Whenever CBC shops south of the border, Ian Morrison waits for his phone to ring. “ ‘Is this the best CBC can do? I hope not.... The public broadcaster should be running Canadian programming all the time – particularly in peak viewing periods like 7 to 11.’ [...] Morrison compared the decision to run Jeopardy in the Marketplace slot to the move two years ago to delay The National in some time zones for a simulcast of the U.S. reality show The One.” Oh, for the love of G-d, will you get over that?
The Two Faces of Vanna
I don’t hear anyone complaining about The Simpsons (CBC Television, 5:00 weekdays). In fact, 5:00 to 6:00 is U.S. Mainstream Quirky-Alternative Comedy hour on CBC, with Arrested Development wearing out its welcome at 5:30. The Simpsons is an important addition to the CBC schedule, since otherwise I’d be able to watch the show only 17 times a week rather than 23.
But they’re not in prime time, you retort? They’re still American shows. But they’re shows that hip urban intellectuals like. They’re the right kind of American programming – the shows beloved by people in your spiritual home (Manhattan), not the garbage that your working-class mother made you watch, like game shows.
It’s acceptable at brunch to say you love The Simpsons. You may also admit, as if sheepishly, that Arrested Development grew on you. All Wheel of Fortune does is make you think of growing up in a household that only had garlic salt, not garlic.
Has anybody noticed just how much American programming is shown on Radio-Canada? But that doesn’t matter, because it’s dubbed into French, and surely they can’t tell the difference at that point. They aren’t incensed by American cultural hegemony the way we are. American programming isn’t poisoning les Québécois the way it’s poisoning us. And anyway they’re a distinct and robust culture and we aren’t.
Why isn’t foreign programming from the British Isles held against CBC? It’s still foreign.
At some point, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and their acolytes will need to accept that the U.S. produces more English-language programming than anyone else. Some of it has to be good enough for another country’s public broadcaster. It’s certainly good enough for public broadcasters in Britain and Australia. But I guess we’re just too delicate and special to survive five hours a week of American game shows on one of three CBC English-language networks. That just ruins it for the other 499 hours a week.
These game shows are, nonetheless, shite.