Season: One — Episode: 1 Director: David Storey — Writer: Brent Butt & Mark Farrell — Aired: January 22, 2004 — Viewers (millions): 1.21 Summary: Lacey Burrows moves from the bustling metropolis of Toronto, Ontario to the small farming community of Dog River, Saskatchewan when she inherits her aunt's coffee shop, which is connected to Corner Gas, run by Brent Leroy. Lacey also meets Brent's parents, Emma and cantankerous Oscar, police officers Davis and Karen; Wanda, and Hank, the local idiot and Brent's best friend. Lacey's renovations on the coffee shop are met with disapproval from Hank until Brent intervenes.
It was hard enough for Lacey to move from Toronto to Dog River, Saskatchewan. Plus everyone's comparing her to her Aunt Ruby. Those are big shoes to fill.
— Brent to Hank
In Dog River, Saskatchewan, at the pumps of Corner Gas, Brent serves a customer travelling through the province who comments how flat it is. Brent and his best friend, Hank, make many sarcastic comments at the customer's expense. Maligning the coffee at Corner Gas, Hank wonders when newcomer Lacey will have the cafe next door open. He's also concerned she'll turn it into a "snooty" place while Wanda says he doesn't have a hope of dating her. He's also concerned they know little about Lacey and thinks the worst of her. Brent makes fun of Hank's concerns and tells him to give Lacey a break as she inherited the cafe from her deceased Aunt Ruby and moved from Toronto. Hank reassures him that he and the town will judge her fairly.
She doesn't have cataracts, so you don't have a chance.
Lacey enters Corner Gas and shows them the front page of the local newspaper, the Howler, where she's accused of ruining the cafe. Wanda reassures Lacey while Hank cryptically asks if Lacey has a criminal background. The town's two police officers, Davis and Karen, argue about whose car should be called "car one" while Karen mans a speed trap in which her car is "hidden" behind the only foliage on the local highway, a small bush. Brent's father, Oscar, arrives at Corner Gas and is aghast to learn the station will be renting movies. Now retired, but having run the station for decades, he insists this will confuse people and critisizes Brent. As Lacey ponders whether she should sue the Howler, Hank describes the ways Dog Riverites seek revenge.
You're by the bush.
Seeing Brent hang up movie posters in the station, Oscar and he argue. Brent's mother Emma arrives and ignores their pleas to settle their argument. Davis arrives at the cafe and under the pretence of police business, tells Lacey to open up. Refusing, she guesses he wants coffee and promises to brew some. Brent and Oscar continue to argue so Emma tries to get them to reconcile. Telling Oscar to rent a video to understand the changes Brent is making to the station's business, he refuses and Brent thinks it's a waste of time. Emma threatens them, takes one step and terrified, they scatter. Davis informs Karen that Lacey is brewing coffee which brings her racing into town, sirens blaring on her police cruiser. Lacey serves a coffee to a crowd to their delight.
I have never overstated a single thing.
Resigning themselves to Emma's demand, Brent rents the movie "Jaws" to Oscar, but not before trying to get him to complete a membership application. Oscar leaves and returns, needing a VCR machine which Brent tries to get him to pay for renting. Oscar's never seen "Jaws" and Brent jokes with Wanda that he'll never figure out how to hook up the VCR machine. Lacey has a grand opening at the cafe in which Josh buses tables. Privately, people aren't happy with the changes she's made but when speaking to Lacey, they're supportive. Lacey's relieved as she was attacked in the Howler about the changes. Hank though openly complains and announces he's going to put the cafe out of business by boycotting it. The gang make fun of Hank by mentioning many hygiene products he already "boycotts."
That's not media.
That evening, Brent takes Lacey to the Dog River Hotel to celebrate. Lacey mentions that Hank made it very clear he didn't like the changes to the cafe. Seeing Oscar, Brent asks him if he hooked up the VCR machine and how he liked "Jaws." Oscar lies that he hooked it up and trying to fake that he saw the movie, Brent and Lacey mention absurd scenes that never happened. Oscar maintains the lie by commenting on the scenes and then leaves. The next day at the cafe, Hank carries a protest sign. Brent breaks the sign and cuffs Hank on the head. At the Leroy's, Oscar takes the VCR machine apart until Emma shows him how to hook it up. She shakes her head and comments how dumb he's getting.
The TV will blow up in my face!
At the counter of the cafe, Hank tells Brent he won't be intimidated and hates how the place is decorated. Brent points out that the coffee's great and says the changes are done. Asking for confirmation from Lacey, she doesn't reply, making Brent uncomfortable that Lacey has more modifications in mind. Watching "Jaws", Oscar doesn't see the scenes that Brent and Lacey described and blames their omission on how Emma hooked up the VCR. Outside the cafe, Lacey shows everyone her last change, installation of a sign naming the cafe "The Ruby" after her deceased aunt. Everyone, even Hank, approves and they go in for a coffee. Inside, Davis and Karen continue their argument over whose car is "car one." Brent and Lacey laugh over how easily Hank gets upset. However, when Brent finds out that Lacey isn't serving Brent's favorite, chili cheese dogs, he heads outside and carries a protest sign.
You did a real good thing here, Lacey.
Series co-creator, producer, writer and director Mark Farrell appears in the first scene of the series as the man who comments that Saskatchewan is flat.
This was the fourth episode filmed.
This is one of two episodes where Davis and Karen drive separate police cars. They also drove separate cars when Karen burned a circle into the field at Bucht's farm. ("Dark Circles")
The "surveillance bush" would not appear again until the series finale. ("You've Been Great, Goodnight") It's a fake bush created for both episodes.