“Curl Interrupted Adventure” explores how competition can corrupt absolutely, through the lens of… curling?
This recap of The Great North season 1, episode 5, “Curl Interrupted Adventure”, contains spoilers.
It had to be curling, didn’t it? That’s the first thing I thought of in the early scenes of The Great North episode 5 when Beef enlists Judy as the coach of his amateur team. What other sport would any of these people play? What other sport would ignite such intense fires of passion and competition in Judy that it turns her into a monster? “Curl Interrupted Adventure”, indeed.
This is what’s great about… well, The Great North. This isn’t an unusual setup for an animated sitcom, but the locational specificity adds a lot to it. There’s something inherently hysterical about anyone getting so worked up about a sport in which one brushes ice. The show knows this is funny on its face, and it doesn’t shy away from pumping up the ridiculousness, but it also takes the opportunity to explore themes of competition and bonding. It’s quietly touching that Beef, even knowing what Judy is like, still brings her in as coach just to spend time with her.
Of course, it all goes wrong. But that’s part of the point. Judy has to acknowledge this about herself, and Beef has to acknowledge it too. They probably become closer as a result – and it only took an old dude almost dying for that to happen.
In the B-plot of The Great North season 1, episode 5, Wolf, Honeybee, Moon, and Ham take two German tourists out on a fishing boat in the hopes that they’ll be as enraptured by the area’s natural beauty as the Tobins are, but, you know, they’re German. Plus, they’re clearly in the midst of some difficulties, relationship-wise, so the sunsets and rare animal sightings aren’t exactly at the top of their agenda.
It’s really Wolf who gets the focus here in “Curl Interrupted Adventure”, and what he’s grappling with is the idea that someone doesn’t feel the same kind of passion for something as he does. It’s partly pride in where he comes from, but also an important lesson that people are different in all kinds of ways and that you have to just accept it rather than try and force them into your way of thinking. Wolf spends the entire episode convincing himself that the next natural beauty will be the one to sway the Germans to his point of view, but it never happens. That’s life, though. Even in Alaska.