Volume 96, Issue 93
Wednesday, March 26,2003

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Whoever said a sociology degree was useful lied

By Dale Wyatt
Gazette Staff

OK, so you're out of school, with your degree in hand. One problem though: it's a sociology degree and you don't know what you're going to do with your life. So, what do you do?

Odd Job Jack had its début on Comedy Central on Mar. 5. This new animated "sit.com" follows the exciting and often pathetic life of a recent sociology graduate named Jack Ryder (Don McKellar) and his repeated vain attempts at finding a job.

The premise is simple: 25-year-old Ryder has just graduated university with an extremely "useful" sociology degree. He must now find some kind of full-time job, and turns to a temp agency for help.

In every episode, Jack ends up in another job, and thus, in another funny situation. The first six episodes have Jack doing jobs that range from tree planter and drug test subject to mortician's assistant. Although some of them may sound farfetched, all of the events on the show are actually based on the real past experiences of the show's director/editor/producer and Western graduate Adrian Carter, and his co-workers.

"They were all ultimately someone's jobs at some point. Jeremy was a mortician's assistant, I was a tree planter," Carter laughs.

Carter graduated from Western in 1995 with an honours B.Sc. in ecology and evolution. He later hooked up with his current partners, Jeremy Diamond and Denny Silverthorn, at the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto, where the concept of Odd Job Jack was born.

"We all met at the Canadian Film Centre and made an early prototype. This was around '97-'98. Then about a year and a half ago, we signed a deal with the Comedy Network to do six episodes. And we actually just signed to do another seven, which is great," Carter says.

Odd Job Jack originally began as an online sitcom and an interactive game. It has since developed into a television show with a corresponding Internet game.

"This all started as an Internet thing. We wanted to make an interactive story, so we used to have it so you would have to play a game to bring the climax of the show up. Once it went to TV, it obviously changed," Carter explains.

He reveals that putting together the show involves a tremendous amount of work from a number of key people.

"As the producer, you are in charge of actually getting people into [the studio], and also making sure we've got people to do the business end of things, so that [the producer and design team] can concentrate on the creative end. We have two directors and one writer, and we switch on and off with the directing.

"We pretty much do everything right here in the studio," Carter admits. "We do the casting and take out the garbage all ourselves."

David Craig, one of the show's animators, is also a Western graduate. Craig graduated from Western with an honours degree in physiology and attended dentistry school here as well. He was also the author of one of The Gazette's most celebrated comics, the now legendary Horowitz.

Carter says that Odd Job Jack is beginning to gain a following, with the audience growing every week. So, what can we expect to see in the future?

"[Jack] is going to be a wiener mobile driver, a dentist's assistant and we are actually doing an all-musical episode where Jack is a roadie."

Odd Job Jack airs on Comedy Central Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m..


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