Tag Archives: Kathleen Phillips

Preview: Mr. D clocks in for his final year

I remember the first few seasons of Mr. D well. Debuting in 2012 just as the U.S version of The Office was winding down, the CBC sitcom revelled in the uncomfortable and cringe-worthy. Every scene centring on mediocre teacher-coach Gerry Duncan (Gerry Dee) was an exercise in wincing. What would he say to embarrass himself? What would he do to make my stomach turn into nervous knots?

But over the last seven seasons, the award-winning show has evolved. Yes, Gerry is still putting his foot in his mouth, but the characters around him have grown to take on the comedy lifting and inject a ton of heart into the show as well. I credit that maturation to co-creators Dee and Mike Volpe, the show’s writers and cast for allowing the show to grow and breathe and become what it is today: a funny, heartfelt family comedy.

Now it’s coming to an end. Season 8 kicks off Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC with two back-to-back episodes. The first, “Big in Japan,” picks up right where the Season 7 finale left off: Gerry boarding a flight to Japan after an investigative report labelled him the “Nation’s Worst Teacher.” Hoping for a fresh start, Gerry decides (with Bill’s help) that being an ESL teacher in Japan would be best.

But hold on. Turns out firing Gerry would admit the exposé was all true. Instead, Robert (Jonathan Torrens) is instructed to hire Gerry back and claim the report was, you guessed it, fake news. While Robert is trying to do that, things at Xavier Academy are in a bit of a disarray. Lisa (Lauren Hammersley) is doing some investigating of her own and it appears new phys ed. teacher/librarian Emma Terdie (Kathleen Phillips) is making outrageous claims of her own. Mr. D has boasted a brilliant use of music as part of its storytelling; it’s used to great effect in Wednesday’s first episode as Gerry teaches two children English while Alphaville’s “Big in Japan” plays. And, by the end of the episode, a curveball is thrown that appears to affect the tone and direction this final season will take.

Tune in and enjoy Mr. D‘s final ride. I certainly will.

Mr. D airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.


Smart and silly Sunnyside returns to City

Sunnyside is back, and Sundays on City will never be the same. Sandwiched between American fare Bob’s Burgers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the ribald sketch comedy series co-created by Gary Pearson and Dan Redican returns for smart and silly second half of Season 1.

Back for more hijinks are established characters like the trio of Meth Denise, Meth Kimmie and Meth Georgette, Shaytan the demonic barista, Molly the virgin and put-upon husband Graham alongside new creations like the Punching Priest (Rob Norman, who drills those who use the Lord’s name in vain and their cell phones in church with a boxing glove) and Dixon (played by Pat Thornton), who is tasked with buying tampons for his wife. It’s a job given many men, but there’s a twist to it in that strange place called Sunnyside: a war has broken out on the streets and Dixon dodges bullets on his way to the store.


“There is a war going on and nobody knows why,” Kathleen Phillips says with a laugh. The writer, actor and comedian who portrays memorable ladies like Denise, Molly and Carla, explains the bigger picture storylines for the remaining seven episodes include a volcano eruption, the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture. Originally ordered for six episodes, Rogers greenlit an additional seven instalments, meaning Phillips, Thornton, Norman, Redican, Pearson and fellow cast Alice Moran, Kevin Vidal and Patrice Goodman headed back to Winnipeg. As Phillips explains, that meant returning to a familiar setting with established characters they could complement with new ones and plunge everyone into more outlandish scenarios.

“There’s never really a time when we say, ‘That’s too crazy,'” Phillips interjects. “If anything, we say, ‘That’s not big or weird enough.'” And while the cast may suss out who the characters are in the writers’ room, Phillips divulges the series’ hair, makeup and wardrobe team play an integral part in helping shape Sunnyside’s citizens.

“It informs everything,” she says. “Sometimes you see the script and you don’t know who the character is because you haven’t had time to sit down and figure out the nuances until you have the costume and the wig on and you’re walking to set. And then you have it.” Aside from Sunnyside, Phillips can be seen reprising her role of librarian Miss Terdie in Season 5 of Mr. D when it returns to CBC in January, and most Thursdays at Comedy Bar where she appears in the Laugh Sabbath comedy collective. Also on tap? She’s working on Filth City, a feature film from LaRue Entertainment headed to Super Channel in 2016, filming her own short film and appearances slated for the Guelph Comedy Festival on Oct. 3 and the Cream of Comedy’s 20th Anniversary show on Oct. 22.

Sunnyside airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on City.