Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another Canadian series to look out for: Odd Job Jack

Odd Job JackThere is this series that has been gracing Canadian television for years called Odd Job Jack, and until last night, I wasn't aware that it hadn't made the journey south of the border, especially since American stars like Christian Slater, James Woods, Tom Arnold and the late Don Knotts amongst others have all made appearances on the show. It began as a web cartoon and it made the leap to the Canadian equivalent of Comedy Central up here a few years ago, and it has been largely successful so far.

The basic premise of the show is this: Jack Ryder, voiced by Don McKellar, is a recent college graduate with a Sociology degree, and the show takes a look at his wacky adventures through the weird world of temping, though most of these aren't your typical jobs.

I mean, how often does the average temp go from Hamster Wrangling for a Bondian gerbil voiced by Dave Foley to being a roadie for a Save the Worms concert featuring the Chemical Brothers and Jeff Tweedy to being a teacher's assistant who gets caught up in a collegiate adventure that would make Peter Jackson and Tolkien proud. Of course, there have been a lot of other unusual jobs along the way, along with the more traditional placements like being a Waiter, a Ride Attendant and a Construction Worker. Of course, even in the more traditional of roles, things never go as planned for Jack, whether because of the circumstances of the job, the interference of his militantly vegan and socially-aware sister or due to his affection for his career councillor Betty Styles.

While maybe not as clever or funny as the Simpsons or South Park, it is pretty good for what it does, and the guest voices are usually well used and funny as hell. And belying the web origins of the series, ever episode's job has an online flash game that goes along with it along with a contest in Canada for the highest scores, so even if you don't watch the show, the games can be fun to play. My favorite was a game that went with the episode of the show where Jack was a Security Guard called J'ackuse.

A full episode is available online, though I don't think it is the best representation of the show, as it is a little more punny than they usually are, though Don Knotts plays the part of a border patrol officer to perfection.

I also respect the production company's move to make all the animation assets for the show available to the general public to play with(if they have the right program of course) in a project called Freejack, which I think could probably not only lead to some nice spinoff web cartoons but perhaps a wider group of people getting involved in Flash animation in general, and that can only be good for the medium at large. Huzzah!


DutchBitch said...

Never heard of it... Another thing I missed out on...

MC said...

I am sure there are fabulous shows in the Netherlands that I would love that I'll never see(or understand, as I am utterly incapable of mastering languages other than English).

Mr. Fabulous said...

Animated BlogMad hit!

Semaj said...

Good Review

So, this show is on in the states now? Do you know what cable channel?

MC said...

Mr. Fab: Thank you sir, may I have another.

Semaj: No, not yet, but like waiting for Drawn Together and Robot Chicken, it is good to know that it is out there so that when you see it, you make sure to catch it.

Jeremy Barker said...

Way to promote the home grown talent! A friend of mine from university is the illustrator for the show and I'm quite impressed with its success. In fact I just saw him at the SFX convention on Saturday, handing out DVDs of the show. Too funny.

Brad said...

Thanks very much for the quality review. I work on the show and we do everything we can think of the improve and promote the show.

Anomie-Atlanta said...

Off to You Tube to search for episodes!

MC said...

Jeremy: The closest thing I have to that is I went to high school with one of the guys in that FedEx commercial where the warehouse is set up to be a day ahead.

Brad: I've loved the show since it started (though the first season on the site is still two seasons in my mind). And I still have the theme song from "Orgy the Musical" rattling around in my brain. *keep it up, keep it up, keep it up!*

AA: I don't think there is anything more than a clip from the free posted episode on Youtube.

bradsears said...

Hi. Thanks for the support of Odd Job Jack's Freejack program. We just released a single torrent containing all 13 Freejack archives. Think of it as a full set.

Download it here:

This archive contains master flash assets from 13 episodes including:
- 1416 characters
- 914 props
- 2762 cameras

You can browse all the files before downloading the torrent:

Check out our 39 production interviews, videos, worksheets, and tutorials here:

Learn about the Odd Job Jack season 2 DVD just released here:

Catch Odd Job Jack in 'person' in his mall tour:

Don't forget to register at OddJobJack.com for a chance to win a PlayStation 3.


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