Toronto: Matt and Jay’s Whimsical Playground
There’s a certain pride in seeing your city in film or on television. Whether you catch a glimpse of a streetcar or recognize a neighbourhood staple, there’s a universal sense of excitement that lies there. So much is filmed in Toronto under the guise of New York or Chicago; it’s refreshing to see a show not only filmed, but set in our city.
While this may sound like a music documentary, it’s far from it. Nirvanna the Band the Show follows two best friends, Matt and Jay, who form a band called Nirvanna the Band and their desperate harebrained schemes to get a show at the Rivoli, a Queen West staple. Coming from humble beginnings, the show began as a web series in the late 2000s. It became a local hit as Matt and Jay made Toronto their playground.
In February 2017, they signed with Vice and Nirvanna the Band became a VICELAND series. A bigger budget meant bigger stunts, with everything from breaking into NOW Magazine to get their band printed on the Rivoli lineup to stealing the venue’s phone.
The beauty of the show lies in the line between reality and fiction. Matt and Jay just play more exaggerated versions of themselves, doing over the top things in front of real people. This includes recruiting an unsuspecting Canada Computers worker to be their personal hacker or trying to infiltrate the Santa Clause parade with their own float.
The pair makes great use of the city, with lots of shots on busy streets, on the subway, and at local landmarks like the ROM. The blurring between fact and fiction makes Toronto seem incredibly whimsical, which it is, but it’s so much more because it’s our city.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Nirvanna the Band the Show are available to stream for free on the CBC Gem player.
Photo Credit: exclaim.ca