Snow Day in the Republic

There’s nothing like a snow day to get me reading and writing again. It makes me wonder how much I would do if I could wake up at 7am everyday, only to stay in bed all day. I’d be the most informed person I know! Seriously. In any case, it’s been a very, very (shamefully) long time since I have written anything here (and it had been going so well!), and now that I’ve got some time, I aim to rectify that unfortunate situation.

I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and pass my opinion on the biggest thing to come out of Newfoundland since… wait, that’s too big a statement to make; let’s just say it’s pretty darn big: Republic of Doyle.

I’m not going to say that I was on board from day one, but it was fascinating to spend most of my days this past summer playing the “Where’s RoD shooting today?” game. On the day I moved out of my house downtown to join the dark side (I am now an uptown girl), they were shooting promo shots about 5 feet from my front step. What I will say is: completely outside the content of the show, the shots of St. John’s are bloody brilliant. It makes the city look as rich in scenery as it should, and does.

January 6th was a long time coming, and the premiere was received by nearly a million viewers across Canada, which is a great splash to have made on your first night out with the big boys. I enjoyed the premiere enough to get hooked into watching the second episode, and I enjoyed the second episode enough to get hooked into watching the third. The buzz was, of course, that the show was only going to get better as it went on. So far it’s been making good on that buzz.

As a Newfoundlander, and someone who knows at least a handful (well, more like two handfuls) of people involved, I can’t really detach myself from the show enough to give it a full-on, completely objective review — just so you know. I imagine that there are a lot of Newfoundlanders and expats watching purely to see if the show passes muster. I can also guarantee that there are twice as many of us watching it in order to support something from home.

Happily, as a Newfoundlander, I can pass judgement on the portrayals and flavour of the show, and I’ve got to say: I’m pleased. I’m glad to see that none of the characters have been over-Newfied and that there’s a decent range of St. John’s society included so far. If the show continues as it has, it stands to help a little in making St. John’s (and the people in it) look a little sexier and more inviting. The characters do seem as though they are borrowed from the streets of the city, and if there’s one thing that St. John’s has to offer it’s definitely a vast array of interesting people from all walks of life.

Of course, everyone loves a sexy, slightly bumbling, differently-moralled, reluctant hero and Jake Doyle fits that profile particularly well. Take those ingredients and add some daddy issues (with which he is pummeled daily), and a quiet kindness and you’ve got a real doozy of a heartthrob. Good luck to Allan Hawco as his status as an Island Heartthob is cemented in earnest and broadcast across the country.

My favourite thing about Republic of Doyle is the lines that come out of nowhere and elicit the “I’m not sure if I should laugh or be completely appalled” reaction (two of which have been anal sex related — brave!). On Twitter, there’s been a lot of tweeting of quotes from the show (#DoyleQuotes), and it’s no wonder: those straight-forward and irreverent exchanges do happen all the time, but seeing them on screen is a whole different matter. I commend the writers of the show in capturing the subtle humour of the city and its people in a way that makes me want more. I hope that they keep it coming.

The verdict? Definitely worth giving a shot. I will be watching closely, myself, as I’m not ready to pass definite judgement. I suspect that the people involved are working hard to catch attention and be good enough to hold it based on their merit. I’m not one to subscribe to the “it’s made here so let’s blindly support it” school of thought, but I am rooting for RoD. Let’s hope the rest of Canada (and elsewhere, too!) sits down (on their couches, you know) on Wednesday nights and takes notice.

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