One of the basic reasons to watch comedy TV shows is to make you laugh. The many bland, formulaic American sitcoms that pollute our airwaves rarely do this. That's why Sunnyside was such a pleasant surprise – it's genuinely quirky and genuinely funny. A sketch comedy show with recurring characters set in the "Sunnyside" neighbourhood in a seedy section of the middle of Toronto, it's part of the absurdist, surreal tradition of British TV comedy (Monty Python, Big Train, The Mighty Boosh and Spaced) that's also seen in bit and bites in Canadian sketch comedy (SCTV, The Frantics, and Kids in the Hall, especially the laconic cops played by Bruce McCullough and Mark McKinney, replicated in this series). The other thing that Sunnyside borrows from this tradition is the idea of the world turned upside down – instead of celebrating the lifestyles the successful middle class, if not of the rich and famous (e.g. Charlie Sheen's sitcoms) – it's the phony aesthetes, the down and out and the working poor who make us laugh. They're all over the place in Sunnyside: the pretentious barista Shaytan, the skanky women fishing for money in a sewer, the woman who crashes an art exhibit to get free wine. There's also some social satire, as in the sketch of the man who is so reliant on Siri and his iPhone that he winds up on his back in an alley being robbed. And the surrealism is at times gut-bustingly funny, as in the episode "Australia", the title of which doesn't make sense until the last line – "It's like they've never seen an Australia moon!" If you prefer "Mom" or "Mike and Molly" or "Modern Family" to this show, we don't live in the same mental universe.
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