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Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

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If you were a fan of Corner Gas, then Satisfaction may be the summer show for you. If you weren't, well, may I suggest Under the Dome, which premieres a couple of hours later.

As for Satisfaction, the sitcom's premise is simple: It follows three friends who live together. Aaaaaand, that's about it. Well, I'll elaborate (as much as one can). It centres on Jason Howell (Luke Macfarlane, Brothers & Sisters) and Maggie Bronson (Leah Renee, The Playboy Club), a couple who let their best bud, Mark Movenpick (Ryan Belleville, The L.A. Complex), move in with them. OK, now that's it. Thank creator and executive producer Tim McAuliffe (Up Al Night, The Office and, yes, Corner Gas) for the less-than-complicated concept -- it's based on his own experience.

"It's based on me living for five years with a couple," McAuliffe told media at CTV's recent upfronts. "The first episode is actually something that happened here in Toronto. We had a huge party the day of the blackout, and that's sort of what the first episode is about."

Well, if that's to be believed, will a fourth roomie be moving in nine months after "The Blackout Cometh" airs? That 2003 outage did result in a whole lot of baby-making but I'm guessing Satisfaction will keep things as easy-breezy as long as possible.

I admit, the disagreement the premiere centres on is something all couples can relate to. Jason and Maggie are arguing about which actor stars in their favourite horror flick -- Nick Nolte or Gary Busey. Yes, an easy mistake to make, what with the crazy eyes and even crazier hair, but things go awry, as things tend to do on wacky sitcoms, when they are unable to access the Internet to settle their fight and the pair have to take to old-school methods to find their answer. While Jason and Maggie are trying to figure out who will have bragging rights, Mark has ulterior motives for the jumpin' barbecue he's organizing. That's pretty much a wrap-up of what the premiere is; granted, it's not the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's also nowhere near greatness. Yet. I'm always holding out hope for a little Canadian comedy that can.

The supporting cast does help, a smidge. Mark Critch (22 Minutes), Nikki Payne (Single White Spenny) and Pat Thornton (Match Game) play neighbours and pals Gary, Bea and Pat, respectively, and their scenes were the only ones that had my mouth crack into something vaguely resembling a smile. It kind of reminded me of the cast of the now-defunct Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23 -- a trio of pals flanked by offbeat neighbours, but Don't Trust The B was much more clever in its pursuit of laughs. Satisfaction isn't quite there yet.

Perhaps producers are hoping the guest stars will make an impact but I'm not even sure the likes of Gordon Pinsent, Tommy Chong, Jerry O'Connell, Jessica Paré and Gabrielle Miller can help -- though McAuliffe stands behind the scripts. "I think it's a testament to how great the writing is on the show that some of the hottest stars in L.A. are willing to take time off and come up to do a day on our show because they like what they see."

Belleville adds: "The best thing this has going for it is it's really, really funny and it's not trying to do anything beyond that. We're just trying to do funny stuff that are relatable stories and I think that's a big win."

Renee has higher hopes, however. "Basically we want to take over the world and we want everyone to watch our show."

I don't know about global domination, but I truly do want Satisfaction to do well. It just needs to pick it up a few notches if it wants to succeed.

Satisfaction premieres Monday, June 24 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.

CTV/CTV 2 Fall 2013-14
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