Like Canada Geese, many Canadian stand-up comics migrate south each year - in their case, for TV pilot season in L.A.
Ryan Belleville, of CTV's sitcom Satisfaction, is a veteran of that migratory experience. It's landed him roles in short-lived shows like The Hollywood Complex and Almost Heroes. Last year, however, was unusual. His stack of scripts included a Canadian sitcom about a twentysomething couple and their live-in friend, all of them with a whiff of lingering adolescence about them.
"I remember reading it, and I was going for all these shows, and Satisfaction was the funniest of all the scripts I read. During American pilot season, the funniest script was a Canadian pilot."
He did the merry-go-round of Hollywood auditions anyway. "I can't think of a single script I went out for that's still going. But that's often the way. They shoot, like, 80 shows, and maybe one of them sticks."
Satisfaction, meanwhile, has been heavily promoted on CTV, and the Calgary-born Belleville says, "the feeling is very positive about a second season." Though he'd like the show to experience a different season than summer. "We've had to compete with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackouts, Canada Day and long weekends."
In Satisfaction, Jason (Luke McFarlane) and Maggie (Leah Renee) are the lovebirds, who for some reason share their personal space with old friend and bachelor Mark (Belleville). The supporting cast is a virtual Canadian comedy reunion, the gang of friends performed by the likes of sketch veteran Pat Thornton, This Hour Has 22 Minutes' Mark Critch and stand-up Nikki Payne as Bea, the cat lady. The creative stew allows them to toss in the odd Canadian in-joke (including a practical joke show-within-the-show called Koo Koo La La that is clearly Just For Laughs Gags. "That was a funny day in the writer's room where we decided to take the piss out of Canadian TV - just the idea of a guy with a baby getting hit in the crotch).
As for the premise, Belleville says it's straight from the life of show creator Tim McAuliffe. "When he first moved to Toronto, Tim shared an apartment for four or five years with this couple."
The vibe is supposed to represent the endless adolescence generation, as represented in Jerry O'Connell's guest-spot as a former college bully who spends most of the episode unaware he has a penis drawn on his face in an act of revenge. "He'd heard the pitch for that episode and actually asked to be on it," Belleville says.
"But I think in Season 2, you'd see things get deeper. Right now it's the whole idea of this generation where you think you never have to grow up or hold down a job or a relationship.
"But the first season it's more important to say these are our characters, this is their point of view and sensibility."
But a voice of grownup responsibility will show up in these last few episodes of Satisfaction - Maggie's dad, played by Geoff Pierson, a.k.a. Deputy Chief Tom Matthews on Dexter.
"He shows up and absolutely does not approve of Maggie and Jason's relationship. He's the perfect hard-ass for the role - and a very nice man off-camera."