7 May 2000 | Avalon-13
Alive and Twitching
Canada's up-and-coming media-hopper Don McKellar is a phenomenon you must see to believe. McKellar was writer, director, and star of last year's Apocalypse Canadian-style, Last Night, as well as co-writer and co-star of Francois Girard's internationally praised indie The Red Violin. He also had a part in eXistenz, another Canadian export, and he is working on new episodes of his television brainchild Twitch City.
The disturbing irony of Twitch City is that it makes you adore and revile at once the medium of television. McKellar's Curtis is probably the most repulsive example of human life one is likely to find on Canada's stellar network, the CBC. Lying around 24/7 in grungy attire while snacking on Fruity-O's with his eyes and ears glued to the most abhorrent garbage the idiot box has to offer, Curtis supports his agoraphobic lifestyle by over-charging the sketchiest characters in Toronto for the extra room in his seedy downtown flat. He even manages to rent out the closet for $100 a month. He is assisted by fellow TV-junkie Newbie, the wisecracking clerk at the corner market who supplies his old University buddy with expired edibles and vintage TV trash. Closet-dwelling Hope, the impossibly understanding girlfriend of Curtis's former roommate Nathan, attempts to keep their abode civilized (but of course fails miserably).
The enigma of it all is that this unlikely cast, surrounded by the ever-changing gaggle of extraneous roomies, may be the most ridiculously hilarious and intoxicatingly original ensemble on television. From an American point of view, this is a diamond in the rough. Would that we Stateside slobs could get a little more exposure to this kind of artistry.
With all the recent exposure and a near-sweep at the Genies (Oscar's Canadian red-headed step-child), McKellar may be on his way to the international recognition he deserves, both as a comic screen-writer of genius proportions, and as an unconventionally arresting actor. Don't look for him in People's year-ending soft-porn layout (a.k.a. 50 Most Beautiful People), but those with a sophisticated palate where humor is concerned should get ready to make room for him--somewhere between Oscar Wilde and Woody Allen.