Son of a Critch: Welcome Back, Critch

Thankfully, the Son of a Critch is finally back for more.

Based on the best-selling memoir by Canadian comic legend Mark Critch, Son of a Critch steps into the world of 1980s St. John’s Newfoundland as 14-year-old Mark attempts to navigate the treacherous world of middle school. As Mark attempts to survive bullies, romance and just plain bad luck, he also recognizes that it takes more than new clothes to grow up.

As the current diamond on the CBC crown, Son of a Critch continues to offer the same quality as in past seasons. Backed by strong performances from its cast and sharp writing, this is a show that taps into the innocence of youth. Once again, young Benjamin Evan Ainsworth remains the focus of the series and, with each passing season, he continues to (literally) grow with confidence. However, he’s not the only one who shines. As Pops, legend Malcolm McDowell embeds the absurdity with a humility that makes this one of his more memorable performances while Critch clearly revels in the opportunity to step into his own past once again.

What’s more, the joy of Critch seems to have become contagious. Now airing in the US on CW, the series has finally found an audience south of the border. This is a similar path taken by recent hits like Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience and both of those titles exploded in popularity. Suddenly, the ‘little Canadian nostagia’ show is a bonafide hit. 

And who can blame it.

With Critch, creator Mark Critch has created an endearing world that feels both familiar and foreign. After all, in the spirit of The Wonder Years, the series leans hard into its nostalgic vibes with connections to the Canadian past (Race to the Top!) but still feels like these experiences could happen anywhere. This is a series that understands that, while the setting and people can change, the trials of youth are somewhat ubiquitous.

At some point, everyone feels like their family is weird. 

And, at some point, everyone is trying to figure out how to survive the struggles of childhood.

This is especially the case in the third season as young Mark truly believes he’s found his place at the ‘top of the food chain’. Now entering Grade 9, he has reached his final year before high school and carries a certain sense of confidence about him. That is, until he realizes that his life hasn’t really changed just because he’s a year older. He may have settled in with his friends (and potential love interests) but the awkwardness of growing up simply doesn’t change.

Suddenly, the ‘new me’ that he desires feels like the ‘old me’ with a new coat.

But that’s the true beauty of Critch. With heart and humour, there’s a recognition that we need to accept who we are, even if things aren’t what we expected. No matter what obstacles may come our way, we cannot escape who we are. When we can accept that, “the way forward has a way of coming into focus”, as Pops reminds. And, in Son of a Critch, that truth applies no matter how old you are.

Son of a Critch begins its third season on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 on CBC and CBC Gem.

Leave a Reply