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"Merry Gasmas"
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"Merry Gasmas" is the annual Corner Gas Christmas special. The episode premiered on December 12, 2005, as the 13th episode of the third season, and the 44th episode in the series's history. It was also the last Corner Gas episode aired in the 2005 calendar year.

Synopsis: Brent is upset when Emma wants to get away from Christmas traditions by having a traditional Christmas. Hank organizes a gift drive for a needy family, but it turns out they aren't so needy after all. Wanda's gift-shopping consists of finding the season's hottest toy for her son. And Lacey's plans to go home to Toronto for Christmas get buried under bad weather.

The episode holds many milestones for the series. First, it was shot in November of 2005, making it the only episode never to be shot in the show's typical shooting schedule of May to September. It was the first Christmas-themed episode for the show, and it is aired every December. Whether or not this will continue after Corner Gas goes off the air in Spring 2009 remains to be seen.

The biggest milestone, however, is the episode's ratings. "Merry Gasmas" remains the highest-rated episode in Corner Gas history. Almost three million Canadians watched part of the episode on its original airdate, topping out at 2.92 million. It peaked at 2.43 million viewers, before settling into an average audience of 2.2 million.[1] Annual viewings continue to bring in strong numbers, with the first 2007 airing on December 3 getting 1.7 million viewers, making it the second-highest rated entertainment program in the country that night.[2]

For their performances in this episode, Brent Butt, Lorne Cardinal, Fred Ewanuick, Gabrielle Miller, Eric Peterson, Nancy Robertson, Tara Spencer-Nairn, and Janet Wright were nominated for the Gemini Award for Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series. The four-way script of Butt, Mark Farrell, Paul Mather, and Kevin White, was nominated for the Gemini for Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series. Though the episode won neither award, the series itself did pick up its second straight Gemini for Best Comedy Program or Series.

To help promote the episode, Butt recorded a three-minute audio sketch in which he attempts to record a song with lyrics having to do with the show. He becomes embroiled in a battle with the person in the audio booth, because a lot of his songs are set to the tunes of Christmas classics, such as "Jingle Bells," "The Snowman Song," and "The 12 Days of Christmas." After the producer suggests Brent rock out, Butt sings an original song just for "Merry Gasmas." [1]

Another note about the episode involves the music played in it. The usual music that plays during scene transitions is enhanced with the ringing of Christmas bells. The opening credits theme, "Not a Lot Goin' On," and the closing credits theme, "My Happy Place," are also enhanced with Christmas bells.

SummaryEdit

It's December, and Dog River's streets and businesses are covered in snow. The episode opens with Hank excitedly racing into the Ruby Cafe with Sears's famous annual Christmas catalogue, "The Wish Book." He and Brent sit at a booth. The two take turns closing their eyes, and rapidly flipping through the catalogue's pages, stopping on a random page, and pointing to an item, telling them what Santa Claus would be bringing them on Christmas morning. Brent goes first, and happily thinks he'll be receiving a power drill. Hank takes his turn, pointing to a Boston Bruins scarf. He's not very happy with this, as the Vancouver Canucks are his favourite National Hockey League team. Brent's second turn has him pointing to a treadmill, leaving him insulted. Lacey and Wanda watch from the counter, with Wanda explaining that the best friends have been doing this since they were six. She snatches the Wish Book away, telling Brent and Hank that they're pushing 40, and to grow up. As soon as they leave, Wanda flips through the catalogue, and points to a man with a moustache, telling Lacey that's who she'll marry. Repulsed, Lacey grabs the book, and flips through it, telling Wanda she'll marry a man wearing only plaid boxer shorts. Wanda clasps her hands together as if in prayer, looks up to the sky, and thanks Santa.

After the opening credits, the scene returns to the Ruby. Lacey tells Brent and Wanda that she's thinking of going to Toronto for Christmas. She asks what a traditional Dog River Christmas is like, but all Wanda and Brent can come up with is that there is snow, wind, cold, and "then we eat."

At the Foo Mart, a young boy asks his father if they can have presents on Christmas Morning. The father says no, that it's too much money. Hank watches from just behind them. The father's words echo in his head, and he has a flashback to when he was a kid, asking a total stranger if he could have a small toy. The man harshly says no, and tells Young Hank to quit following him. Flashing back to the present day, Hank can't fight back his tears.

Back at the Ruby, Lacey has decided to go to Toronto after all. She tells her cook, Josh, that she should be back in three or four days, and that he has her cell number in case of an emergency. Just as she's about to head home to pack for a flight, Brent appears, and tells her to take him with her.

Meanwhile, Oscar and Emma bring a new tree into the house. Emma worries that Oscar will break something the way he is carrying the tree. Tired of her nagging, Oscar sits down and lays the tree on the floor. When Emma tells him the tree just can't lay on the floor, Oscar responds that it would be easier to decorate.

At Corner Gas, Wanda shows Brent what she got her son, Tanner, for Christmas. It's a toy called a "Chew-Bot," a cross between a robot and a goat, part of a series called "Trans-farmers." Wanda tells Brent that she came to pick the toy out by analyzing market data and other research, when, really, she snatched it out of the hands of a fellow mother (played by Virginia Thompson, one of the series' executive producers) at the mall in Regina.

Davis and Karen park their police cruiser in front of the Foo Mart. Hank approaches the pair, suggesting that they help raise money for a less fortunate family, leading Karen to believe it's Hank's family they'll be raising money for. He tells them it's the Buckle family, whose father and son were in the Foo Mart earlier with Hank, that Hank wants to help out. Karen is somewhat skeptical, until Hank tells her it would be like when Frosty the Snowman got his nose, and led Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve, managing to totally mangle the storylines of the classic Christmas specials, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Back the Leroy household, Oscar decorates the tree, enjoying the smell of real wood. Brent walks in, and is horrified to find his father decorating a real tree, rather than the aluminum one he is used to. Emma tells her son of her determination to have a traditional Christmas for once. Brent points out that the aluminum tree had been in the family since 1974, and that it's Oscar's tradition to ruin Christmas, a point that Oscar disputes. Three flashbacks prove otherwise. When Brent was a young child, Oscar had to be sent to the hospital after badly injuring himself trying to carve the Christmas turkey. When Oscar and Emma are older, she is sent to the hospital because of bad eggnog. Back to Brent as a young lad, being sent to the hospital after hurting himself carving the turkey a couple of years after Oscar did so. Back in the present day, Brent announces he will boycott the new tree, though he will gladly do the other Christmas traditions of opening presents and eating.

Lacey arrives at Regina International Airport. She tells an airport offical her story of how she came to choosing to go back to Toronto for Christmas. He openly wonders if she made a call, meaning a decision. The two go back and forth about the use of the term "call," then Lacey is informed that Toronto is completely snowed in, and that all flights to the city have been cancelled. She accepts an official's offer to board a plane in Calgary, and get to Toronto from there.

Back inside Corner Gas, Wanda plays with the Chew-Bot, having it beat up a tiny Christmas tree. Brent walks in, and looks at her weirdly. Brent asks her why the toy is out of the box before Tanner is to open it, to which Wanda simply replies that she wanted to play with it. She shows off the features of the toy to Brent, and then the head pops off. Brent thinks it's cool, until Wanda begins to panic. She can't get the head back on.

Lacey, now at Calgary International Airport, is informed that all flights from Calgary to Toronto have been cancelled because of the weather. The official there confuses her by referring to Toronto Pearson International Airport by its International Air Transport Association airport code, YYZ, as well as Calgary International by its IATA, YYC. He tells her her best bet is to go to Edmonton International, or YEG, if she leaves Calgary by bus. Lacey agrees, though she's not sure as to what she's agreeing to. She says, "Yes," but it has to spell it for the official so he can understand her decision.

Back at the police station, Karen and Davis discuss how great it is to help out a charity. Karen says it's convenient for her, because she's "helping out poor people," and that she doesn't have to be specific with gifts, such as their size or color. Davis asks if Karen's getting him a gift; she says she's not, because that would bring back all of the stress. When Karen asks Davis the same question, he lies and tells her no, too.

At the Leroy household, Hank pitches his charity drive to Oscar and Emma. Emma tells him to take the aluminum tree Brent loves so much, which Hank accepts.

On a Greyhound headed for Edmonton, Lacey is on the phone with Wanda. Wanda is telling Lacey to buy her another Chew-Bot since she broke the first one. She describes the toy to Lacey, and says she'll have a better chance of finding one in Toronto. When Lacey tells Wanda she's in Red Deer, Wanda hangs up, leaving Lacey to tell her life story to an elderly man sitting next to her on the bus, who is not interested in hearing her talk, but rather in reading his magazine, Inside Track.

Hank goes into Corner Gas with an empty box, intending to leave it so people could make donations of food and presents during his charity drive. Brent is indifferent, but somewhat agrees.

In Regina, Wanda deals with a clerk at the toy store in the mall, trying to get her to get more Chew-Bots in time for Christmas. The woman tells Wanda there's nothing that can be done. Meanwhile, another shopper deals with the same issue, only to get the same results. Davis is there, too, trying to exchange the watch he bought for Karen for a man's watch, but because it was engraved, he's out of luck.

Brent is at his parents' place, where Emma cooks. She tries to get him to taste her homemade cranberry sauce, but Brent recoils. He tells Emma that cranberry sauce always came from a tin can, that it was the sound of Christmas. She fires back that "the sound of Christmas is you [Brent] whining."

Lacey, in Edmonton, again runs into a weather delay. The official there tells her to take a flight to Vancouver, to which Lacey, although stressed out, agrees.

At Corner Gas, Hank steps in to check on how full the box is. He encounters a fuming Wanda, still angry over not finding another Chew-Bot. Hank is delighted at the box, which is overflowing with gifts, including a new Chew-Bot, which he does not immediately point out. Brent comes in, still upset over the traditional Christmas his parents are deciding to have. Hank tells the two they're being silly, that they have all of these wonderful things, and shouldn't be so stressed out. He then pulls the Chew-Bot out of the box, causing Wanda to stand up.

After strapping in on the plane headed for Vancouver, Lacey introduces herself to a handsome man named Bill Henderson. He's a doctor, so Lacey finds herself somewhat smitten. He goes further, saying he specializes in cats only. Lacey's crush immediately flames out.

Back on the ground at the gas station, Wanda points out the Chew-Bot. Hank tells her she can't have it, because "it's for needy people." Wanda says she does need it, and lunges at the toy, only to be restrained by Brent. Brent tells her she can't do that, because the toy is for poor people, and it's Christmas. Wanda mutters, "Stupid poor people," and Brent agrees. He then discovers the aluminum Christmas tree in the box. Hank decides that the tree looks junky, and that he'll throw it out. Brent grabs one end, Hank the other, and the two begin pulling on it, with the top of the tree coming off. Wanda watches.

On the plane, Dr. Henderson continues to bore Lacey with cat facts. Back at Corner Gas, Wanda, all alone at the moment, eyes the Chew-Bot, sticking up out of the box.

Later that night, Brent pays another visit to his parents, fuming over them giving the tree away. Brent points out that the old tree didn't have pine needles falling out all over the place, or ooze sticky stuff all over the floor. Emma says it's fine, that that is supposed to happen. Brent agrees that the tree smells good, but he's still not happy with it. Oscar teases him about ruining Christmas, only for Emma to point out that Oscar still had time to do so himself.

At the police station, Hank, Karen, and Davis look over the box, ready to take to the Buckles' household. Davis places the watch in the box, as one final donation. Much to his dismay, Karen says she could use a new watch.

At the Leroy household, Oscar sits on the couch, watching TV, whilst Emma works in the kitchen. Her instructions to him go ignored, because he's too busy talking about Brent wrecking Christmas. He only hears her and responds when she says Brent is becoming more like his father every day. On the plane, Dr. Henderson talks about the difference between a cat's eye, and a human eye. Lacey closes her eyes, trying to get some sleep so the doctor will stop talking. The captain announces over the plane's intercom that due to bad weather, the plane will have to stop in Regina. Lacey wakes up, and when Dr. Henderson tries to pick up the conversation, Lacey tells him they shouldn't talk anymore, in case the pilot has other announcements. Hurt, he agrees.
Corner-gas-merry-gasmas-15

Hank, Karen and Davis at the Buckles' house.

Hank, Davis, and Karen make their way over to the Buckles' residence with the gifts and food. However, they make a stunning discovery. The Buckles aren't poor, just cheap, because they don't like making a big deal out of Christmas. Instead, they buy all of their gifts on Boxing Day, because everything is on sale.

At the Leroy household, Brent, Oscar and Emma sit in the living room. Brent points out that the new tree doesn't look too good. Oscar has forgotten to water it. He's also forgotten the turkey, which Emma demands he go and get. Oscar turns to Brent and asks if Emma is ruining Christmas. Brent replies that only Oscar could do that.

Back at Regina International, the official there tells Lacey she'll finally be able to get home for Christmas. She starts to tell him about her long journey, until she realizes he's not the right person to tell it to. So, Lacey returns to Dog River, and tells her friends at the Ruby her tale. All of the circumstances reminded her that Dog River really was home for her. Hank, Davis, and Karen walk in with the box, placing it on the table at Oscar and Emma's booth. Hank states that the items should still go to a needy person. Oscar, Hank, and Emma begin sifting through the box, with a nervous Wanda and Davis watching. Hank pulls out the watch Davis intended for Karen, while Emma pulls out the Chew-Bot Wanda broke. Lacey fumes as to who would give a needy child a broken toy. Wanda points out that there is a $20 bill in the neckhole, causing everyone to look at her. Found out, she loudly starts to sing "Joy to the World," only to cease.

On Christmas night, Brent helps Lacey take down the Christmas decorations at the Ruby. The two look awkwardly at each other after discovering that they're under a piece of mistletoe. Brent offers to cut it down. A short time later, Brent is being transported to the hospital via ambulance, because he's injured himself. Lacey, Emma, and Oscar watch through one of the Ruby's windows. Emma ends the episode with the line, "Same damn thing every year."

ReferencesEdit

  1. Nearly 3 Million Viewers and New Ratings Record For CTV's Corner Gasmas Episode "Nearly 3 Million Viewers and New Ratings Record For CTV's Corner Gasmas Episode", Bell Canada Enterprises, 2005-12-13. Retrieved on 2008-5-15.
  2. Corner Gas Christmas Special “Merry Gasmas” Delivers Record 1.7 million Viewers "Corner Gas Christmas Special “Merry Gasmas” Delivers Record 1.7 million Viewers", TV, eh?, 2007-12-4. Retrieved on 2008-5-15.