Canadian Gaffes & Practical Amusements

Someone posted these SCTV clips on YouTube. They combine parts of the classic “Janitor Strike” episode as well as a thorough skewering of early ’80s CBC that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who watched the English network at that time.

SCTV purists might get agitated over the mixing of seasons, but in essence what the poster has done is create SCTV’s Greatest CBC Hits.

And they are pretty great. These aired on CBC 23 years ago. I often wondered how they got the CBC to agree to hour-long, esoteric, brutal parodies of their own programming, on their own network.

But I guess there are no hard feelings. It’s 2-4 years later and Bob & Doug McKenzie are on CBC tonight.

The clips illustrate a time-honoured CBC-TV tradition. Take a concept that is popular somewhere else, wrap it in Canadiana or “CBC-ize” it, and put it on air. Sometimes the results are quirky, like Magnum PEI. Sometimes they are execrable, like Canadian Gaffes & Practical Amusements. Sometimes they are pretty good.

So what to make, then, of the BBC, Showtime and CBC Henry VIII copro The Tudors? There’s nothing Canadian in this at all. I’m not sure what we put into it. But this might just be the Sexy Pseudo-Historical Drama that Canada Didn’t Even Know it Wanted.

It’s been on Showtime for a year. Some people are real nuts about it. Young women post mashups on YouTube featuring Tudors footage and Coldplay tunes, agitating historians, lawyers, emo bands, and Filipinos who can’t watch the show on TV.

I wonder if we’ll still be watching this 23 years from now?

25 comments:

  1. Allan
    Posted September 10, 2007 at 8:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    That comment has Tod Maffin written all over it.

    going by 2 characteristics:
    (a) it makes no sense
    (b) it has Tod Maffin’s name in it.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted September 10, 2007 at 7:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan sez : If any of you were serious, and actually cared about more than just blowing hot air …
    Which is why I made this for you, Allan.

    Not even on the CBC’s dime, either!

  3. Allan
    Posted September 10, 2007 at 4:54 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It seems to me that all you CBC’ers who blog and comment are really just sitting there and jerking off, and that no one is serious about having any impact on the CBC itself.
    You basically want to be famous, instead of reviving the CBC.

    If any of you were serious, and actually cared about more than just blowing hot air, you would consolidate your efforts, and become notorious and powerful.
    Instead, you’re pretty much making it easy to be ignored, by spreading yourselves out so much.
    Who the hell wants to check on ten blogs to see if there’s even ONE new idea out there.
    Strursberg thanks you, you self-centered nitwits.

    But the worst of all, is to read people who think they are so smart and techno-savvy and have all the right answers, yet fail to see the opportunity that’s staring them right in the face.

    Start your own broadcast enterprise and be the competition that the CBCGlobalCTVetc needs to be shown up for the lame asses that they are.

    Or let George Strombo be the the cutting edge of your pitiful version of a revolution.

  4. cbcfrank
    Posted September 10, 2007 at 11:57 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oh my goodness… the ‘creating shows to broadcast’ issue has beeen revived by Allan:

    ‘Creating programs, any kind of programs, is indeed the real test of a broadcaster.

    You … need to write a sitcom yourself, just as an exercise, and then you might realize what an impressive accomplishment Mosque actually is.’

    Gosh, is this to suggest that we should be cultivating these crafts (writing, directing, designing, all the productions skills that go into a production) instead of hoping we can buy it off the shelf from independent producers?

    Too late; they’ve already sacked Design, and it started before that with Engineering. I’m betting that the Toronto Broadcasting Centre will continue to be gutted this way, particularly because it’s much cheaper and easier to rent out prime real estate than it is to produce terrific entertainment.

    Don’t tell your kids that there is a future in working in Canadian broadcasting…

  5. Anonymous
    Posted September 10, 2007 at 7:57 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It isn’t important whether Little Mosque is any good, it is only whether it is popular. The brass acknowledged the show wasn’t the greatest when they went out and poached, at some cost, a bunch of writers from Corner Gas. The days of making programs that are “good” but with small audiences are over.

  6. Piper
    Posted September 9, 2007 at 9:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Daytime gets better and better…on CTV and Global.

    And we do get horny, but not the kind that makes you want to throw up because someone’s wrinkly old hand is always finding its way to your thigh beckoning you to come hither, trying desperately to give a whole new meaning to the term “overtime”

  7. Allan
    Posted September 9, 2007 at 4:00 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Are you suggesting that Guild members don’t get horny?
    I had no idea the extent of the losses suffered as a result of the lock-out.

    Creating programs, any kind of programs, is indeed the real test of a broadcaster.
    But staying viable is also pretty important.
    Ask CTV and Global.

    Little Mosque is neither tacky nor lousy, and such a remark betrays the limited intellect of the writer (who dares not speak their name)
    I’m not afraid to use my name, and to say that tacky and lousy applies to Newsworld, and The Hour.

    You, chicken little, need to write a sitcom yourself, just as an exercise, and then you might realize what an impressive accomplishment Mosque actually is.
    Perhaps the belly laughs of Corner Gas is more your style.
    For me, nothing is remotely close to the brilliant and historic Trailer Park Boys, but Mosque has a gentle and charming appeal, and does much to help our country and us, while still being completely authentic and sincere.
    And I happen to respect the actors in this show quite a lot actually, so I will pay attention when they want an audience for something they believe in – and they wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.

    The CBC’s new season is shaping up toward going exactly where it was last year – dismal.
    And when all you do is repeat the dismal, then you reach another level – pathetic.

    Similar to the quality of anonymous comments.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted September 9, 2007 at 9:27 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    layfield and her fellow horny cronies make the cbc look like a parody of a broadcaster.

    anyone can buy programming that’s already done well in other countries…there’s no intellect or sensibility in that. creating original quality shows that can stand on their own is the real test.

    and as for little mosque on the prairie, i’ll make the popcorn so we can all watch it pale in comparason to better programming on networks than can do business right. its demise will only be a wake up call for the actors and production staff wasting their talent on a tacky, lousy show. they can do better.

    and “anonymous 6:30 PM, September 07, 2007” – don’t get flattered…k-fed isn’t jealous, just disgusted like many of us.

  9. Enik Sleastak
    Posted September 9, 2007 at 6:47 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Just because K-Fed is mean doesn’t mean he/she is inaccurate. (Though to be fair, some of those flops were not K-Lay’s fault–one or two were mistakes made by her superiors, predecessors and peers.)

    She does look like she’s aged about ten years since she started. By Christmas, she’ll probably look like Carol Channing.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted September 7, 2007 at 4:30 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    k-fed said…
    “i meant henry viii..whoops! (haven’t had a home-cooked meal in months, so you must excuse…)”

    Maybe this green eyed monster needs some of the eye treatment they accuse others of having. Obviously not having a home cooked meal affects their sensibilities as well as well as their intellect

  11. Anonymous
    Posted September 7, 2007 at 2:14 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    k-fed,

    The CBC is not a meritocracy, nothing will happen.

  12. k-fed
    Posted September 7, 2007 at 12:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    i meant henry viii..whoops! (haven’t had a home-cooked meal in months, so you must excuse…)

  13. k-fed
    Posted September 7, 2007 at 12:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    for someone who looks like she’s in a constant state of recovery from laser eye surgery, and is whoopin’ it up at parties across the country trying (and failing) to be a cool kid, kirstine layfield has no clear vision for a successful cbc whatsoever. the one was a complete failure, what happened to dragon boys? the gill deacon show never got proper support, little mosque’s initial high ratings were due to good pr but won’t stand on it’s own for the second season because it’s not funny and never was, no opportunity wasted is exactly like fear factor (market saturation – ever heard of it??) henry XIII was never that hot, and then we get martha stewart on canada’s public broadcaster?? layfield is proving what a total failure the cbc has become and that she can’t even get anything right – not even what she delivers.

  14. Allan
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 5:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oh, I see.
    You have to be a CBC’er to get a blog mention around here.
    Anonymous has 2 postings and is already a hit!
    No elitism here, eh Ouimet?

  15. Sondra Wicks, First Lady of the Canadian Theatre
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 3:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Man, this is a no-brainer for all us non-mbas to figure out … bring back James Barber!

    He’s got a lot of hours on him, but man that guy can bungle just about anything up. Not to mention that he can segue successfully both IN TO and OUT OF Brent and Tina.

    Oh, Barber, friend to shut-ins, BFA students and the underemployed, where are you in our time of need?

  16. Anonymous
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 9:02 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It is EXTREMELY embarassing. And it smacks of desperation in the face of an absence of ideas. It is tragic really.

  17. Ouimet
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 8:10 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I feel guilty when I link to these things and they get taken down. My apologies to my readers and to the guy who posted the clips. It was not my intention.

    SCTV did indeed start out on Global, before they came to us. After that they went to NBC.

    This Martha Stewart thing is puzzling, but can you hear that horrible sucking sound those Gill Deacon reruns are making at 11 am every morning? It’s pretty embarrassing. But so is Martha Stewart.

    Like Enik says, we’re quickly becoming Canada’s National Criminal Network. Who’s next? Ronnie Biggs?

  18. Debbie
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 7:39 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Tudors is an excellent show. You can watch it on demand on the web with wonderful sites like tvlinks.com
    And hey, it’s slightly more Canadian than Martha Stewart!
    This is what happens when you hire all managers who only care about getting high ratings. How does a public broadcaster justify airing an American talk show (already on, everywhere, as ‘anonymous’ pointed out). What’s next? The View? The Late Show with David Letterman? (which is sorta Canadian with the talented Paul Saffer); 60 Minutes? (why do The Fifth Estate when we can purchase the rights to air Andy Rooney et al… and get higher ratings!) Awesome!

  19. Enik Sleastak
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 7:00 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oh, we’re going to have more than one convicted felon in our line-up. It’s part of the “positive, redemptive” spin we’re putting on this season’s programming.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 3:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Canadian taxpayers are going to go absolutely nuts when they learn they are paying for Martha. Put aside how questionable is the perverse Yankee bourgeois fantasy … that show is already on, everywhere else, all the time.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 2:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I thought SCTV was originally out of Global? I recall that they first shot out of the Barber Greene facility in North York. (we used to see the cast in the mall at lunchtime, the were errr…noticible.

    Any thought on Kirstine Layabout being so proud to include a convicted U.S. felon to our daytime lineup?

    It’s practically amusing, but a definite gaffe :(

  22. Anonymous
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 12:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Nobody sez “meh” to SCTV!

    Anyway, looks like the copyright cops won again, SCTV clips are “No Longer Available”… feh.

  23. cbcfrank
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 6:29 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    My kids say ‘meh’ too…

  24. Enik Sleastak
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 5:05 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    23 years from now, we’ll be able to insert a chip containing all three seasons (I’m projecting here) directly into our foreheads, experience the whole thing in 30 seconds, and go “Meh.”

  25. Anonymous
    Posted September 4, 2007 at 6:17 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Lotsa puffy shirts in The Tudors.


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