A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

04 January 2007

Where Canadians Dare

Why do I love the CBC?

1) It's actually independant and reflects the culture of the nation it serves rather better than any of its mostly US-content competitiors.

2) Despite Stephen Harper's complaints, the CBC reports the news factually, truthfully, and for the most part accurately. Not as well as the BBC, but almost. And a lot more accurately than, for eg. Fox.

3) Our comedies are funnier. Seinfeld? Friends? C'mon: an entire half-hour of wondering whether Ross/George is going to fess up that he has a major thing for Rachel/This Week's Guest Nobody.

Go buy and watch the first season of Made in Canada on DVD--in the US it goes by the name The Industry. I mean it. Go now, I'll wait.


Some exercises will help keep your sides from actually splitting in future. Just try to limit yourself to half an hour of Corner Gas per day, eh?

4) When we get them right, our dramas are dramatic, and inspire debate. For contrast, try The Road to 9/11, which inspired rage, or The Reagans, which inspired nausea.

5) Documentary? Second-to-none. Hell, we have a weekly show dedicated to them, both made in Canada and foreign.

And finally:

6) We create the shows no-one else on earth will touch with a ten-foot Pole (or Jew, or Saudi, or Quebecker ...)

Such a show is Little Mosque on the Prarie, which one assumes must star the Islamic equivalent of Michael Landon.

As the Carlo Rota points out, our main outside source of television entertainment is far too timid for this.


At 3:23 p.m., Anonymous archie said...

I am not an expert on Canadian TV but I do know that your film industry does wonderful work. I always watch Canadian films when I get the chance. Here in Australia, although we do some great stuff for TV (Did you ever catch any of "Mother and Son"?) our films often owe more to our cultural cringe than to artistic merit. Having said that there ARe good Aussie films.

At 5:18 p.m., Blogger The Nag said...

When I first saw trailers for this I was waiting for the punchline. Who thought this up? Writers at The Onion? That said, I love my CBC.

At 7:52 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

@ Ærchie:
Thanks very much. I personally enjoy the "Hinterland Who's Who" series that so many people pan. I suppose it's a relic of a simpler time, but it was all National Film Board. I'm waiting for Raincoaster to dig up the one about Iroquois false face masks.

@ Nag:
The only thing I've truly hated about the CBC is their apparent decision not to take any season of Made in Canada to disc apart from the first.

I feel Little Mosque is the CBC's typically slightly advanced timing coming to the fore. Shortly after this, we'll see a plethora of Muslim heroic types in US shows, including sitcoms.

But the show is also a response: entertainment often serves to inform as well as just lighten the day. Google "Muslim" and see how many people are asking questions about Islam and particularly about its adherents.

Perhaps this will show us as a nation that there is little to fear from Muslim people. Just as (outside Ireland) there is little to fear from Catholics, or (outside Palestine) Jews or ...

At 10:14 a.m., Blogger Philipa said...

I thought 'Little House on the Prairie' was bilge and inferior to 'The Waltons' who owned an entire mountain. The plight of the little guy is rarely interesting for long and usually involves some beneficial transformation of fortune, thus giving hope to all the poor shmucks watching, and hoping. This, of course, is in film, where people try to escape for a few hours from the drudgery of their boring same ol' lives. Not so with TV and particularly soaps. One popular British soap is well grim: Eastenders. I have no idea why it's so popular. I'd rather have someone sandpaper my arse than watch one episode of that PC assault on intelligence and all that is holy. Not so Australian TV and Neighbours. That was a classic. Ah Charlene and wossname's marriage. I'm filling up just thinking about it.

At 10:46 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Sounds as though you've filled up a bit already ;-}

"Sandpaper me arse"? I personally would rather have somone lovingly polish interesting bits of me with a soft cloth, or possibly a fur mitt, and maybe some oil. But whatever raises your rocket.

I feel I would, however, prefer a spike up my nose to soap opera. Though I think I agree with you on The Waltons. I never watched LHP, but my sisters raved about it.

At 10:59 a.m., Blogger Philipa said...

I've heard men rave about an ice cube being gently journeyed across one's naughty bits and lately that holding an ice cube in one's mouth whilst, erm, 'eating American Apple Pie' was much appreciated. How one would accomplish that is puzzling I admit. Puts a new spin on 'she's gagging for it' but I digress and will attempt to drag my comment from the depths of sweat beaded body functions to socio-politics; I've been the girlfriend of too many Muslim women to believe that the proximity of that religion to any other can be fraught with anything but difficulty.

At 11:00 a.m., Blogger Philipa said...

PS: a rather cheeky Cava if you must know.

cheers Metro :-)

At 11:47 a.m., Blogger Metro said...


You raise a good point. But when has the proximity of any newly-prominent religion to any other been anything but a struggle?

Especially since it's not really about religion, but about the culture in which the religions have their roots.

Christians and Jews lived in fratricidal ghettos for centuries. Protestants and Catholics? Less said the better. The recent arrival of Hindus and Sikhs en masse in Canada has caused more cultural than religious friction, but how to separate the two? Even the Buddhists aren't easy to live with at times.

Religion's just one more difference to point at.

Check out what Wikipedia has to say about dhimmis here. Particularly the Bernard Lewis quote.


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