In this premiere episode of Four in the Morning, created by Ira Parker, we are treated to a bit of magic realism: a talking pig named Albert a.k.a. Buzz. More on that later.
Four in the Morning is being touted as a comedy. I would, however, describe this as a surreal dream that definitely takes itself seriously. The dialogue flies by and the puns are delivered so deadpan that if you are not listening, you might not catch them all. But this is not a laugh-a-minute show. It delves a little deeper despite the many f-bombs and a few other liberal-isms that we typically do not see on the CBC. It features four (get it? FOUR!) twentysomethings experiencing life at 4 a.m..
Parker himself describes the series: “Four in the Morning is about that feeling you get after a long night of drinking with your friends, fluctuating somewhere between euphoria and misery. It’s about the things we say to each other that we couldn’t during our more sober hours. This is the world our show lives in.”
We open with a quick walking tour through the Patrician Grill—the 219 over the door should be a dead giveaway to Torontonians—and land downstairs in the the ladies’ room with Mitzi (Lola Tash, formerly of Republic of Doyle) sharing the news with her best friend Jamie (Michelle Mylett, “Katy” of Letterkenny) that her talking pet pig has died. See, I really wasn’t kidding about the pig.
Meanwhile, back in the booth, Bondurant (Daniel Maslany, whose credits include Corner Gas), confesses his love for Jamie to Jamie’s boyfriend William (Mazin Elsadig). Eventually, the foursome reunite in a scene reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally—we all remember that “famous” scene in Katz’s Delicatessen—and the whole thing comes together like you would imagine a Seinfeld episode if it were written by David Lynch. Quirky is a bit of an understatement.
Anyhow, William turns to his girlfriend Jamie in frustration, “I am starting to get why your parents abandoned you,” and with that, the foursome becomes two twosomes, setting up a series of back and forth, his and hers scenes. We learn through Bondurant’s confession to William that he has lied to everyone about his acceptance to Julliard. We also learn via Mitzi’s own confession to Jamie that she is merely “transitorily pregnant” and plans to abort Bondurant’s child because it is her belief that he has been accepted to Julliard.
This sequence of bantering scenes feels more like a one-act play than television sitcom, giving 4 a.m. a very fresh charm. It crams in a good deal of background information with its fast-paced dialogue. Parker even gets a bit meta with his dialogue; William calls Bondurant out for dropping a famous Carnegie/Massey Hall joke.
We close with the knowledge that Mitzi’s pig squealed on Jamie and Bondurant, while Bondurant contemplates his future, sans trumpet, from the stage of an empty and darkened Massey Hall.
This is truly a refreshing blend of humour and bittersweet-ness. Definitely a standing “O” to the CBC for allowing Parker free reign with his creation. This, I hope, will be a really fun ride!
Will Mitzi decide to keep Bondurant’s baby? What do you think will happen next? Do you have a favourite line from the show? Leave your ideas in the comments below!
Four in the Morning airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on CBC.