One of the few glaring problems with the first season of Kroll Show was that it didn’t have nearly enough “Wheels, Ontario” sketches. That was simply a matter of timing—according to Kroll, they arrived at the idea for a Degrassi spoof late in shooting the show and just couldn’t get that much in. Well, fear no more! Kroll Show episode two is built around the excessively polite yet surprisingly hard-hitting teen drama set at a school almost entirely populated by teens in wheelchairs.
I think “Wheels, Ontario” is funny no matter what—Canada humor isn’t hard to get, and Kroll and Jon Daly’s mannerisms and vacant, pleasant faces kill in every scene they have. But for anyone who’s watched Degrassi, the satire is even more spectacular. There is something about how that show confronted searing issue after searing issue in a largely friendly, reasoned fashion—usually wrapping with a moral within 30 minutes, so that next week we can be ready for teen pregnancy, or a school shooting, or genital mutilation, or god knows what.
Daly’s character spoofs something I always found fascinating and a little depressing about Degrassi: that some of the actors playing the teachers and parents of the new generation were from the original ‘80s show. These people have essentially been playing the same roles their entire lives. Daly (who was missed from the first episode and is very welcome here) is Gene Creemers, a lifelong “Wheels” cast member who now plays Coach Teacher, almost as disaffected on the show as he is off it. An extra wink comes from the fact that Lauren Collins plays the object of Legs’ affection in this episode. She was Paige on Degrassi! Oh, it’s layers upon layers.
In Kroll Show’s typical metatextual fashion, we see both “Wheels, Ontario” and the actors existing outside the show, with Kroll’s Bryan La Croix (surely named by staff writer Joe Mande because of his obsession with LaCroix flavored water) becoming a national star for his Bieber-esque looks and purity, to the disgust of Creemers. The closing music video, essentially an announcement of a competition for girls to try and take Bryan’s virginity, is not laugh-out-loud funny, but definitely a nice mix of earwormy tunes, creepy dubbed voices and generally disturbing content.
The other main character we follow in episode two is Bobby Bottleservice, who (along with Peter Paparazzo) is becoming a gigolo in season two under the mentorship of a tuxedoed Peter Gallagher. This is exactly what I love about this second season so far. The characters can just evolve into funny new situations by having new reality shows. It’s both a clever dig at the way reality shows are constantly evolving into new, more disgusting spinoffs, and a great way to keep things fresh.
Gallagher was a pleasant surprise—the kind of guest star you don’t expect but aren’t surprised to see being totally game to do weird things. Jason Mantzoukas pops up later as a rival gigolo and moves into a house with Bobby and Peter. We had better see more of that later, because Mantzoukas is too good a guest to waste on such a brief appearance (even his improvised conversation with Kroll in the runner was genius).
Bobby B never fails for me. The details—his gold boxers, his necklace filed with Dentyne mints—are as good as the big concepts, like his inability to be a gigolo without telling his client that his mother is going to love her. He’s a softie, but in a specific kind of way that seems right for the archetype being spoofed.
- Bryan La Croix’s fans are called “Bryantologists.”
- “Cameron's my parental guardian's name, okay? Call me Cam.”
- The Canadian sex ed kid comes with a butt plug. “I went to see nurse teacher, I put a squid in my exit, so I'm good to go.”
- “Hippie Fights” didn’t do much for me despite the presence of Seth Morris. Maybe more of an LA joke?
- “Are you hardly working? Cause I'm hardly hard. That didn't come out right.”
- “As far as upstairs, goatee, as far as downstairs, goatee.” “My pubes are shaved into gargoyle wings.”
- “If you would like to pay me back, you guys don't happen to have a shower I could use later tonight, do you? Or maybe a place I could take a nap inside?” “Okay, very much weird turn here!” “I'll jerk you both off!”
- I loved Peter’s adventure with the baby sex people. “I felt bad asking my new mommy and daddy for money.”
- Tooney will get government support for her new baby. “I do love receiving mail.”