|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic • Source • Setting|
Brent: There's lots to see. Nothin' to block your view. Like the mountains back there. They're uh... Well, what the hell? I could've sworn there was a big mountain range back there. Juttin' up into the sky all purple and majestic. I must be thinkin' of a postcard I saw or somethin'. Hey, it is kinda flat, thanks for pointin' that out.
A Sitcom set in the Saskatchewan town of Dog River, Corner Gas follows the lives of the town's residents; Brent, the owner of the titular establishment, his parents Oscar and Emma, his assistant Wanda, his friend Hank, restaurant owner Lacey, and local police officers Davis and Karen.
Known for its sly sense of humour, sharp writing, and especially notable for being authentic (actor/writer Brent Butt grew up in small-town Saskatchewan), Corner Gas was eventually brought to a close after its sixth season to allow the show to go out at the top of its game (a move which the cast and crew supported).
The series launched in Canada on CTV in 2004. It was picked up for syndication by WGN in the United States in 2007. It ended in April 2009.
- Accidental Innuendo: The entirety of the episode "Doc Small" from season two.
- In the episode "World's Biggest Thing", the town gets the idea to make their own biggest object. Unfortunately, while out of ideas, Fitzy's grandmother suggestion for a hoe (the garden tool) becomes predominant because no one wants to speak up about the unfortunate accidental innuendo.
- Accidental Kiss: After watching a French movie, Hank starts greeting people by kissing them on the cheeks. When he tries to do it with Emma, he accidentally kisses her on the lips instead. He later decides to talk to her about it, which gives us the line "What kiss? You mean when you hit me in the face with your lips?"
- The Ace: Both Brent's Cousin Carl and Terry, the door guy.
- Actor Allusion: While talking about the best Canadian TV shows, Wanda says she likes Street Legal. Oscar immediately says that Street Legal sucked.
- Julie Stewart played a detective who investigated cold cases in the Canadian drama Cold Squad. When she appeared in the episode "Grad '68" as a paint store clerk, Karen told her she was working on a cold case and Stewart replied, "Cold case? Who cares?"
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Parodied in "Dark Circles" when Brent starts wearing a black uniform shirt. Wanda starts acting scared of him, but Lacey gets all dreamy and high school crush-like.
- All Just a Dream: The last episode of the fourth season, "Gopher It", is actually just a really long Imagine Spot after Hank is told to think about his idea.
- The Alleged Car: Hank's truck.
Brent: Hey, is your truck burning oil? Like more than usual?
- Almost Famous Name: In one episode, Brent exclaims, "Look everybody, it's Al Gore!" When Lacey says that the man in question looks nothing like Al Gore, Brent clarifies that his name is spelled "Goar".
- Ambulance Cut: The Christmas episode "Merry Gasmas" uses this trope four different times. The first three are flashbacks to previous Christmases. Emma tells Oscar to be careful with the sharp carving knives, cut to an ambulance. Emma says her eggnog tastes off and Oscar tells her to drink it anyway, cut to an ambulance. Emma again tells Oscar to be careful with the knives, so Oscar gives them to a very young Brent, cut to an ambulance. At the end of the episode, Brent climbs onto a shaky ladder to take down some mistletoe, time for another ambulance cut. Emma watches the ambulance pull away and says, "Same damn thing every year."
- Also when Emma tricks Lacey into delivering her soup order:
Lacey: Hank, I need to deliver this soup to Emma.
- Ask a Stupid Question: When Brent walks into Oscar and Emma's living room while they're putting up Christmas decorations:
Brent: Whoa, what are you doing?
- Awesome Yet Impractical: Wanda's ability to rearrange any sentence into another one.
Brent: I don't know why you're still here. With that ability you could... (beat) you're right, there is no real world application to it.
- Aw, Look — They Really Do Love Each Other: Oscar and Emma. Especially the entire sugar bowl lid dispute where Oscar apologizes with the amethyst jewelry gift.
- Authority in Name Only: Fitzy Fitzgerald
- Bad Liar: Lacey is an abysmal liar, and this fact is often lampshaded.
- Bait and Switch: Happens quite a bit.
- Baseball Episode: "Slow Pitch" (well, softball).
- Berserk Button: Do not pick up the cordless phone at Corner Gas before it's fully charged or Wanda will totally bite your head off.
- If you work for Canada and Customs and Revenue, do not mention this fact to Oscar.
- Best Out of Infinity: When Hank and Emma play pool.
- Big Eater: Brent (and Lacey, when she wins the perogie eating contest). Brent even eats an entire bowl of perogies in under five seconds, and says it isn't his best time. He only took so long because Lacey fed him a big plate of chili cheese dogs before their eat-off in an attempt to fill him up.
- Big No: Davis in "Physical Credit" just before he dashes to rescue his Hardy Boys books.
- Blah Blah Blah: Lacey when people try to explain how to play bridge to her.
- A Bloody Mess: When Emma calls up Brent and speaks in a hushed whisper, standing over a large red puddle. Turns out she spilt a can of tomato juice and didn't want Oscar to find out.
- Body Horror: Brent seems to consider Fitzy's face slowly turning bright red as he makes a very pained expression to be this.
Brent: I've never seen a human face do that before. Looked like a balloon full of jam.
- Book Ends: The first shot in the first episode of Corner Gas is a close-up of the Corner Gas sign, as is the last shot of the last episode.
- Boring Yet Practical: The shuttle run from the canada fitness guide. Davis feels there is no real-world value to it, until his Hardy Boys books are nearly run over by a truck and his shuttle run rescues them from being covered in threadmarks.
- Bothering by the Book: In one episode, has Davis and Karen deciding "Work to rule" as a form of protest. When they tell the mayor they're working "By the book", the mayor actually gives them a copy of the rule book, which is an encyclopedia-sized tome. They decide to go back to work normally.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
Lacey: Well Hank, phobias are irrational, they don't have to make sense. Don't you guys have any?
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Continually skirts this with things like the Boom Mike gag, Cameos, and such.
- Break-In Threat: Played for Laughs in "Shirt Disturber." Davis is trying to sell alarm systems, so he breaks into Oscar and Emma's bedroom one morning with coffee. ("This could have been a burglar bringing you coffee!") They buy an alarm system just to make him leave them alone.
- Brick Joke: In "Cousin Carl," after trying his homemade beer (which Brent wonders if it was mixed in a skidoo boot or a crow's nest), Oscar pours the lot on Emma's tomato plants, which were suffering from a lack of food. By the end of the episode, the plants are huge.
- Butt Monkey: Hank and sometimes Lacey.
- Calling Shotgun: Hank does it during a ridealong, causing Karen, the actual policewoman, to ride in the back of the car.
- Later in the episode, Karen tries calling shotgun, but is told to grow up.
- The Cameo: Often lampshaded, such as when Colin Mochrie appeared directly after the characters talking about "that guy who shows up in every Canadian comedy show" or having sports stars randomly show up saying things like "Hi, I'm Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist Cindy Klassen."
- Or having someone randomly asking former Canada Governor General Adrienne Clarkson if she wants to help tear down an old barn. And she accepts. A few scenes later shows her in a Gilligan Cut swinging a sledgehammer, yelling, "Take that you stupid barn!"
- Canadian Football: Come on, it's set in Saskatchewan. The Riders are frequently mentioned, and the first-season finale centers around the Grey Cup.
- Cannot Keep a Secret: One episode revolved around Brent and Lacey competing to see which one of them is a better confidant.
Emma: See? You both suck.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Hank.
- Can't You Read the Sign?: Lacey tells Karen not to play with her hackey sack in the restaurant. Karen says that if it's a rule, there should be a sign posted, to which Lacey replies "We don't have a sign for everything. Read the sign!" and then points to a sign that reads "We don't have a sign for everything. -Lacey".
- Captain Obvious: In "Full Load," Davis pulls Hank over for having a broken taillight. He says he'll follow as Hank drives his truck to the police station to be impounded. Hank agrees, but says, "Hey. Don't rear-end me. My taillight's broke."
- Catch Phrase: Oscar has quite a few, such as constant declarations of "Jackass," continually mentioning "My taxes pay your salary!" whenever he's trying to get the Police to do something about whatever is annoying him, and shouting, "Holy hell!" when he's surprised and/or annoyed. Lampshaded in "The J Word":
Brent: Honestly, Dad, you gotta give that word a rest.
- Davis himself likes to say "All right!" in a very genuinely excited tone more than a few times.
- Cat Scare: When watching a scary movie, the experienced horror movie watchers try to predict this, but as it turns out, a buzzsaw pops out and kills someone instead.
- Character Blog: Hank's blog from "Hank Talkin'" appeared on the official website for a short time.
- Character Name Alias: In "World's Biggest Thing," Brent adds the names Peter Parker, Marge Simpson and Jean-Luc Picard to a list of people who have bounced checks at the gas station. Oscar doesn't recognize the names, gets very angry about the bounced checks, and tells Brent, "Don't take checks from Marge Simpson or that French guy!" Brent finds this hilarious and a few minutes later he tells Lacey that Oscar is still trying to track down Arthur Fonzarelli.
- Chick Magnet: Hank, but only when he's talking about fishing.
- Even the Guys Want Him when he does.
- Well, Davis does, and he once spent half the year's police budget decorating a wedding.'
- Davis pretty much avoids fishing with Hank now, faking an important aromatherapy class to get out of it, and he has no sense of smell.
- Not to mention reading Cosmo on a regular basis.
- Also Brent when he had his black shirt.
- Even the Guys Want Him when he does.
- City Mouse: Lacey.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Wanda teaches Lacey on when to use "schemey fingers."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hank. He often daydreams about various oddities, sometimes confusing other characters.
- In one episode, he not only wonders who would win if robots fought werewolves, but also mentions how impressed Vikings would be if they could travel through time and see all the glow in the dark stuff we have.
- He also spouts sexy, poetic language while on fishing trips, causing other characters to be attracted to him regardless of their sexual orientation.
- One episode of the series takes place almost exclusively in Hank's mind.
- Code Word Coitus: An inversion: in one episode, Karen sleeps with Hank after he waxes poetic about fish. Not because she's into fish at all, but because he's into fishing so much that it brings out his poetic and sensitive side; we even see him from her point of view and he's in soft focus. It's subverted later in the episode after they decide not to continue with things, only for Karen to start in on how she likes gunnery practice, and Hank sees her in soft focus...then she fumbles for words and the moment's lost.
- Cold Open: Typically of the kind that sets up the plot for the rest of the episode while also making a quick joke.
- Comically Small Bribe: In "Hurry Hard", Brent and Wanda and Oscar and Emma each want Lacey to be their fourth for an upcoming curling bonspiel. Oscar and Emma rush to ask Lacey "Lacey, will you join our curling team?" Wanda then tells Brent to up the ante and he says "Lacey, will you be on our team please." And Wanda sarcastically says "Good ante-ing."
- Also the offer to keep Brent on the dog River hockey team when a rumor has him traded to another team: several coupons, a free sub card (two tokens short) and a roll of police line tape.
- Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: In the pilot episode, Hank complains about a terrible cup of coffee, to which Brent says, "Oh, well, let me refund your money. What'd you pay for it, zero?"
- The Conspiracy: When Lacey tries to discover the origin of the Dog River town name, she finds clues disappearing and witnesses being manipulated at every turn, Emma always a few steps ahead of her, until she discovers the Dark Secret: her great-grand-uncle had been drowning dogs in the river, and somehow the name stuck.
- Continuity Nod: In the Season One episode "Oh, Baby," Brent baby-sits Wanda's son Tanner, who keeps throwing toy cars at his head. In the Season Three episode "Merry Gasmas," Wanda asks Brent if he wants to see what she got Tanner for Christmas. Brent immediately says, "Ooh, is it something hard he can throw at my head?"
- In a Season One episode, Hank asks Brent to loan him some cash and Brent says, "Is that like your official greeting now?" In the Season Two episode "Air Show," Brent is the one who needs money. He asks Hank if he can borrow 20 bucks and Hank replies, "Is that like your official greeting now?" with a big smile on his face.
- In the aformentioned "Merry Gasmas" from season 3, Lacey reminisces about watching the fireplace on TV at Christmas time as a kid. In "No Time Like the Presents" from Season 5, Emma is buying Christmas gifts for everyone in the Summer. It flashes forward to the ensuing Christmas, where Emma is about to hand everyone their gift. Lacey has to be called away from the floor... where she is sitting and watching the fireplace on TV.
- Convenience Store Gift Shopping: In "Road Worthy," Oscar tells Wanda that he can't decide on a gift for Emma, to which she says, "Well, coming to the gas station was a great start. There's motor oil, antifreeze, two-liter bottles of pop ..." Oscar says that Emma likes pop, but Wanda tells him, "Don't get her pop."
- Wanda tells Emma that she does all her christmas shopping at the dollar store, which prompts Emma to wonder about that bracelet Wander gave her. Wanda trails off and quickly changes subjects. Then at the cash register, the cashier notices that Emma's bracelet is identical to those at the impulse buy 99 cents bin. Hilarity Ensues.
- Crazy Enough to Work: Many of the schemes tried by Brent LeRoy and Hank Yarbo (and a pretty significant chunk of the schemes everyone else in the main cast try) fit into this trope. Most of the time the plans fail miserably, but even when they work, the success just creates another problem they hadn't anticipated.
- Crazy Prepared: Davis has the papers already drawn up to have Oscar committed, in case Emma ever needs them. So he's literally Crazy Prepared.
- Hank's pants with pockets everywhere. He challenges everyone to name something he's not carrying, and systematically pulls them out of his pockets no matter how improbable the guesses become.
- Also applies to the things Davis keeps in the trunk of his car.
- Creepy Doll: The lawn gnome in "Picture Perfect" that resembles Oscar.
- The end of the episode reveals that it was one of a pair. The other one, of course, looks like Emma.
- Crossword Puzzle: When a Tarot card reader refers to the 18th letter of the alphabet and Wanda immediately says, "R!" Everyone looks at her strangely and she says, "I do thirty crosswords a day."
- Counterfeit Cash: When Brent has a $100 bill, no one accepts it because they assume it's fake or don't want to bother with change and just gives him what he wants for free. Unfortunately for him, eventually someone is able to make change, at which point everyone else he offered it to comes by to claim their share.
- Curse Cut Short: In "Get The F Off My Lawn," when Lacey realizes that the F and E are missing from her "Cafe" sign:
Lacey: Where's my F 'n' E?
- The Danza: Brent Butt plays... Brent Leroy.
- Daydream Believer: Davis believes that the events of Battlestar Galactica actually happened, and regularly meets with others who agree.
- Daydream Surprise: Used frequently, most notably in the fourth season finale, which plays out as if it's the final episode of the entire show, with characters moving away, character arcs being resolved, a Bittersweet Ending and the eponymous gas station being taken over by a megacorporation as Dog River goes from being a small town to a proper city...before it's revealed that all of this is just a prolonged daydream sequence on the part of Hank.
- Deadpan Snarker: Wanda; see also the page quote.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In "Outside Joke," Brent is excited about the gas station's new windshield washer fluid because, "It's red! The old stuff was blue! We used to sell blue, now we're selling red!"
- Description Cut: Multiple times - in many cases, without the cut.
- "Tax Man":
Brent: I can't just turn over my father. There's a bond between father and son that's strong and sacred.
- "Cousin Carl":
Mrs. Jensen: With him, the customer was always number one. Oscar always treated people with great respect.
- Did Not Do the Bloody Research: In "Bend It Like Brent," when Davis feels the need to use British English words ('football') over their Canadian English counterparts ('soccer').
Davis: Thanks for donating the footballs.
- Given the entirely-innocent grin on Davis' face, he likely didn't realize how offensive the word was. Which was probably part of the joke.
- Disaster Dominoes: In "Telescope Trouble," Hank borrows Wanda's TV. As he's walking down the porch steps with it, he bumps into her birdbath and breaks it. This causes the TV to fly out of his arms... right through the window of Wanda's car. And this cycle only repeats itself. Hank decides to get Wanda a new birdbath. He leaves it outside the gas station, where Wanda promptly bumps into it while trying to carry her large telescope. The birdbath breaks and the telescope flies through Brent's car window. Birdbaths can cause widespread destruction if you're not careful!
- Disproportionate Retribution: Played for laughs:
Davis: I heard we almost lost Brent.
- Dissimile: When Wanda is rejected for a credit card after being told she was pre-approved, Hank attempts to console her.
Hank: It's okay, Wanda. I got one of those "pre-approved" letters in the mail too.
- The Ditz: Hank, of course. Also Lacey in later seasons.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?
- Double Entendre: An entire episode is based around the male characters all trying to buy better cell-phones than each other. The following dialogue occurs between one of said men and an unsuspecting local.
"Goddamit! I'm sure of it now."
- Not to mention the episode involving Davis, the Cosmo-reading somewhat Ambiguously Gay police officer, being locked in a jail cell with Hank, the village idiot. Davis ends up escaping, which leads to this exchange between Karen (Davis' partner) and Hank:
Karen: Davis is out?
- A drug one when half of the cafe letters fall down
Hank: Hey, where's your F 'n' E?
- Brent, when trying to install a video camera
"Now no more dirty talk. Hand me that big tool so I can mount this thing"
- Downer Ending: The fourth season finale had Brent selling Corner Gas, Davis being transferred to Woolverton and, saddest of all, Lacey moving back to Toronto. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
- Down on the Farm: The Canadian equivalent is parodied relentlessly whenever an out-of-towner visits.
- Duck Season! Rabbit Season!: Hank argues with Brent on how this trick is unrealistic and wouldn't work in real life and, of course, Hank falls for it.
- Eagle Land: Parodied and inverted. A second season episode features an American tourist who is polite and understands and appreciates Canadian culture more than most Dog River residents do.
- Eccentric Townsfolk
- Elvis Impersonator: In one episode, it's revealed that Oscar and Emma had never been married. Near the end of the episode, at their rehearsal dinner, it was revealed that they are married, but had lied to cover up their embarrassing "Elvis wedding". The townspeople all agree that being married by a guy dressed as Elvis isn't something that they should be embarrassed about. Later, Oscar and Emma are seen burning their wedding photos in a fire. They're the ones dressed as Elvis. Both of them.
- Epic Fail: We are treated to a montage of Stuff Blowing Up in Oscar's face, ending with a salad (see Lethal Chef below).
- Oscar's efforts at carpentry inevitably end up as this, lampshaded by Emma.
- Eternal Employee: Wanda seems to always be working at the gas station. But to be fair, her boss Brent lets Wanda get away with everything she wants to do, so she probably enjoys practically living there if only Brent would leave her alone. (Despite this, Brent chose himself to be his own employee of the month in an episode.)
- Likewise, the town's only two police officers are rarely seen off-duty, although they don't do much to begin with.
- The final episode epilogue shows that Wanda eventually gets a degree in physics and uses it to negociate a small salary raise from Brent.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Quoting Davis: "Hank's... different... when he's fishing."
- Exact Words:
- Officers Davis and Karen (the entire police force) decide to work to rule. Partly subverted because they don't bother with the rules most of the time anyway (and Davis, the senior officer, had never even seen the rulebook and thought it much thinner) while the mayor is happy letting them dig their own grave with the townsfolk, so the entire episode ends up with Karen and Davis trying to get out of it.
- In the episode "Oh, Baby", Brent asks Tanner to stop throwing toy cars at his head. So Tanner throws a truck.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Karen enjoys cooking and is quite good at it, but keeps it a secret out of fear of losing respect as a police officer.
- Considering that Davis is a talented and enthusiastic cook himself, this would likely have the opposite effect and increase his confidence in her.
- Fictional Document: At the end of one episode, Brent does an "if you want to find out more, visit your local Library!" segment with the books featured in the episode. One of them he mentions is something "the prop guy made up" but is "a good read".
- Full Name Ultimatum: In one episode, Brent and Lacey are failing to control a coworker's small child, and finally call in Emma, who promptly puts the kid in line with a Full Name Ultimatum. The Aesop being? It can scare anyone.
- Combined with the fact that Emma can scare anyone.
- Fundraiser Carnival: There's one in the episode "Dog River Daze." Davis and Hank are both so excited about the dunk tank that they compete with each other to annoy the townsfolk so people will want to dunk them.
- The Fun in Funeral: A Season 5 episode has Oscar and Wanda crash funerals together for different reasons (Wanda does it to skip work. Oscar does it because Emma gets a job and he doesn't want to have to make his own food). Wanda later puts out sandwiches stolen from the funeral at her kid's birthday party.
- Also the episode where Oscar's subplot has him build his own coffin in the basement to save money.
- Fun with Acronyms: The episode "Doc Small."
Emma: The Committee to convince a young doctor to live in Dog River, or...
- Geographic Flexibility: Residents of Dog River, Saskatchewan often refer to (and drive to) "the city" but it's unclear whether it's Saskatoon or Regina they're going to. In some cases Regina is implied, but in one case Saskatoon is mentioned explicitly, i.e., "You went to Saskatoon for a morning swim?" The show also subverts the trope, often having a character declare emphatically that Dog River doesn't have an item that many sitcom towns tend to have for story convenience. For example, the above-mentioned "morning swim" comment was the result of Brent pretending that his case of pink eye was the result of taking a dip in an over-chlorinated pool, but Hank and Wanda point out that there's not a swimming pool anywhere in Dog River.
- The Ghost: Wanda's son Tanner.
- Ghost in the Machine: One episode had this, in Hank's head. Lacey almost shows him how to open a notoriously difficult carafe, but he stops her, saying he has a limited amount of room in his head. Cut to two a Hank sitting at a desk in front of some boxes. Another one comes up to him to place a box of Bannanorama lyrics. A minute later, Hank tries to tell a joke, but he says "Bannannorama" instead of the proper punchline. Cut to his head again, where the boxes have all fallen and mixed together.
- Godwin's Law: Oscar initially refused to wear a Corner Gas uniform with the excuse that people would mistake the gas station workers for Nazis.
- Got Me Doing It: In an early episode, Lacey complains about the others habit of spitting on the floor when the neighboring town of Woolerton is mentioned. By the end of the scene, she's doing it and realises she's become one of them.
- Grumpy Old Man: Good Lord, Oscar.
Brent: It's not just you. Dad's cranky. I saw him yell at a butterfly once. Called it a son of a bitch, told it to get out of his garden.
- Hand Rubbing: Referenced by Brent after they invite Lacey to their "revenge brunch".
Brent: Hey, how'd you like to come for bunch at my parents' place?
- Happy Place: Brent Leroy's happy place has two scantily clad women, pudding baths, chili cheese dogs and once, The Man from Glad.
- Heh Heh, You Said "X": In "Cat River Daze":
Emma: Look at what those stray cats do!... They run around in the dirty and poop everywhere!
- Homage: The episode "The Littlest Yarbo", Hank is convinced a random German Shepard Dog is actually The Littlest Hobo. The episode even ends with the theme song to The Littlest Hobo rather than the normal ending music. The big joke is the dog seen in the episode looks nothing like the dog associated with the classic series.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: Wanda uses several euphemisms in a row for jail, confusing and annoying Brent.
- Hypocritical Humor: Used quite often. A particularly notable example is when it becomes a plot event - planning to go to a comic book convention to get one signed by a comic book artist, Brent doesn't tell Hank about, fearing he'll be 'a boob' there. Naturally, Hank does find out, and plans to do an impression of a character amongst other things there when meeting the artist. Brent specifically tells him not do a number of things... and immediately starts stuttering and doing the impression, forgets to get his book signed, and spills coffee on the artist after trying again. The two spend the rest of the episode trying to get it signed. Another example...
Karen: "She seems quick to judge. I noticed that right away about her."
- A Meta example of hypocritical humor: Brent and Wanda are having a discussion about substance vs. production values, and the boom mic falls into the middle of the shot and thunks Wanda on the head.
- I Call It Vera: Davis' calls his billyclub "Billy". Karen ends up calling hers "Jennifer"... because Davis said she should name it.
- Idiot Ball: In "Whataphobia", Lacey is revealed to be terrified of balloons. The rest of the episode centers around different reactions to this fear, such as Hank's misguided attempts to "cure" this fear. In fact, pretty much anything Hank does.
- I Have This Friend: Hank eggs a cable van and then feels guilty about it. He calls a local cable show called "Peggy's Pets":
Hank: I got this friend who egged a cable van.
- I Knew It!: In-universe, Davis knew it: He saw the ending to Battlestar Galactica coming back in 2004. Although, he was probably talking about the original.
- I'll Take Two Beers, Too!: A slight variation.
Brent: Two chili-cheese dogs.
- I Resemble That Remark
- I Take Offense to That Last One
- Imagine Spot: Brent does this rather often. Some other characters get in of it too.
- Incredibly Obvious Bomb: In one episode, it's said that Hank ruined the relationship between Dog River and their old twin town in Sweden by sending them a gift that represented various aspects of their town including a bag of fertilizer, a couple of pipe cleaners, and a clock, which the town easily mistook for a bomb. When the question arises as to what gift to send their new twin town in Japan, Hank suggests (and produces) a novelty bowling ball candle.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: In "Oh, Baby," Wanda asks Brent if he wants to babysit her son. Brent ducks the question by saying, "Ding ding! Oh, someone's at the pumps!" and walking out of the gas station.
- Insane Troll Logic: When someone asks, "What are the chances that we have a riot in Dog River?" Karen answers in all seriousness, "I'd say 50-50: either we get a riot, or we don't."
- Any zany scheme suggested by Hank. Lampshaded mercilessly by the others.
- I Resemble That Remark: After Oscar tells Emma that Brent is "turning the gas station into a movie theater":
Brent: Bearing in mind Dad does have a tendency to overstate things.
- Ironic Echo: Hank's car is impounded and accidentally sold to Wanda. Wanda rubs it in by saying "There are no words to describe how pleased I am with myself." When, to get back at Wanda, Hank gets her car impounded and buys it, Hank attempts to perform an Ironic Echo but fails miserably, mangling the quote to a level of incomprehensibility: "I can't express happy words how I feel right."
- Which makes it all the more funny because he quite literally can't express how pleased with himself he is.
- Ironic Echo Cut: In "Oh, Baby," Brent is babysitting an out-of-control child but he says he won't call Emma for help because, "I'm a grown man. He's six. I should be able to handle it." Cut to Emma on the phone with Brent, saying, "You're a grown man. He's six."
- I Take Offense to That Last One: In "Friend of a Friend", Lacey's friend Connie calls Oscar a "crazy homeless". Oscar's response?
"I'm not homeless!"
- It's Always Spring: The show is eternally spring or summer, despite being filmed on site. Of course, winters are quite brutal in Saskatchewan, and the creator/writer/star Brent Butt has expressed his lack of interest in filming in winter (aside from the Christmas episode).
- It Tastes Like Feet: Brent says Oscar's cooking tastes like bug repellent.
- Considering that in one episode, Wanda questioned his placement of bug repellent and cooking spray on the same shelf...
- From another episode, Brent's description of Oscar's homemade beer:
"Oh, really dad, it tastes like you beat a skunk to death with a salmon!"
- Kafka Komedy: This often happens to Fish Out of Water Lacey, to the point that during one entire episode she refuses to get involved - and everyone else involves her anyway, either by misinterpreting what she says when she declares that she doesn't want to be involved, or by simply assigning her a position because she's from Toronto.
- Kavorka Man: Brent, even though he doesn't have any sex throughout the entire run of the show (that we know of). Why not? All of the women except Lacey think he's way out of their league. Lacey reasons that because the rest of the men in Dog River are so repulsive Brent in comparison seems much more attractive than he actually is, but the other women don't believe her.
- Pushed Up to Eleven when Brent trades his usual blue work shirt for a black one, his attitude immediately gaining a flair of danger and mystery.
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: Hank had a combination lock that stored the lock's combination.
- Then there was the time he locked his keys in his truck, and didn't notice that his passenger side window was down.
- Large Ham: Oscar, jackass!
- Lampshade Hanging: Used frequently. One example: When talking about a mocking radio program called "Dog River Dave", Brent is surprised someone would ever want to watch/listen to a show about him. Another character remarks "You could have some cool star cameos!", and then suddenly, coming in through the door: "Hi! I'm Olympic Gold Medal Winner Cindy Klassen!"
- On Jonathan, Oscar and Emma's Kenyan foster child
Wanda: It's not every day we have a special guest from out of town.
- Laugh Track: Used for the imaginary Show Within a Show Pyro and the Idiot in "Self-Serving."
- Lazy Bum: Hank.
- Lethal Chef: Oscar. According to Brent, his homemade beer tasted liked he "beat a skunk to death with a salmon".
- When Hank is hired to demolish a barn and decides to blow it up, Oscar offers to help him. When Hank asks him what he knows about blowing things up, we are treated to a montage of stuff blowing up in Oscar's face, the last one being a salad.
Hank: How do you blow up a salad?
- Brent himself may not be a particularly bad cook, but because he eats all his meals at the Ruby he doesn't keep much food around the house. So when he gets into an argument with Lacey and renounces the Ruby for a while he has to choke down sandwiches such as pickles-and-jam and olives-and-sour-cream for lunch. He pretends he thinks they are delicious in front of Lacey but obviously has trouble getting through them.
- Local Hangout: The Ruby.
- Location Theme Naming: The last names of all the recurring characters are towns in Saskatchewan.
- Lottery Ticket: A variant where Hank actually wins, but only $490. Being Hank, he makes an ass of himself anyway.
- Man Child: Hank. Frequently Brent when he shares a plotline with him.
- MasterChef: Emma's jam and Davis' perogies both qualify as their Magnum Opus with several other instances of their great cooking skill displayed when the plot calls for it.
- Karen is a very good cook, and can do Lacey's job better than she can.
- Meaningful Name: Dog River. A plot point in the episode where Lacey is asked to write the text of a commemorative plaque and seeks to find the origin of the name of the city. She quickly finds herself chasing down a Dark Secret with witnesses suddenly changing their stories shortly after Emma beats her to them. Emma eventually reveals the truth: Lacey's great-grand-uncle had drowned a dozen dogs in the river and the town council, made aware of this fact, inexplicably adopted "Dog River" as their name. Lacey swears herself to protect the secret as part of The Conspiracy.
- Meddlesome Patrolman: Karen and Davis occasionally do this.
- Metaphorgotten: Happens several times.
- One example:
Davis: A billy club is a cop's best friend.
- Another one:
Hank: Check and mate! The hunter has become the hunted! The fox has become the...fox...who is...catching himself...
- Middle of Nowhere Street: Takes place entirely in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, Canada. The series rarely showed its main characters away from the town.
- The Millstone: Hank, thanks to him being that show's ditz.
- Missing the Good Stuff: An episode has everyone attempting to go to the Grey Cup, getting stuck in random sitcom situations, and never going. Every single one of them bluffs to the others that they saw the game and it was great.
- Mistaken for Gay: In "Doc Small", Brent is mistaken for gay (and thought to be involved with a man into bestiality) as a result of Hank, a logic puzzle and a $100 bill (It Makes Sense in Context). He doesn't notice.
- Karen thinks she is being Mistaken For Gay when Lacey asks "Do you find me attractive?", but really Lacey was just baffled at how everyone thinks Brent is out of her league. Apparently being a police officer has led to Karen being Mistaken for Gay a few times in the past.
- Mistaken for Racist: After Davis loses the Grey Cup tickets:
Davis: Well, I'll have to go to a scalper.
- The Mountains of Illinois: Averted and lampshaded, since the show is filmed on location in Saskatchewan. When a traveler asks if the local vistas aren't boring, Deadpan Snarker Brent points out the lack of mountains in the distance, not being "all purple and majestic".
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Discussed when Brent explains to Lacey that arm size doesn't directly translate to arm wrestling victory... well, unless they're Lacey-small.
- Must Have Caffeine: Brent tries to give up coffee in "Dog River Vice." It doesn't go well:
Lacey: You want some decaf?
- When Wanda joins Brent and Hank at the bar (where Hank tries to subsitute coffee with alcohol), she finds him asleep on his stool.
Wanda: The sad part is that he's still sober. *steals his drink*
- Naive Newcomer: Lacey.
- Naked People Are Funny:
- After a series of smaller arguments, Oscar deciding to walk around the house unexpectedly nude, as he used to when they were younger. Emma retaliates by deciding to stop informing him beforehand when she invited her female friends over for sewing circles. Oscar finds out the hard way.
- In the spincycle episode, Lacey learns that the women of Dog River have a nude calendar every few years or so and she is tasked to find people to sign up. Karen and Wanda are about to strip wherever they were and Lacey stops them each time. Turns out Emma thought Lacey wouldn't bother with being in the calendar so Lacey goes to her and the photographer and strips naked. Then it turns out that the photographer was just a customer of the diner.
- Name One:
- In "Lacey Borrows":
Oscar Leroy: Horror movies are stupid. Name one good horror movie you've seen.
Oscar: Give me one good reason why I can't build my own coffin.
Emma: I just want [Brent] to settle down.
- Nine Out of Ten Doctors Agree: Parodied when Wanda admitted that she hadn't seen a dentist since 1992.
Brent: Well, you should really try to squeeze in a visit every decade or so. Four out of five dentists recommend seeing a dentist. I don't know what the fifth guy's thinking.
- No Accounting for Taste: Oscar and Emma normally tend to fall in this trope, though some episodes show that they do really seem to love each other.
- No Communities Were Harmed: Corner Gas takes place in Dog River, Saskatchewan, which does not exist. Rouleau, Saskatchewan, where the show is filmed, does, while the whole thing may well just be a stand in for writer and star Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: While the show isn't completely devoid of romance, the level is incredibly low for a show about six single, middle aged characters (and Oscar and Emma), and the few episodes do deal with romance bring up pairings just to dismiss them.
- The closest the series got was the episode (discussed several times on this list) in which Karen and Hank "hooked up" during a fishing trip, and in the first season finale Brent and Lacey have a "charged moment" which they agree to forget about in the second season premiere.
- No Longer with Us:
- Hank asks Emma for some Motherly Advice. Emma tells Hank that he should just ask his own mother, but Hank says she's in a better place. Emma points out that they have phones in Saskatoon.
- In "Cat River Daze," Oscar and Karen become attached to a cat and are horrified when they find out it might have to go to "a better place." Naturally, this turns out to be the name of a cat farm.
- Noodle Incident: Played for laughs with Hank's biking class instructor job. He says that it involves a red cat and a tornado, the camera cutting short to the end of the story "... and that's how I got the job." A few seconds later, he repeats the story in whole: He was watching a tv show about a red cat and a tornado when someone called to offer him the job and he said yes.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Canadian actor Mark McKinney as an American tourist in "An American in Saskatchewan" doesn't bother imitating an American accent. This is most noticeable when he says "bilingual."
- Nothing Is Scarier: Along with Full Name Ultimatum, Emma considers the most powerful tool in controlling a child, is to deliver an open ended threat. This deliberately causes the child in question (Her son Brent and Tanner whom he is babysitting as an adult.) to fill in the gaps with the most scariest things they can think of. In the case of Brent he imagines a vampire heading into his room should he not be in bed and in the case of Tanner we don't see what he imagines, but we see him running for dear life once the threat is made.
- Onion Tears: In "Cat River Daze," Oscar starts tearing up when they bring the stray cat he's been caring for to a cat farm. After a moment, he says, "Is there an onion farm around here?" and stomps off.
- Only Sane Man: Lacey, although the title passes to Brent or Karen occasionally.
- Orphaned Punchline: Mild subversion in "Safety First": One scene begins with the punchline, and then the next scene includes a flashback that explains the joke.
- Parental Sexuality Squick: In one episode, Brent accidentally records his parents begin to act out a sex fantasy on the gas station's security camera. Afterwards he rips the camera out of the wall and denies that it was ever there.
- Pass the Popcorn: After Lacey confronts Karen about having just borrowed her house to watch a scary movie in, Brent comments on how there should be some scary music playing, Emma and Wanda, who already had popcorn because they were watching the movie, watch the standoff and eat some popcorn.
- One episode has the entire town agreeing to not watch TV for a week. In order to entertain himself another way, Brent sets it up so that Hank and Wanda constantly get mad and fight each other while he sits back with popcorn. He even gets other townspeople to enjoy the "Hank and Wanda Show."
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: Hank's password is 'password'. He later changes it to 'notpassword' after telling people "I changed my password — and this time it's not password!"
- He then changes it to "Your pet's name."
- Police Are Useless: Davis and Karen tend to be a bit lax with their police work...
Oscar: Is it illegal for kids to smoke?
- Politician Guest Star: Two Prime Ministers make cameos (Paul Martin and Stephen Harper), along with a smattering of Members of Parliament and mayors. The appearances by Martin and Harper marked the first times sitting prime ministers had appeared in a Canadian sitcom.
- Martin's appearance had a bit of timely irony as it aired the night before a government sponsorship scandal broke that led to the downfall of his government; he was defeated by Harper.
- Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. Apparently she really hates barns.
- Pop Cultural Osmosis Failure: When Emma delivers wise words to Brent, he tells her, "You're like Yoda." Emma replies, "I don't know what that means."
- And Emma again, explaining that Oscar is a "Trekkie" (i.e., he's a fan of Neil Diamond).
- Prenup Blowup: Played straight when Oscar and Emma decide to get married, and Lacey "convinces" Oscar to ask for a prenup.
- Product Placement: Lampshaded. Brent berates Wanda and Hank for trying to advertise during their arguments. He then goes back to restocking the shelf, which is filled with nothing but Cheez Whiz.
- Quirky Household: Oscar, Emma, and Brent
- Quirky Town: Dog River.
- Rashomon Style: In "Super Sensitive," Hank describes how he broke a mirror seven years ago: he's shown in flashback driving a truck full of mirrors and then getting onto a collision course with a truck full of rocks. "All I can say is, thank God for that marshmallow truck." Brent says that's not how he remembers it. In his flashback, Hank is fixing a bookshelf, notices a fly has landed on the mirror and hits the mirror with the hammer to kill the fly. Hank admits Brent is telling the truth, but says his truck story is better.
- Ring Ring CRUNCH: In the episode that Brent gives up coffee, there is a montage of Brent repeatedly hitting the snooze on his alarm clock until he finally wakes up and says "Whoa. What a weird dream. I dreamed that I had an alarm clock. I should probably think about getting one of those." He does get one, and later in the episode he smashes it to pieces when it wakes him up and says "Oh yeah, that's why I didn't have one of those." At the end of the episode, he also smashes Hank's new electronic organizer when its alarm goes off and wakes him up.
- Road Sign Reversal: Oscar changes a sign warning about a pothole in the road to one warning about a speed bump that was built over it by flipping the sign upside down. He tries to do it again when they go back to the pothole at the end of the episode (because it "looks more natural"), but it won't hold in place, so he says they have to build the speed bump again.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Happens frequently with the local paper. When confronted with a badly-spelled newspaper headline (which reads "HANK IS PHYCIC"), Wanda dryly cracks a joke about buying a spellchecker. Brent then follows this up by saying that he's going to continue reading, and that the story is "contunied on page 30". In another episode, Karen says that the criminal Davis caught was barely a thief. Cue the Spinning Paper, which inverts two letters in "Cop Nabs Barley Thief".
- Running Gag: Characters spitting at the mention of a rival town (see Small Town Rivalry below).
- Sarcastic Clapping: Wanda and Davis both take piano lessons from Emma, though Davis is much better at it. After Davis played a song in The Ruby, everybody applauded, except for a jealous Wanda. Davis, being Davis, misses the point entirely:
Davis: Thanks, Wanda.
- Scrabble Babble: Hank, in the first move of the game, decides to start things off with "abang". After being told that's two words, he decides to play... "A".
Emma: Is it too late to put money on this?
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Oscar Leroy is stubborn, inconsiderate, prone to demanding the RCMP detachment arrest whoever annoys him, and browbeats every public official with, "My taxes pay your salary!" Of course, in his point-of-view jackasses don't deserve respect.
- One of his Catch Phrases is "I'm a senior!" At one point Brent points out that, since he's 63, he isn't technically a senior yet, but Oscar completely ignores this.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Almost any conversation initiated by Hank. Brent and Davis frequently join him on those with opposing arguments, such as who would win if Star Wars fought Star Trek.
- Self-Restraint: Davis voluntarily goes to jail for charity; the jail cell hasn't had a proper lock for years.
- Sense Freak: In a rare human example, Davis is revealed in one episode to have lost his sense of smell as a child. He gets it back during the episode and goes a little nuts with it.
- It becomes Fridge Brilliance when you notice in other episodes Davis is never the first to notice a truly awful smell, but rather always seems to add reactively "Yeah that does smell bad"... basically, he's covering up his missing sense!
- Sensitivity Training: In "Super Sensitive," Karen (a blonde) complained to the mayor about Davis telling dumb blonde jokes at work, so Davis had to attend sensitivity training. He became obsessed with political correctness after this (for example, Karen ordered black coffee and he corrected her by saying, "African-American!"), which Karen actually found more annoying than the blonde jokes.
- Series Fauxnale: "Gopher It"
- Serious Business: Many examples, including:
- The Clavette Cup.
- Hank's LEGO model of Dog River. When he runs out of lego to include the only shed not present in his model, he burns down the shed instead of suffering the inaccuracy. That shed was the very first building of Dog River's foundation.
- Pie making contests. Fitzy mentions that the one year they tried holding it without a judge, there were several fistfights.
- Windshield wiper fluid. It's supposed to be blue!!!
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Wanda is prone to this.
Lacey: Maybe people get put off by your Big Words...
- See also her chant when she goes on strike in "Get the F Off My Lawn":
Wanda: Restitution! Remuneration! I demand indemnification!
- Shaped Like Itself: In "The J-Word," after Karen locks Davis in a car trunk so he can reenact a movie scene:
Davis: It was scary being in that car trunk. Closest thing I can compare it to is being locked in some kind of trunk.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Karen — "I did not sleep with Hank!"
- ...disagreed with by a billboard made for the Ruby and Corner Gas at the end of the episode.
- Also Brent and Lacey, particularly in the second season premiere after they almost kissed in the first season finale.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Hank gets several "traumatic" flashbacks of his experience babysitting Wanda's boy.
- Ship Sinking: While Karen/Davis may or may not be a popular ship among fans of the show, the last episode specifically said they "eventually fell in love and got married." *Beat* "But not to each other."
- A potential ship between Brent and Lacey was sunk in the second season premiere.
- Short Distance Phone Call: Oscar steals the new wireless phone from Corner Gas and uses it as a cell phone. When he gets home, Emma asks "What is that?" Oscar calls Emma on the phone to explain, despite her being one foot away from him.
- Signs of Disrepair: Dog River has a grocery store that presumably once had a sign that read "FOOD MARKET", but some of the letters have fallen off, making it the "FOO MART", which is what several characters have actually called it on the show.
- The rat-infested grain silo which everyone agrees is an eyesore. Lacey has it declared an historical building, ensuring that the town stays riddled with rats and loses a lucrative contract to build a cell phone tower in its place.
- The kids' playpark is... not what it could be.
- Similar Squad: The professional firefighters hired in one episode are named Carol and David and are almost exact copies of the two cops Karen and Davis. Needless to say, Karen and Davis fail to notice this similarity and are overcome with jealousy regarding the firefighters.
- Also used as a brief gag in "Shirt Disturber" when Hank and Brent run into two guys who look like them at a comic book signing.
- Small Town Rivalry: Residents of Dog River have a deeply entrenched dislike for nearby Wullerton *spit*. Exploited by Emma in "TV Free Dog River":
Emma: Those in favor of no TV for a week and sticking it to Wullerton, spit!
- Truth in Television: The Dog River/Wullerton rivalry was inspired by the real rivalry between Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale, Sask. and nearby Melfort.
- Some Guys Store of Random Objects and Unrelated Services: The liquor/insurance store, though such places actually exist.
- Sore Loser: Do not beat Hank at golf unless you want him to follow you around the clock, making a high-pitch whining screech for a whole week. He will even call you on the phone to keep on going.
- Sorry I Left the BGM On:
- In "Rock Stars," scene transition music plays after a punchline... and then Hank and Oscar stare at Brent, who tells them that that's all he's figured out for the song he's playing on electric guitar.
- A variation: Brent is at the gas station when a friend tells him that he may own an antique worth quite a bit of money. Immediately, the classic *cha-ching!* noise is heard — then Brent glances down and closes the cash register, commenting that he needs to get it fixed to stop it from popping open at random. Later, at an antiques shop, the man at the counter confirms that they have a valuable antique, and the *cha-ching!* is heard again; the antiques dealer closes his register, and Brent says, "Yours does that too, huh?"
- Sound Effect Bleep:
- A large rant by Lacy (the least likely character to do so) is blocked out by the camera cutting to a very loud passing train, and ends with her putting $20 in the Swear Jar.
- In the episode "Face Off," Wanda is announcing at a hockey game and exclaims, "The Dogs score! Holy sh--" Then she accidentally hits the buzzer.
- Spell My Name with a "The": In "Tax Man," a tax man repeatedly demands to be not referred to with a "the".
"I'm a tax man, not the tax man. Saying 'the tax man is just a little dehumanizing!"
- Wanda later points out that saying the tax man in his absence is correct because it refers to a specific tax man.
- Spinning Paper: Used quite often and parodied in "Wedding Card":
Lacey: I made a complete fool of myself... I hope they don't write about this in "The Howler"...
- Spiteful Spit: Residents of Dog River all reflexively turn their heads and spit on the ground (or floor) at the mention of their rival, neighboring town of Woolerton.
- Standard Police Motto: Karen and Davis have a long, drawn-out argument over whether or not their cop car says "To Protect and Serve" or "To Serve and Protect."
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Parodied in one episode where Hank falls for a girl from Wullerton (*spit*) and decides that he'll have to dump her. She's actually from Gimli. Upon discovering this, he then dumps her because he liked the idea of being Star-Crossed Lovers.
- Stealth Insult: At the Dog River comedy night.
Paul: As you all know, it's comedy night, so we're going to have lots of fun... but first, Hank!
- Stealth Pun: In an Imagine Spot of the future, Brent and Oscar imagine Corner Gas becoming Corner Brothel to change business suiting a need people will always have... it's a suitable name considering the phrase "working the corner."
- Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Several in "Doc Small."
- "The Doctor's Son." Hank ends up suggesting that the doctor is a ghost. Brent didn't get it either and asks for clarification of why Hank's theory couldn't be true.
- "If a plane crashes exactly on a border, where are the survivors buried?" Hank first asks whether the plane is distributed more on one side than the other, and then when Karen emphasises the word "survivors", he answers. "Oh! One on each side."
- "If a rooster lays an egg on the exact peak of a barn, which side does it fall?" Hank's answers include "The Alberta side" (referring to the plane crash example above), "The roof is flat," and "The egg is square!"
- Super Identikit: Subverted when Karen listens and sketches as a perpetrator is described, then holds up a page full of squiggles and asks if it looks like the thief.
- The witness looks at the squiggles and adds "He had a hat." Later they caught Hank.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Phil for Paul (they're the bartenders).
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
- In one episode, Oscar buys an outboard motor from Hank using money he "borrowed" from Emma. So Emma decides to go after Hank and we get this little gem:
Emma: We need to talk.
- In another episode:
Karen: I didn't sleep with Hank!
- Swear Jar: See Sound Effect Bleep above.
- Tastes Like Feet: Brent says Oscar's cooking tastes like bug repellent.
- Wanda mentioned once about the potential lawsuit in stocking the cooking spray next to the bug repellent. Fridge Brilliance ho!
- Which would make that a tremendous Brick Joke.
- And that his homemade beer tastes like he beat a skunk to death with a salmon.
- Similarly, the band Thunder Face's music is compared to various small rodents caught in a piece of heavy machinery.
- Wanda mentioned once about the potential lawsuit in stocking the cooking spray next to the bug repellent. Fridge Brilliance ho!
- That's What She Said: In one episode, Hank uses this line repeatedly (completely missing the point of the phrase in the process), only to be confronted with the perfect opportunity — only to decide that 'she' wouldn't say that, because 'she' is not that kind of girl.
- Theme Naming: All of the main characters share last names with Saskatchewan towns.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish:
Hank: I came up with the best password, you'll never be able to guess it!
- Hank later changes it and tells everyone that "This time, it's not password". It turns out his password is "notpassword".
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Karen and Davis rarely do police work unless either Oscar or the Mayor tell them to, and they're usually reluctant to. In one episode, Karen ends up getting a week off from work. When she goes back, they both immediately take a nap in the police cruiser.
- There Are No Rules: Subverted when Lacey describes her new bulletin boards. This phrase is met with complaints that if it has that rule then there are rules and it's decided that the new bulletin board is too confusing.
- Time Capsule: Dog River buries one every year which they open... the next year. Brent explains that at first it was 25 years, then 10 years and eventually just became an excuse to get drunk once a year. It's usually filled with various mugs and Hank's hat.
- Token Minority: Davis is the only non-white regular; befitting the show's setting in Rural Saskatchewan, he is aboriginal (Cree, to be specific, much like the actor who plays him). However, this is treated as wholly incidental to his character, and he acts no more or less quirky than anyone else in Dog River. The first season finale (the Grey Cup episode) is pretty much the only time in the entire series his ethnicity is acknowledged.
- Also, both bartenders (Phil and Paul) appear Cree. One of them speaks some Cree, enough to know the original name of Dog River.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Has two or three storylines per episode, which is merely one of the reasons it's often compared to Seinfeld. Its larger main cast (more than four) divides up pretty evenly among the storylines. This is most interesting when the divvying of the storylines doesn't happen according to the common pattern (the two police officers, the old married couple, the gas station workers--Hank functions as a wildcard, who may have his own storyline like a Good Hair Day).
- The Littlest Yarbo where Hank discusses his plot, and Brent randomly starts talking about his own:
Hank: Maybe The Littlest Hobo was the first ever reality show, did you ever think of that?
- Ultimate Job Security: Fitzy and his position of mayor. He doesn't seem particularly good, and at one point is afraid of losing it, only to be told that "nobody wants your job". Subverted and averted in one episode though. Emma runs for mayor and wins. The exception is A) She flat out admits during an interview that she doesn't even want the job, she's simply running out of spite over Fitzy telling her husband to shut up, and B) the entire episode was just a dream anyway.
- Brent and Lacey's businesses also appear to be the only ones of their kind in the town.
- Being the only cops in a small town, neither Karen nor Davis ever really suffers any consequences for failures or breaches of procedure.
- Visible Boom Mic: Happens when Brent and Wanda are discussing the comparative qualities between production values and substance.
- We Could Have Avoided All This: When Hank forgets his money in the truck, he imagines a brief "Everybody Laughs" Ending where he has purchased a wallet. He then rejects the idea as "not being a wallet man" and goes through with the utility pants subplot. At the end, the fake ending he imagined earlier turns out to be the real ending of the episode.
- Welcome Episode: Lacey moves to Dog River in the first episode.
- We Need a Distraction: In a flashback scene in "Grad '68", Emma needs to sneak out of the house and distracts Oscar with a Rubik's Cube.
Oscar: Are you saying I'm that easy to distract?
- We Sell Everything: Dog River has a store that sells both liquor and insurance of all things. The titular store also is pretty well stocked for a gas station.
- The liquor/insurance store is actually based upon a real combo-business in Rouleau.
- It makes sense for Brent to have a general store kind of inventory, as people would otherwise have to drive over the next town to rent a movie. He's also the only store on an important road between two major cities that a lot of truckers take every day.
- What's a Henway?: In "Crab Apple Cooler":
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: Done in the finale, Animal House style.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The exact location of Dog River, Saskatchewan is never revealed, though it's said to be "40 kilometers from nowhere" and when characters refer to or drive to "the city" both Saskatoon and Regina are close enough to qualify.
- Word of God says that "the city" is Regina. (In several episodes in which characters are shown going to "the city", the location is clearly Regina.)
- Some of the locations in the show are actual businesses in Rouleau, Saskatchewan (The gas station isn't, but the bar is), which is about 40km southwest of Regina and about 200km south of Saskatoon.
- One episode has Oscar driving about 45 minutes to Weyburn, which is about the same time it takes to drive there from Rouleau.
- But a couple of episodes have also suggested it's not far from Saskatoon.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: In "Face Off," Oscar and Emma get ready to drive to the hockey game, but they can't be sure the car will start because it's been making funny noises lately. As Oscar starts the car, we see dramatic close-ups of his hands and hear epic music.
- "Which Restroom?" Dilemma: One episode about the bathrooms starts with Lacey replacing the signs on the doors with the Roman symbols for male and female, which Brent believes will confuse people. While arguing about it, Hank walks out of the women's bathroom.
- Whip Pan: Used when it shows what someone's thinking.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Hank describes what Brent's life would be like if it were a TV show, causing him to respond:
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: An entire episode is based on the fears that the characters have.
- Will They or Won't They?: Brent/Lacey. In a manner typical of small towns, the other characters all pick up on it and are placing bets by season two.
- With Due Respect:
Karen: I know you're my superior, so I say this with all due respect. How stupid are you?
- Wondrous Ladies' Room: One episode has the signs on the washrooms in the gas station swapped, and this trope is played straight.
- Work Off the Debt: Lacey catches Oscar counterfeiting. When she says she has something in mind for him, the scene cuts to him washing dishes. Lacey walks in and tells him she just wants him to pay her off in real money.
- Worst Aid: Parodied when Brent and Hank move Wanda (specifically, toss her up and down) because they don't believe her back is really hurt... and this makes her get better.
- Karen and Davis discussing the pronunciation of "Heimlich" while Hank is choking on a pickle. Turns out neither of them had first-aid training of any kind.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: The Howler; this is noted by the characters, though.
- Wraparound Background: Subverted when Oscar and Emma are shown in the cab of their RV, and trees passing by in the background indicate they are moving. Cut to an outside shot that shows the RV is parked outside The Ruby and a convoy of flatbeds full of trees is driving by in the opposite direction.
- Zillion-Dollar Bill: Parodied with Brent's $100 note.
- pronounced "kit-kay-duh-tiddle-er"
- pronounced "by-LIN-gyoo-al" in Canada, but "by-LIN-gwal" in the U.S.