Goodfellas on the Playground – The Yard – The Best Show You’ve Never Seen [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]
Its part mockumentary, part satire, and a ton of laughs! The Canadian series The Yard is now showing for free on Hulu and there are a million reasons why you should watch.
The Yard is broken up as children operating inside several clique. Each group functions as a family looking out for one another while ensuring loyalty, respect, and power on the schoolyard. Just like Goodfellas, where the mafia used guns and drugs, these guys are running a black market on hip trading cards and chasing girls.
Take a look at the promo trailer for the series:
The series is produced in the mockumentary style. An un-seen documentarian (voiced by producer Paul Gross) records the students’ interactions and behavior during recess. The real world scenarios are played out by the two top opposing schoolyard gangs, with follow up interviews with the kids.
The main protagonist of the series is 12 year old Nick and the members of his crew: his younger brother J.J. who functions as the brains of the group, his friend Johnny who is the right hand man, a six year old sidekick Adam, and Suzi a big girl with muscle.
Nick’s group humorously fights for power on the playground with stories and interactions that mock real world situations we face everyday. Just like countries fight for global power with politics, these kids are fighting for playground power from bully Frankie and his henchmen.
The acting by the kids is top notch. You could easily see Ray Liotta or Robert DeNiro portraying these characters when they were that age. The writing, camera work, and production values are absolutely top notch and of higher quality than many shows currently airing on American television networks.
Frankie’s gang of bullies includes: “Pork Chop,” his brother Mickey, and his powerful sister Mary who is also the leader of the girls’ faction.
Some of the more outlandish situations Nick and his crew have faced include: breaking Frankie’s monopoly as distributor of the hot new Ju-Ji-Mon playing cards, taking on the girls’ gang when one his own gets kicked in the groin while attempting a kiss, beating Frankie’s crew when they take control of the school soccer field and when peanuts are banned by the school – finding a way to sell peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the black market.
The six episode series (five of which have been streamed so far) was originally developed for NBC, who made a massive mistake by not picking it up, especially with their extremely weak prime time schedule.
The Canadian actors portraying the kids are: Quintin Colantoni, Keana Bastidas, Sarah Cranmer, Daniel Lupetina, Alex Cardillo, and Shemar Charles. None of them are big names now – but given their performances, they all have bright futures. Let’s see if any pop up in a future hit series or blockbuster film.
The show was created and written by Michael Mabbott (The Life and Times of Guy Terrifico) and David Eddie (Damage Control). Executive producers are Paul Gross, Frank Siracusa, David Eddie, and Michael Mabbott. The series is developed and produced by Whizbang Films.
Though it aired on cable in Canada, the series was picked up exclusively in the United States for free viewing on Hulu, starting with the pilot on June 7th.
Title: The Yard
What: short run series
Number of Episodes: 6 (5 have been streamed)
Uncensored version: http://www.hulu.com/the-yard-uncensored
Series tagline: “Welcome to the Jungle”
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:
This show really is a can’t miss. Even though it’s only showing online – it’s definitely worth it.
There are short commercial breaks while streaming on Hulu, but so far, the episodes are online and free. Since there are only six total, it is a short investment as each episode is around 28 minutes.
NBC really blew it by not picking this up. There is no laugh track and is presented in the same style and format as The Office.
Since they are going for the whole “Goodfellas on the playground” feel, maybe they can work some of that cast in at some point, just don’t let Joe Pesci start dropping the F-bombs!
After these six episodes stream, I hope that the production company considers moving forward and producing additional episodes. Do yourself a favor and relax with a few episodes.
Here’s the complete first episode as posted on Hulu:
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