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Meet Harry: slacker, sperm donor … father of three

In Halifax, where they seem to make these odd TV comedies that click with lots of viewers, they've made another one.

Seed (City, 8:30 p.m.) is deeply silly and the kind of good, off-kilter dumb comedy that we can do with aplomb in Canada. Especially out of Halifax, it seems. There's no recipe, but among the requirements are characters who are fabulously immature, plus some sharp, unostentatious writing and a version of stoner humour that works even if you're not five miles high.

The publicity material for Seed refers to the main character as "a village idiot," which is useful info because, on first introduction to Harry (Adam Korson), you do wonder if you want to stick with this hoser. His girlfriend is leaving him, he's kinda oblivious to that, and then there's a knock at the door. It's a little kid, who announces that Harry is his dad.

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It's not giving too much away to reveal that somebody hacked into a sperm-bank computer and was able to determine the names of donors. Thus Harry, a bartender, is obliged to meet a passel of kids he has sired, and their moms. Harry is an idiot but an idiot who moseys breezily through life, not hurting anyone. The show is in many ways a celebration of sophomoric behaviour and twentysomething slacker lifestyle, but it expands to be a lot more.

After Harry encounters nine-year-old Billy, who has two mothers (Amanda Brugel and Stephanie Mills), he's told by 15-year-old Anastasia (Abby Ross) that he's her dad too. She's the daughter of a couple who couldn't conceive – a psychologist (Laura De Carteret) and a neurotic lawyer (Matt Baram). Meanwhile, another woman, Rose (Carrie-Lynn Neales, who is a delight), turns out to be pregnant and, thanks to complications too weird to explain here, Harry is the dad.

There's a lot going on and, at the same time, nothing. Seed touches lightly on gay marriage, non-traditional families and kids who are troubled by their parents and school.

If there's a theme, it's that everybody just gets along, sometimes with helpful advice from the village idiot, a character who is untainted by the neuroses of being grown-up and burdened by middle-class mores.

A lot depends on Korson (who has a lot of theatre experience and a few small TV and film roles), and he's superb as the immature Harry, who has a natural sense of right and wrong and a bizarre brand of common sense. He's in almost every scene and, in the two episodes I watched, doesn't wear out his welcome.

The series was created by newcomer Joseph Raso and developed by Raso and Mark Farrell (also a producer and writer on the show), the latter being a 22 Minutes and Corner Gas veteran. Karen Wentzell, formerly a Trailer Park Boys producer, also produces here. While the production company is Vancouver-based Force Four Entertainment, Seed was made in Halifax using a lot of local talent and it shows – there's that cheerful, expansive weirdness that characterizes Trailer Park Boys, Mr. D and other emanations from that neck of the woods. Thus, Seed is dumb and adorable, and ours.

Also airing tonight

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Monday Mornings (Bravo, 10 p.m.) is a very earnest new medical drama created by David E. Kelley, who begat Ally McBeal, Boston Public and Harry's Law. (It was made for the cable channel TNT.) Unlike medical shows that seek to copy the steamy hook-up scenarios of Grey's Anatomy, this one is all medicine and no messing. Based on the novel by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the show takes its title from a ritual at the hospital where it is set – the Monday morning staff meetings where boss doctor Harding Hooten (Alfred Molina), the chief of surgery, cross-examines the staff on work they have performed the previous week. He excoriates some of them. Those scenes are good, gripping drama, but much of the rest seems leaden. Mind you, given its seriousness, some people might find it a pleasant change from medical shows that are more about sex than surgery.

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About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More


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