gay when Lacey asks "Do you find me attractive?", but really Lacey was just baffled and more than a little insulted on having been told Brent is far too attractive for her to ever have a chance with. Karen even brings up the Lesbian Cop stereotype. It must happen to her a lot.
The Mountains of Illinois: Averted and lampshaded, since the show is filmed on location in Saskatchewan. When a traveler asks if the local vistas aren't boring, Deadpan Snarker Brent points out the lack of mountains in the distance, not being "all purple and majestic".
Mundane Made Awesome: In "Face Off," Oscar and Emma get ready to drive to the hockey game, but they can't be sure the car will start because it's been making funny noises lately. As Oscar starts the car, we see dramatic close-ups of his hands and hear epic music.
Muscles Are Meaningless: Discussed when Brent explains to Lacey that arm size doesn't directly translate to arm-wrestling victory well, unless they're Lacey-small.
Must Have Caffeine: Brent tries to give up coffee in "Dog River Vice." It doesn't go well:
Lacey: You want some decaf?
Brent: Decaf? The caf is what I need. The caf is the whole point of this. I'm not just jonesing for some hot brown liquid, without or without caf. I need the caf!
Lacey: You need therapy.
When Wanda joins Brent and Hank at the bar (where Hank tries to replace coffee with alcohol), she finds him asleep on his stool.
Wanda: The sad part is that he's still sober. *steals his drink*
Naοve Newcomer: Lacey. She's the new girl in town when the series starts, and is totally unprepared for the oddities and eccentricities of Dog River and its inhabitants, often totally confused and exasperated by their behaviour and customs. She gets used to it though, and eventually she fits right in.
After a series of smaller arguments in "Poor Brent," Oscar deciding to walk around the house unexpectedly nude, as he used to when he was single and living by himself. Emma retaliates by deciding to stop informing him beforehand when she invited her female friends over for sewing circles. Oscar finds out the hard way.
In "Spin Cycle," Lacey learns that the women of Dog River have a nude calendar every few years or so and she is tasked to find people to sign up. Karen and Wanda are about to strip wherever they were and Lacey stops them each time. Turns out Emma thought Lacey wouldn't bother with being in the calendar so Lacey goes to her and the photographer and strips naked. Then it turns out that the photographer was just a customer of the diner.
Never Bareheaded: Oscar is almost never seen without his signature green hat. Hank always wears a hat too, except when he had his first good hair day in 20 years, or when he found out he had been reading the wrong horoscope for years and was actually a Libra, so he resolved to act more Libra-like.
Never Heard That One Before: The guy from the cable company who comes to Dog River in "Cable Excess" can't be a customer anywhere without hearing "How about next Tuesday, sometime between 8 and 4?". He first hears it from Brent when he pulls up to the pumps for gas, then from Karen when he reports his cable van was egged, then from Lacey when he orders some food at the Ruby. Judging from his reaction to Brent's use of the joke, it had already reached this status long before he came to Dog River. The worst part? He's not even a repairman, which ruins the entire point of the joke.
Never Mess with Granny: Emma can toss a cinder block one-handed from the curb in front of the house and nail a skunk poking around in her garden behind the house. Davis has compared her to the Hulk on one occasion, and Wanda once described her as having arms like Lou Ferrigno (who, funny enough, is well known for playing the Hulk on TV).
Never My Fault: Hank once borrowed Brent's car without asking and drove out of town. Then the car ran out of gas and had to be towed to somewhere even farther out of town. According to Hank, this was Brent's fault for not putting enough gas in the car; apparently he was supposed to know that Hank was going to take his car without permission.
Oscar tries to get rid of a pile of leaves by pouring a gallon of gasoline on it and setting it on fire. Naturally, the fire quickly rages out of control. Oscar blames this on Emma because she was the one who told him to get rid of the leaves.
Oscar: Why the hell settle! We never settled! I'm a paperboy one week, you teach piano the next, the next week Lacey's a hockey coach, Wanda's a real estate agent, Hank's an accountant, the cops have a radio show! We all try new things.
New Year's Resolution: One episode involved Wanda, Hank, and Karen competing to see who could keep their resolution the longest. The winner is Lacey, who orchestrated a plot to get the three of them to quit together and call it a draw, then revealed she still hadn't broken her resolution.
Brent: Well, you should really try to squeeze in a visit every decade or so. Four out of five dentists recommend seeing a dentist. I don't know what the fifth guy's thinking.
No Accounting for Taste: Oscar and Emma normally tend to fall in this trope, though some episodes show that they do really seem to love each other.
No Communities Were Harmed: Corner Gas takes place in Dog River, Saskatchewan, which does not exist. Rouleau, Saskatchewan, where the show is filmed, does, while the whole thing may well just be a stand in for writer and star Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale.
No, Except Yes: Karen didn't lose the Clavet Cup, she's just "unable to ascertain its whereabouts at this juncture."
From the pilot:
Hank: I'm not complaining. I'm just saying the coffee tastes terrible. Tastes like it's been filtered through a wig, that's all.
The closest the series got was the episode (discussed several times on this list) in which Karen and Hank "hooked up" during a fishing trip, and in the first season finale Brent and Lacey have a "charged moment" which they agree to forget about in the second season premiere.
Hank asks Emma for some Motherly Advice. Emma tells Hank that he should just ask his own mother, but Hank says she's in a better place. Emma points out that they have phones in Saskatoon.
In "Cat River Daze," Oscar and Karen become attached to a cat and are horrified when they find out it might have to go to "a better place." Naturally, this turns out to be the name of a cat farm.
Noodle Incident: Played for laughs with Hank's biking class instructor job. He says that it involves a red cat and a tornado, the camera cutting short to the end of the story " and that's how I got the job." A few seconds later, he repeats the story in whole: He was watching a tv show about a red cat and a tornado when someone called to offer him the job and he said yes.
In "Slow Pitch," Brent refers to Oscar as "the guy who once punched a skunk," and Oscar says the skunk had it coming, but we don't hear any more details about this incident.
Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: When asked to help out at a senior's home, Emma and Karen weasel for a few seconds, then grudgingly accept. Oscar just gives a flat, "No." Then he turns to the other two: "See how easy it is?"
Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Canadian actor Mark McKinney as an American tourist in "An American in Saskatchewan" doesn't bother imitating an American accent. This is most noticeable when he says "bilingual."note pronounced "by-LIN-gyoo-al" in Canada, but "by-LIN-gwal" in the U.S.
Now You Tell Me: When Brent becomes a food critic for The Ruby's daily specials, he gives a scathing review of a plate of macaroni and cheese while Emma is sitting behind him, becoming visibly incensed. Lacey then points out it was Emma's cooking, not The Ruby's.
Brent: That would have been useful information eleven seconds ago.
In "Telescope Trouble," Wanda warns Karen to "watch the door" after the broken gas station door smacks her on the rear end.
Old-School Chivalry: When Wanda shows up to work in a skirt one day and is on the receiving end of an uncharacteristically chivalrous act from Brent, her and Lacey hypothesize that his natural male instinct took over, and that the more feminine she looks and behaves, the more chivalrous he will act. It seems to work too, until we Whip Pan to Brent talking to Emma about the real reason he's being so "chivalrous": He thinks Wanda's gone totally nuts and that he should take it easy on her for a while.
Onion Tears: In "Cat River Daze," Oscar starts tearing up when they bring the stray cat he's been caring for to a cat farm. After a moment, he says, "Is there an onion farm around here?" and stomps off.
Wanda: This show is brought to you by Chuck Dragner's pre-owned farm equipment. Stand up, Chuck. If you can't trust the Chuck you're talking to, you're talking to the wrong guy named Chuck. Geez Chuck, you gotta get a better slogan.
In "Meat Wave," Curtis' Meat Market's slogan is, "The market where you can buy meat!"
Parental Sexuality Squick: In one episode, Brent accidentally records his parents beginning to act out a sex fantasy on the gas station's security camera. Afterwards he rips the camera out of the wall and denies that it was ever there.
Oscar: A guy my age goes to the doctor and everyone's gonna assume he's going to get one of those little blue pills. Everyone in town will be talking about how I can't...
Brent:: (grossed out) Dad!
Emma: What's he talking about?
Emma: Oh, for Pete's sake! (Beat) Well, if you're going there anyway, you may as well ask...
Brent: Aww, Mom!
Pass the Popcorn: After Lacey confronts Karen about having just borrowed her house to watch a scary movie in, Brent comments on how there should be some scary music playing, Emma and Wanda, who already had popcorn because they were watching the movie, watch the standoff and eat some popcorn.
One episode has the entire town agreeing to not watch TV for a week. In order to entertain himself another way, Brent sets it up so that Hank and Wanda constantly get mad and fight each other while he sits back with popcorn. He even gets other townspeople to enjoy the "Hank and Wanda Show."
The Password Is Always Swordfish: Hank's password is 'password'. He later changes it to 'notpassword' after telling people "I changed my password—and this time it's not password!"
He then changes it to "Your pet's name."
Perpetual Poverty: Hank is nearly always unemployed and broke, but he has no problem buying things like restaurant food, beer, comic books, and other non-essentials. He frequently borrows money (usually from Brent) without paying it back and runs up bills (like his tab at the Ruby) when he has no intention of paying them.
Pick Up Babes With Babes: Brent refuses to babysit Wanda's son Tanner for her, at first. Later, he hears Lacey say that "there's something really attractive about a man who loves kids", at which point he offers to babysit Tanner (Lacey wasn't there to hear him refuse before). It backfires when he asks Lacey to help, and she flatly says "No way, I hate kids."
Davis: I want you to get the RCMP down here right away. Tell them we got a 10-92.
Karen: Parking violation?
Davis: By aliens!
In "Whataphobia," Karen reports a 10-19 to Davis, who responds with, "Trouble at the mini-putt?"
Politician Guest Star: Two consecutive Prime Ministers make cameos (Paul Martin and Stephen Harper), as do two consecutive Premiers of Saskatchewan (Lorne Calvert and Brad Wall), along with a smattering of Members of Parliament and mayors. The appearances by Martin and Harper marked the first and second time that sitting prime ministers had appeared in a Canadian sitcom.
Martin's appearance had a bit of timely irony as it aired the night before a government sponsorship scandal broke that led to the downfall of his government; he was defeated by Harper.
Though Wall had been elected Premier in 2007 (defeating Calvert), he did not appear on the show until the penultimate episode in 2009.
Poor Communication Kills: In "Demolition" Brent, Hank and Oscar try to demolish Cecil's barn by pulling down its main beam with Cecil's tractor (Hank has also brought dynamite just in case). It doesn't work, and Cecil tells Oscar, "I don't know why they're wasting their time with a tractor. Should blow the darn thing up and get it over with." He is referring to the barn, but Oscar misunderstands him and says to Hank, "Cecil says not to bother with the tractor. He says we should just blow it up." So Hank uses his aforementioned dynamite to blow up the tractor, much to Cecil's confusion and dismay.
Popcultural Osmosis Failure: When Emma delivers wise words to Brent, he tells her, "You're like Yoda." Emma replies, "I don't know what that means."
And Emma again, explaining that Oscar is a "Trekkie" (i.e., he's a fan of Neil Diamond).
Prenup Blowup: Played straight when Oscar and Emma decide to get married, and Lacey "convinces" Oscar to ask for a prenup.
Product Placement: Lampshaded. Brent berates Wanda and Hank for trying to advertise during their arguments. He then goes back to restocking the shelf, which is filled with nothing but Cheez Whiz.
Punny Name: Hank and Oscar get a gumball machine and name it "Corner Gum". Lacey gets one of her own and names it "The Chewby".
"Rashomon"-Style: In "Super Sensitive," Hank describes how he broke a mirror seven years ago: he's shown in flashback driving a truck full of mirrors and then getting onto a collision course with a truck full of rocks. "All I can say is, thank God for that marshmallow truck." Brent says that's not how he remembers it. In his flashback, Hank is fixing a bookshelf, notices a fly has landed on the mirror and hits the mirror with the hammer to kill the fly. Hank admits Brent is telling the truth, but says his truck story is better.
Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: When Davis is trying to sell Oscar and Emma a home security system, he reads his sales pitch from a cue card, including the phrases, "Smile assuringly," and, "You should now be inside the customer's home."
Ring... Ring... CRUNCH: In the episode that Brent gives up coffee, there is a montage of Brent repeatedly hitting the snooze on his alarm clock until he finally wakes up and says "Whoa. What a weird dream. I dreamed that I had an alarm clock. I should probably think about getting one of those." He does get one, and later in the episode he smashes it to pieces when it wakes him up and says "Oh yeah, that's why I didn't have one of those." At the end of the episode, he also smashes Hank's new electronic organizer when its alarm goes off and wakes him up.
Road Sign Reversal: Oscar changes a sign warning about a pothole in the road to one warning about a speed bump that was built over it by flipping the sign upside down. He tries to do it again when they go back to the pothole at the end of the episode (because it "looks more natural"), but it won't hold in place, so he says they have to build the speed bump again.
Robbing the Dead: On the way to the Grey Cup, Oscar and Hank stop in to see Oscar's friend (who owes him money), and find him dead on the floor. Oscar immediately goes for the guy's nice belt to even the debt, making up a story to Hank about the guy saying Oscar could have his belt when he died.
Rouge Angles of Satin: Happens frequently with the local paper. When confronted with a badly-spelled newspaper headline (which reads "HANK IS PHYCIC"), Wanda dryly cracks a joke about buying a spellchecker. Brent then follows this up by saying that he's going to continue reading, and that the story is "contunied on page 30". In another episode, Karen says that the criminal Davis caught was barely a thief. Cue the Spinning Paper, which inverts two letters in "Cop Nabs Barely Thief". Davis points out the theif stole a truckload of barley. Plus he stole the truck.
Brent criticizing Wanda's work ethic and half-heartedly threatening to fire her.
Various characters calling the police for ridiculously trivial reasons. One guy calls because his neighbour's grass clippings keep blowing into his yard, Myrtle calls because her TV isn't working, Lacey calls because she needs help moving her dresser, and so on.
Sarcastic Clapping: Wanda and Davis both take piano lessons from Emma, though Davis is much better at it. After Davis played a song in The Ruby, everybody applauded, except for a jealous Wanda. Davis, being Davis, misses the point entirely:
Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Oscar meets his. Even as an old man, he still has his Gang Of Bullies backing him up, and they can still intimidate and terrify Oscar just as well as ever. There is even a montage of him bullying Oscar throughout the years: first as children, then as teenagers, then as middle-aged men at their high school reunion, then finally the present moment as seniors. But they are more terrified of Emma than Oscar could ever be of them, and flee the second they see her coming.
Scrabble Babble: Hank, in the first move of the game, decides to start things off with "abang". After being told that's two words, he decides to play "A".
Emma: Is it too late to put money on this?
Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Oscar Leroy is stubborn, inconsiderate, prone to demanding the RCMP detachment arrest whoever annoys him, and browbeats every public official with, "My taxes pay your salary!" Of course, in his point-of-view jackasses don't deserve respect.
One of his Catch Phrases is "I'm a senior!" At one point Brent points out that, since he's 63 years old, he isn't technically a senior yetnote 65 is the magic number in Canada, though the current government is lobbying to have it raised to 67, but Oscar completely ignores this.
Self-Deprecation: After Hank says "You can sell any kind of crap with a well-placed ad.", the show immediately cuts to a short ad for Season 4 of Corner Gas on DVD.
Self Restraint: Davis voluntarily goes to jail for charity; the jail cell hasn't had a proper lock for years.
Sense Freak: In a rare human example, Davis is revealed in one episode to have lost his sense of smell as a child. He gets it back during the episode and goes a little nuts with it.
It becomes Fridge Brilliance when you notice in other episodes Davis is never the first to notice a truly awful smell, but rather always seems to add reactively "Yeah that does smell bad" basically, he's covering up his missing sense!
Which doesn't really make sense, since he had told everybody about it already, including Brent, who just wan't paying attention (in fact his plot in the episode involved him learning to pay attention to other people when they talk).
Sensitivity Training: In "Super Sensitive," Karen (a blonde) complained to the mayor about Davis telling dumb blonde jokes at work, so Davis had to attend sensitivity training. He became obsessed with political correctness after this (for example, Karen ordered black coffee and he corrected her by saying, "African-American!"), which Karen actually found more annoying than the blonde jokes.
Hank's LEGO model of Dog River. When he runs out of lego to include the only shed not present in his model, he burns down the shed instead of suffering the inaccuracy. That shed was the very first building of Dog River's foundation.
Pie making contests. Fitzy mentions that the one year they tried holding it without a judge, there were several fistfights.
Windshield wiper fluid. It's supposed to be blue!!!
You do not mock the Yield sign!
"You know how I feel about CFL jokes."
In "All That and a Bag of Chips," Karen accidentally leaves The Ruby without paying for a muffin and the rest of the town starts acting like she's a kleptomaniac or a hardened criminal. The scandal even makes the front page of the local paper.
Shaggy Dog Story: The project to build the World's Biggest Hoe ultimately turns out to be this. The last scene shows the main four characters looking up at a giant hoe, remarking that it's much bigger than the one they made in Dog River, and how they probably should have checked first to make sure the World's Biggest Hoe wasn't already taken.
When Karen discovers Davis likes to use his gun for menial tasks, she spends an episode intimidating him as she writes up a report on him. Davis becomes pretty terrified of the consequences he might have to face, until Karen says that the next step is to hand the report to her superior officer, which is Davis, who promptly rips it up. She had been just messing with him the whole time.
Shaped Like Itself: In "The J-Word," after Karen locks Davis in a car trunk so he can reenact a movie scene:
Davis: It was scary being in that car trunk. Closest thing I can compare it to is being locked in some kind of trunk.
Brent:(counting the cash in the register) Let me guess, you're broke.
Hank: What makes you say that?
Wanda: Because you're staring at the cash the way Hank stares at cash. (beat) Oh, my God. You've become your own metaphor.
disagreed with by a billboard made for The Ruby and Corner Gas at the end of the episode.
Also Brent and Lacey, particularly in the second season premiere after they almost kissed in the first season finale.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Hank gets several "traumatic" flashbacks of his experience babysitting Wanda's boy. He also points out another guy in the bar who once babysat for Tanner and, as a direct result, can no longer go for more than 10 seconds without looking behind him.
Ship Sinking: While Karen/Davis may or may not be a popular ship among fans of the show, the last episode specifically said they "eventually fell in love and got married." *beat* "But not to each other."
A potential ship between Brent and Lacey was sunk in the second season premiere.
Short-Distance Phone Call: Oscar steals the new wireless phone from Corner Gas and uses it as a cell phone. When he gets home, Emma asks "What is that?" Oscar calls Emma on the phone to explain, despite her being one foot away from him.
Signs of Disrepair: Dog River's grocery store has a sign that most likely used to say "FOOD MARKET", but some of the letters have fallen off, so it now says "FOO- MAR—T". Evidently the store management was too cheap and/or too lazy to bother replacing the missing letters, so it's now known as the Foo Mart. They even have a jingle.
"Who's smart? Thou art! When you shop at the Foo Mart!"
The sign read FOO- -AR-ET in the first season only.
Lacey loses the F and the E off her "CAFE" sign. After a few "Where's your F 'n' E?" jokes, she gets the F back. Then a kid who has seen the E comes in and asks Lacey "Are you the owner of this caf?"
Similar Squad: The professional firefighters hired in one episode are named Carol and David and are almost exact copies of the two cops Karen and Davis. Needless to say, Karen and Davis fail to notice this similarity and are overcome with jealousy regarding the firefighters.
Also used as a brief gag in "Shirt Disturber" when Hank and Brent run into two guys who look like them at a comic book signing.
Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Brent has had two. In one episode it was his cousin Carl. In another it was a teenage boy. Both times Brent managed to get some sort of victory in the end. Carl went on an angry rant in front of everyone and exposed himself for the Jerkass that Brent was always saying he was. The teenager spent an episode being superior to Brent in every way (a better guitar player, a nicer car, a girlfriend), until Brent finds out that the kid doesn't know how to tune a guitar manually, something Brent finds very easy. He messes up the tuning on the kid's guitar even further and walks away laughing.
Emma: Those in favor of no TV for a week and sticking it to Wullerton, spit! (everybody spits) Fitzy: (bangs gavel) Done! Oscar: Hey! You tricked us!
Truth in Television: The Dog River/Wullerton rivalry was inspired by the real rivalry between Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale, Sask. and nearby Melfort.
"Gopher It" shows us that this rivalry is entirely one-sided. Although since the whole episode is one long Imagine Spot by Hank, we don't know if this is true or not.
(Davis has been reassigned to Wullerton, and is drinking coffee with his new partner.) Officer: So, you're from Dog River, huh? Davis: (bitterly) Eugh, Dog River... (spits) Officer: (confused) What'd you do that for?
Lacey exploits this when a stand-up comedian who stole a story from Brent the last time he was in town is about to go on stage. She tells him that this is Wullerton and that everybody here hates Dog River, so he praises Wullerton and insults Dog River in his act, getting him booed off the stage.
So Bad, It's Good: An in-universe example with Thunder Face. Paul loves them because he finds their musical ineptitude very amusing.
Sore Loser: Do not beat Hank at golf unless you want him to follow you around the clock, making a high-pitch whining screech for a whole week. He will even call you on the phone to keep on going.
Lacey also takes losing pretty hard. When sponsoring a kids' soccer team, she turned borderline Drill Sergeant Nasty on them for losing. When she herself lost a game of horseshoes to Oscar, she fell into a pretty deep pit of depression and self-loathing that made the quality of food at the Ruby suffer.
Emma went completely insane after losing a jam contest that she wins every year, to the point that Oscar was terrified of her. She only came back to her senses when it was revealed that the winner of the contest was using a recipe that she stole from Emma.
In "Rock Stars," scene transition music plays after a punchline and then Hank and Oscar stare at Brent, who tells them that that's all he's figured out for the song he's playing on electric guitar.
A variation: Brent is at the gas station when a friend tells him that he may own an antique worth quite a bit of money. Immediately, the classic *cha-ching!* noise is heard—then Brent glances down and closes the cash register, commenting that he needs to get it fixed to stop it from popping open at random. Later, at an antiques shop, the man at the counter confirms that they have a valuable antique, and the *cha-ching!* is heard again; the antiques dealer closes his register, and Brent says, "Yours does that too, huh?"
Also this scene:
Davis: The first Europeans to settle the area called it Dagsarivija after their village in the old country. Some northern European language.
Davis: No, thanks. I had breakfast at home.
(slide whistle sound)
Lacey: (to a young boy) Timmy, don't play your slide whistle in here.
Spoof Aesop: In "Blog River," Brent says that he hurt Hank with a careless lie, which taught him a valuable lesson about lying more convincingly.
Spiteful Spit: Residents of Dog River all reflexively turn their heads and spit on the ground (or floor) at the mention of their rival, neighboring town of Wullerton. Lacey is horrified when she starts to do it too.
Standard Police Motto: Karen and Davis have a long, drawn-out argument over whether or not the slogan on their patrol car should read "To Protect and Serve" or "To Serve and Protect."
Starcrossed Lovers: Parodied in one episode where Hank falls for a girl from Wullerton (*spit*) and decides that he'll have to dump her. She's actually from Gimli, Manitoba. Upon discovering this, he then dumps her because he liked the idea of being Starcrossed Lovers.
Status Cell Phone: The town of Dog's River is in the middle of nowhere and has really lousy cell reception. The residents are forced to use special cellphone with bulky signal boosters. When it is announced that a new cell tower will be erected in the town, the main characters get new cellphones and a try to show up each other by getting progressively smaller cellphones. However, when the plans for the new cell tower are abandoned, they have to go back to their old bulky models.
Paul: As you all know, it's comedy night, so we're going to have lots of fun but first, Hank!
Although earlier in the episode, Paul was shown to find Hank's nonjokes funny, so it may be even more of a Stealth Insult than usual
From "Cousin Carl":
Oscar: What are you getting plant food for?
Emma: Because my tomatoes are pathetic and wrinkling. And when things are pathetic and wrinkly, they need food. Eat your sandwich.
Stealth Pun: In an Imagine Spot of the future, Brent and Oscar imagine Corner Gas becoming Corner Brothel to change business suiting a need people will always have it's a suitable name considering the phrase "working the corner."
Oscar: Why the hell would that happen?! And why do we have beards? Brent: (shrugs) We might.
"The Doctor's Son." Hank ends up suggesting that the doctor is a ghost. Brent didn't get it either and asks for clarification of why Hank's theory couldn't be true.
"If a plane crashes exactly on a border, where are the survivors buried?" Hank first asks whether the plane is distributed more on one side than the other, and then when Karen emphasises the word "survivors", he answers. "Oh! One on each side."
"If a rooster lays an egg on the exact peak of a barn, which side does it fall?" Hank's answers include "The Alberta side" (referring to the plane crash example above), "The roof is flat," and "The egg is square!"
Brent asks Lacey to identify a song by poorly making guitar sounds with his mouth. Lacey asks "How can anyone identify a song just from that?" but both Wanda and Hank immediately recognize it.
In an episode where Lacey wants to start a Pilates class, at least 3 other characters ask her why she'd start a class named after the guy who killed Jesus. When Lacey would say that Pilates isn't the guy who killed Jesus, the characters would say "Well, he gave the order..."
After Oscar finds a pair of pants on the side of the road and decides to keep them (to everyone else's revulsion), Emma throws them and several other pieces of his found garbage out the car window. The episode ends with a random passerby finding them and deciding to keep them.
Both Hank and Davis separately get admonished for bragging about men's ability to pee standing up. They both reply with "No brag, just fact."
Strictly Professional Relationship: Karen and Davis, two small-town cops that have a relationship something like an older brother and younger sister. A few times in the series, other people (Lacy) mistake them for getting together, but this is, every time, a misunderstanding. Even the last episode alludes to it with the credits say "Karen and Davis eventually fell in love and got married...but not to each other.
Super Identikit: Subverted when Karen listens and sketches as a perpetrator is described, then holds up a page full of squiggles and asks if it looks like the thief.
The witness looks at the squiggles and adds "He had a hat." Later they caught Hank.
In one episode, Oscar buys an outboard motor from Hank using money he "borrowed" from Emma. So Emma decides to go after Hank and we get this little gem:
Emma: We need to talk. Hank: No, no we don't. No, talk to Oscar. He's the one that stole the money from your nightstand last Thursday while you were out with the church ladies getting ready for the bake sale, I don't know nothing about it!
In another episode:
Karen: I didn't sleep with Hank!
Swapped Roles: Lacey and Wanda get into an "If you think this job is so easy, then YOU do it!" argument and swap jobs for the episode. Both of them find the other's job too hard, so Wanda pawns Lacey's job off on Karen while Lacey pawns Wanda's job off on Emma. Turns out Karen is much better at doing Lacey's job than Lacey herself, and the same goes for Emma doing Wanda's job.
And that his homemade beer tastes like he beat a skunk to death with a salmon.
Similarly, the band Thunder Face's music is compared to various small rodents caught in a piece of heavy machinery.
Terrible Interviewees Montage: Thunder Face's auditions for drummer subverts this, as not all of them are terrible—one is actually really good—it's just that none of them are drummers, because Hank forgot to include that part in the audition announcement
That's What She Said: In one episode, Hank uses this line repeatedly (completely missing the point of the phrase in the process), only to be confronted with the perfect opportunity—only to decide that 'she' wouldn't say that, because 'she' is not that kind of girl.
Theme Naming: All of the main characters share last names with Saskatchewan towns.
Hank: I came up with the best password, you'll never be able to guess it!
Brent: Is it "password"?
Hank: Uhh No?
Hank later changes it and tells everyone that "This time, it's not password". It turns out his password is "notpassword".
Hank then changes it again and forgets it. He teams up with Wanda to crack it, but both fail in their combined efforts to "think like Hank" (yes, even Hank was trying to think like Hank) until Brent walks up to the laptop and nails it on the first time (although he was there when Hank changed it and watched him type it in). It was "yourpetsname", literally.
Wanda: I admit, I was not ready for this level of stupidity.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Karen and Davis rarely do police work unless either Oscar or the Mayor tell them to, and they're usually reluctant to. In one episode, Karen ends up getting a week off from work. When she goes back, they both immediately take a nap in the police cruiser.
There Are No Rules: Subverted when Lacey describes her new bulletin boards. This phrase is met with complaints that if it has that rule then there are rules and it's decided that the new bulletin board is too confusing.
Threat Backfire: Emma wants to hire someone to paint the top floor of the Leroy home, and Oscar says he'll find another place to sleep if she does. Emma tells him if that's a threat, he should make it less appealing.
Time Capsule: Dog River buries one every year which they open the next year. Brent explains that at first it was 25 years, then 10 years and eventually just became an excuse to get drunk once a year. It's usually filled with various mugs and Hank's hat.
Title Drop: The series title in most episodes, though the following episodes also have their official titles mentioned within:
"Dog River Dave"
"The J Word"
"Outside the Box"
Token Minority: Davis is the only nonwhite regular; befitting the show's setting in rural Saskatchewan, he is Aboriginal (Cree, to be specific, much likethe actor who plays him). However, this is treated as wholly incidental to his character, and he acts no more or less quirky than anyone else in Dog River. The first season finale (the Grey Cup episode) is pretty much the only time in the entire series his ethnicity is acknowledged.
Also, both bartenders (Phil and Paul) appear Cree. One of them speaks some Cree, enough to know the original name of Dog River.
Trespassing To Talk: Davis is trying to get two of his friends to purchase a home security system. One day, they wake up to find him standing over their bed with a tray. He cheerfully informs them that he could've been a burgular bringing them breakfast. They buy the system just so he'll leave.
Two Lines, No Waiting: Has two or three storylines per episode, which is merely one of the reasons it's often compared to Seinfeld. Its larger main cast (more than four) divides up pretty evenly among the storylines. This is most interesting when the divvying of the storylines doesn't happen according to the common pattern (the two police officers, the old married couple, the gas station workers—Hank functions as a wildcard, who may have his own storyline like a Good Hair Day).
"The Littlest Yarbo" where Hank discusses his plot, and Brent randomly starts talking about his own:
Hank: Maybe The Littlest Hobo was the first ever reality show, did you ever think of that?
Brent: Hold on here! If I can see my logo, then her logo is on the outside all the while giving her free advertising!
Wanda: Come on, guys! I can only handle one weird obsession at a time!
The Unfavorite: Brent actually becomes this in one episode, despite being an only child. Oscar and Emma once sponsored an Kenyan foster child, who grew up to become a successful doctor and came by one day to thank them for all their help. Oscar even refers to him as his "good son" at one point. Inverted in that Brent doesn't mind, it's the Kenyan guy who gets fed up with Oscar and Emma's smothering. Brent pretends he feels left out just to give him an excuse to leave without hurting Oscar and Emma's feelings.
Brent was also the Unfavorite to Hank once.
Unishment: Brent and Hank raid the backyard of the local Fun-Hating Confiscating Adult to retrieve the toys he took from them when they were kids. He catches Brent but Hank ditches him to save his own ass (payback for Brent doing the same thing to him earlier). The old man punishes Brent by making him eat 4 buckets of crab apples, which doesn't faze a Big Eater like him in the slightest. He even asks for more when he's finished.
Old Man: That wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped.
Ultimate Job Security: Fitzy and his position of mayor. He doesn't seem particularly good, and at one point is afraid of losing it, only to be told that "nobody wants your job". Subverted and averted in one episode though. Emma runs for mayor and wins. The exception is A) She flat out admits during an interview that she doesn't even want the job, she's simply running out of spite over Fitzy telling her husband to shut up, and B) the entire episode was just a dream anyway.
Brent and Lacey's businesses also appear to be the only ones of their kind in the town.
The employees of the Dog River Hotel. It's the only hotel in town and it houses the only bar in town, so the staff doesn't have to worry about people taking their business elsewhere.
Being the only cops in a small town, neither Karen nor Davis ever really suffers any consequences for failures or breaches of procedure.
Weirdness Censor: The police seem to have one of these where Hank is concerned. In "Security Cam," Hank wants the police to taser him, so he starts lurching around and screaming that he's freaking out, but the police ignore him and continue a debate about bullet-resistant vests versus bulletproof vests. In "The Littlest Yarbo," Hank falls to the ground and pretends to have a seizure; Davis merely comments that he's going to get grass stains on his clothing. In the same episode, Hank starts walking into traffic with a blindfold on; the police glance at him briefly and then resume their previous conversation.
Also Doc Small, where Lacy tries to convince a doctor thinking of moving to Dog River that it is a normal place. Turns out that to Dog River, "normal" is Cloud Cuckoo Land.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Inverted. After going 40 years without receiving much (if anything) in the way of praise or fatherly pride from Oscar, when Brent finally does get some he just considers it creepy because of how out-of-character it is.
We Need a Distraction: In a flashback scene in "Grad '68", Emma needs to sneak out of the house and distracts Oscar with a Rubik's Cube.
We Sell Everything: Dog River has a store that sells both liquor and insurance of all things. The titular store also is pretty well stocked for a gas station.
The liquor/insurance store is actually based upon a real combo-business in Rouleau.
It makes sense for Brent to have a general store kind of inventory, as people would otherwise have to drive over the next town to rent a movie. He's also the only store on an important road between two major cities that a lot of truckers take every day.
This Saskatchewan troper has a gas station that sells frozen foods, live bait, fireworks, deoderant, cold medicine, laundry soap... etc. Truth in Television.
Karen sends Davis to sensitivity training because he was making Dumb Blonde jokes with Oscar in front of her. He comes back as a living example of Political Correctness Gone Mad (example: When Karen orders black coffee, Davis tells her "it's African-American!"), so she teams up with Oscar to get him back to normal.
An example of "We Want Our Ignoramus Back": Brent discovers that Davis has no sense of smell, and was the only one who didn't know. Davis reveals that he had told Brent about it many times, but he just wasn't playing attention. Brent vows to be more perceptive to the people around him, and as a result ends up saying unintentionally hurtful things that make people think he is a "monster", so he goes back to being completely ignorant of everyone around him.
Brent: (reading from a book about the history of Dog River) Did you know that Wes here's father died in Korea saving his entire platoon? Wes: (heartbroken) ...Daddy's dead? Oscar: We told him he joined the circus, you jackass!
"What Do They Fear?" Episode: After Lacey is shown to be afraid of balloons, Davis reveals he shares this phobia as well. The others share their phobias except Wanda who claims not to have any cue Hank risking multiple Wanda-related beatings trying to discover what she fears, only to fail entirely. The final scene of the episode shows that Wanda is agoraphobic—she is afraid of wide open spaces. And as the show's closing tune plainly points out, Saskatchewan "is a great big place full of nothing but space", explaining why she works all day long in Brent's gas station and keeps her curtains closed at all times in her home.
What the Fu Are You Doing?: Wanda confesses to Brent that she broke the mop handle while doing karate kicks in the store, something Brent had specifically ordered her not to do. Her defence is that she had just finished watching a Jet Li movie and was "in a weird head space."
Lacey: We could play euchre. Oscar:Euchre? I hardly know 'er! Lacey: Or Twister. Oscar:Twister? I just met 'er! Lacey: Or maybe we could just play charades. Oscar:Charades? Ha ha I hate charades! Emma: Charades it is. Lacey:Good thing I didn't say "poker."
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: The exact location of Dog River, Saskatchewan is never revealed, though it's said to be "sixty clicks [kilometres] from nowhere" and when characters refer to or drive to "the city" both Saskatoon and Regina are close enough to qualify.
Word of God says that "the city" is Regina. (In several episodes in which characters are shown going to "the city", the location is clearly Regina.)
Some of the locations in the show are actual businesses in Rouleau, Saskatchewan (The gas station isn't, but the bar is), which is about 40 kilometres southwest of Regina and about 200 km south of Saskatoon.
One episode has Oscar driving about 45 minutes to Weyburn, which is about the same time it takes to drive there from Rouleau.
But a couple of episodes have also suggested it's not far from Saskatoon.
Which Restroom Dilemma: The "Grad '68" episode starts with Lacey replacing the signs on the doors with the Roman symbols for male and female, which Brent believes will confuse people. While arguing about it, Hank walks out of the women's bathroom.
Whip Pan: Used when it shows what someone's thinking.
Brent: My life as a TV show? Who would want to watch that? Hank: Well, maybe if there were some really cool cameos Random Woman: Hi there! I'm 6-time Olympic Medallist Cindy Klassen! Brent: Hi, we're just kinda in the middle of something Cindy: Oh Hank: Good job, though!
Karen: I know you're my superior, so I say this with all due respect. How stupid are you?
Wondrous Ladies Room: One episode has the signs on the washrooms in the gas station swapped by accident. The men enjoy the cleanliness of the ladies room while the women complain about the filthiness of the men's room. When the signs are swapped back, the men start to complain (Hank: How am I supposed to eat in there now?!), even going so far as to compare it to Paradise Lost. Brent promises to make them the same, which he does by making the ladies room dirtier to match the men's room.
Work Off the Debt: Lacey catches Oscar counterfeiting. When she says she has something in mind for him, the scene cuts to him washing dishes. Lacey walks in and tells him she just wants him to pay her off in real money.
Worst Aid: Parodied when Brent and Hank move Wanda (specifically, toss her up and down) because they don't believe her back is really hurt and this makes her get better.
Karen and Davis discussing the pronunciation of "Heimlich" while Hank is choking on a pickle. Turns out neither of them had first-aid training of any kind.
Wraparound Background: Subverted when Oscar and Emma are shown in the cab of their RV, and trees passing by in the background indicate they are moving. Cut to an outside shot that shows the RV is parked outside The Ruby and a convoy of flatbeds full of trees is driving by in the opposite direction.
You Are What You Hate: The first (oblivious) version, overlapping with Closet Geek. Brent and Hank go to a comic book signing. Immediately upon entering, Brent makes a comment to Hank about how the place is full of nerds. They are then approached by two guys who look very much like them asking if they know where the back of the line is. Brent and Hank are weirded out by the resemblance and walk away, at which point Not-Hank points over his shoulder at the two of them and makes the same comment to Not-Brent about how the place is full of nerds.