By Diane Wild
Article first published as Dan For Mayor Returns From Exile on Blogcritics
It’s been over a month since new episodes of Dan For Mayor aired on CTV. Over a month since Dan broke up with Brianna, his ex-girlfriend Claire broke up with Mike, and the campaign Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with Dan and Claire on opposite sides – was heating up.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It bugged me in that Canadian shows take a backseat to American shows for sweeps,Ã¢â‚¬Â said co-star Mary Ashton, who plays Claire, of the May shutout. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I’m glad CTV is coming back with a push to get people to watch it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ashton and I spoke the day after an ACTRA protest targeting Global for spending millions on American shows while finding room for only one hour of scripted Canadian drama Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the new Callum Keith Rennie series Shattered Ã¢â‚¬â€œ on their fall schedule. We also spoke the day before CTV announced it was renewing its entire Canadian scripted lineup, including Dan For Mayor.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It ended in a limbo, where both Dan and Claire are between relationships. She just liberated herself, so who knows what’s going to happen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Of course, Ashton knows; the season had finished shooting even before the first episode aired. She’s filled her time waiting for a season two with theatre work, including an upcoming show at the Toronto Fringe Festival Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I caught her during a rehearsal lunch break at Kensington Market.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I loved this episode,Ã¢â‚¬Â she enthused about Monday’s Claire-centric half hour. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The writers gave me a chance to have some fun. I think it was the most ridiculous for my character, in that she was totally vulnerable Ã¢â‚¬â€œ she was trying to figure out what was going on with Brianna and Dan Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so she was obviously jealous, but at the same time excited. She was trying to keep a poker face about it all, until she finds out they’ve broken up. I think maybe it’s just a fulfillment of her own ego that she wants to find out he broke up with her for her.Ã¢â‚¬Â
She also has to contend with Dan professionally as well as personally, after taking a job with Alan, another mayoral candidate. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think it was a mistake that she worked for him because it was retaliation against Dan, and it kind of adds up in this episode.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Her character is largely defined by her relationship to Dan, but Ashton sees greater depth in the role than as simply the lead’s ex and possibly future girlfriend. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is a sitcom, but I think she was well developed in that she has a nice storyline where she’s trying to live up to her own expectations and not to everyone else’s.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was never anything literally written down, but in my own preparation, I think she has issues with her parents. As you get to know them more, I think you see she tried to live up to their expectations.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Dan For Mayor audience will finally get to know all the characters better as the last four episodes of the season air this month, starting Monday, June 7.