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    Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    Bad Canuck Television
    by Expat

    Mudpuppy made a very interesting point yesterday, "Canadians make great documentaries, but also horrible wrecks". True enough!

    Today's noble mission will be to compile a list of those wrecks.

    Let's begin with the CBC's foray into late night television. Friday Night with Ralph Benmergui was designed to be the Canadian answer to American late night shows like The Tonight Show and Letterman. Unfortunately, the show was terrible. After only a year on the air, it was pulled off. The show was such an embarrassment to the CBC that it is not even listed in their archives.

    Canada's next attempt at late night TV came in the form of Open Mike with Mike Bullard. Despite being terribly unfunny, the show stayed on the air for a remarkable 7 years and when Bullard's contract with CTV expired, he was picked up by Global only to have his show cancelled shortly thereafter due to low ratings. Highlights of the show include the game "Who the Hell Do You Think You Are, You Drunken Bastard" which was filmed in a bar. The name of a celebrity would be taped on the head of each contestant and Bullard would give three clues to aid the contestants in guessing who that celebrity was. Another game that was frequently played on the show was "The Canadian Quiz" in which Bullard would ask his guests three questions about Canada. Prizes for the game were sponsored by Canadian Tire.

    The Trouble with Tracy was a short lived series which aired from 1971 to 1972. It was based on a 1930s American radio show called Easy Aces. The radio show had been funny, but a low budget television show based on forty year old radio scripts did not translate into good TV. To cut down on the costs of production, the show was filmed with only one set and only one camera. The Trouble with Tracy is considered to be one of the worst examples of Canadian televison and is mainly remembered by the kids who watched the program after school, including The Bare Naked Ladies who wrote a song entitled, The Trouble with Tracy.

    Rideau Hall was a more recent flop, having aired in 2002, with a one hour pilot and six half hour episodes. The premise was that a fading disco queen was appointed to the position of Governor General by a sleazy Prime Minister who wanted to sever Canada's remaining ties to the British monarchy. Every week the Governor General would find herself in a new scandal, not of her doing, which would turn out in her favour by the end of the episode. Although the idea of the show had potential, the cast was terribly bland and the comedy was anything but funny.

    Jonathan Torrens met with great success on the teen consumer watch program, Street Cents, but his foray into the world of teen talkshows was met with mixed reviews. Some of his topics were somewhat questionable, as were many of his guests. I particularly remember him interviewing a couple who were on his show simply because they "like to sniff each other's farts". (I am not making that up. I swear that you can not make that up!) The highest rated episode of Jonovision's five season run was a Degrassi Junior High reunion special.

    More to come...

    Expat Talkback:
    Can you think of any other bad Canadian television programs to add to the list?

    Posted by Expat at 10:23 AM

    You forgot, "Pardon My French" a terrible send up of Quebec in the early 70's. "Front Page Challenge", "The Tommy Hunter Show" and "Don Messer's Jubilee", all seemed to interfere with Bugs Bunny every Saturday!!!


    I might be killed for this but The Kids In The Hall was funny back when but now as I watch it in repeats I wonder what the heck I found so funny about it.

    I'm embarrassed to admit this but back when I did some acting stuff I had a guest spot on a sitcom filmed in Toronto called "Hangin' In". I don't remember who was in it, and I don't really remember what it was about, except that it took place at a "youth center". Like "The Trouble with Tracy", it relied on a laugh track to let you know what the funny parts were :p

    Also, I know "King of Kensington" was supposed to be quality TV, but I couldn't stand it. Maybe the humour just went over my head.

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 2:50 AM, May 05, 2005  

    Anything made by the CBC.

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