Jann is a fictionalized version of Canadian singer/songwriter/actress Jann Arden’s own life. Both seasons of the series can finally be seen in the US on Hulu. It’s charming and funny and first rate comedy.
Jann owes much of its success to absolutely perfect casting. Jann Arden played herself. Everyone around her fit their parts so well, they created a group of characters who meshed beautifully and were both funny and believable together.
At the start of the series, Jann mourns the breakup with her long-term girlfriend Cynthia (Sharon Taylor). Her career is stalled and her manager Todd (Jason Blicker) books her into gigs where 12 people are in the audience and she’s paid in cheese. Literal cheese.
Her sister Max (Zoie Palmer) is married to Dave (Patrick Gilmore). They’ve just discovered that Max is pregnant again, a situation that stresses them mightily. Max has an older daughter Charley (Alexa Rose Steele), and two younger kids with Dave.
Nora (Deborah Grover), Jann and Max’s awesome mom, is living with Max. (#EldersRock, by the way.) When Max learns she’s pregnant, she drops Nora off at Jann’s. Four kids and her mom is more than she can deal with.
This is not the best solution for Nora, who is getting forgetful. Jann isn’t good at taking care of people. She barely manages herself. She’s totally self-centered and often has no idea what the people around her need.
Into this unsettled situation comes Cale (Elena Juatco). Cale is a Type-A, emotionally stunted, manager who wants to revive Jann’s career. She is hip to all the modern social media ways to raise a profile and rebrand the 40 something singer. She does help Jann’s career, but in hilarious ways. She doesn’t mean for her ideas to be hilarious, but in Jann Arden’s hands, everything turns funny.
There are heartfelt moments, arguments, misunderstandings, and scares. This ensemble of outstanding actors do drama just as well as comedy. Some scenes made me laugh out loud, which I almost never do with comedy shows.
A running gag about Sarah McLachlan went on for so long, you knew she would eventually have to show up. She did, but in a hilarious way. Numerous other actual Canadians played themselves, including Rick Mercer and k.d. lang.
My favorite part of every episode was the ad libs and bloopers that played at the end. Comedy genius. I cannot recommend this show highly enough. It will make you happy.
The dates on the poster are for Canadian TV. You can listen to singer Jann Arden on Spotify and other places. There’s quite a lot of music on the show.
I can’t find a trailer for either season of Jann on YouTube. Sorry. Instead, why not check out this exchange between Jann Arden, Zoie Palmer, and some peanut butter.
You might also enjoy @janncreators on Twitter. Some of their video is geographically restricted, but a lot remains.
Have you seen Jann? What did you think of it?