Friday, June 18, 2010

jerk of the week award.

I now have a new blog. It is professional and looks somewhat corporate and by that I mean clean and not offensive.

Not wanting to be offensive to prospective clients, that could follow a secret link here anyway, I don't feel it entirely appropriate to write about the controversial stuff that rattles about my head. I would like to, but I am keeping this blog alive to allow me somewhere to scream at the information super highway as the proverbial trucks speed by not listening.

I still see the internet in that metaphor of superhighway, because that is how it is treating me... making me feel, lately, like the lonely pedestrian/desperate hitchhiker.... (as in, please pull over and pick up, metaphorically, of course, and hand me a job, in real life, of course).

Even though my opinions written here can now be easily traced to my real name, I choose not to care anymore. Prospective clients who have wandered here by mistake, be warned, and don't hold my opinions against offering me a pay check. Aren't we all owed a little freedom of speech on this internet thing?

The following is today's episode of me screaming into a box with a screen. Good luck to me.

I'm pissed off at how our little/big country treats canadian television and film. This past week, this JERK OF THE WEEK decides to call Canadian television shit. All of it. Oh, except Heartland, which I'm forced to admit that I haven't watched. I haven't watched this one because I don't care about a drama about rich kids and horses, so I have no idea if it is actually good or not. Cute and self serving that the minister chose an Alberta production.

Alberta Culture Minister, Lindsay Blackett (I'm sure some will think this an oxymoronic position... but Alberta does have culture. I know. I grew up there.) isn't exactly worthy of listening to about such matters. He is wholly under qualified for both his position and his comments. But like many Alberta politicians, past and present, he has taped into how many in this country feel, really feel without the usual filters applied to polite conversation with neighbours.

According to the CBC website carrying this story, and the many irrational comments left behind (I'm not sure those writing the comments are the same people who listen to CBC radio), nearly 63% of canadians tend to agree that Canada's television programming sucks.

I ask those of you who believe this to please answer in my comments, in comparison to what?

American television? The nation that creatively brought us Full House for an entire 8 seasons?

You read that right. I even looked it up on wikipedia.

There is something very comforting about canadian tv. While Airwolf and The A-Team were being made, here in Canada we already had the Beachcombers. I hear you laughing even before I post this, but stop and watch the Beachcombers, laugh at how stupid it is no that you are an adult. Now watch the A-Team or Macgyver. Guess what? Just as crappy.

Furthermore, many of that so called brilliant American television had to come up here to film. Thus much of the talent in American television may in fact be borrowing heavily from Canada anyway. Many of the writers of Friends were Canadian. Samantha Bee and her husband are both Canadians working for the Daily Show. (And they worked together brilliantly in the also under rated genius film Cooper's Camera).

I will agree that there is some rotten television created here. Some of it is just awful in my eyes and it is usually because some moron has decided we need to highlight the fact that something is canadian. Hence hockey references thrown in randomly, Good Cop, Bon Cop, I'm looking at you. Or some over the top reference to Tim Horton's out of context. When I see that sort of thing, I can't help but imagine that kid from grade school with her hand up for every question. It appears to be clever, but really is not at all.

From the comments I can tell that many are basing the performance on what people are watching. I'm not sure that is the best measure. Granted, ratings do matter, but the masses are often wrong, and they are wrong now. Just because you decide not to watch and instead would rather watch COPS on the Fox network, or something about little people on what passes for a Learning channel down there (Oh TLC, what were you thinking? Will you air anything with a dwarf in it now?) does not mean that the homegrown shows aren't at least as good, and possibly better.

So to those of you who feel that somehow we are missing out on quality television, let me make you a list of canadian produced television, and realize that you are wrong in your tired little assessment.

1. Kids in the Hall - It came from here. A comedy troupe and then a show and then an under rated movie followed by a recent return to CBC this past year.

2. Twitch City - the best television comedy I have ever watched. Sadly it was neglected by too many and was cancelled. If you are a friend living nearby I will gladly lend you my DVD copy to convince you.

3. Trailer Park Boys - I used to watch this in a room filled to over flowing with forestry workers trapped in Hinton, Alberta. No one dared to suggest it wasn't the best television of the week.

4. Corner Gas - innocent and silly, but I usually giggle at some point.

5. The Red Green Show - I got bored of this at a certain point, but it was still successful even in the United States. I would think the red neck appeal alone would end this little argument.

6. Adderly - Perhaps this one escapes you, but I used to love spy dramas and this one was also sold to the US. It's lifespan of two seasons was the fault of no promotion, not because it was bad. It was very good for it's time.

7. The Beachcombers - granted this does not stand the test of time... but when I was little, it was the best television ever.

8. SCTV - Sooo much talent flew out of this production. Yes, this was fully a canadian venture and launched onto the world the modern buddy comedy in the form of everyone's two favourite hosers, Bob and Doug MacKenzie. Here is the rich irony; they were created solely because the government insisted on Can Con (canadian content) which mandated how much obvious canadian culture is on screen. This is controlled by very uncreative people who probably are responsible for much canadian television turning to shit because they want the obligatory shot of a hockey stick in a show about doctors... or take an american show and 'canadianize it'. It only worked for SCTV because the boys were mocking the whole premise. And let that be a lesson to all of us; mock rules that make no sense, because one never knows what will come out of it.

9. Death Comes to Town - I alluded to it with the Kids in the Hall entry because I forgot the name of the show. Brilliant work.

10. Danger Bay - same quality as Beachcombers and filmed only a short ferry trip away... but it made me want to be a vet as a child... a dream I abandoned due to bad study habits and, well most medical jobs involve shit. I'm not a fan of shit.

11. Four on the Floor - genius comedy. All those guys have disappeared into producer roles, I think. I'm sure they feel quite hurt by the thought that Canadian television is getting such an undeserved bad rap.

12. The Friendly Giant - This was where my love of television began. It was fully canadian. No purple dinosaurs. No baby einsteins. Just an effeminate rooster in a bag, a giant with a love of antique furniture and a strange giraffe. Loved and truly missed. I would watch it today if I could.

13. Mr. Dressup - I think I wept when he died a few years ago.

14. Degrassi Junior High - although I'm giving away my age a bit, I grew up at the same rate as the kids on the show did. So I ended up living their issues in real time. The first original version was full of real looking goofy kids with zits and problems that matched mine... though I wasn't getting girls pregnant.

15. The Nature of Things - how can you mock this show. It is hosted by David Suzuki. Enough said. America wishes they could have this.

16. The Passionate Eye - timely documentaries. Canada has always been a leader in documentaries long before that hack Michael Moore picked up a camera. The NFB was born here and has nearly always had something on the Oscar short list.

17. The Tom Green Show - good experimental television.

This is only a list of the anglophone programs that I have loved. The francophone list is equally as interesting and I'm not even including all the other shows that I haven't watched.... because I also need to get away from the tv now and again.

If you've scrolled down this far, you'll notice that I do love me my Canadian television and I will admit that there is a heap of shit out there. But that is true no matter where your programs are coming from, and it should be fairly noted, that it is a matter of perspective.

So shame on you, Mr Blacknett, and the rest of you commenters who claim that canadian television is bad because it requires subsidies. Not a measure of good or bad at all. It does indicate that you are all turning the dial because the show is canadian irrespective of the quality. You kids don't even wait for the opening credits to finish rolling before you change the channel to a re-run of 3 and Half Men. Just cause you don't bother watching, doesn't mean it isn't good stuff.

You all are on my list of very short sighted, narrow minded jerks.

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