Don’t touch that Doyle

Pam Frampton
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With crime apparently on the rise in the gritty, rum-soaked streets of St. John’s, you can bet private detective Jake Doyle will be run off his feet next season.

I just hope his Pontiac GTO is gassed up and ready to go, and that his dad’s ticker is working well enough so that he can lend a hand.

Oh wait — Jake Doyle is a fictional character.

For a while there I was convinced he was flesh and blood. God knows, he gets people’s blood boiling. (And pulses racing.)

Just a mention of “Republic of Doyle” at work the other day got a testy exchange going faster than Jake can whip out his cellphone.

“It’s meant to be entertainment. If you’re expecting some highbrow show …”

“I’m not looking for highbrow. I’m looking for intelligent …”

A photograph we ran in Tuesday’s Telegram of a scene being shot for the series’ second season was viewed more than 5,700 times online — far and away the most popular item on our website that day.

The fervour of fans is amazing, so pity the poor fellow who posted the comment on our website: “I don’t get it. It sucks.”

He had a few allies, but for the most part his criticism was drowned out in a lovefest of online remarks from people in various parts of the country.

“AWESOME! Loves it! Oh yea!”

“Can’t wait for the new season to start.”

“This show really lets people know how beautiful our province really is …”

“I'd rather watch ‘ROD’ than an episode of ‘CSI,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘Lie To Me,’ ‘NCIS,’ etc., any day. Love the show. Keep it coming.”

“I have a ton of friends online from all across Canada, the U.S. and U.K. and they adore the show and its cast.”

That’s praise that would make even a rogue like Jake Doyle blush.

In fact, it’s hard to think of another show with so many people rooting for it.

Allan Hawco and his collaborators are to be commended for making “Republic” here, and Hawco himself deserves great credit for being an ambassador for the province and for giving back to the community.

But sometimes it seems that people have adopted a Danny Williams-esque approach to defending “Republic.”

If you’re for it, swell.

If you’re agin’ it, you’re a traitor. You know, kind of like the seal hunt.

And that’s just silly.

Must-see TV

“Republic of Doyle” is the only non-news television that is watched regularly at our house.

Like many people last year, we quickly made “ROD” a Wednesday-night ritual — the whole family would scramble for good spots on the couch and we’d pass around the popcorn.

It was fun to point out people you knew, to spot familiar locations and scoff at dubious Irish accents, to find the occasional flaw in continuity and to marvel at the authenticity of sets like The Duke.

Jake Doyle’s self-deprecation was charming, Rose’s calm intelligence was refreshing and Des was funny and disarming.

But the show’s not perfect. And it is a show, not a sacred cow.

And whether your cup of tea is “Masterpiece Theatre” or “The Muppet Show,” you expect a certain consistency.

Rackets galore

“ROD” has a few too many bust-ups, too many unstable, erratic women, too many characters who are caricatures, and too many recurring characters whose personalities seem to shift radically just as you are warming up to them.

Rose’s behaviour when her ex appeared on the scene contrasted sharply with her otherwise cool-headed demeanour, and the sudden introduction of Jake’s brother seemed like a thinly veiled attempt to give him someone fresh to punch in the face.

Scenes can feel highly contrived. I’ve been in a few pubs in my day and have yet to hear a constable — sorry, sergeant — spontaneously burst into song. (Maybe I just go home too early.)

That being said, the show is well shot, there’s some solid acting, saucy dialogue, lots of laughs, breath-stopping car chases, and some of the characters feel real.

St. John’s doesn’t look too shabby, either.

I think of “Republic of Doyle” in terms of the province’s polished, picture-perfect tourism ads, in that it’s an over-the-top, intensely vibrant representation of this place that will hopefully draw people in and keep them coming back.

Given the fervent devotion of those who watched “Republic” last season, the show — like those flawless tourism ads — has certainly struck a chord of fierce pride among us.

And that can’t be bad.

Recently, a source who can absolutely be trusted because he relayed the information in the Duke of Duckworth, promised that next season, the writing will be even better.

Will I be watching?

Oh yeah!

Pam Frampton, The Telegram’s story editor, welcomes comments by e-mail:

Geographic location: Canada, U.S., U.K.

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Recent comments

  • Allen
    July 24, 2010 - 16:42

    Study Allan Hawco's face when he is acting. Amazing. Every emotion shows. His face is never immobile or expressionless, but always changing. Sometimes a flash of anger is exposed facially in the most suble way. At other times you can detect his inner laughter at the underlying humor in a situation. He is a real pro, in my estimation!