Customer: You know, I've never driven across Saskatchewan before.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).Another notable aspect about the series is its wide range of cameos: from two Canadian prime ministers, two premiers of Saskatchewan and one mayor of Regina to Stanley Cup. It seems like Dog River is the most popular place in the country.The series launched in Canada on CTV in 2004. It was picked up for syndication by WGN America in the United States in 2007. It ended in April 2009.In 2014, a full-length movie was funded using Kickstarter and aired in Canadian theatres for 5 days only starting on December 3 of the same year, with TV airings and a DVD/Blu-Ray release later that month.In December 2016, an upcoming animated series was revealed.
Brent: Well, you still haven't really. About halfway to go yet.
Customer: Sure is flat.
Brent: How do you mean?
Customer: You know, flat. Nothin' to see.
Brent: What do you mean, like, topographically? ...Hey, Hank! This guy says Saskatchewan is flat!
Hank: How do you mean?
Brent: Topographically, I guess. Says there's nothin' to see.
Hank: There's lots to see. There's nothin' to block your view.
Brent: [to customer] Lots to see. Nothin' to block your view. Like the mountains back there. [turns around] They're, uh... well, what the hell? I coulda sworn there was a big mountain range back there, juttin' up into the sky all purple and majestic. Must be thinkin' of a postcard I saw or somethin'. Yeah, it is kinda flat. Thanks for pointin' that out.
Customer: You guys always this sarcastic?
Brent: [shrugs] Nothin' else to do.
Brent: Well, you still haven't really. About halfway to go yet.
Customer: Sure is flat.
Brent: How do you mean?
Customer: You know, flat. Nothin' to see.
Brent: What do you mean, like, topographically? ...Hey, Hank! This guy says Saskatchewan is flat!
Hank: How do you mean?
Brent: Topographically, I guess. Says there's nothin' to see.
Hank: There's lots to see. There's nothin' to block your view.
Brent: [to customer] Lots to see. Nothin' to block your view. Like the mountains back there. [turns around] They're, uh... well, what the hell? I coulda sworn there was a big mountain range back there, juttin' up into the sky all purple and majestic. Must be thinkin' of a postcard I saw or somethin'. Yeah, it is kinda flat. Thanks for pointin' that out.
Customer: You guys always this sarcastic?
Brent: [shrugs] Nothin' else to do.
— Cold Open of the first episode
Tropes present in the series:
- 0% Approval Rating: Dog River's local curling legend Archie Clavet.Karen: Everybody loved Archie Clavet.
Davis: Nobody loved Archie Clavet. He was a liar, a thief, a racist, and a bigamist.
Karen: But... you said he was great and well respected.
Davis: No, I said he was a great curler. You gotta respect that.
- '80s Hair:
- Brent is embarrassed by high school photographs of himself because he had shoulder-length feathered hair at the time.Brent: I looked like a fat Shaun Cassidy.
- "Lacey Borrows" has a doubleheader in a flashback scene: Brent with his feathered hair on a date with a girl who has puffy permed hair.
- In "Bend It Like Brent", we see an old audition tape that Wanda made for a college broadcasting course, and she's sporting a heavily teased and sprayed hairstyle.
- In "Grad '68", Hank denies ever having had a mullet, but a flashback scene in "Final Countdown" reveals the truth; he did have a mullet at some point during the last 20 years, and it was very spiky.
- Brent is embarrassed by high school photographs of himself because he had shoulder-length feathered hair at the time.
- 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?"
- Accidental Misnaming:
- In the finale, when the characters discover that Brent has been going into the city to perform stand-up comedy:Wanda: This is weird. Nobody's ignoring him. They're all listening to him or... something. Maybe I should have paid more attention to Brett.
Lacey: It's "Brent".
Wanda: You sure?
- Wanda's a repeat offender. In "No Time Like The Presents", she can't remember if her cousin's name is Nora or Myrna.
- Oscar and Emma's bank statements are addressed to "Omar" and "Elna".
- In "Slow Pitch", when Oscar cuts out of the Harvester's Club meeting early.Oscar: Jeez, I gotta go. [taps another old man] Cecil, vote for me, will ya? [leaves]
"Cecil": [to Lacey] Who the hell is Cecil? My name is Brian.
- In the finale, when the characters discover that Brent has been going into the city to perform stand-up comedy:
- The Ace: Both Brent's Cousin Carl and Terry, the door guy.
- Acquired Error at the Printer: Promotional mugs for Corner Gas and The Ruby come back reading 'Corner G and The Rub'. Brent decides this is A Good Name For A Hip Hop Band.
- A-Cup Angst: It's implied in "Tax Man" that Wanda has some degree of this; she sometimes wears a push-up bra to work in case the cute milk delivery guy shows up.
- Adaptation Displacement: In Universe with the book club. "I didn't know there were James Bond books, now I've read two."
- The Alleged Car: Hank's truck.Brent: Hey, is your truck burning oil? Like more than usual?
- 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.
- 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."
- 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)
Lacey: (beat) Yeah, that would be better.
- Amusing Injuries:
- Oscar has suffered so many over the years that Brent is able to compile an entire photo album of them, categorized by type of injury.
- Hank suffers a few of these in "TV Free Dog River", the first when he rides a tricycle down a slide resulting in a crash, and the second when he tries to open a beer bottle with his teeth. In both cases, he was imitating a stunt he had seen on TV.
- This exchange from "One Piano, Four Hands" suggests that Hank has had many of these injuries in the past:Hank: You'd be surprised how many times I've broken a bone doin' somethin' stupid.
Lacey: You'd be surprised at how unsurprised I am.
- In "Crab Apple Cooler", Brent and Hank pass by the home of the Fun-Hating Confiscating Adult from their childhood, and decide to climb over the fence and steal the crab apples off his tree for nostalgia's sake. They fail miserably, with Hank banging his knee on the fence and Brent pulling his groin.Hank: Maybe we're gettin' a little old for jumpin' fences. I mean, you did pull your groin.
Brent: That's got nothin' to do with gettin' old! I pulled my groin when I was 9. When I was 1, I threw my back out reaching for a rattle!
- 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.
- Ask a Stupid Question...:
- 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:
- 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:
- Subverted in "Face Off" when it turns out the question wasn't so stupid after all:Emma: (as Oscar struggles to unlock the car door) Are you pushing the down button?Oscar: No, I'm adjusting the rear view mirror, of course I'm pushing the down — okay, now I'm pushing the down button.
- When Brent walks into Oscar and Emma's living room while they're putting up Christmas decorations:
- As You Know: During a curling match, Hank mentions that only one shot is needed to win. Wanda mentions that she's been watching the whole thing with him and already knows that, at which point Lacey says that it's helpful information for anyone who hasn't seen the entire match. Hank then recaps the entire match, and afterwards Wanda shouts out "Did everyone get that??"
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Brent acts this out in "Block Party," pretending that his hand is a giant monster named Handzilla attacking Hank's Lego model of Dog River.
- Awesome, yet Impractical: Wanda's ability to rearrange any sentence into another one.Brent: I don't know why you're still here. With that ability you could... (Beat) you're right, there is no real-world application to it.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Oscar and Emma. Especially the entire sugar bowl lid dispute where Oscar apologizes with the amethyst jewelry gift.
- 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.
- Authority in Name Only: Mayor "Fitzy" Fitzgerald. Also the cops. As of The Movie, it turns out they just stopped bothering handing out tickets. Earlier, in "All That And A Bag Of Chips," Davis commented that everyone in town had an unpaid parking ticket and that this was "no big deal."
- Baby Talk: Lacey when she finds an abandoned virtual pet at the Ruby.Lacey: If I don't give him what he wants, he gets vewwy vewwy sad.
Wanda: This got vewwy vewwy sad awhile ago.
- Bad "Bad Acting": When Oscar is trying to "act more Canadian" in order to avoid getting deported.Brent: Oh Lacey, could I get a soda over here?
Oscar: A soda? What's that?
Brent: You know, a soda.
Oscar: I think you mean a pop. You must have been in the States, because here in Canada, we call it "pop". [nervous laugh]
[A couple of minutes later]
Brent: Anyway, I'm off to the restroom.
[Oscar doesn't react]
Brent: ...the restroom.
Oscar: Oh, right! Oh! Right! ...Brent, here in Canada we don't call them "restrooms", we call them "washrooms". [nervous laugh] Isn't that right, everybody?
[Everyone in the Ruby just stares at him]
Oscar: Our lawyers wear robes in court.
- Bad Liar: Lacey is an abysmal liar, and this fact is often lampshaded.
- Bait and Switch: Happens quite a bit. One example: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!
- Baseball Episode: "Slow Pitch" (well, softball).
- 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.
- Teasing Wanda about her height is a very bad idea.
- 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.
- Hank will not tolerate CFL jokes.
- Best Out of Infinity: When Hank and Emma play pool.
- 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.
- Birthday Hater: Wanda openly professes her hatred for birthdays and asks that nobody do anything for her birthday, but when people actually listen to her and don't do anything, she ends up feeling like nobody cares about her. At the end of the episode, she throws a surprise party for herself, and the final shot is her saying "You guys know I hate this birthday stuff!" with a big smile on her face.
- Blah Blah Blah:
- Lacey in "I, Witness" when Oscar and Emma try to explain how to play bridge to her.
- In the same episode, Wanda fills in for Karen to give a speech about eyewitness testimony. When we see this from Davis' point of view, not only is she saying "blah blah blah," but these are also the only words written on her PowerPoint presentation.
- In "Super Sensitive," Davis complains that he shouldn't have to attend sensitivity training just for telling some blonde jokes:Fitzy: I know, but once someone registers a formal complaint, then I have to blah blah blah blah blah.Karen: Thanks for your support, Fitzy!Fitzy: You bet.
- Blasť Boast: When Lacey hears about Brent not being allowed to enter an eating contest because it wouldn't be fair, she half-jokingly asks if he's some kind of pro.Brent: (chuckling) No, I'm not a pro. (Beat) The pros know who I am...
- 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" and do the bare minimum required in the job description as a form of protest. When they tell the mayor they're working "by the book", the mayor happily gives them a copy of the rule book, which is an encyclopedia-sized tome. They end up doing more work than ever, so they decide to go back to work normally.
- Brand Name Takeover:
- Discussed by Karen when she insists that people refer to her hackey sack as a "foot bag" because she did not buy one with the Hackey Sack brand name.Karen: Hackey Sack is a brand name, like, uh, Kleenex. People call it Kleenex even if the Kleenex they're using is some other kind of Kleenex.
- Similarly, when Emma makes a batch of Nanaimo bars, but tells people not to call them that because they weren't made in Nanaimo. She settles on calling them "Nanaimo-style Saskatchewan bars".
- Discussed by Karen when she insists that people refer to her hackey sack as a "foot bag" because she did not buy one with the Hackey Sack brand name.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:Lacey: Well Hank, phobias are irrational, they don't have to make sense. Don't you guys have any?
Brent: Fears? Not really, I mean just the standard stuff. Pirates. Vampires. Sasquatch. Intimacy. Commitment.
Wanda: None come to mind... maybe being intimate with a Sasquatch.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Continually skirts this with things like the Boom Mike gag, Cameos, and such.
- 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 Bräu" (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.
- In "Hook, Line and Sinker", Brent and Lacey get a new advertising sign and Brent chooses the slogan, "Come for the oil change, stay for the grease." Wanda mentions that this sentence can be rearranged to say, "My thighs are hot for goat felons." Several scenes later, Brent and Lacey are suffering from writer's block while trying to choose a new slogan, and Brent suggests, "My thighs are hot for goat felons."
- In "World's Biggest Thing", Wes suggests making the World's Second-Biggest Gopher after learning that the World's Biggest Gopher has been taken. Brent says it can't be the second-biggest anything because "It's like the Greatest Show on Earth. Nobody's ever heard of the Second-Greatest Show on Earth", to which Wes immediately responds "Quincy." At the end of the episode, there is a town meeting with very few people attending. Lacey wonders where everyone is, and Hank says "Quincy's on."
- In "Hair Loss," Karen is at an auction with Davis and Wanda. She says she's not going to move a muscle during the auction because any move could be mistaken for a bid. Davis says that only happens on TV. Several scenes later, Wanda is showing off a lamp that she bought for 40 dollars at the auction: "I would have gotten it for 35, but Karen yawned and the auctioneer thought she made a bid."
- In "Tax Man," Wanda finds out the cute milk delivery guy isn't coming to Corner Gas that day and complains that she wore her push-up bra for nothing. Later, when Marvin Drey asks Brent why the gas station claims a higher fuel tax exemption than other stations in comparable towns, Brent replies, "Well, we are the only station within 60 clicks, uh, we're on two major trucking routes, plus one of our employees sometimes wears a push-up bra."
- In the second scene of "The Brent Effect", Davis admits he fired his gun to scare away crows near Lumsden's farm. Near the end, Oscar accuses Emma of putting holes in his boat. Emma says she didn't, and Oscar sarcastically replies, "Oh, right! It's just sitting out there by Lumsden's farm and somebody comes along and shoots it!"
- Broken Glass Penalty: While practising for the upcoming slow pitch game, Davis hits a baseball and a window is heard breaking in the distance. Davis and Karen run away. Later, they are called to Fitzy's Grandma's house to investigate some "vandalism".Davis: You and your husband have any enemies, ma'am? Your marriage is good? Any gambling debts?
Karen: (returns with the baseball in her hand, looking nervous) Uhh... Davis...
Davis: (also becomes nervous) Uh oh...
Fitzy's Grandma: Some darn kids just broke my window! Hooligans! Kids today have no respect for other people's property!
Davis: I'm sure they were good kids, they were probably just afraid.
Karen: Yeah, and, uhh... embarrassed.
Fitzy's Grandma: What about my window?!
Davis: You should pay your gambling debts, ma'am. (tips hat and leaves)
- At the end of the episode, Emma finally manages to hit a ball after failing to during the entire game (and several hours of trying after the game). We then see Fitzy's Grandma sitting in her house next to two windows, one of which is the broken window from earlier. The ball crashes through the other one.Fitzy's Grandma: Damn kids...
- At the end of the episode, Emma finally manages to hit a ball after failing to during the entire game (and several hours of trying after the game). We then see Fitzy's Grandma sitting in her house next to two windows, one of which is the broken window from earlier. The ball crashes through the other one.
- Butt-Monkey: Hank and sometimes Lacey.
- 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.
- 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 Brent and Hank are talking about Whose Line Is It Anyway, and a character named Dave played by Colin Mochrie walks by just as Brent complains about how "that bald guy 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!"
- Canada, Eh?: An episode involved Oscar finding out that he lost his Canadian citizenship because he was in the United States on a fishing trip when he turned 24. Brent and Emma then play a prank on him, telling him that he's legally an American and will get deported if anyone finds out, so they get him to act as stereotypically Canadian as possible. This lasts until Emma feels it's gone too far and tells Oscar that all he has to do is fill out a form and wait a few weeks to get his citizenship back.Brent: You need to start acting more Canadian.
Emma: And don't question authority, that's American. Canadians defer to authority. And always say you're sorry.
Oscar: But I'm never sorry!
Brent: You don't actually have to be sorry, just say you're sorry. It's the Canadian way.
Oscar: You're a jackass!
Emma: And that "jackass" thing? It does come across as a bit American.
Oscar: Jack... arse?
- Cannot Keep a Secret:
New Resident Comes To TownCop Blabs 'He's In Witness Protection'New Resident Goes MissingDavis: He missed big city life and decided to go home.
- One episode revolved around Brent and Lacey competing to see which one of them is a better confidant.Emma: See? You both suck.
- Another episode reveals that Davis can't either. After finding out Brent and Oscar's yearly camping trip is a lie, Davis says he's good at keeping secrets. Several Howler front pages are then shown:
- One episode revolved around Brent and Lacey competing to see which one of them is a better confidant.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Wanda regarding her crush on Joe, the milk delivery guy.Wanda: Hey, Joe. I just, uh, wanted to let you know... (throat clearing, followed by awkward silence) ...I like 2% milk... oh, and 1%, but mostly 2%. That's my preferred percent.
(Cut to a brief Imagine Spot of Wanda and Joe romantically sharing wine glasses full of milk with sappy music playing)
Wanda: I mean, I also like skim milk too. Oh, and homo. note Don't get me started on homo. You a homo man, Joe?
Wanda: Mmmmm, milk.
Joe: ...Okay. See ya, Wanda.
Wanda: 2%! (throws up double V Signs)
Joe: (gives a half-assed V sign back and leaves)
Brent: I think you had him at "homo".
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Hank."Knock, knock."
- 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."
- In "I, Witness," Karen starts to get anxious before giving a speech. Wanda says, "It's fine. You're experiencing what is known as a mild panic attack." Karen snaps, "Thanks, Dr. Obvious."
- Car Meets House: At the beginning of "Good Tubbin", Brent says he heard that "some lunatic" drove through Hank's kitchen. A flashback reveals that the "lunatic" was Hank himself.Hank: I just didn't see it.
Brent: Yeah, those houses can jump out of nowhere.
- Cassandra Truth: Lacey's old college friend Connie comes to visit and acts incredibly rude to everyone. The characters attempt to tell Lacey that her friend is rude and she reacts with offence, typical for the trope. After the "record Connie being rude" scheme fails, the trope ends up being averted when Lacey says she knew all along that Connie is rude and she's always been that way.
- 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.
- 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!
- Also in "The J-Word", Brent adopts "hammerhead" to be his equivalent of Oscar's "jackass". He does it solely to piss off Oscar and get him to stop saying "jackass" so much.
- Eventually, Brent starts reflexively calling other people "hammerhead" without realizing it, much like Oscar with "jackass". When he finds out, he's horrified.Brent: You know what? I've been thinking about this whole "jackass"/"hammerhead" thing, and I want to apologize. I said some things I shouldn't have said... mainly "hammerhead". Anyway, I realize now you can't help yourself.
Oscar: Yes I can. Not using the J-word is as easy as pie.
Brent: No, no, you're addicted! I know! I was starting to get hooked on the H-bomb.
Oscar: It wasn't that hard to stop, once I found a few replacement words... butthead.
Brent: "Butthead"? That's just kind of childish.
Oscar: You heard me, nincompoop.
Brent: What are you, one of The Three Stooges now?
Oscar: Maybe I am, fish-brain.
Brent: Alright, I am officially rescinding the moratorium on "jackass".
Oscar: Don't know what your big words mean, cabbage... breath!
Brent: Okay, now I'm begging you, please go back to "jackass"!
Oscar: I'll think about it... barn-smell!
- Davis has an excited declaration of "All right!".
- Oscar surprisingly goes the entire movie without saying "jackass". Granted he and Karen spend most of the movie antagonizing each other, and "jackass" is an insult you would typically use on a man. Also, one of the higher tier Kickstarter rewards for backing the movie was to receive a personalized video of Oscar calling you a jackass.
- Brent and Wanda often exclaim, "Scorch!" and, "Pow!" to punctuate each other's zingers. Lampshaded in "Block Party" when Lacey says, "Pow!" and Wanda tells her, "Hey. The pow's my thing."
- 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":
- 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 just assumes it means she's bounced checks at the gas station before.
- Chick Magnet:
- Hank, but only when he's talking about fishing. Even the Guys Want Him when he does.
- Well, Davis does, and he once spent half the year's police budget decorating a wedding. He also buys Cosmo every month.
- Davis pretty much avoids fishing with Hank now, faking an important aromatherapy class to get out of it, and he has no sense of smell.
- Also Brent when he had his black shirt. In fact, Brent is this normally. See Kavorka Man.
- Hank, but only when he's talking about fishing. Even the Guys Want Him when he does.
- City Mouse: Lacey.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive:
- Wanda teaches Lacey on when to use "schemey fingers."
- 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.
- Oscar's rants and complaints often border on downright incoherence, to the point that other characters will say things like, "Do you even listen to yourself anymore?" or, "Do you even care about making sense anymore?"
- Cold Open: Typically of the kind that sets up the plot for the rest of the episode while also making a quick joke.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Fitzy's act in the talent show is making balloon animals, meaning he blows up a round balloon and draws the animal's face on it with a marker.
- 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 now 40-year-old scotch on his 40th birthday. When his 40th birthday comes, he is upset to learn that Emma found the scotch only a few years after he bought it and threw it out because "it was over 20 years old".
- 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!
- Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For:
- In the pilot episode, Hank complains about a terrible cup of coffee, to which Brent says, "Oh, well, let me refund your money. What'd you pay for it, zero?"
- 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.
- Brent never charges Hank for gas (or at least doesn't make him pay right away), but in "The Eight Samurai", Hank complains that Brent doesn't do anything special like other gas stations:Hank: You know, there's a gas station in the city that's got this contest to win this awesome barbecue.
Hank: Some places give you a free car wash with every fill-up!
Brent: Good deal.
Hank: This one place hands out glasses with hockey team logos on 'em. Free!
Brent: What a time to be alive.
Hank: How come you don't do stuff like that?
Brent: Tell you what, Hank. Go to my house, fire up the barbecue, make yourself a hot dog. Go into the kitchen cupboards, grab any glass you want, you can keep it. Get the garden hose, wash your truck. All that stuff for free, providing, you pay for this tank of gas, today.
Hank: See? There's always a catch with you!
- Compressed Abstinence: One episode followed Hank, Wanda, and Karen as they competed to see who could keep their New Year's resolution the longest. The winner was Lacey, who manipulated the other three into agreeing to a three-way tie, then revealed she hadn't broken her resolution, as revenge for them saying she was no good at scheming.
- 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: Lacey's own great-great-uncle had been drowning dogs in the river, and somehow the name stuck.
- 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.
- Constantly Curious: This exchange from "World's Biggest Thing":Karen: Do these town meetings usually go on for this long? Hey, have you ever been to one? What are they like? You seem kinda crabby. Are you crabby? Is something wrong?
Davis: Yeah. You're not asking me enough questions.
- 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, "Is it something hard he can throw at my head?"
- In "Hero Sandwich," Hank asks Brent to loan him some cash and Brent says, "Is that like your official greeting now?" A few episodes later in "Air Show", Brent is the one who needs money. He asks Hank if he can borrow 20 bucks and Hank replies, "Is this like your official greeting now?" with a big smile on his face.
- In "Cable Excess" from season 5, Lacey reminisces about watching the fireplace on TV at Christmas time as a kid. In "No Time Like the Presents" from later in 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.
- In the pilot episode, the Howler writes a disparaging article about Lacey and Hank suggests that she get revenge by egging the newspaper office (and also throwing a few watermelons because "they make a big splat"). In "Dog River Dave," Hank and Oscar pelt a radio DJ with eggs because he had been making fun of Brent on the air. In "Cable Excess," Hank confesses to Brent that he egged a cable van and Brent says, "What is it with you and egging things?"
- 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.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Hank debates at length robots versus werewolves.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: When Oscar and Emma's wedding photos can't be found and they claim they were never married, then reveal they are married and had an Elvis-themed wedding, Brent — who had been called a bastard the entire episode and was angsting over the idea he might have born out of wedlock — points this out.You could have just said "we lost the photos". Mind you that would have been less emotionally scarring.
- 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: Oscar 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.
- Davis has the papers already drawn up to have Oscar committed, in case Emma ever needs them. So he's literally Crazy Prepared.
- Hank's pants with pockets everywhere. He challenges everyone to name something he's not carrying, and systematically pulls them out of his pockets no matter how improbable the guesses become.
- Also applies to the things Davis keeps in the trunk of his car.
- A one-off joke has Brent pull out things that three separate people need, right at the gas station counter, without even looking up from his comic book. The last was a specific set of several tools, which he happened to have sitting in one container!
- Credits Gag: There's been at least one.
- 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.
- Critical Research Failure: One of the Howler's more visible faults; ie. claiming that "Moose Jaw gets NBA franchise".
- 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)
Lacey: Aw, sh—
- 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?!
- Also used in The Movie:Emma: Son of a b—
- In "Get the F Off My Lawn", when Lacey realizes that the F and E are missing from her "Cafe" sign:
- Daydream Believer: Davis believes that the events of Battlestar Galactica actually happened, and regularly meets with others who agree.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: While all the characters in the series get a share of this (see also the page quote), Wanda is the most frequent.
- 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!"
- The "Pyro and the Idiot" scene where Emma says, "Oh, Idiot. You're such an idiot."
- In "Full Load", when Lacey pretends she's going to throw out an entire tray of chili dogs in order to trick Brent into eating them, she claims she "accidentally made them, by accident".
- In "Seeing Things", Emma calls Hank a "weaselly little weasel" and a "weaselling little weasel face" in the space of just a few seconds.
- Description Cut: Multiple times—in many cases, without the cut.
- "Tax Man":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.
- "Cousin Carl":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!
Brent: Well, he's a people person.
- Two examples from "Block Party", with the cut this time:
- While discussing the renaming of Main Street to "Centennial Street" in honour of Dog River's 100th anniversary:Emma: The point is, every town has a Main Street. No one really cares if we change it.
[100 years ago]
Mayor: And so today, we dedicate the town's biggest street to Dog River's founder, Harold Main. [unveils Main Street sign] Your name will live in this town forever.
Lacey: Ah, you're right. Who cares?
- Later in the episode, after Hank burns down a shed to maintain the accuracy of his Lego model of Dog River:Hank: It's just a shed. No one's gonna miss it.
[100 years ago]
Harold Main: [putting the finishing touches on a building] The first structure of the new town!
[The camera pans out, showing he's talking about the shed.]
Harold Main: [proudly] Someday a fine community will grow from this shed.
Brent: [smiling] Yeah, you're right. Stupid shed.
Hank: Hate that shed!
- While discussing the renaming of Main Street to "Centennial Street" in honour of Dog River's 100th anniversary:
- "Tax Man":
- 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!
- Disproportionate Retribution: Played for laughs in "Face Off":Davis: I heard we almost lost Brent.
Oscar: What do you mean?
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.
- Distinction Without a Difference:
- 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.
- Davis complains that Lacey tricked him into helping her move:Lacey: I didn't trick you. I arranged my sentence in a way that led you to believe something that wasn't true.
- Lacey explaining her rule about not using white-out on her menus:Lacey: It's not arbitrary. It's just something I made up and I'm sticking to, for no reason.
- 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.
- When Lacey wins a charity auction to have Hank has her Handyman for a Day. She only wanted him to hang pictures, but he notices the tiles in her bathtub need to be grouted, so he destroys the wall. Then he ends up breaking the fridge while getting himself a snack and has to fix that too. Not to mention that he'll only work for about 20 minutes a day before leaving (see Exact Words below). Eventually Lacey gets fed up and fixes everything herself. Except she didn't reconnect the pipes in the bathroom, so Hank destroys the wall again and says he won't be able to hang up the pictures because it's going to take him the rest of her handyman time to fix her mistake.
- 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.
- Don't Try This at Home: After Hanks gets hurt doing a stupid tricycle stunt in "TV Free Dog River", Brent turns to a nearby group of kids and says this. One of the kids replies, "Uh, doy."
- Donut Mess with a Cop:
- In "Road Worthy", Hank criticizes Davis and Karen for acting stereotypical by eating donuts. They try to eat healthier by switching to zucchini muffins, but they can't stand them and gradually make adjustments to try and mask the zucchini flavour like using double the butter and adding chocolate chips and frosting. Eventually they end up being even more sugar-and-calorie-laden than donuts, so they decide to go back to donuts.
- Karen invokes this for Self-Deprecation when Oscar asks what qualifies her to judge a jam contest:Karen: I'm a cop, what do you think my donuts are filled with?
Karen: Oh... right...
- When Brent draws cartoons for Lacey's coffee shop newspaper, Karen and Davis get offended at a cartoon about two cops passing by a maternity ward, saying "Let's skip these, they're the day-olds". They interpret it as a personal attack on them, and confront Brent, who insists it doesn't mean anything and is confused about why they are so mad.Brent: How is a cartoon about day-old babies making fun of the police?
Lacey: What's usually day-old?
Brent: Babies? (Beat) Oh, donuts.
Lacey: And what do stereotypical police eat?
Brent: Donuts, but-
Lacey: You are so out of touch with the pulse of the community.
- During the talent show in "Cousin Carl", Davis does a ventriloquist act that makes fun of Karen, so she gets a male puppet wearing a police uniform and says in a dopey voice, "Hello, I'm Sergeant Davis. I like to eat dooonuts."
- 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 around 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 pierogi-eating competition.Lacey: You entered me?
Brent: Let's take a moment to switch verbs.
- Hank is upset because he and Brent are wearing the same shirt:Hank: Look at us, we're identical!Brent: We're not identical. I have different pants than you.Hank: Yeah, I don't even wanna get into your pants.Brent: You're not gonna with that kind of whining.
- An entire episode is based around Brent and Davis trying to buy smaller cell phones than the other. The following dialogue occurs between Davis and his partner, Karen.
- 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.
- Dreaming of a White Christmas: There's plenty of snow on the ground in Dog River during the "Merry Gasmas" Christmas episode, and when Lacey asks Wanda what a "traditional Dog River Christmas" is like, the first thing Wanda says is, "Well, there's snow...". Later, Lacey's travel plans are spoiled by a massive winter storm. Justified since the Canadian Prairies are well-known for their harsh winters.
- Drink Order: In the pilot episode, the bar waitress asks Brent and Lacey for their drink order. Brent asks for rye and water, and the waitress says, "What a shock. I meant her." In subsequent episodes, Brent is virtually never seen at the bar without a rye and water in his hand.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Hank claims that this trick is unrealistic and wouldn't work in real life, which starts an argument with Brent during which, of course, Hank falls for it.
- Dumbass DJ: In "TV Free Dog River", Karen and Davis start a radio station. Davis wants it to be a jazz station and talks in a smooth voice, but Karen is more interested in being a zoo host on a classic rock station. Eventually, after Davis realizes he's the only one in Dog River even remotely interested in jazz, he becomes an even wackier zoo host than Karen and completely upstages her.
- Dumb Is Good: In The Movie, Wanda's son Tanner is an adult (though still The Ghost). From how Wanda describes him, he's far from the diabolical mastermind he was as a kid. Now he's apparently really nice, except he's also dumb as a rock.
- 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."
- Eccentric Townsfolk
- Egopolis: In the series finale, Wanda is excited by the possibility that Brent will go on tour as a stand-up comedian, because it would mean that she would be in charge of the gas station. She's thinking of renaming it "Wandaland".
- 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.
- Epic Fail:
- 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.
- Likewise, the town's only two police officers are rarely seen off-duty, although they don't do much to begin with.
- The final episode epilogue shows that Wanda eventually gets a degree in physics and uses it to negotiate a small salary raise from Brent.
- Even the Guys Want Him:
- Quoting Davis: "Hank's... different... when he's fishing."
- Also Lloyd the bed salesman.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Fitzy's Grandma was known only as "Fitzy's Grandma" until she entered a jam contest.Karen: The winner is... Helen Jensen? Who's that?
(Fitzy's Grandma steps forward)
Karen: Oh, the winner is Fitzy's Grandma. Helen, apparently.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: When 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. When Brent tries to make it up to them by drawing cartoons explicitly praising them, they just complain that they aren't funny because he isn't insulting anyone.
- Exact Words:
- 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.
- Hank auctioning himself off as "Handyman for a Day" for charity. Yes, it implies that you'll get 8 hours of work out of him, but it doesn't mean he'll work for 8 hours in a row.
- Karen is assigned to guard a new sidewalk and keep anyone from writing in the wet cement. Wanda offers to take her place for a while and make sure "no kid will touch it." After Karen leaves, Wanda writes a note in the wet cement to tell her that no kids touched it.
- In "Poor Brent," Brent eats Oscar's lunch after Oscar leaves the table during an argument. He tells Lacey that he's having a great day because "business is good, I'm getting tips now, I just had my dad's lunch..." Then he orders a chili cheese dog and Lacey says she thought he already had lunch. Brent replies, "No, I said I had my dad's lunch."
- In the pilot episode, Hank is impatiently waiting for the coffee shop to reopen. Brent tells him, "Look, we all want the coffee shop to be open again. God knows I miss Ruby's chili cheese dog, but you don't hear me complaining about it." Wanda says, "You were just complaining about it two minutes ago!" Brent replies, "Yeah, but Hank didn't hear that."
- Failed a Spot Check: By the time of The Movie, Brent and Lacey had been openly dating for two years, but nobody in town had noticed until they kiss at the end of the movie and shock everyone. Brent and Lacey proceed to call everyone out on their ignorance.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Davis makes fun of how Lacey can't pronounce "especially", and gets big laughs from the townsfolk. To try and get him back, Lacey makes fun of how Davis can't wink, and how he can't do the Vulcan Salute despite being a big sci-fi geek, but both times the townsfolk tell her she's just being overly mean. Ends up inverted when she finally ends up getting big laughs by making fun of him for having a Missing Mom.
- 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.
- When Josh decides to quit being the Ruby's bus boy and fulfill his dream of being a llama farmer, Lacey tries to dissuade him by claiming that the llamas will bite his fingers off. Sure enough, at the end of the episode he is working at the Ruby again, with his hand heavily bandaged.
- In "Super Sensitive", Brent gets his thumb caught in the hinge of a ladder and when he removes it, it's bent back into a rather unnatural position.
- Flash Forward:
- 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.
- One episode ends with what appears to be an elderly Brent sitting alone on a bench. A group of kids come up and ask him to tell them the story of what just happened in the episode. Brent looks at them and says "That was weeks ago, kid. Can't you see I got a costume party to go to?", at which point Hank walks by dressed as a vampire.
- "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: When Davis regains his sense of smell that he lost as a child, he becomes a Sense Freak and goes nuts smelling things. However when he discovers that things can also smell bad, he wants to lose it again. He ends up compromising by wearing cologne.Davis: The smell's not as bad when it's coming from you.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Wanda (choleric), Emma (choleric/melancholic), Karen (melancholic), Brent (melancholic/sanguine), Hank (sanguine), Davis (sanguine/choleric), and Oscar and Lacey (leukine/phlegmatic).
- Freeze-Frame Ending: Every episode ends this way, and it is actually lampshaded in "Lacey Borrows".
- Fridge Logic: When Karen theorizes that Dog River was named that way because from the top the river looks like a dog, Lacey immediately asks how the colonists could look from the top in the prairies. At the end of the episode Lacey returns to that theory and even finds the Hand Wave that satisfies everyone. note
- Full-Name Ultimatum:
- In one episode, Brent and Lacey are failing to control a coworker's small child, and finally call in Emma, who promptly puts the kid in line with a Full-Name Ultimatum. The Aesop being? It can scare anyone. Combined with the fact that Emma can scare anyone.
- At the end of the episode, Brent tries to give Lacey a Full-Name Ultimatum after learning that she tricked him into calling Emma in order to win a bet. He fails miserably because he doesn't actually know Lacey's middle name and can't guess it (although we do learn that it's not Esther, Charlene, Gertie, Sunshine, or Fur).
- 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 paths 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.
- The episode where Oscar's subplot has him build his own coffin in the basement to save money.
- Funny Background Event: In "Lacey Borrows," there's a close-up of Hank talking to Lacey while eating lunch at The Ruby. Twice we see Davis's hand reach over from offscreen and steal some of Hank's fries. A few moments later, Hank looks at his plate and asks Lacey why she's "so stingy with the fries."
- Fun with Acronyms:
- The episode "Doc Small".Emma: The Committee to Convince a Young Doctor to Live in Dog River, or...
Karen: The CTCAYDTLIDRnote for short.
Lacey: That's short?
Emma: Don't make fun of our acronyms.
- Wanda enjoys writing her name in wet cement. For the longest time, Davis doesn't realize it's her because he thinks "WANDA" is an acronym for something.Davis: Western Association of Non-Developed Agencies. World Agencies for Non-Developed Associations. Wizards Against Naked Dancing in Alberta. William And Nadine's Dental Appliances. And those are just off the top of my head.
- The episode "Doc Small".
- Future Me Scares Me: Brent has a daydream about meeting himself twenty years from now. He looks like an older version of present-day Brent with a moustache and lives in a large mansion. The two Brents chat about how well Future Brent has done for himself when Oscar shows 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.
(Future Brent nods in agreement)
- 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.
- The Ghost:
- Wanda's son Tanner.
- The Movie adds Karen's husband, who isn't even given a name. It's mentioned that he's in the military and stationed in some tropical country, getting to enjoy the beaches while Karen is stuck in Dog River having to do her police duties... while pregnant.
- 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 a white void with Hank sitting at a desk in front of some boxes. Another Hank comes up to him and asks where he should place a box of Bananarama lyrics. The Hank at the desk tells him to put them next to the knock-knock jokes. A minute later, Hank tries to tell a knock-knock joke, but he says "Bananarama" instead of the proper punchline. Cut to his head again, where the boxes have all fallen and mixed together.
- Emma offers to make Brent a four-cheese lasagna in exchange for doing chores around the house. Brent is very conflicted, and says that his Gluttony is fighting with his Sloth. Cut to a black void with two Brents arguing.Gluttony: Come on! Free food, four kinds of cheese, let's go!
Sloth: Let's just stay here. There's hot dogs right next door.
Gluttony: (shrugs and nods)
(Cut back to the gas station)
Brent: I'm just gonna stay here. There's hot dogs ri- I mean, I have a lot of work to do. I'm gonna go next door now... for work.
- 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.Oscar: I said they might think we were 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.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band:
- After promotional mugs made for Corner Gas and The Ruby come back reading 'Corner G and The Rub', Brent decides this will be the name of his act if he ever decides to become a rapper.
- Then there's the actual name of an In-Universe country musician.Brent: Let's not take any guff from those salesmen.
Brent: Strong language, but I think it's called for. We'll brook no foolishness.
Lacey: Check. No guff-brooking.
Hank: What's wrong with Guff Brooking? He's got some good tunes.
- 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.
- In "The Littlest Yarbo", Hank talks incessantly about how a stray dog is really the Littlest Hobo and Wanda keeps telling him what a stupid idea that is. Then she sees the dog herself and exclaims, "Hey! Littlest Hobo!"
- The Greatest Story Never Told: When a comedian steals Brent's best and funniest story and tells it on TV, therefore ruining Brent's ability to tell it without people thinking he's the one stealing it, Oscar says that he purposely does not tell anyone about funny stories that happen to him, and keeps them all in his head so that only he can enjoy them, and nobody can steal them from him. He then thinks of one and walks off laughing.
- Grumpy Old Man: Good Lord, Oscar.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 brunch 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.
- Brent may have more than one happy place. In "Poor Brent," he's eating lunch with Oscar and Emma. They start arguing and when Oscar tries to get Brent involved in the argument, Brent turns away and says, "I'm on a tropical beach right now."
- Heh Heh, You Said "X":
Emma: Look at what those stray cats do! They run around in the dirt and poop everywhere!
- In "Cat River Daze":
Oscar: Heh heh heh.
Emma: Why are you laughing?
Oscar: You said "poop."
- The entirety of the episode "Doc Small" from season two, in which a Doctor from a town smaller than Dog River hears about others' goings-on out of context, leading her to believe that there is a great deal of relationship drama going on there.
- 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 mention this Fitzy's grandmother, 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?"
- Hiccup Hijinks: In the opening scene of "Rock On!", Brent complains that he's had an Ear Worm all day. Lacey says she knows something good for that and gives him a hard punch on the arm. Brent asks how that's supposed to help and Lacey says, "Oh, no. No, wait. That's a cure for the hiccups. Sorry." A few moments later, Hank starts laughing and then hiccups. Brent says he knows a cure for hiccups. He raises his fist and Hank backs away, then the opening credits start.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Brent's.Oscar: The whole key to kids is keeping them off balance. Mentally. They screw with you, you screw with them. They pull a prank, you pull two pranks. Kid gets lip to ya... smash one of his toys. Gotta keep 'em on their heels, you know, mentally! On their heels!
Brent: Yes, I am familiar with your work.
(Cuts to Brent as a child running up to Oscar)
Brent: (holding a cap gun) Look Dad! I got a new gun!
Oscar: (starts chainsaw) Oh yeah? Look what I've got! Want a piece of this?
(Brent runs off screaming, cuts back to present)
Brent: Could've sworn I repressed that.
- 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.
- Hong Kong Dub: "American Resolution" opens during New Year's Eve, where everyone makes their New Year's resolutions. After the opening credits, the show is back to its usual It's Always Spring setting. Throughout the episode, whenever somebody mentions how long it's been since New Year's, they just make random mouth movements while a deadpan male voiceover says "SIX MONTHS". The joke seemingly being that they recorded multiple voiceovers to be swapped into the episode depending on how long it's been since New Year's in real life (which they didn't, it's always six months).
- How We Got Here: The Movie opens with Hank picking up a woman from a national newspaper who is judging the Quaintest Town in Canada contest. He drives her through a badly wrecked Dog River. Everyone is fighting and yelling at each other, the police car is on fire, and Brent is badly injured. The rest of the movie shows the events leading up to how the town got like that. All of it happened seconds before Hank and the newspaper woman arrived, in one big chain of Disaster Dominoes. His truck was visible from town before it all started.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: Wanda uses several euphemisms in a row for jail, confusing and annoying Brent.
- Hypocritical Humor:
Hank: You know what I hate?Brent: When people just out of the blue say, "You know what I hate?"Hank: No, but that is annoying.
- 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.
- In "Security Cam", Wanda comments to Karen that Brent never does any work at the gas station "unless drinking coffee and playing games with your belly is considered work." Wanda, of course, spends the majority of her workdays hanging out at The Ruby, reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing Solitaire.
- 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...
- 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 a robot... or if a werewolf fought Wanda.
- Referenced in the opening scene of The Movie. Wanda is revealed to be a robot and fights a robber trying to hold up the gas station who turns into a werewolf. Then Hank wakes up.
- 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.
- If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Or rather, "if it's bad for you, then it must taste good". When Brent tries the chicken Kiev at the Ruby, he is unsure how he feels about it until he learns that it's unhealthy, at which point he decides that he likes it.
- 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.
- I'll Take Two Beers Too: A slight variation.Brent: Two chili-cheese dogs.
Tourist: Oh, nothing for me thanks.
Brent: OK. Two chili-cheese dogs.
- Imagine Spot: Brent does this rather often. Some other characters get in on it too. Hank, for example, who once had an Imagine Spot that was an entire episode long.
- Inadvertent Entrance Cue:
- From "Dog River Vice":Brent: I am totally brain dead today.
Oscar: (entering) Hey, there.
Brent: Well, at least I'm not alone.
- In "Bingo Night", Karen is hanging out at The Ruby after being temporarily suspended from the police force:Karen: So this is what it's like to be useless... idling the hours away, with no particular purpose in life.
(Hank comes in)
Lacey: Hank! Were your ears burning?
Hank: No... I got a thing on my foot that's itchy.
- From "Dog River Vice":
- Incredibly Lame Fun:
- Many of Hank's leisure activities fall into this category; for example, seeing how long he can spin a coin on the table and repeatedly driving over the cable of a traffic counter because he likes the beeping noise it makes. When Brent puts up a security decal that shows people's heights, Hank hangs around the gas station all morning, calling out the customers' heights as they enter or leave; he claims it's relaxing.
- According to "I Love Lacey," Davis doesn't like to fly, but for some reason he finds it really fun to collect frequent flyer points on his credit card.
- 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 can of gas from Corner Gas, and a truck battery, 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. Later, he suggests an assortment of "toys from Dog River" including a hunk of plasticine, some pipe cleaners, and a toy clock.
- 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.
- In "Comedy Night," Oscar doesn't want to be around for Emma's book club meeting, so he says he's going out for a smoke. Emma sees through this right away because she knows he doesn't smoke, and Oscar admits he was just making an excuse to leave the house. Emma says, "Never feel you need an excuse to leave the house."
- 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". Oscar tries to hit Davis with a ball anyway, but ends up accidentally hitting Brent instead, causing him to lose his hearing in one ear.
- 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.
- From "The Eight Samurai":Wanda: I told you I was leaving [work] early.Brent: No you didn't.Wanda: I implied it by leaving early lots of other times.Hank: (to Brent) You should have seen this coming.
- In "No Time Like The Presents," Hank decides to move 12 hours ahead into his own time zone and has the following dispute with Karen:Karen: What's to argue? It's two-hour parking and you were there all morning. Just pay the ticket.Hank: This was issued at 11 a.m., and because I'm 12 hours ahead, that's actually 11 p.m. my time, and parking is free after six. So technically, my truck isn't even parked there yet. This is harassment!
- Insistent Terminology: Karen stubbornly refers to her hackey sack as a footbag, because she did not in fact purchase a Hackey-Sack brand footbag.
- 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."
- Marvin Drey finds being called "the tax man" dehumanizing and offensive. He asks Brent how he would like it if people called him "the gas man", to which Brent responds that he'd love it, and that he already had it picked to be his stage name if he ever decided to become a pro wrestler.
- When Hank is practicing insults to use on hecklers, he says "nice shirt" to Davis, but comes off as sounding sincere.
- Insult Comic: Hank at comedy night. Lacy gives him a list of insults to use on hecklers, but he uses them instead of an actual act. The crowd calls him "Mean Hank" and demands he come back after another comedian bombs.
- Intimate Marks: Wanda tells Brent that she's thinking about getting a tattoo. Brent asks where she's going to put it and Wanda says, "It's going somewhere on a private area of my person, so that you, and everybody else, will never see it. Until the company Christmas party." In the same episode, we find out that Oscar has a tattoo. He refuses to provide any details about it except to say that when he's on all fours, he can make it dance.
- I Resemble That Remark!:
- After Oscar tells Emma that Brent is "turning the gas station into a movie theater":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!"
- Lacey tells Brent that she wants to take the Ruby Club sandwich off the menu, but she doesn't want to have to White-Out the menus.Brent: Well, I don't know then. You're stuck between a rock and some arbitrary rule about White-Out.
Lacey: It is not arbitrary. It's just something I came up with and I'm sticking to, for no reason.
- Carl asks Brent if they can have one nice family dinner without Brent acting "weird and defensive":Brent: I'm not weird and defensive.Carl: Right. See you at 5:00.Brent: What's that supposed to mean!?
- After Oscar tells Emma that Brent is "turning the gas station into a movie theater":
- 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." To get revenge, Hank gets Wanda's car impounded and buys it, then 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."
- Hank wins a few hundred dollars in the lottery and complains that everyone wants a piece of him:Wanda: Hank, nobody wants your money.
(Oscar walks in)
Oscar: Hank, I want your money! Give it back now!
- I Take Offense to That Last One: In "Friend of a Friend", Lacey's friend Connie calls Oscar a "crazy homeless". Oscar's response?"I'm not homeless!"
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY":
- Marvin Drey thinks it is. He keeps pronouncing "Leroy" as "LeRoy", even after Brent corrects him.
- Wanda and Davis team up for a trivia contest, and Wanda suggests their team name be the first part of each of their names, resulting in "Wanda". As people cheer her on, Davis protests "it's Wan-Day!"
- 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 Tastes Like Feet:
- Brent says Oscar's cooking tastes like bug repellent. Considering that in one episode, Wanda questioned his placement of bug repellent and cooking spray on the same shelf...
- 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.
- I Want Grandkids: Emma comes down with a sudden case of this trope in The Movie after hearing some of the other old ladies talk about their grandkids. She spends a good portion of it trying to get Brent and Lacey together to facilitate her desires. Turns out Brent and Lacey have been together for two years, but nobody in the town noticed. Emma is overjoyed... until they say that they don't want kids (Brent doesn't want to share his comic books).
- I Was Never Here: In "Cable Excess", Hank is trying to avoid the cops in case they find out that he egged a cable van:Hank: (to Brent) You never saw me.(Hank runs away as Karen and Davis approach)Karen: Hey, Brent, have you seen Hank?Brent: I was told I haven't.
- 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.
- The Key Is Behind the Lock:
- Hank had a combination lock that stored the lock's combination.
- 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
- Large Ham: Oscar, jackass!
- Lampshade Hanging:
- 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 medalist 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.
Brent: Nah, seems more like every week.
- Laugh Track: Used for the imaginary Show Within a Show Pyro and the Idiot in "Self-Serving".
- Lazy Bum:
- Oscar as well. Emma can't get him to do any household chores without issuing stern orders or using outright threats. And even this technique isn't always effective.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A great example is this exchange when Hank gets an electronic organizer:Hank: I got my whole day mapped out! 1pm, hang out at Corner Gas. 2pm, eat chips. 4pm, hang out at Corner Gas.
Wanda: Can you rebook to 5, that's when I get off.
Hank: I don't think it's a good idea to keep bouncing Corner Gas around the schedule.
- The very first lines of The Movie are Hank asking "How long has it been?" and Brent responding with the exact date that the final episode of the show was first aired. A few seconds later, Brent admits that he doesn't actually know what Hank is talking about and that he just made up a date at random.
- Left the Background Music On:
- The final scene of "Gopher It" is accompanied by "Bad Timing" by Blue Rodeo. When the episode is revealed to be a long Imagine Spot by Hank, Wanda asks him why he spent so long staring out into space and then suddenly started humming a Blue Rodeo song.
- 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, "Hey, mine does the same thing!"
- 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.
- Lethal Chef:
- Oscar. According to Brent, his homemade beer tasted liked he "beat a skunk to death with a salmon." 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.
- Oscar. According to Brent, his homemade beer tasted liked he "beat a skunk to death with a salmon." 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.
- Like Father, Like Son: One gag involves Wanda telling Brent that he's becoming more like Oscar every day. Brent then calls her a jackass, followed by an Oh, Crap! face as he realizes what he just said.
- One episode shows that Oscar is quite adamantly against the idea of divorcing Emma because he doesn't want her to get half of his magazine collection. In The Movie, the now-a-couple Brent and Lacey say that they aren't planning to have kids because Brent doesn't want to share his comic books.
- Literal Metaphor:
Davis: Actually rolling in the aisles, like, on the floor? Laughing?Brent: You really had to not be there.
- In "Comedy Night," Hank says he was "literally rolling in the aisles" during Bob Lang's comedy act. Davis assumes he misspoke and meant to say "figuratively," but Brent says, "I wish he was figuratively rolling in the aisles."
Hank: Hey Wanda, you alone?Wanda: Well, I'm currently not seeing anyone. But alone and lonely are two very different things.Hank: No, I mean Brent's not here?Wanda: Oh. No.
- In "Friend Of A Friend," Brent asks Wanda if his hands are dirty and she says, "Well, we're none of us innocent." Brent was literally asking if his hands were dirty because Lacey's rude friend had just insulted his hygiene.
- From "Key To The Future":
- In "Pilates Twist," Wanda asks Brent what he has in a bag and Brent says, "Coffin nails." Wanda thinks he means cigarettes, but Brent means actual coffin nails (he bought them for Oscar, who was trying to build a coffin in the basement).
- In "Lost And Found," Brent tells Wanda that Hank has some fencing to do, "Not the skinny sword kind of fencing." Wanda takes this to mean that Hank is going to buy some stolen goods. Brent actually meant that Hank needed to repair a fence on his cousin's farm.
Karen: I'd hate to see what you'd keep in a handbag.
- 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.
Brent: Nothing has changed, the only thing that's changed is your attitude!Hank: Oh yeah? Tell that to this penny I found.Brent: All right. (to the penny) Nothing has changed, the only thing that's changed is Hank's attitude! (to Hank) See, he gets it.
- Played for Laughs by Brent in "Super Sensitive" after Hank brags about his streak of bad luck being over:
- Local Hangout: The Ruby. Also, the characters frequently socialize at the bar of the Dog River Hotel.
- Location Theme Naming: The last names of all the recurring characters are towns in Saskatchewan.
- 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?"
- Malaproper: Oscar does it several times in The Movie. One example is when he refers to "The Four Norsemen of the Apocalypse".
- 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.
- 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.
- Meddlesome Patrolman: Karen and Davis occasionally do this.
- Meddling Parents: In the final episode it's said that Oscar and Emma burned Brent's acceptance letter from college so that he would be around to run the gas station after Oscar retired. In the same episode, Emma is disapproving of Brent trying his hand at being a stand-up comedian, thinking that at his age he should instead be "stuck in a rut with a wife and kids, living the Hell we all lived". Oscar, on the other hand, is strangely supportive.
- Mean Boss:
- Lacey in "Queasy Rider" to Karen and Davis when she has them help her move.
- Brent also qualifies, albeit to a much lower degree, since his greatest sin against the work ethic is laziness.
- 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. Of course, this is Oscar we're talking about. His level of incompetence is pretty consistent across the board.
- Metaphorgotten: Happens several times.
Davis: A billy club is a cop's best friend.
- One example:
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?
- Another one:Hank: Check and mate! The hunter has become the hunted! The fox has become the... fox... who is... catching himself...
- From the finale:Lacey: (about Brent sneaking off on Wednesday evenings) Are you sure it's every Wednesday?
Wanda: Yeah! He peels off in his car like Starsky & Hutch! Well, like Starsky. That was the one who drove. Hutch was more the thinker of the two, although ó
Lacey: Stay focused!
- 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.
- The Millstone: Hank, thanks to him being that show's ditz.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Invoked in a flashback of Oscar and Brent watching a nature show in which a lion attacks a dingo. Lacey points out that lions and dingoes don't live on the same continent, to which Oscar responds that she's ruining his enjoyment of it.
- Missing Mom: Davis's mom left when he was very young, wanting to become a rock star. For the longest time, he thought that the cleaning lady was his mom.
- 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. He doesn't notice.
- In one episode, Lacey, having just been told that Brent is some kind of unattainable hunk who she could never hope to have a chance with, is feeling sensitive about her own appearance and asks Karen if she's attractive. Karen thinks that she is being mistaken for gay and even brings up the Lesbian Cop stereotype while explaining that she's straight, so it must happen to her a lot.
- Mistaken for Racist: After Davis loses the Grey Cup tickets:Davis: Well, I'll have to go to a scalper.
Karen: Isn't it weird for you to go to a scalper?
Davis: Why? Because I'm a Cree man? I resent that!
Karen: Because you're a police officer and scalping tickets is illegal.
Davis: Oh yeah.
(This is actually one of the only moments in the entire series in which the fact that Davis is a First Nations individual is acknowledged.)
- Mondegreen: Brent repeatedly mishears the name of Marvin Drey, a taxman, as "muffin tray".
- Brent Butt mentioned on one of the Season 1 DVD commentaries that he tries to use these often as he always finds them funny. Other examples include "coffin plans" as "coffee plants", "child psychology" as "chives on top of me", "liquid dish soap" as "licky disco" and "MP3 player" as "empty tree player".
- Karen and Davis have a cell phone conversation while she's buying him a muffin:Davis: Make sure it's gluten-free.Karen: I don't have time to cut keys!Davis: What?Karen: Wait, hold on. You're breaking up. I'm going outside.Davis: Gay pride?
- From "Game, Set, and Mouse":Davis: (about Oscar's stash of mousetraps) I'm confiscating these!Oscar: You've gone skating with thieves?
- Money Song: "Capital Cash" by Fast Exit* , with a dash of Rockstar Song and even some Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster.
- 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, with or without caf. I need the caf!
Lacey: (gives him a glass of milk) You need therapy.
Brent: (stares at the glass of milk) That's not caf. It's for a calf.
- When Wanda joins Brent and Hank at the bar (where Brent 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)
- In "Jail House," Wanda is late for work and doesn't have time for her morning coffee. She arrives at Corner Gas acting even grumpier than usual.
- Brent tries to give up coffee in "Dog River Vice". It doesn't go well:
- My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: In "Face Off," Wanda does commentary for the River Dogs/Saints hockey game:Wanda: Early into the second period, and it's all Saints so far. Dogs are playing like my grandma. Only less physical.
- NaÔve 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.
- Naked People Are Funny:
- 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 Emma couldn't get the photographer and the guy sitting next to her was just a customer of the diner.
- Name's the Same: "No, MIKE Myers is Austin Powers. MICHAEL Myers is the killer from Halloween."
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: When Wanda is checking the yellow pages for a dentist.Wanda: Dr. Hertz... Dr. Payne... Dr. Yankem...
Brent: Oh, you're making those names up.
(Wanda shows him the phone book)
Brent: Wow. Dr. Payne. I think he fought Spider-Man.
- Name One:
- In "Lacey Borrows":Oscar Leroy: Horror movies are stupid. Name one good horror movie you've seen.
Brent Leroy: I can't.
Oscar: See? They're all stupid.
Brent: No. I just haven't seen one.
- Also:Oscar: Give me one good reason why I can't build my own coffin.
(Montage of shoddy woodworking projects Oscar has done)
Oscar: I said one reason!
- In "Lacey Borrows":
- 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 ask for service at any business without getting a snarky "How about next Tuesday, sometime between 8 and 4?" as a reply. 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 Learned to Read: One plot involves Lacey thinking Oscar is illiterate after walking in late on his Opinion Myopia about a ketchup bottle.
- Never Mess with Granny: Emma can toss a cinder block one-handed from the curb in front of the house near 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.Emma: It's my fault for not saying, "Don't pour a gallon of gas on the leaves, and your pants, and then throw matches at them!"
- Speaking of Oscar and fire, when Brent needs someone to watch the gas station, Oscar offers his services since he ran the place for 37 years. Brent remarks that in that time there were 7 fires, of which Oscar claims most were not his fault. Later, when Oscar is watching the station by himself, he accidentally sets a small fire while fooling around with a lighter, and still claims that it's not his fault.
- Never Win the Lottery: A variant where Hank actually wins, but only $480. Of course, since Hank is perpetually unemployed and broke, to him that's like winning the million-dollar jackpot, so he makes an ass out of himself anyway.
- New Job Episode: The characters' one-episodes jobs are lampshaded by Oscar in the series finale:Emma: I just want [Brent] to settle down.
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.
- Nine out of Ten Doctors Agree: Parodied when Wanda admitted that she hadn't seen a dentist since 1992.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 Budget: In-Universe, Fitzy frequently struggles with the town's finances. Even though he is the mayor, he can't even afford a real desk for his office, and uses a door laid on top of two filing cabinets. He also bankrupts the town by investing all of its money into real estate in Detroit, kicking off the plot of The Movie.
- 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 Hugging, No Kissing: While the show isn't completely devoid of romance, the level is incredibly low for a show about six single, middle-aged characters (and Oscar and Emma), and the few episodes do deal with romance bring up pairings just to dismiss them. 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.
- Noisy Nature:
- When Brent, Oscar and Davis go on a camping trip, Davis enjoys hearing birds sing in the morning, but Oscar stumbles out of his tent and snaps, "Stupid birds woke me up!"
- The swarms of mosquitoes in "Mosquito Time".
- No Longer with Us:
- 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.
- In "Friend Of A Friend," Wanda refuses to give Oscar a discount on milk at Corner Gas and he threatens to leave and buy milk at the co-op instead. Wanda replies, "You were barred from the co-op two years ago, so unless you have a bucket and a stool, you're paying for the milk. (beat) Oh, you'd also need a cow." There's no mention of what exactly Oscar did to get barred from the co-op.
- In "Dog River Dave," Wanda says that Lacey once found a raccoon in her sock drawer, but there's no explanation of how the raccoon got in there or how Lacey reacted.
- One episode had Brent asking if the Howler had said that Canada "was at war with Switzerland again".
- No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Hank's opinion of the whole "world's biggest hoe" thing, him being one of the few people who understood the Accidental Innuendo.
- 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
- In "Cable Excess", there's a gag where The View is planning to sue Wanda, Lacey, and Emma involving an American executive (singled out as such by an American flag on his desk and not knowing how to pronounce Saskatchewan), but the actor speaks with a very obvious Canadian accent.
- Not So Different: In "Knit Wit Of The Month", Emma complains to Hank that Oscar always "yaps on and on" while she's knitting. Then it turns out that the other knitting club members dislike Emma because she always yaps on and on about Oscar while they're knitting.
- Not What It Looks Like: Davis's trunk contains a shovel, rubber gloves, and lye. Karen tells him how suspicious it looks, then we're treated to a series of flashbacks showing that he was asked for each of the items by a different person, on three completely separate occasions, and felt useless when he couldn't produce the items on the spot.Davis: They were losing faith in me... and when that happens, they lose faith in the rule of law... and then the door opens to our old foes: chaos and anarchy. Plus I like people to like me.
- 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.
- 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.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Oscar and Emma are tired of Brent's freeloading, so they make Brent cook dinner for them. However Brent has never cooked before and doesn't know the first thing about it, so he pretends to be even more hopeless than he already is so that Emma will get frustrated at his incompetence and cook the meal for him. Then he takes all the credit and gets a reputation as a great cook.
- Offscreen Crash:
- In "Poor Brent," Oscar decides to rearrange the living room furniture. A few scenes later, he has an argument with Emma and storms out of the kitchen. Then we hear a thump, a cry of pain, and the words, "Who put the couch here!?"
- "Bend It Like Brent" features a videotape of Wanda auditioning for a college broadcasting course. At one point on the tape, she starts tossing a football around while pretending to be a sportscaster. The ball slips out of her hands and flies offscreen, then there's a sound of breaking glass.
- Old Cop, Young Cop: When Hank and Oscar are hired to do the town census, they start acting like this. Of course, since Hank has done the census before, he plays the Old Cop to Oscar's Young Cop.
- 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 treating her differently: 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.
- Only Known by Their Nickname:
- "Fitzy" is most likely a nickname that comes from shortening his last name, Fitzgerald, although one episode shows that his office door bears the name "Fitzy Fitzgerald".
- And Hank's full name is Richard Henry Yarbo.
- Only Sane Man:
- Brent or Lacey, although the title passes to Emma, Wanda or Karen occasionally.
- Oscar, of all people, becomes this is "You've Been Great, Goodnight", albeit temporarily.
- Opinion Myopia: Oscar, when he sees a ketchup bottle labelled "catsup".Davis: You can spell it that way. It's an option.
Oscar: It's a wrong option.
- Orphaned Punchline: Mild subversion in "Safety First": One scene begins with the punchline, and then the next scene includes a flashback that explains the joke.
- Our Slogan Is Terrible:
- At the Dog River annual talent show: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!"
- At the Dog River annual talent show:
- 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.
- Also: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!
- In "Wedding Card", Emma starts to say that she and Oscar couldn't keep their hands off each other when they were younger. Brent interrupts with, "Okay, I'm instantly repressing that."
- Parenting the Husband: Emma with Oscar. Not only does she give him an allowance, but we also get this conversation:Emma: It's a gift from our twinning town in Japan.
Oscar: (mocking laugh) And you lost it.
Emma: I didn't lose it, you stole it!
Oscar: Yeah, but I'm not responsible for me! Oh, you screwed up big time.
- 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 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 try.Wanda: What? What is it?
Brent: Your pet's name.
Hank: Wiggles? We tried that.
Brent: No, literally the words "your pet's name".
Wanda: [stunned] I have to admit. I was not prepared for this level of stupidity. How did you crack it?
Brent: I just had to think like a Hank who was trying to outsmart a Wanda. [Beat] Plus, I was standing beside Hank when he typed it in.
- 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 a Card: Brent attempts this trick in "World's Biggest Thing."Brent: (to Lacey) Is this your card?Lacey: No.Brent: (to Wanda) Is it your card?Wanda: Nope.Brent: I suck at this.
- 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."
- 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.
- Police Are Useless: Davis and Karen tend to be a bit lax with their police work.Oscar: Is it illegal for kids to smoke?
Davis: What am I, a lawyer?
- Police Code for Everything:
- A subversion when Davis finds what he thinks is an alien Crop Circle: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?"
- A subversion when Davis finds what he thinks is an alien Crop Circle:
- 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.
- Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. Apparently she really hates barns. But what red-blooded Canadian wouldn't want to tear down a barn?
- 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 to just use the dynamite and blow up the barn. Oscar yells back to Hank "Cecil says not to bother with the tractor. He says we should just blow it up!" Due to Oscar's poor word choice, Hank rigs his dynamite to the tractor instead of the barn, disappointing the large crowd that had gathered to watch the barn explode.Brent: All right, listen up everyone! Due to unforeseen... Hank... we're not going to be blowing up a barn.
- From the beginning of the same episode, when Cecil is asking Hank to tear down the 60-year-old barn, he only refers to the barn as "she" and "her". Hank thinks Cecil wants him to kill the cow standing in front of the barn, which makes him promise that he'll be done by tomorrow.Cecil: Tomorrow? Demolish a barn in a day?
Hank: Barn? ...Oh yeah, right! The barn! Sure, yeah, I can, uh, do that in a day.
Cecil: You didn't think I was talking about the, uh...
Hank: The cow? Nah, 'course not! Doesn't even look 60! Early 40s, maybe. (Beat) ...You want me to get rid of the cow?
- 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 to just use the dynamite and blow up the barn. Oscar yells back to Hank "Cecil says not to bother with the tractor. He says we should just blow it up!" Due to Oscar's poor word choice, Hank rigs his dynamite to the tractor instead of the barn, disappointing the large crowd that had gathered to watch the barn explode.
- 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."
- Emma explains that Oscar is a "Trekkie" (i.e., he's a fan of Neil Diamond).
- Prim and Proper Bun: It's not uncommon to see this style on elderly Dog River women like Fitzy's Grandma and Myrtle. Karen also wears a conservative updo when she's in uniform, although she prefers to wear her hair down when she's off duty.
- 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". Karen gets one of her own and names it "The Chewby".
- Lacey's Coffee News-style paper, "Ruby Newsday".
- Purity Personified: The movie finally lets us see Wullerton, and everyone there is basically a saint. Most likely the reason people from Dog River hate them so much is because they are so friendly and selfless that it manages to be extremely creepy.
- Purple Prose: The taste of Lacey's Ruby Club is described as "zesty, without being too preachy".
- Putting on the Reich:
- Wanda's reaction to Brent's new black shirt is to do her job much more efficiently than usual. Completely unintentional on Brent's part.
- Oscar's reaction to Brent suggesting that Corner Gas employees wear uniforms is that people would think they were Nazis.Oscar: I said people might think we were Nazis!
- Quirky Household: Oscar, Emma, and Brent
- Quirky Town: Dog River.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: In "Tree's A Crowd", Emma and Oscar's single friend Peggy keeps flirting with Oscar in a very obvious manner, and when Emma brings this up, Oscar denies that it's happening. Emma manages to keep her anger about this in check. Then she sees that Oscar has put the spoons away wrong and starts yelling at him to, "STOP MOVING SPOONS!" Oscar is insightful enough to realize that something other than spoons is bugging her, but he just asks, "Is this about the salad forks?"
- "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."
- Relationship Reveal: At the end of The Movie, Brent and Lacey kiss, and everyone reacts with shock (including the viewer, possibly). Brent and Lacey are just as surprised as everyone else. They've been dating for two years and can't believe that nobody noticed.
- 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 thief stole a truckload of barley. Plus he stole the truck.
- Rule of Three: "Merry Gasmas" has three consecutive scenes of people having holiday shopping problems and each saying the same line to a clerk:Wanda: You don't understand. I need that toy.Store Clerk 1: I understand. But I'm sorry.Wanda: This is a unique situation!(cut)Random Guy: You don't understand. I need that toy.Store Clerk 2: I understand, but I'm sorry.Random Guy: This is a unique situation.(cut)Davis: (about a watch he bought for Karen) Can I at least exchange this for a man's watch?Store Clerk 3: You had it engraved. I'm sorry.Davis: But, this is a unique situation.
- Running Gag:
- Characters spitting at the mention of a rival town (see Small Town Rivalry below).
- 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.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Various characters will have moments of this if a joke calls for it.
- Karen is apparently unaware of the existing classic rock radio stations in Saskatchewan:Davis: I got out the old ham radio and I was thinking, we could do a radio show to help people through No TV Week!
Karen: Aww, that is so cool! This is gonna be great! A classic rock station, right here in Dog River!
Davis: (sarcastic) Yeah, 'cause that's what Saskatchewan needs, is another classic rock station. Maybe we could call it "The Bear" or "The Goat" or "The Moose".
Karen: That's good. I like all of those names.
- One instance had Brent faking it just to turn the sarcasm back at Lacey.Brent: I'll have a chili cheese dog.
Lacey: (sarcastic) Ooh, big surprise.
Brent: Shouldn't be, I have one every day.
Lacey: I was being sarcastic.
Brent: (sarcastic) You were?!
- Karen is apparently unaware of the existing classic rock radio stations in Saskatchewan:
- 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:Davis: Thanks, Wanda.
Wanda: That was a sarcastic clap. The space between the claps means sarcasm.
- Saving the Orphanage: The plot of The Movie, applied to the whole town of Dog River.
- 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 in high school, then at their high school reunion, then in the present moment. However they get scared off by either Emma or Karen (it's unclear which).
- 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 , but Oscar completely ignores this.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Almost any conversation initiated by Hank. Brent and Davis frequently join him on those with opposing arguments, such as who would win if Star Wars fought Star Trek.
- 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.
- When discussing Canadian television shows, Hank suggests Street Legal was good. Oscar yells "Street Legal sucked!" Eric Peterson (Oscar) was on Street Legal.
- Michael Bublé makes a cameo appearance that consists entirely of Davis insulting his music.
- There is a scene of Wanda telling Brent that he's a really bad actor. There's also one with Wanda insulting the entire acting profession and saying it's not a real job.
- In-universe, various characters often joke about how small and/or boring Dog River is.Wanda: (referring to her visiting cousin Nora) I'm gonna show her the rest of Dog River. Should be the most exciting three minutes of her life!
Emma: Listen, I moved up dinner tonight. Can you come at 5:00?Brent: I work till five.Emma: Oh, I didn't take into account the rush hour traffic, see you at 5:01.
- In "Doc Small," Dr. Garner says that Dog River overwhelms her because she's accustomed to a slower pace. Emma says, "There's a slower pace?"
- 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 wasn'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.
- Series Fauxnale: "Gopher It".
- Serious Business: Many examples, including:
- The Clavet Cup.
- 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!!!
- This one isn't just limited to Dog River, as somebody from another town mentions that they also don't like the red wiper fluid, but put up with it because it's cheaper. Meanwhile, the cheaper price of the red fluid is actually the main reason people from Dog River hate it, because they think that because it's so cheap, it probably doesn't even work.
- 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.
- According to Brent, after someone started a macramé class in Dog River, several people picketed the class because "they said it was a waste of string."
- Whenever Lacey makes a change at The Ruby, even something minor like buying new water pitchers or switching from Equal to Sugar Twin, the townspeople freak out and act like it's a major upheaval in their lives. Davis was the first one to freak out about the Sugar Twin, and he uses regular sugar!Emma: When did you start using yellow waitress pads?
Lacey: I'm not sure.
Emma: Not sure? Do I look stupid to you?!
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Wanda is prone to this.
- She reinforces it when Lacey calls attention to it:Lacey: Maybe people get put off by your Big Words...
Wanda: You mean intimidated by my vocabulary?
- See also her chant when she goes on strike in "Get the F Off My Lawn":Wanda: Restitution! Remuneration! I demand indemnification!
Brent: Wow, you do a lot of crosswords, huh?
- When resolving a dispute between Hank and Lacey over Hank not staining The Ruby's deck:Wanda: You mean to say that you didnít stipulate finite terms, establish clear, unambiguous points of chronology, duties, and ultimately remuneration?
Hank: Nope, none of those words.
- She reinforces it when Lacey calls attention to it:
- Sexophone: Each time Hank's fish talk starts to affect Karen.
- "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.
- Also: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.
- In "The J-Word", after Karen locks Davis in a car trunk so he can reenact a movie scene:
- She Is Not My Girlfriend:
- Karen—"I did not sleep with Hank!"... 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.
- "Mosquito Time" has another comedic example of this. Oscar helps out at the gas station for awhile and spends most of his time getting on Wanda's nerves. At the end of the episode, she's apparently started having flashbacks about this:Wanda: Oscar, just stop it and go outside!Brent: (in a soothing voice) It's okay. He's not here anymore.
- 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. And made canon in The Movie.
- 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.
- In "Mail Fraud", Oscar and Emma have an e-mail argument about who's going to make lunch. They're in the same room and taking turns writing e-mails on the same computer.
- In "Hero Sandwich," Karen and Davis are staked out looking for jaywalkers and talking to each other over their police radios, even though she's literally right around the corner from him. Then she walks over and speaks to him face-to-face and he practically jumps out of his skin.
- Shout-Out: The climactic series in "The Good Old Table Hockey Game" between Brent and Karen is essentially a fictionalised re-creation of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR, with Brent as Team Canada and Karen as Team USSR. This includes the table hockey game being a 1972 edition, the first four games being played at Oscar and Emma's house while the second four are played in the police station, Game 3 ending in a tie (to everyone's collective amazement), Brent losing Game 4 and being booed by the "home audience" and giving a speech which liberally quotes Phil Esposito's reaction to the booing at Game 4 in the Summit Series, and Brent having to win the last three games to salvage a 4-3 series victory (including a last-minute goal in Game 8). Karen even remarks at the end of the series that it all seems somehow familiar, while Wanda claims that people will still be talking about it thirty years later.
- Shower of Awkward: In "Tree's A Crowd," Emma suspects (wrongly) that Oscar is having an affair with Peggy, so she goes to Peggy's house to confront them. Peggy says Oscar isn't there. Emma says, "Then who's in the shower!?" and opens the bathroom door. A completely different guy named Marvin is in the shower. He's partially covered by the curtain, but the moment is still very awkward.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy:Lacey: Where do all my pens go? They're like socks.
Hank: What do you mean?
Lacey: I mean they disappear like socks when you put them in the wash.
Hank: Who puts pens in the wash?
- Signs of Disrepair:
- Dog River's grocery store used to say "FOOD MARKET", but some of the letters have fallen off, so it now says "FOO- MAR—T" (The sign read FOO- -AR-ET in the first season only).
- 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!"♪
- In the movie, they replace the missing letters in order to make the town look more presentable.Karen: Ohhhhh! It's "Food" and "Market"! I never picked up on that.
- 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.
- 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?"
- Dog River's grocery store used to say "FOOD MARKET", but some of the letters have fallen off, so it now says "FOO- MAR—T" (The sign read FOO- -AR-ET in the first season only).
- 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.
- 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.
- Small Town Rivalry: Residents of Dog River have a deeply entrenched dislike for nearby Wullerton (spit). (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.)
- Exploited by Emma in "TV Free Dog River":Emma: Those in favor of no TV for a week and sticking it to Wullerton, spit!
Fitzy: (bangs gavel) Done!
Oscar: Hey! You tricked us!
- "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, until The Movie. It's entirely one-sided.(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.
- Exploited by Emma in "TV Free Dog River":
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: When Lacey's friend visits Dog River and acts rude to everyone, many characters say that they would love to see her and Wanda go head-to-head. Wanda herself even gets excited about taking her on. At the very end of the episode, they finally meet... and almost instantly become friends and start making fun of Lacey together.
- So Bad, It's Good: An in-universe example with Thunder Face. Paul loves them because he finds their musical ineptitude very amusing.
- Some Guys Store Of Random Objects And Unrelated Services: The liquor/insurance store, though such places actually exist. In fact, they got the idea from the town that they filmed the show in!
- 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 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.
- Sound-Effect Bleep:
- A large rant by Lacey (the least likely character to do so) is blocked out by the camera cutting to a very loud passing train, and ends with her putting $20 in the Swear Jar.
- In the episode "Face Off", Wanda is announcing at a hockey game and exclaims, "The Dogs score! Holy sh—" Then she accidentally hits the buzzer.
- Spell My Name with a "The": Inverted dramatically when, in the episode "Tax Man", a tax man repeatedly demands to be not referred to with a "the"."I'm a tax man, not the tax man. Saying 'the tax man is just a little dehumanizing!"
- Wanda later points out that saying the tax man in his absence is correct because it refers to a specific tax man.
- Spinning Paper: Used quite often and parodied in "Wedding Card":Lacey: I made a complete fool of myself... I hope they don't write about this in the Howler...
Spinning Paper: NEW BYLAW PROPOSED
Wanda: Nah, the big story's the new bylaw.
Lacey: Oh yeah, that's right.
- 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. At one point, several characters spit on the floor of the Ruby when Wullerton is mentioned... right in front of the health inspector.Lacey: Sorry about that. It won't hurt my rating, will it?
Health Inspector: Are you kidding? Wullerton sucks! (spit)
- 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.
- At the end of "TV Free Dog River", Brent tells the audience that although the characters in this episode got out of trouble by lying, people in real life should never do this "unless you're in a real bind and telling the truth is just gonna cause a big hassle and get somebody mad at you."
- 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.
- Stealth Insult:
- At the Dog River comedy night, Paul introduces Hank with, "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 wrinkling, 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.
- Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Several in "Doc Small".
- "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!"
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Practically a staple of the show. Must come from a lifetime of living in a small town together.
- 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 another old man finding them and deciding to keep them, using the exact same line as Oscar. "Look at this. A perfectly good pair of pants."
- 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."
- Streaking: In "The Good Old Table Hockey Game," Karen says she's ready to start the game "now that Hank put his shirt back on." Hank replies, "What? There's always a streaker!"
- 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 (Lacey) 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".
- Suddenly Voiced: Lacey's employee Josh gets his first lines in the show when he declares his intent to quit working at the Ruby and become a llama farmer (he's back by the end of the episode). Immediately lampshaded by Brent.Lacey: Did you know he wanted to be a llama farmer?
Brent: I didn't even know he could talk.
- Super Identikit: Subverted when Karen decides she needs to improve her drawing skills and we are treated to a flashback where she 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." Hank eventually confessed to the crime.
- Supreme 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, to the point that Lacey had them taken off the menu just so that she could actually make something else for a change.
- Emma had an "enchanted" potato bowl that made any potatoes served in it taste delicious. Wanda accidentally breaks it and desperately searches for a replacement to avoid Emma's wrath. They turn out to be really cheap on eBay. Soon everyone in town has one or more, and yes, they all work.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Phil for Paul (they're the bartenders).
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
- 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!
- In "Security Cam," Oscar and Emma are on a car trip and Oscar suddenly blurts out, "We're not lost!" Emma hadn't said anything about them being lost.
- 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:
- 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.
- Swear Jar: See Sound-Effect Bleep above.
- Take That!: Two shots at Sweden in "Ruby Newsday":Lacey: (talking about the trivia section of her newspaper) Did you know that Saskatchewan is bigger than the entire country of Sweden?
(Whip Pan to the Premier of Saskatchewan in his office)
Premier: What do you think of that, Sweden?
Davis: (reading the paper) It's pretty obvious that Saskatchewan is bigger than Sweden.
(Whip Pan to the Premier standing next to a map of Canada zoomed in on Saskatchewan)
Premier: And we're a rectangle. Nature's most perfect shape.
- Talk About the Weather: Averted in "Slow Pitch" when Lacey is chairing a meeting of the Harvesters' Club and she's in a hurry to end it because she's late for the softball game:Lacey: Last item on the agenda, an open discussion on ... the weather and crops? Nice try. Uh-uh. Meeting adjourned.
- Tastes Like Feet:
- Brent says Oscar's cooking tastes like bug repellent. (Wanda mentioned once about the potential lawsuit in stocking the cooking spray next to the bug repellent. Which would make that a tremendous Brick Joke.) 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.
- Technology Marches On: In an in-universe example, Oscar apparently thinks digital clocks cost $800.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tickle Torture: Hank does this to Wanda in one episode when she's trapped under a deck. Wanda is not amused.Wanda: (laughing) I'm gonna kill you (more laughing) you're a dead man!
- 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: "Tax Man", "Grad '68", "Cousin Carl", "Cell Phone", "Comedy Night", "Poor Brent", "Security Cam", "Bingo Night", "Hurry Hard", "Air Show", "Slow Pitch", "Harvest Dance", "Fun Run", "Ruby Newsday", "Dog River Dave", "Mother's Day", "Potato Bowl", "Wash Me", "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 like the 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. Paul speaks some Cree, enough to know the original name of Dog River. (Not that Emma would let you find out where the name came from...)
- Totally Radical: Invoked by Brent when Lacey lights incense at the gas station and Brent thinks it "smells like hippies":Lacey: Give it a chance.Brent: All right. But if a VW van pulls up out front, I'm callin' the fuzz.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Chili cheese dogs for Brent. He eats at least five every day.
- 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). Referenced in "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!
- Two Words: I Can't Count: Hank counts "boycott" as two words.Hank: Two words: Boycott.
- 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 worked well on Hank earlier but doesn't faze a Big Eater like Brent 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". 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 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.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Lacey has quite the competitive streak and engages in this when she wins at something, the exception being her embarrassment at winning an Eating Contest.
- Verbal Backspace: From "Slow Pitch":Brent: All right, you're up, Wanda. Give us a hit.
Wanda: I'm on it!
Umpire: Strike three!
Wanda: I'm off it!
- Victory Is Boring: When Brent gives Emma his old MP3 player, she listens to it practically 24/7. Oscar quickly finds out that he can get away with anything because she can't hear him ("If you're not okay with me doing this, then just say something." (Beat) "Okay then, thank you!"). After revelling in it for a while, he realizes that it's not all upside, such as when he keeps losing at poker and tries to quit for the night, but his buddies make fun of him and say he has no excuse not to keep playing if his wife isn't forbidding him. Eventually he steals the MP3 player and smashes it with a hammer.Oscar: Alright Emma, I'm gonna eat a whole box of fudge, and wash it down with rum! If you don't want me to, say something, anything to stop me! For the love of all that's holy, please! Stop me!
- Visible Boom Mic: Done deliberately after Brent complains that all the good movies available at the gas station have already been rented out, leaving only low budget crap. Wanda says that you don't need a big budget to make a good movie as long as the characters and writing are good, followed by the boom mic falling into view and clonking her on the head.
- Waxing Lyrical: In season 2's "Rock On!", Brent gives the boot to a band of "local kids" who were practicing in his garage, who are played by The Tragically Hip. When the lead singer complains that they had been working on lyrics, Brent responds, "Don't tell me what the poets are doing!", a line from The Hip's song "Poets".
- 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.
- Welcome Episode:
- Lacey moves to Dog River in the first episode.
- 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.Oscar: Are you saying I'm that easy to distract?
Emma: Look, Oscar... This spoon is dirty.
(Oscar starts intently inspecting the spoon)
- 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.
- We Want Our Jerk Back:
- 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."
- What's a Henway?: In "Crab Apple Cooler":
- When the Planets Align: Played for laughs:Brent: Okay, that's twice you've agreed with Hank.
Wanda: (looking unsettled) Is there some strange planetary line-up today?
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Done in the finale, Animal House style.
- 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.
- In addition to location filming being done in Rouleau, the studio space (which contained the Ruby set among others) was in Regina, making it much easier to film "city" scenes there for convenience.
- 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.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Hank describes what Brent's life would be like if it were a TV show, causing him to respond:
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: An entire episode is based on the fears that the characters have.
- Will They or Won't They?: Brent/Lacey. In a manner typical of small towns, the other characters all pick up on it and are placing bets by season two. They become a couple after the series finale and by the time of The Movie they have been together for two years. No one in the town noticed.
- Wine Is Classy: In quite a few of the bar scenes, former city-dweller Lacey is drinking a glass of wine while everyone else is drinking beer (except for Brent, who likes rye and water). She also brings a bottle of wine to dinner at Oscar and Emma's; they decide to buy another bottle of it later, but they're shocked at the high price.
- With Due Respect: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.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: The Dog River Howler; this is noted by the characters, though.
- 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.
- You Make Me Sic: Another frequent attribute of the Howler; take for instance the headline "HANK IS PHYCIC".Wanda: "Phycic"? Honestly, how much does a spellcheck program cost? What's the story say?
Brent: I don't know, I haven't finished reading it yet. I started to read it but then it was "contunied on page 30".
- You Need a Breath Mint: In "All My Ex's Live In Toronto" Hank pretends to be Lacey's boyfriend when her ex-fiance visits. He gives her a big kiss and then says, "Do you want to introduce me?" Lacey exclaims, "Yeah, to toothpaste!"
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame:
Brent: Well, I'm not getting a new camera just for the sake of getting a new camera. This thing works fine... nothing wrong with it.
- From "Picture Perfect":
Oscar: Damn right. Glad to hear you talking some sense for once.
Brent: Wow, I must be way off base on this.
- In the movie, Brent suffers physical pain whenever he and Oscar agree about something.
- Zillion-Dollar Bill: Parodied with Brent's $100 note.