A western spoof that shoots and scores with well-aimed potshots at genre clichés and conventions.
Editor's Note: Throughout March and April, we’re celebrating Great Westerns of the 21st Century — noteworthy movies and TV series with special appeal to C&I readers that have premiered since 2001. Check the Entertainment tab Monday through Friday to see a different recommendation by C&I senior writer Joe Leydon. And be on the lookout for our upcoming May/June 2020 print edition, which prominently features the legendary star who looms large in two of this century’s very best westerns.
When you call Quick Draw a western – you better smile, pardner.
Indeed, you’ll likely giggle, snicker and periodically laugh out loud while you watch this spoofy 2013-14 sitcom, a semi-improvised mishmash that is by turns affectionately satirical and boisterously raunchy as it recycles the clichés common to TV westerns of yesteryear.
Currently available for streaming on Hulu, Quick Draw follows the misadventures of Sheriff John Henry Hoyle (John Lehr), a Harvard-trained lawman and budding forensic scientist who applies his book-learning about new-fangled crime-solving techniques to the task of maintaining law and order in Great Bend, Kansas, circa 1875.
Hoyle may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s a formidably accurate sharpshooter. Better still, he appears to know what he’s talking about – most of the time, at least – when he takes a scientific approach to solving mysteries and tracking outlaws. Every now and then, he actually impresses two of his more skeptical acquaintances: Eli Brocias (Nicholas Brown), Hoyle’s dubious deputy, and Honey Shaw (Allison Dunbar), a frontier multitasker who does double duty as madam and salon owner.
At its best, Quick Draw hits a bull’s-eye when aiming at TV and movie western conventions about two-fisted, straight-shooting heroes – Hoyle complains that staying too long in the saddle exacerbates his eczema – and earns hearty chuckles whenever Hoyle displays misplaced confidence in his ability to do what a man’s got to do. (Before he and Deputy Eli set out to raid a Cole Younger Gang stronghold, the sheriff cheerfully exclaims: “Let’s go kill a whole lot of human beings.”)
And, yes, we admit: It’s dad-gum funny to see a western series frankly acknowledging the sort of lawman-madam relationship that dared not speak its name during the Golden Age of TV Westerns. “Miss Shaw,” Hoyle tells the town’s most successful entrepreneur in the very first episode, “I will see you at 8 a.m. for my morning intercourse.” Gunsmoke, this ain’t.