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Ex-'The Office' writer brings 'Shelved' to Canada, a witty Toronto-based comedy

"It's just so specific to Toronto and Parkdale, which I absolutely adore," Shelved star Lyndie Greenwood says

While the world continues to gush about the greatness of Abbott Elementary, Canada has gotten its own workplace comedy with CTV's Shelved (Mondays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app).

“It's just so specific to Toronto and Parkdale, which I absolutely adore because I was born and raised in Toronto, and I lived in Parkdale for many years as well, and worked in Parkdale,” Shelved star Lyndie Greenwood said. “It's comedy.”

“It feels so cool to be able to represent to the world, this is where I'm from. This is authentically this place and it's hilarious and y'all are going to relate to it because it does have a lot of universal themes.”

Lyndie Greenwood, Chris Sandiford, Dakota Ray Hebert and Paul Braunstein in the CTV original series
Lyndie Greenwood, Chris Sandiford, Dakota Ray Hebert and Paul Braunstein in the CTV original series "Shelved" (Ian Watson)

Created by Anthony Q. Farrell, who was a writer on The Office, Shelved follows the staff and visitors at Toronto's Jameson branch of the Metropolitan Public Library in the Parkdale neighbourhood. Greenwood plays the branch manager Wendy, a hyper-positive and optimistic presence, no matter the situation.

“It is an aspect of myself that is genuine, I am a positive person and I really love people, and I want the best for them,” Greenwood said. “ But I'm amping that up a lot for Wendy as well.”

“It trickles into the rest of my life as well. I think often when you're playing characters, their personality can trickle into the rest of your life. So having Wendy with me more often is pretty sweet.”

While the library is certainly serving its community, there's no denying it could also use some upgrades. That becomes abundantly clear when Howard (Chris Sandiford) get transferred to Jameson from a better-funded branch.

“Chris Sandiford is an absolute gem of a human being,” Greenwood said. “He is someone who just has such a lust for life.”

“I love his energy and being around him, and he's so perfectly cast in this role. But I do love that dynamic of, hey, I really appreciate your efforts but this is a specific kind of ecosystem. So maybe don't try and come in and change something that you don't fully understand.”

Lyndie Greenwood as Wendy in CTV's
Lyndie Greenwood as Wendy in CTV's "Shelved" (Ian Watson)

'I wanted to do comedy my whole career and nobody would let me'

One thing that's quickly clear from Shelved is that it's incredibly joyful, witty and proves how great Canadian-based comedies can be.

"I wanted to do comedy my whole career and nobody would let me," Greenwood said. "Finally they're letting."

Interestingly Greenwood, who you'll likely recognize from shows like Sleepy Hollow and Nikita, decided to take a break from acting before stepping into the role of Wendy.

“It feels really good, it just feels really good to be back in this way that feels like I'm sitting in my true self and doing roles that I really adore,” Greenwood said.

But she did admit that she was a bit intimidated to be working with such a great comedic, ensemble cast.

“It's absolutely a dream,” Greenwood said. “I was nervous because … [Dakota Ray Hebert and [Chris Sandiford] are both comedians, and [Paul Braunstein] is not a stand up but he's a comedic actor.”

“I was a little intimidated, very briefly, but they're so warm. Everybody just wants the best for the show and for each other, and so really, it's a vibe of really encouraging each other to play and to find the funniest beats.”

Ultimately, Shelved is able to tap into the beat we love from workplace comedies like The Office and Abbott Elementary, but it's unapologetically Canadian and has its own voice, to stand out from the pack.

“In this setting, we're at this workplace where it's people that work there, but also there's different clientele that comes in every day,” Greenwood said. “So there's a lot of story that comes out of that.”