In Canada: Mondays, 8:30pm ET/PT, CityTV
In the rest of the world: Not yet acquired
There are two things that are hard with Canadian comedies. The first is to hate them. They're so well meaning and liberal and nice. Even what could be a mean-spirited show like Seed - in which a 30something, womanising slacker bartender whose sperm-bank-generated teenage progeny turn up in his life looking for their oblivious father - still manages to be endearing, despite numerous stereotypes about lesbians, dominating career women, liberal middle-class couples, black lesbians, single 30something women, single 30something men, men in general and others. It's just so gosh darn nice.
The other thing that's hard with Canadian comedies is to laugh. The country as a whole has a track record that includes Kids In The Hall and The Newsroom and has filled the entertainment world with so many famous, talented comedians (most of whom you probably don't realise are Canadians), it would be impossible to list them all. But modern Canadian comedy shows are largely exemplified by the likes of the horrifically unfunny 18 To Life, Men With Brooms, Hiccups, InSecurity, Good Dog and The Line.
And so it is with Seed, a show that's amiable and trying really hard to be funny, but which ultimately fails to raise more than a wry grin and an "Awe, isn't that nice?" out of the whole affair.
Here's a trailer for the first episode, the aptly titled Ill Conceived, followed by a trailer for the rest of the season:
Seed is a half-hour comedy following Harry, a likeable bachelor and bartender whose previous foray into sperm donation has resulted in offspring he was unaware of - until now.
Harry discovers that his foray into the world of sperm donation has resulted in kids - lots of kids! This ill-equipped bachelor finds himself entangled in the lives of his newfound children and their less-than-thrilled families - a lesbian couple and their 9-year-old oddball son, an up-tight, upper-class husband and wife and their rebellious teenage daughter, and an implosive single woman with a ticking biological clock pregnant with his child - with whom he'll come to share more than just his DNA.
Is it any good?
Well, if your idea of good is rehashing Seth Rogen films, to the extent of having the same plots and a Seth Rogen (did you realise he's Canadian?) lookalike as your lead, then yes, Seed is good.
For everyone else, its deficiencies are twofold: the cast and the script. The cast aren't awful actors, but most of them seem to know they're in a comedy and are darn well sure you're going to know it by acting so that every joke is signalled, wrung dry of humour and then exaggerated to high heaven, just in case there was a chance you were either going to miss it or not get it. They have their set characters and they're going to act as those clearly defined labels, too.
The script is working on the same premise - even if it's not going to make you laugh, it absolutely definitely wants you to know it's still a comedy. It's going to take that same moral premise from Knocked Up - men are babies until they're forced to grow up by women and/or children - and it's going to work that baby for a season or more at least. It's going to be edgy at the same time, by mocking the politically correct and stereotyping minorities, but at the same time, it can't flush that Canadian DNA out of its system, so it's going to be nice about everyone at the same time.
It's not without appeal. The cast are largely likeable. It's good to have LGBT minorities represented. There's the beginnings of a love story and although, naturally, it features kids which would normally be a comedy no-no, the kids themselves and their characters are largely untarnished by the adults' needs to flag COMEDY with every gesture so are decently naturalistic. The teenage daughter side of things works particularly well since it's more about the characters and situations than the novelty of a lesbian couple being on screen and the show feeling it has to dispel stereotypes (while simultaneously confirming them).
But watching virtually every single attempted joke crash and burn like so many Icaruses is more than you're likely to be able to bear. And given it has some of the sulkiest ratings going on Canadian TV, I don't suspect this is a show that's going to be around for the long haul anyway.
- February 22, 2013: Third-episode verdict: Seed (CityTV)
A review of the first three episodes of CityTV's Seed
- June 25, 2013: Review: Satisfaction 1x1 (CTV)
A review of CTV's Satisfaction
- March 13, 2014: Review: Working The Engels 1x1 (Global/NBC)
A review of the first episode of NBC’s Working the Engels
- January 14, 2015: Review: Schitt's Creek 1x1-1x2 (Canada: CBC)
A review of the first two episodes of CBC’s Schitt’s Creek
- May 13, 2015: Nominative determinism strikes Pretty Lake in Netflix's Between
A trailer for Netflix's Between