Dennis Trainor, left, and Robbie Moses perform in character as Terry and Parnell Gallant to warm up a sold-out crowd during a screening of the second season of “Just Passing Through” at the P.E.I. Brewing Company last Saturday. The critically-acclaimed P.E.I. comedy series is available to view on YouTube.
©MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN
Grab a case of Alpine and head to Pogey Beach. Terry and Parnell Gallant are back on the Island.
And this time, the two fictional P.E.I. “cousints” are “loaded friggen’ rich” after returning from out west during the second season of the critically acclaimed web series “Just Passing Through”.
The long-awaited return of the cousins was evident during three screenings at the P.E.I. Brewing Company last week where Dennis Trainor and Robbie Moses, who play Terry and Parnell respectively, got into character to welcome the crowd.
While two of the screenings sold out, even a snowstorm didn’t stop fans from driving in from across the province and New Brunswick.
“People were excited, it’s pretty crazy. I got pinched, I got hugged, kissed, picked up and spun around,” said Trainor. “I don’t know how many people slapped me on the arm, back or arse and said ‘way to go boys’.”
Moses, who has been living in Toronto the past two years, flew in for the screenings.
“I just really wanted to be there, it’s been such a long time in the making,” said Moses, who is also a co-writer on the show. “It’s been amazing so far. We were backstage for most of the show, and the amount of laughter was just crazy.”
All five episodes went live on YouTube after the screenings and have been steadily racking up hits.
The season follows the Gallants upon returning home to P.E.I. after working in a Saskatchewan potash mine (they never quite made it to the oil sands of Alberta).
The two then hatch a plan to get their uptight Toronto cousin, Owen, whose apartment they crashed in during the first season, and his friends to join them for a “P.E.I. pogey summer.”
The humorous beer-soaked adventures are unapologetically Canadian and loaded with plenty of P.E.I. sayings and references to potatoes, lobster and, of course, moonshine.
“We tried to touch on the little cultural things that make the Island funny,” said co-creator and producer Jason Larter. “It’s a lot easier to do that when you have pretty much every character on the show being from P.E.I., as opposed to the first season with just the two main characters being Islanders in Toronto.”
However, that’s not to say those “from away” can’t enjoy the Island-centric show, which is a mix of mostly pre-written material and some improvisation on set.
Director and co-creator Jeremy Larter said he believes much of the show’s popularity comes from themes most Canadians can relate to.
“Going to Alberta to work is something that’s universal in Canada,” he said. “And really, the core of the show is the family dynamic between Terry, Parnell and Owen. A lot of people can relate to having mismatched cousins or family members you don’t want to be around but are kind of stuck with. I think that’s a very universal theme, and most people are touched by it in some way, shape or form.”
The season introduces more of the Gallant family, including their filthy-mouthed Grammie, played by Madriene Ferris.
However, much of the show’s humour comes from the unique personalities of the ne’er-do-well cousins.
Trainor said he may never be able to escape his character, who he’s now able to slip in and out of with ease.
“With Terry Gallant, someday I’ll have to get an exorcist to get him out of me,” he said. “He kind of comes to the forefront when we’re in any way representing the show. I just let him do the talking.”
Jeremy said while he knows the show’s coarse language may turn off some potential viewers, the characters ultimately have a good heart.
“Terry and Parnell are always well-intentioned. They’re trying to do their best,” he said. “It’s a feel-good show.”
Many Islanders watching the show will also be hard-pressed not to find one of their own family members or friends pop up throughout the season.
That’s because Islanders themselves were used to fill most of the more than 100 speaking roles in the season.
“We had to use a ton of Islanders and a lot of them hadn’t acted before but still gave great performances,” said Jason, noting that a speaking role was one of the prizes for fans who donated to the show’s Kickstarter fund. “We actually had people travelling from all over Canada for it. There was one person who came in from B.C.”
The wide appeal of the show was also evident at the screenings, which saw an audience about as diverse as the creators and crew could ask for.
“It seems to span generations,” said Trainor. “I think it goes beyond just the ‘Island pride’ kind of thing, too. The love for it seems to span beyond P.E.I.”
AT A GLANCE
The raunchy and comical web series was created by brothers Jeremy and Jason Larter and Geoff Read. The second season picks up with Terry and Parnell Gallant returning home to P.E.I. after getting “loaded rich” out west. They then lure their “cousint” Owen Stephens and friends from Toronto for a “P.E.I. pogey summer.”
The season stars Tyler Seguin, Dennis Trainor, Robbie Moses, Bridget Tobin and Sydney Dunitz, as well as many Islanders performing in more than 100 speaking roles.
Filmed in locations throughout P.E.I., including Cavendish, downtown Charlottetown and “Pogey Beach” (Tracadie).
The series’ first season in 2013 has won critical acclaim in Canada and generated hundreds of thousands of YouTube views. It was the first web series to ever make a Canadian TV critic’s top 10 list when it was ranked by The Globe and Mail’s John Doyle as #6 for 2013.