The Boyfriend of the Week
When asked why he thought jazz was so darn great, some famous musician (maybe Louis Armstrong?) once said, "Man, if ya gotta ask, you'll never understand." This is, in a nutshell, exactly how I feel about the Canadian tv show "Due South," it's main character Constable Fraser, and the actor who plays him, Paul Gross.
What do I mean by that? I mean, if you haven't seen Due South, there's just noooooo way you're going to understand anything I have to say about it. And, if you HAVE seen Due South, it's probably pretty unnecessary for me to say anything at all. The problem is, saying "Oh, YOU know!" and then being done with it doesn't make for a very good Boyfriend write-up. So, I'll say something anyway, and it will either fly right over your head or just affirm what you've believed yourself all along. What I'm going to say is this: "Due South is the quirkiest, most interesting, and funniest television show EVER. And Paul Gross makes me want to pack up my stuff, move to Canada, and storm into an RCMP office demanding that a mountie take me home and marry me." The pathetic and desperate truth is that at this point ANY mountie would do, though I'd obviously prefer one just like Fraser, as I'm sure you can understand. You never know when those tracking skills might come in handy down here in the States.
It would be totally impossible to explain to you what makes Due South such a great show. Impossible, I tell you! Because in my opinion, if you've seen it and you weren't totally impressed and amazed, you are seriously lacking in Brain. And if you haven't seen it, we really have nothing to discuss until you do. You can't know me until you understand why I have 15 tapes full of episodes. Or why I have one complete tape full of episodes I have NEVER seen that I covet and cherish and DO NOT WATCH. Or why it was so hard for me to watch that first episode of "Providence," when I realized the star was VICTORIA!! Damn that Victoria!
Not only are the characters wonderful and strange, but the plots are intelligent and the shows themselves are full of masterful themes and imagery (the swimming polar bears come right to mind, as does the entire baseball episode). The show is totally crazy. The concept behind the show is totally crazy. Everybody IN the show is totally crazy. And so maybe it's just nice to know I'm not the only lunatic out there.
If you don't believe me, just ask me sometime to explain the story behind the second Ray. Is he the same guy as the first Ray, but just played by a different actor? No. Is he a totally different character who just happens to have the same name? No. Is the explanation going to strike me as being totally crazy? Most definitely.
However, the bad news is, because the show required intelligence to appreciate (and I should qualify that further by saying "tremendous intelligence"), it was quickly cancelled. Everybody knows there's no market in AMERICA for programming that requires people to have a highly refined sense of humor. No market at all! All we want down here is more sit-coms! More episodes of "Friends!" More "I Want to be a Millionaire!"
The good news is, however, that TNT bought the rights to Due South and promptly began showing reruns of it. This enabled me to get just about every single episode ever made on videotape. Which makes me a hot commodity. Well, in my own mind anyway. It also makes me very very happy. Because there's nothing like coming home from a particularly long day at work and sticking in a tape full of Constable Fraser. [Note from Management: as of December 2003, you can purchase seasons one and two, and preorder season three, on DVD -- it's cheaper if you buy them from the Canadian branch of Amazon.com (amazon.ca), but you may have to wait awhile for them to show up in the mail.]
I suppose I should say a little something about the man behind the mountie. Paul Gross is a long-time actor (which is not a weasley way of saying he's OLD, cuz he's not) (in fact, I do believe he's the PERFECT age for me) (except he's married) (but let's not get into that) (his wife is vey pretty and talented) (it's totally unfair and sucky). Wait, where was I? Oh yes, a long-time actor. He's done a wide range of stuff -- everything from playing a swinger in "Tales of the City," to an award-winning role in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," to more mounties than the law allows. Okay, two mounties, to be specific. The one we all know and love and then that OTHER mountie. Ooo, are you intrigued? You should be! See, rumor has it Paul met his wife while they were both in a play together. She played a woman (not much of a challenge, I imagine) and he played A MOUNTIE. Not what the Due South Devotees call "Our Favorite Mountie," but a mountie all the same. And now I ask you -- if you were the woman playing the woman opposite the mountie played by Our Favorite Mountie, wouldn't YOU marry him too??
Really not surprising in the least. What also isn't surprising in the least is that Paul Gross is not only a terrific actor, he's alsoa terrific singer. Not only did he used to sing on the show from time to time (I still get that song from the ghost ship episode in my head), but he's also got an album out called "Ride Forever." Not bad, eh? Even more impressive is the fact that Paul Gross is also a critically acclaimed writer -- he has written numerous scripts for televisions series and wrote the script for a drama that got terrific reviews (in Canada -- it was probably too intelligent for us dolts here in the U.S. (present company excluded, mais oui)).
So, the truth is Paul Gross has got it all. He's got a red mountie uniform, a great voice, a crooked smile, a Canadian Emmy (whatever it's called), and a loyal American fan named Meg. Truly, one of the luckiest men alive (especially because of that last bit). My fandom knows no bounds. In fact, some of you may remember that when I first ran this write-up of Paul Gross, I ended it with a poll -- I was contemplating changing the MacGyver Factor Scale to the FRASER Factor Scale. The votes for MacGyver won out by a tiny margin so my pocket-knife wielding sweetie is still tops, but that hasn't stopped me from giving Paul Gross the largest MFS score to date:
MacGyver Factor Score: 99.99999999999999%. You deserve it, kiddo.
Now, the latest rumor has it that Paul Gross is about to be approached by one of my more daring readers who has promised to give him the URL for my web site and encourage him to check it out. (And all I had to do to get her to do it was run Eric Stoltz -- she's so easy). So, just in case he actually gets THIS far (who knows), I have a little message for you, Mr. Gross: please do not be alarmed. I'm not one of those wacko kinds of fans who approach you in public places and shove slips of paper with URLs on them at you. Those are the CRAZY fans. I'm one of the sane fans -- the kind of fan who coerces the crazy fans into doing wacko things FOR me. But I do this for a very good reason. For the sake of comedy, my Canadian amigo. If you were to, say, send me an email message (email@example.com) that was a response to all the lovely things I've had to say about you (and perhaps a gentle correction of anything I have gotten wrong), it would be very very funny indeed. I love that kind of funny. I LIVE for that kind of funny. I promise not to show the message to anyone but my most loyalest of fans (all eighty-gazillion of them). I promise to laugh heartily and not maniacally and thank you gratutiously and stop using so many adverbs. Think about it?