"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."
— Red Green
A Sketch Comedy show produced by and starring Canadian comic Steve Smith, centered around the members of Possum Lodge, a backwoods hunting camp somewhere in Northern Ontario. It loosely parodies "outdoor" TV shows generally, and the iconic Red Fisher Show (which ran in Canada from 1968-1989) in particular.The show is hosted by the President of the lodge, the philosopher, handyman, outdoorsman and basically very average man Red Green (Smith), with technical direction provided by his painfully geeky nephew Harold (Patrick McKenna).Episodes are usually framed by Red and Harold discussing some activity or event affecting the lodge or its members. This most often involves a wild scheme either to raise money, or clean up some kind of environmental disaster before the authorities clamp down. Or, not infrequently, both. Red's updates — and the resulting arguments with Harold — are intercut throughout the show with various scenes of Red talking to lodge members about said issue.
"Well, I'm not gonna be calling the U.S. Air Force, Harold. What do I say? We've got a missile? They take that as a threat, we're in real trouble."
"Well, then, contact the Canadian Air Force."
"Harold, it's after six; he's gone home."
— Typical exchange between Red and Harold
Since the lodge members include such sterling intellects as Ranger Gord the (extremely) lonely forest ranger, Dougie Franklin the mechanic, Edgar Montrose the inept explosives enthusiast, Arnie Dogen the injury-prone roofer and aspiring country singer, Winston Rothschild, III, the prissy sewage magnate, Mike Hammer the itinerant felon, Dalton Humphrey the avaricious storekeeper, Hap Shaughnessy the pathological liar, Buzz Sherwood the hippie pilot, and Ed Frid the hamster-phobic animal control officer...not a lot ever tends to get done, except by way of confusing the issue further.The lodge members are often famous Canadian actors such as Graham Greene (Edgar, who comments at one point that "That native actor inDances with Wolveswas really good, they shoulda given him the Oscar"), Gordon Pinsent (Hap), Colin Mochrie (in a small role as hotdog expert Frank Kepke) and Paul Gross.
"I'm a man, but I can change if I have to, I guess."
— The Man's Prayer (Opening recitation of Men Anonymous)
Meanwhile they also carry on with the Show Within a Show that Red and Harold are producing, a local cable-access version of the standard Saturday-afternoon outdoor program. Various topics are touched on, but the actual quality of the information tends to be...well, the most elaborate segment is "Handyman's Corner", wherein Red somehow turns a simple DIY repair or project into a huge, awkward, Goldbergian task with the help of the "handyman's secret weapon", duct tape. And lots of it.Another popular segment is "Adventures with Bill", featuring the title character's attempts (or more accurately, spectacular failures) to get a grip on the whole outdoorsman gig, in slapstick pantomime shown in black and white and narrated by Red. "The Possum Lodge Word Game" is a typically loose attempt at a Password-esque game show, with Red and Harold trying to get a lodge member to say a certain word for a prize.Culture is not unknown here at the Lodge, either - it may be gravely wounded, but it sure isn't being ignored. Red is often seen in short transitional vignettes playing spoons and singing, or reciting poetry. Occasionally he simply addresses his fellow middle-aged schlubs directly and rather poignantly, concluding with "Remember, I'm pulling for ya, we're all in this together."The show always ends with the sounds of the lodge meeting beginning, in the basement. Red stays upstairs for a moment to deliver a quasi-Aesop and a message to his wife, Bernice.Often the opening of the lodge meeting will run behind the closing credits, with the studio audience as the lodge members.
"And to the rest of you, thanks for watching. On behalf of myself and Harold and the whole gang up here at Possum Lodge, keep your stick on the ice."
All There in the Manual: The Red Green Book, authored by the show's creators and published in 1995, contains lots of interesting trivia about the Lodge. For instance, Lodge membership is open to all genders, all races, religions and sexual orientations. To get in, you just need to have access to tools, trucks, building materials, explosives, medical supplies, legal services or cash.
The names of some of the segments were revealed in the book too. The segment where two lodge members give the viewers advice on how to get out of a jam with their wives is called Buddy System, while the segment where Red gives a monologue to his fellow middle-aged men while sitting at a desk winding a fishing lure is called North of 40.
Almost Famous Name: Harold tells Red that he's been asked to be in a magazine ad for Dodge. Red excitedly agrees when he hears that not only will he be depicted in a hot tub surrounded by bikini-clad girls, but he gets the product for free! He's a bit disappointed when it turns out he's just going to get his picture taken in front of a green screen and have it edited in later, but he's still excited to get a free Dodge truck. At the end of the episode Harold clarifies that the company is a Swedish company named "Doj"... that makes adult diapers... and there are dozens of crates full of them outside.
A Man Is Always Eager: Averted by Red in a "Buddy System" segment, where Red is trying to give advice on how to deal with your wife when she wants sex and you don't, until Dougie invokes this trope by implying that Red is less of a man for not wanting sex at all times, pressuring him into changing his advice to "have sex with her anyway".
The Alleged Car: Every motor vehicle used, seen or mentioned in the series.
One of the articles in Red Green Talks Cars: A Love Story told readers what their car indicated about them. Anyone who drives an "old car that barely runs" is a Lodge member. More specific examples include Stinky Peterson's Trabant, Moose Thompson's Gremlin, Douglas Hendrychuk's Nash, Harold's Pinto and Red's Possum Van.
Don't forget the prodigious use of Chrysler K Cars in the Handyman corner segments.
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Parodied in Ranger Gord's educational cartoons, in which a muscular version of Gord gives humorously inaccurate advice regarding forest life (e.g., that stones are really eggs).
Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Non-sexual version. When the women of Possum Lake get together to chat, several Lodge members spy on them with a microphone to find out what their wives are saying about them, expecting lots of complaints. They're very insulted when none of the women even mention their husbands at all.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In one episode, Red advises teenagers against doing crime, saying, "Just say no to assault, break-and-enter, arson, murder, theft, drug trafficking, and... oh, yeah, real estate sales."
In one episode, Red, Dalton, and Mike hurt themselves. Mike goes to a masseuse and feels better, and recommends Red and Dalton go as well, which they first refuse but change their minds once they find out she's attractive. It turns out she's a male undercover cop, and Red and Dalton are Squicked, but Mike doesn't care and plans to keep going, since he was the only one going there specifically for treatment and not just to get touched by a pretty girl (although you would think he'd at least be concerned about the cop part).
Author Appeal: Steve Smith is apparently something of a car buff in real life. Throughout the show there are hundreds of Shout Outs and Take Thats to various cars (the Chrysler K-Car is a favorite target) and at least half of all the Handyman Corner projects involved something to do with cars. A lot of gags also involve beer, something that Smith even Lampshades in his introduction to one of the episodes on the DVD collections.
Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Red discovers that Ranger Gord has some pictures of Bigfoot that are actually clear and in focus, proving Bigfoot really exists. He excitedly tells Gord that the two of them should sell the pictures to a major TV network and get rich. However, Gord insists that since he is the professional forest ranger, he should do all the talking to maintain credibility. Red promptly gives the pictures back, knowing that nothing could give them less credibility than letting Gord do the talking.
Blatant Lies: Basically everything that comes out of Hap's mouth. It's not that Hap is a Bad Liar in as much as his stories are so over the top that there's no way he could've done all of it.
Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Red mixes up a batch for a lodge barbecue. It consisted mostly of ketchup, with some various hot peppers thrown in and some other ingredients, including the "secret ingredient", which was some blue goop in an unlabelled container (later found out to be jet fuel). To demonstrate how hot it is, Dalton tastes a little bit on a toothpick and nearly doubles over in pain from the heat. Then Harold tastes a big spoonful.
Blind Without 'Em: Happens to Bill once when he does boxing with Harold. Red removes Bill's glasses for him, thinking that one shouldn't fight a guy with glasses, and sets them on top of a pail in a corner of the ring. He does not realize that Bill does have a vision problem. He squints at the glasses on the pail, thinking it's Harold and delivers an uppercut to it, only for it to fall down and hit him on the head, knocking him out and leading Harold to be the winner by default.
Canada, Eh?: Often played straight, or exaggerated for laughs. Expect lots of references to curling and Tim Hortons.
Canis Latinicus: Possum Lodge's motto is "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati". Which means, quite appropriately (and this being dog-Latin, approximately), "When all else fails, play dead."
Rival Salamander Lodge (which was created by a disgruntled Possum Lodge member out of spite and didn't even manage to last the whole episode) adopted the motto "Quando Omni Flunkus Terra Retreatum" ("When all else fails, hide under a rock").
"On behalf of myself, and Harold, and the whole gang up here at the Possum Lodge, keep your stick on the ice."
"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."
After giving advice to fellow middle-aged men: "Remember, I'm pullin' for ya. We're all in this together."
Inverted when Harold presented the North of 40 segment in Red's place and closed with "Remember, you're on your own. Don't push it."
"...using the handyman's secret weapon: duct tape."
The Man's Prayer: "I'm a man... but I can change... if I have to... I guess."
Inverted at the very end of the show, on the very last episode, where the closing was changed to "I'm a man... but I've changed... 'cause I had to... Oh, well."
In one episode the Lodge had to cater to a group of women, so the Man's Prayer is replaced with the Woman's Prayer: "I'm a woman... hear me roar... I'm in charge... Get over it!"
The 1994 episodes featured Red giving a short Cold Open monologue about certain personality traits common among men, oftentimes comparing them to what women do in the same situation, that always ended with "It's not smart, or correct, but it's one of the things that makes us what we are."
"This is only temporary, unless it works."
"If at first you don't succeed, switch to power tools."
"If it ain't broke, you're not trying."
"Big, big week at the Lodge this week."
"You know my motto: safety forced."
"Any tool can be the right tool."
Garth: "Another super day..."
In the intros to the 1996 episodes, Red would say, "What you're looking at here are some segments from this particular show, the main message being, 'Don't even think about changing the channel.' If you want to make sense of this program, you have to give it your undivided attention."
In the same episodes, during the bumper leading into the first commercial break, which shows a clip of the show to follow, Red says, "Stay tuned. Whatever this is, we've got lots more of it."
Censored for Comedy: In one opening segment, Red has "__CK OFF" written in duct tape on the back of his car, with everything before the CK blocked by a jacket. He lifts up the jacket to reveal that the missing letters are BA, and says something about how things aren't always as they seem.
Character Development: Over the course of the series, Harold generally grew from an awkward, incompetent teenager into a less awkward, successful adult, with even Red acknowledging him as a man. Lampshaded by Red when Harold leaves the lodge for a job in the city: "Looks like Harold has finally matured and grown up, but I don't see it happening to me anytime soon."
During the two seasons when Harold was absent, Dalton, Mike and Winston filled in for him, became more rounded characters and turned into regulars.
The Chew Toy: Bill from the "Adventures with Bill" segments. He withstood a level of physical abuse that would put Wile E. Coyote to shame.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The second season of the show introduced a host of new characters, none of whom were ever seen again afterward, save for the odd reference here and there.
There were also Garth Harble, the first animal control officer before Ed Frid; Earl Battersby, the bait shop owner; Glen Brachston, the lazy marina owner; Dwight Cardiff, the other lazy marina owner; Dougie Franklin's brother, Ben; Bob Stuyvesant, golfer/ministry of natural resources worker; Arnie Dogan, accident-prone roofer/aspiring country singer; Young Walter, Bill's replacement in the black-and-white segments after Rick Green temporarily left the show; Dale, a teenaged boy who worked at a local gas station; Kevin Black, Yuppie cottage owner; Sparky Hoover, a radio deejay; etc. At least one was justified, as Red mentions in one segment that Garth got bit by a toad and "lost his nerve."
Also any car that makes it out the other end of Handyman Corner.
When Red replaced the Possum Van with a new Possum Van, he then turned the old Possum Van into an air boat.
Dougie Franklin's monster truck, also in an odd way.
Winston Rothschild's sewage truck, also in an odd way.
Cool Clear Water: Subverted. With all the snowmobiles falling through the ice, run off from the lodge and the marina, the appropriately named Mercury Creek, and the proximity of "Stinky" Peterson, everyone knows how dirty Possum Lake is.
Couch Gag: Up until the eighth season, Harold would start the show by introducing Red in some random (and sometimes true or untrue) way or another.
Likewise, at the end of every episode, Red would always address his wife through, "If my wife is watching, I'll be coming straight home..." (from the second season onward, he addresses that he will be home after the Lodge Meeting), and then says some remark based on the events in the episode, before thanking the audience for watching and saying, "Keep your stickon the ice."
Cowardly Lion: Ed Frid was afraid of every animal, but he sometimes pulls through just fine.
Red Green: "We're out there in our own vehicles, burning gas, got the sunglasses on, looking good. People seeing us going by would have no idea we don't know where we are. And we're not really excited about sharing that information. A man does not embrace the concept of going up to total strangers and saying, 'You may not know this, but I'm a moron,' whereas the woman he's with is only too happy to share that information[…]Men aren't lost. They're just going the long way."
It also served as the plot for a fourth-season episode when Buster Hadfield and his wife went on a trip to visit their relatives. Unfortunately, since Buster hates to stop and ask for directions when he gets lost, he ends up driving all over North America.
Red Green: "Old Man Sedgewick's moved into the Lodge, so now he's got the bunch of us running around fetching things for him. Bran muffins, hot water bottles...and of course the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition."
"Old Man Sedgewick will be playing the field until they plow him under."
A Dog Ate My Homework: Red once mentioned that he used this excuse on a regular basis during his school days.
Red: If my dog ate as much homework as I said he did, he'd be passing firelogs.
Double Entendre: Red usually slips one into his closing message to Bernice. It's usually relevant to the plot of the episode in some way and its message is always essentially "Hope you're up for some sex tonight."
Driving Test: After an incident involving the Possum van and a speed bump, Red has his driver's license revoked and has to get retested to get it back. When it seems that Red is doomed to fail the written portion, he sends Harold in his place, who gets into an accident on the driving portion.
Ironic, because duct tape cannot be used to seal ducts.
A lampshaded subversion appeared in one episode where tape was needed to do duct work... Scouring through the rolls of duct tape uncovered what he as looking for - adhesive tape.
Dumb Muscle: Moose Thompson is heavily implied to be this trope, or a Fat IdiotDepending on the Writer. The DVD bios for the show indicate that Moose isn't in very good physical condition, but several episodes and book comments indicate that Moose is actually really strong. All the source material pretty much agrees on his intelligence level, of course.
Embarrassing First Name: Red's first name is not "Red"; Harold finds out what it really is and understands why he uses his nickname.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Helmut Wintergarden isn't really a bad guy, but you definitely don't want to piss him off. And he loves his mother very much.
Executive Meddling: invoked In-universe example. One of the recurring sketches involves Red being called in to meet with a representative of the network (a college-aged girl who is most definitely not the target audience of neither the real nor in-universe show), who demands that certain changes be made to the show. Red always finds some way to get out of it.
Explosive Stupidity: Edgar Montrose, the local explosives "expert" (or "enthusiast", depending on the episode) who qualifies his use of dynamite in any given situation as "explosives enthusiasm". It doesn't matter what your problem is, Edgar can use dynamite to "fix" that. This is quite obvious from his smoking and torn overalls, his missing fingers and his soot stained face. He has also lost most of his hearing.
In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, it's revealed that Edgar finally managed to get himself killed when he tried to make a self-heating recliner out of C4.
Extreme Omni Goat: In one episode Red receives payment for something in the form of a snowmobile and a goat. The goat eats the snowmobile and then instantly drops dead from doing so, causing Red to lose both parts of his payment.
Failure Is the Only Option: When the money making scheme of extracting silver from old film negatives produced only a small blob of silver, Harold points out how much time and money Red and the other lodge members wasted; while Red points out that they had fun, they learned something, and they weren't out in their cars and boats doing any real damage. Red says that at his age you stop trying to win, and "just try to lose as slowly as possible".
Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Bill found this out the hard way on multiple occasions. Arnie Dogen too, but his cases are only hinted at.
Henpecked Husband: Dalton Humphrey. Several episodes imply that Red is one of these too:
Red: (visiting Harold at his job) Harold, you have a woman boss!
Harold: Well, so do you — Aunt Bernice.
Red: Come on, that's different.
Harold: I know, I get paid.
Hell, several episodes imply that all husbands are this by definition.
(Red and Dalton are arguing about the existence of angels) Dalton: You don't believe that there are beings keeping an eye on where we are and what we're doing, and know exactly what we're thinking? Red: Yeah, but they're called "wives", Dalton.
Her Codename Was Mary Sue: Ranger Gord's "educational cartoons," which portray him as a large, muscular man whom all the ladies love, and the lodge members as ignorant buffoons.
On the other hand, the lodge members kinda are... it's just that Gord is, too.
Humorously, a lot of the information that Funny Animal Red and Harold give in Gord's cartoons is actually true in real life. But in Gord's cartoons, all of his bizarre theories and ideas are true instead.
Ironically, that same episode was the first time a woman appeared as a one-shot character, and several women would appear in later seasons in crowd scenes. Harold's girlfriend Bonnie would also become a recurring cast member in the last few years of the show.
High Hopes, Zero Talent: Second-season character Eddie Johnson served as the Lodge chef. He dreams of either being a world-famous cook or a star Broadway performer, but the other Lodge members have a hard time deciding whether he's worse at cooking or acting.
Homemade Inventions: The Handyman Corner segments. It's amazing what you can do with some rusted K-Cars and a few hundred rolls of duct tape.
Honest John's Dealership: Murray Woolworth is owner of the only convenience store in the area, so he gouges people on everything; and often offers cheap substitute products, such as selling a four-man raft, sight-unseen, and then delivering a large inner-tube with a tackle box duct taped to it.
The same could also be said for Humphrey's Everything Store. Dalton has been known to BS his way into making customers pay a few dollars extra by making them think they're buying a priceless antique, when it's really just junk.
Hurricane of Puns: "The Red Green Show was duct taped live before a studio audience." Plenty more of that ilk.
A particularly Incredibly Lame Pun came from a Handyman's Corner where Red made a coffee grinder out of a lawnmower, then said that when serving your guests, you can ask "who wants mower coffee?"
Hyperspace Arsenal: How Bill manages to fit all that stuff into his overalls is one of the great mysteries of our time.
Idiosyncratic Wipes: A still picture of the lodge, and one of several things happens. A chainsaw saws through the picture and it falls away; a gas can plunks into the middle of the screen then explodes, etc.
Other wipes included Harold's face, a lantern turning on, or anything that would fit a lodge-like theme.
Ignored Epiphany: One fine day, Ranger Gord decided to rejoin the human race after eighteen years up at his fire tower when he'd finally learned that he'd been replaced by an electronic sensor a year after being hired. Red was all about telling Harold to go easy on Gord for wasting his life when Gord came in sympathizing with Red and the gang at the Lodge because no one else had done anything with their lives in the intervening time either. Just before he went down to the lodge meeting, Red talked about how sad it was when people wasted their lives without even realizing it. When he suggested that it was because they didn't want to look, he had a brief and quickly suppressed realization that he'd just described himself, Harold and the whole gang up at Possum Lodge.
Iron Buttmonkey: Bill suffers injuries that would kill Wile E. Coyote. But no matter what happens to him, by next week's show he's good as new and ready for yet another zany adventure. That said, there are occasional references to the number of bandages Bill wears at any given time, and in one second-season episode when the Lodge members are trying to deal with an audit, one of them suggests using Bill's medical expenses and all the stuff he damages as "business expenses" for the Lodge.
Red is a lesser example, considering how he'd sometimes get hurt by Bill's screwups. The other lodge members would also get in on this when the Adventure segment no longer focused just on Red and Bill.
Kleptomaniac Hero: As a known felon, Mike was especially prone to this and Red certainly wasn't above snitching stuff for his construction projects.
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: What every guest turns into in the segment where they examine the three little words that men find impossible to say: "I DON'T KNOW!"
Also, this is Hap Shaughnessy's main shtick: he makes a wild and unbelievable claim to have done something extraordinary or to have some special status in the world, no matter how blatantly impossible or improbable the claim.
Also Junior Singleton and (hopefully) Moose Thompson.
The Last Straw: During the Handyman Corner's project to create your own tow-truck in season 7: Red has loaded down the vehicle with tires, barrels, and at least two lawn mowers, and then adds a key-sized object from his pocket onto the pile. You can guess the result.
Lethal Chef: Eddie Johnson, the Lodge cook who only appeared in the second season, was one of these. Not that the other Lodge members were any better, as references abound to the different varieties of chili made by everyone from Moose Thompson to Stinky Peterson to Buster Hadfield. A couple of Handyman Corner segments also featured Red either cooking his own variety of Lodge chili, or showing the viewers how they can cook dinner when their wives aren't home.
Ironically subverted by Douglas Hendrychuk, the Lodge treasurer and another second-season-only character, who briefly offered to do the cooking after Eddie quit. His cookies were surprisingly good, but since Status Quo Is God Eddie threw a fit and insisted on taking back the job.
Like a Son to Me: Subverted with Red and Harold. After working with Harold on the show, Red doesn't really regret not having a son. It's also Gender Flipped in an episode when Red's niece visits him and Bernice, after which Red states that he doesn't really regret not having a daughter, either.
Loners Are Freaks: Poor Ranger Gord. He was posted to Fire Watch Tower #13 in 1979, and then head office forgot about him. After spending the next 11-12 years living all alone in the woods, Gord's pretty much lost his marbles by the time Red finds him. This is continually Lampshaded by Red on multiple occasions.
Long Runners: Fifteen years and more than 300 episodes. As Red himself noted:
Loony Fan: After Kevin Black left Possum Lake, his house was bought by Werner Klemperer. The Lodge members drive him nuts stalking him and he moves out as quickly as he moved in.
Magic Feather: Inverted when part-time civil servant/full time golfer Bob Stuyvesant buys a new set of golf clubs from Murray Woolworth. The right-handed Bob's new clubs turn out to be a set of left-handed drivers with a goalie stick for a putter. Bob is furious, but then Murray convinces him to take the clubs out for a game. He ends up shooting six under par, when he's otherwise the world's worst golfer. Go figure.
A Man Is Not a Virgin: Ranger Gord was a virgin when he was first assigned to Fire Watch Tower #13, and then spent 11 or 12 years living alone in the woods before Red finds him. You can imagine what that's done for his sanity.
Married to the Job: A literal example when Ranger Gord tells Red that he got married to the forest. Red doesn't stick around long after Gord shows off his wedding ring.
Men Are Uncultured: One of the main themes of the show, though both genders were equally (and affectionately) targeted.
Mistaken for Gay: This happened to Red and Winston at least twice. It eventually became a Running Gag that Dalton would walk in on an ambiguous scene between Red and Harold, get a freaked out look on his face and then leave immediately.
An episode centred around Red and Dalton mistaking Winston for gay because he had an earring (it turned out to be a piece of a little girl's toy that was flushed down the toilet and got caught there accidentally after the toilet exploded). They sit him down and awkwardly try to ask him if he is gay, which he mistakes as Red trying to come out of the closet himself. Even after the misunderstanding is cleared up, Winston still thinks Red is gay, just not ready to come out yet.
In the Possum Lodge Word Game, Red is trying to get Ed Frid to guess the word "fuzzy", and gives a hint saying that the word describes his beard. Ed guesses "Gay?". Red wasn't amused.
Harold: Red, you have to think about your impact on the environment. Take the van for example...
Red: Harold, it takes 45 minutes to start the Possum Van. I'm not about to turn it off.
Mystery Meat: The "Not Chicken" episode had Red starting a restaurant called "I Can't Believe it's Not Chicken"; it was a hit until a passing zoologist guessed what the "Not Chicken" really was and the health inspector shut it down.
Nice Hat: Red's Canadian military field maneuvers hat. To a lesser extent, Winston's helmet.
No Bisexuals: Averted by Red in the Possum Lodge Word Game. When trying to get Mike to guess the word "buy", he said that "There are people who can be intimate with both men and women. Those people are 'blank'-sexual." (Mike's answer was "Very.")
Not Me This Time: Mike gets a great deal on a barbecue and asks the Lodge members to chip in and buy it as a birthday present for Dalton. Meanwhile Dalton is complaining that an identical barbecue was stolen from his store. Red of course jumps to the logical conclusion that Mike stole it, even though he insists he didn't. Red even paints the barbecue a hideous shade of yellow trying to disguise it. At the end of the episode, they give the barbecue to Dalton, but he says he doesn't need it because Ann Marie took the barbecue from his store and gave it to him as a birthday present. Cue Mike giving Red a Death Glare that lasts throughout the ending credits.
Red: I'm sorry, okay?!
Not So Different: In one episode, the Lodge members decide to trade place with a group of Iowans, all of whom look and act like Expys of the Lodge members. Even Red.
Not That Kind of Doctor: Doc Render is the lodge's medical officer, but no one is sure if he really is a doctor, let alone an MD.
Oh, the Humanity!: Said by Buzz in "The Hydrogen Project", when an airborne canoe explodes.
Only Sane Man: Either Red or Harold. Red is the most normal of the Possum Lodge members; Harold is an outsider, but he's got his own quirks.
Parody Sue: Gord's muscular, all-knowing, girl-attracting self in the educational cartoons.
The Pigpen: Possibly Winston, given his profession of sucking sewage, of which he is proud.
Also Stinky Peterson. It's his name, after all.
Product Placement: 3M became a sponsor of the show, and Red a spokesman, after they saw how much Scotch duct tape (a 3M brand) the show used.
Punny Name: Mike creates a fake candidate to nominate for Man of the Year so that the Lodge can get the prize (a fishing boat). He names the guy Bernie Goodyear, after the tire fire.
Put on a Bus: After the show's eighth season, Patrick McKenna began having personal difficulties and decided to leave the show. Harold was shown getting a job in the city and was phased out of the show over the next two seasons. Once McKenna got his issues sorted out, Harold returned, having been explained as being named his company's community liaison to Possum Lake.
Co-creator Rick Green, who plays Bill, also left the show for a few years to focus on his educational comedy show History Bites. Unlike with Patrick McKenna and Harold, Bill's disappearance was never explained, with the rest of the cast joining Red in the Adventure segments; Walter became a more or less full-time replacement for several seasons. When History Bites ended and Green came back, Bill returned as if nothing had ever happened.
Rearrange the Song: Starting with the 1994 episodes, the show got a few changes in instrumentation to the theme song, adding a sax and some new flourishes. The show also got a new intro to accompany this. This lasted until after the 1997 episodes.
Repetitive Name: Winston frequently quotes a self-help guru named Anthony Anthony.
At one point we find out Ranger Gord's full name is Gord Ranger. He doesn't like people calling him "Ranger Ranger".
Running Gag: In the "Adventures With Bill" segment, some object flying through the air and breaking the driver's side mirror off of Red's van.
Sand in My Eyes: Red uses this excuse when many of the members start crying uncontrollably in "School Demo".
Science Fair: One whole episode, appropriately titled "The Science Fair", revolved around this, with Red insisting on "helping" Harold with his science fair project(s), against Harold's objections. This show being the way it is, (what's left of) Red and Harold stagger back into the Possum Lodge and report it all ended with multiple explosions, Harold (unsurprisingly) not winning the fair, and the first-prize trophy embedded in Stinky Peterson's body (Harold said the doctors could get it removed). The real winner of the fair had a project on fire extinguishers, which proved handy in putting out the fire from the explosions.
Second Place Is for Winners: In Duct Tape Forever, in order to pay off a $10,000 fine, Harold suggests the lodge enter a duct tape sculpture contest to win the money. The lodge members are skeptical, but when Harold tells them the $10,000 is the third-place prize, they figure it's within their abilities.
Shout-Out: There are a few of these to the state of Iowa, which is the American state that's been the most supportive of the show in terms of both general viewership and dollars contributed to PBS pledge drives. Steve Smith once joked that he could probably have been elected governor of Iowa if he wanted to.
Show, Don't Tell: The 300-episode series as a whole is possibly the most successful example of averting this trope as practically every episode featured segments of Red relating his off-screen adventures to the audience.
See the Take Our Word for It entry - the events are so over-the-top that by letting you imagine the specifics, it's always going to be funnier than anything they could show.
Show Within a Show: The whole show is the show within the show, if that makes any sense. Steve Smith plays Red Green in a fictional TV show about Red Green making a non-fictional TV show As Himself.
Individual segments do this too: North of 40 always ends with "Remember, I'm pullin' for ya... we're all in this together", and Handyman Corner had "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy," though it was rarely the very last thing he'd say since he had yet to turn on whatever it was he had just made. Heads up!
Signs of Disrepair: Red brings a boat he bought second-hand to Dwight Cardiff, asking him to take the name "THELMA'S TINKERBELL" off of it. Dwight, as lazy as he is, does a half-assed job with his fishing rod without even getting out of his chair. He doesn't remove all the letters, and now the boat says "THE STINKER".
Simple Country Lawyer: Red Green Talks Cars: A Love Story featured an advertisement promoting Stinky Peterson's services as an "amateur lawyer for hire" in traffic court. In it, Stinky plays up his hundreds of hours of experience in traffic court as a defendant, as well as his knowledge of every episode of Perry Mason, Matlock, and most of the first season of Murder One. He also notes that he saw most of the O.J. trial, and knows full well that facts and justice should not stand in the way of a favorable verdict.
Sketch Comedy: Recurring segments included Handyman Corner, Adventures With Bill, The Experts, Talking Animals, North of 40 (Red's speeches to other middle-aged men), Buddy System (when Red and another lodge member give husbands advice on how to get out of a jam with their wives), The Possum Lodge Word Game (when Red tries to get a lodge member to say a certain word to win a strange prize), The Winter Of Our Discount Tent (Red reading poetry), Possum 911, boating tips with Glenn Brackston, and one-on-one interviews with everyone from Dougie Franklin to Jimmy McVeigh to Jack Davidson. Some of these segments were eventually dropped from the show when the writers couldn't come up with anything else they felt was really worth shooting, although Buddy System eventually reappeared later in the show's run.
Stylistic Suck: Ranger Gord's cartoons, which are given jerky animation and bad voice acting (see below) on purpose.
Super Spit: In one segment, Edgar Montrose prepares for a date by using some mouthwash, which he realizes too late is actually nitroglycerin. It causes his spit to explode wherever it lands. Red recommends that he go see a doctor, but he refuses on the grounds that his new ability might impress his date.
Averted with Ed Frid, who replaced Garth Harble. They are both animal control officers with completely opposite presonas; Garth loves animals, Ed is terrified of them.
Walter eventually became the star of what used to be Adventures with Bill.
Take Our Word for It: The various hijinks of the Possum Lodge community are never shown on-screen, only discussed afterward when Red, Harold, and any other relevant characters get back to the lodge. Their adventures are apparently hilarious and oftentimes epic.
Theme Naming: Red Green, played by Steve Smith, and Bill Smith, played by Rick Green.
That's All, Folks!: Starting with season 2, the lodge meeting signals the end of the show.
Thirty Minutes or It's Free: Red sets up a number of roadblocks in order to get the pizzas he ordered for free; unbeknownst to him, the pizza guy called back and got directions from Harold on how to avoid all of the Lodge's debris.
Harold: Right across the lake, in a boat!
Time Abyss: The entire Sedgewick family. Not only does Old Man Sedgewick have a son who is over 90 years old, but his parents are somehow still alive and well.
Tim Taylor Technology: Red's Handyman's Corner segments are made up of these. Most of them look like something Tim himself would have come up with, if he were having a particularly common sense-lacking day.
One project is a coffee grinder made out of a lawnmower. Another is an accordion made out of a van (On the grounds that Heavy Metal instruments don't need to be played well, just loud.)
Title Please: For every season except the 1995 episodes, where the title does appear on screen.
Toilet Humor: Done often with Winston Rothschild, who would often recite slogans for his Sewage and Septic Sucking Services, such as "We're Number One in Number Two", "If your eyes are stinging, my phone should be ringing!" or "We put the P.U. in 'pump'!"
Token Minority: Impressively subverted by Edgar, played by an Aboriginal actor whose ethnicity is otherwise a complete non-issue.
Too Dumb to Live: The entire cast, really. Except maybe Red and Harold. But then, they voluntarily hang out with these guys...
Totally Radical: Subverted, as Harold's attempts to look cool and represent youth culture just confirmed how much of a dork he was.
Tranquillizer Dart: Subverted. Ed Frid once shot himself in the foot with a tranquilizer dart and remained conscious long enough to calculate how long he would sleep, give Red instructions on how to deal with the animal they'd captured and lie down comfortably.
Also, Young Walter accidentally shoots himself with a dart when he tries to capture a runaway groundhog with a dart in a blow gun but it bounces off a tree branch and hits him instead.
Also, in the episode "Who Wants to be a Smart Guy" when Dalton Humphrey freaks out during a game show after not being able to answer a question, he returns to the Lodge in a straightjacket and reveals he has been shot in the butt with a tranquilizer dart.
Trouser Space: Bill's overalls. He tends to fit everything in there, including a tandem bicycle.
While getting the tandem bike out was impressive, the storage capacity involved in his collection of ladders, poles, and beams is much more impressive.
Ultimate Job Security: Red's position as leader of Possum Lodge isn't set in stone, it's just that no one else wants the job. One 14th-season episode featured Mike, Dalton and Winston all running against Red for the leadership, but Red won again anyway.
In a season two episode, the treasurer, Douglas Hendrychuk tries to use the lodge charter to overthrow Red; Red couldn't care less and lets him take over. Doug screws up, and the lodge votes to put Red back in charge.
Ranger Gord has a terrible job: Not only does he have to live in the fire watch tower 24/7 (which has made him Go Mad from the Isolation), but he doesn't even get paid. Red tries to persuade him to get a new job but Gord decides to stick with it on the grounds that his job is so terrible nobody else would ever want to do it, thus he has job security.
The Unreveal: Red's real name; Harold finds out what it is, but Red bargains with him to keep it secret.
Vendor Trash: Buster Hadfield and his brother plan to use a giant conveyor belt to make a monorail, and they sell the metal parts to Dalton Humphrey. He originally plans to sell the parts for between $5-$10 to a couple of collectors, but Red advises him to sell them to the scrap dealer. Dalton scoffs at the idea, but Red points out that the parts have a lot of steel, nickel axles and what's probably five or six miles of copper wire, which could probably be worth up to $10,000. Dalton is so thrilled by this that it takes all his effort to stay calm on camera. He then runs outside, presumably to let out his excitement.
Verbal Tic: Harold is this trope personified. A good 20% of his dialogue is composed of strange vocalizations or nervous, stuttering repetition. A perfect example can be seen here, starting around 0:45.
Visual Pun: A subtle one: the words "Red" and "Green" are in the opposite colors in the show's logo.
The Voiceless: Bill. Justified as Steve Smith said that the camera used on the Bill segments has a poor mic. Nonetheless, you can sometimes hear Bill talking on some of his segments.
Red: Bill doesn't say much, and when he does it's usually something important, like "that's a cop."
Inverted in a behind-the-scenes special, where Rick Green, as Bill, starts chattering away like crazy.
Also inverted in one of the books. In the transcripts of a lodge meeting, Bill is shown to be a Motor Mouth, and goes on for pages.
This is because Bill is actually a character named 'Bill from Bala' that Rick Green originated when he was a member of The Frantics. His shtick was that sooner or later, he'd end up directing any conversation towards a long-winded discussion of his hometown of Bala, Ontario; this is the real reason that Red didn't bother getting a good mike for his camera.
Vocal Evolution: Steve Smith's gravelly Red Green voice started out fairly deadpan and monotone, but over time he came to put much more force and range behind it.
We Buy Anything: To keep the Town Council off his back about all the junk around the Lodge, Red gets 10 acres of Lodge property zoned as a public landfill site. Red didn't quite know what he was getting into, as Harold pointed out that anyone could now dump their garbage around the Lodge. This is one of the few episodes where everything actually worked out, as the Lodge members began scavenging most of the garbage for their own personal projects. Harold then invokes this trope, telling the viewers that the Lodge's garbage dump takes anything and everything anyone can bring them.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Winston's dad always wanted him to be a lawyer, and the two still haven't worked things out. Winston explains why he never became a lawyer in a speech he makes about his sewage business:
Winston: Dad, if God had meant for me to be a lawyer, He would've given me more brains and a way better sense of smell.
Word Association Test: The Possum Lodge Word Game. Red has 30 seconds to make another character guess a specific word for that character to win a cheap gift certificate from a questionable Possum Lake business, a piece of junk, or another humorous prize. The word will always be something essential to describing the guessing character, who will often be incapable of saying it, such as when Dalton repeatedly avoids saying the word "cheap". Red will always get the character to win at the wire by tricking them into saying the word, or something that sounds close to the word, indirectly. On rare occasions the roles are reversed, and another character has to make Red guess the word, but the formula remains the same.