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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Canadian television

My dad mentioned that it was a shock to watch the CBC show I posted a few days ago.

This got me thinking about how Americans view Canadian programming. We, of course, see American shows all the time. The Canadian airwaves are saturated with them. But Americans don't get to see our stuff very often.

So this post is a bit of an experiment. I have purposely avoided looking for "representative" clips; these are the first clips I stumbled across from each show. I've tried to give you a sample of the different types of Canadian programming that are available and that have a sizable audience. I'd like to know what you think.

The Hour:

The Hour is a current-affairs show with commentary and interviews. This is George Stroumboulopoulos, or "Strombo" as he apparently likes to be called. He is going to save the CBC, right after I throw up in this garbage can.

The Mercer Report:

The Mercer Report is one of our favourites, although I admit that we are biased because he is from the same part of Newfoundland we are from. We watch it every week. Rick travels around the country, basically acting like a doofus and making fun of the federal government.

Corner Gas:

Okay, so this clip isn't great. This looks like the pilot episode. I may have backed myself into a corner by using the first clips I could find. Corner Gas is the number-one Canadian comedy.

the fifth estate:

Hehehehe. This clip was the first on the list, and it's about American TV. This program is probably the best investigative news show in Canada. I don't expect anyone to watch the entire clip.

Canadian Idol:

Yes, this is our version of the singing contest. My favourites never win, although I voted (over and over and over) for the first guy in this clip: you can also see him in this post. Considering the crap they make the winners sing, it is probably best that my favourites don't win.

Okay, that's your sample. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

That Fifth Estate episode was refreshing! We never hear any commentary about how the rest of the world views the U.S, but I know most everyone thinks the U.S. as a whole is bull-headed, blind, self-centered, and hegemonic. There were so many priceless clips, but I think my favorite was Coulter insisting that Canadians sent troops to Vietnam. Is she going to proclaim that they even sent the Easter Bunny?

Torq said...

*Grins* You perspective on what other countries view the US as is biased due to your being American. Trust me, there are countries who LOVE Americans. Of course there are also countries who hate them. I will keep my own opinion to myself though!

Kevin Holsapple said...

After you've seen US television, the texture of Corner Gas appears pale, but the writing is fabulous. I can understand why it's #1.
Rick Mercer is always wonderful. On the other hand, I am happy you gave permission to only sample the Fifth Estate. Its just too moralistic. I just can't abide that hoity-toity "canadian master-race" perspective.
So, Canadian TV must be, on balance, just as stupefying as its American cohort.
Life is too short for this.

Torq said...

*wrinkles nose* that news post is why I am not a member of any political party.

The Blueberry Princess said...

Oddly enough, watching Corner Gas made me want to move to some place like that. Perhaps I am as crazy as people keep saying I am. I could only watch a couple of minutes of Fifth Estate. Too much "us vs. them" thinking. It was great when I was on tour in Luxembourg a couple of years ago and they were saying how much they loved Americans. THAT was refreshing! I enjoy most of the Rick Mercer clips you post on your blog. As for Canadian Idol, some of the contestants have the same problems as the American ones: lack of phrasing and good breath support! Seriously, if they fixed that, they would be SO much better, but that's the music teacher in me talking.

Steve & Megan said...

Yeah, I sort of backed myself into a corner when I decided that I would post the first clip I found from each show. I did this because I didn't want to skew the results by picking my favourite Corner Gas moment, for example. (The show has gotten a lot better with time. It's the perfect Canadian show about nothing.)

the fifth estate does not usually do stories about American politics. It is one of the best investigative news shows on Canadian television. Better even than 60 Minutes or the American newsmagazine shows, I think. I understand why this episode would be at the top of the search results, though: it's one of the most popular episodes. I thought that the reporting itself showed some bias in favour of the "liberal" crowd (ironic considering the topic of the story) but overall, I thought it was a good story, well-researched with decent pacing. We do not have pundits in Canada like the ones in the States. In fact, I refuse to believe that Ann Coulter is for real. I think it's all an act: her most outrageous statements are made too conveniently close to her book-release dates to be taken at face value.

The Americans don't have a great range of political parties. We have a better selection in Canada, but the reality is that there are only three parties with any profile at all. I used to think I was a conservative, but in the past year or so I've figured out that I'm actually a libertarian. This discovery was exciting and depressing at the same time.

Steve & Megan said...

Princess, I'm curious: what do you think of my favourite Idol contestant? He's in the link I provided at the very end of this post.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I think other countries hate the U.S. because I'm not happy with our government. I have a hard time believing that the public can effectively voice an opinion without waging another civil war.

The Blueberry Princess said...

He is definitely a good entertainer, he's creative, and he's fun to watch. That said, I think that the gasping is distracting (he does this more in the link than in this post), and I'm worried about his voice holding up since it sounds like he's singing from his throat. A good way to tell if someone is getting the breath support they need is to listen for any audible breathing. A good intake of breath is silent. Singing from the throat can be very damaging for the voice. What I dislike most from this post is that he takes a breath every few words. If he wants a pause that's fine, but taking a breath every few words destroys the flow of the phrase. Since a phrase is like a musical sentence, it's like putting a comma after every few words. He is entertaining, but he lacks technique.

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Megan said...

We LOVE that one.