‘Volt’: The maudit anglophone fan page


2004: February 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 16 | 17 | 19 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26

Monday 2

Nadyne visits the postal plant. I did Gateway a couple of years ago for an article. If memory serves, I had to be there at 0700 hours. It nearly killed me. In the segment, I think there were quite a few too many shots of super-tall Nadyne walking through the postal plant.

Studio Météo! Finally! Who’s best in that, Ginette or Steve? (Or Yves the boss’s René Lévesque manqué?) Make a T-shirt, for the love of God.

Well, imagine this: They get a hairdresser on the show. But we already tried that. Except here the d00d is talking about his career choice, in heavily-English-word-order French. Then there’s the odd case of the Warren Beatty–esque heterosexualist male hair styliste, one of whom I actually had in Montreal.

Whoa! Turn down those black bathroom tiles in the fausse pub! (For Agence de voyage Volt, which makes no sense whatsoever.)

What the hell is Nadia going on about Top Ten lists for? I totally fast-forwarded through that one.

Tuesday 3

In Fred’s intro, we learn that th4 Volt “discussion forum” has some arseholes telling us we are evolutionarily designed to eat meat. That’s so cute! We’re also evolutionarily designed to think for ourselves, unlike other animals. We can opt out of evolution.

So today we run a boring episode of T’as faim about vegetarianism. Trust the French to make vegetarianism boring – and to use anglos with hideous accents as interview subjects.


Wednesday 4

Fred admits to having seen The Corporation! Fred goes to English movies... don’t we call this “assimilation”? We’ll make a Franco-Ontarian of him yet.

Then JS does a Zed-manqué segment, compelte with back and front projections, about media “convergence.” I was writing about this stuff 2½ years ago.

LOVING THE VEGETALIEN Nutritionistrix Line Lavoie appears, wearing a razor-cut hairdo, to discuss healthy vegetarian eating. I could perhaps improve the “healthy” part.

Then we rerun the raw-food segment.

Thursday 5

What is this? A “retro” show? Running music videos is so much easier. And Voltistes are all about reducing their crushing workload.

Loved the Hospital Passion bits, though. Wait – was that Chucky?

In other news: I’m evaluating the Rogers PVR box for accessibility. I don’t expect it will fare too well in that regard, but I’ve already commanded it to TiVo every episode of Volt. Let’s see if I miss any this way.

Monday 9

OK, so this PVR is not working entirely well. It insists on recording every conceivable episode of The Word This Week, Richler, Ink, and Holmes on Homes – six copies of the same episode, usually – but I had to instruct it three different times to record Volt. Today’s episode I’m “reviewing” from tape, and the rest of the week I will wrangle off the box. (I just checked the list and the box has 11 different Volts after only one week.)

The most annoying imaginable fausse pub – not involving the abuse of animals, I mean – has Jewess Francine chewing out some nasal, overweight frog biker who plays her young son. If anyone ever told you that French sounds mellifluous, just listen to the nasal turbine whine of this likely heart-attack victim. Plus he looks like a fag.

Things improve markedly when Frankie («Françoise») shows up in gown, shawl, and elbow-length gloves to evaluate his and Fred’s successes and failures in predicting the Grammy winners. (Volt naturally blows the chance to run the Funkstörung video.) 4–1 Frankie.

Segment with Nadia on student travel. Potboiler, and the English accent on one of the sources was almost as atrocioius and the inexplicable racial mix on the other guest. (I’ve never seen a single black/Asian person, of any age or gender, who was “beautiful.”)

And we get two of the surprisingly large number of French-speaking black people in Toronto on the show. (Three at the supermarket yesterday, in two groups who didn’t know each other.) Apparently it’s Black History Month. And this year, they get a whole extra day! By the way, the two guests look African. Quite possibly they are. And one of them doesn’t speak very good French.

One was disappointed by Crystals et Monique. I still remember Tony Pinto, plus whatever Simon did on the same tip of comically inept French-speaking musicians. Félix gives it the old college try, but the fact remains that truth remains stranger than fiction. You simply can’t do better than... Chuck Labelle.

Tuesday 10

Well, the PVR seems to have recorded this one. Better picture, admittedly. And fast-forwarding through the Farmer Brown segments or whatever it is Fred does is ever so much faster.

Anyway, Valentine’s Day or something equally ridiculous. I flash on elementary-school children handing out n! “valentines” to all their other classmates, where n = total number of children less 1. (In crueler classrooms, it’s the total number of popular children.) Nadyne does a few craft projects.

Oh, but then Renée comes on to do her own craft lesson. I guess the whole show has turned girly. Even Fred does drag in the now-infamous Gaétan-calls-the-Volt-phone-sex-line segment.

And then they make it worse:

A dreadful show. Fortunately, I was able to fast-forward through it at triple speed.

Wednesday 11

It’s the First Date episode! Which Simon did so much better two years ago, as the show concedes later.

Nonetheless, Fred has a winner of a new character in Kupidon, the BPMTV-VJ manqué who almost makes us forget Dick Ryder, the comedian who played Cupid in the Leon’s commercials. Too bad we’re only gonna see him once a year! Fred looks fantastic in the trucker hat, wings, and underclothes. Intrinsically funny. (And Fred’s so much more comfortable with it than Pichette was trying to talk all rap-style.)

The guests on the show – boys, anyway – are actually handsome (one of them’s a legal redhead) and articulate and speak proper French. And they actually had halfway-informed answers to the perennial question of how to handle a first date!

In a later segment, we learn how to prepare for a date. And the location shoot is yet again inside typical Toronto apartments, with the overbusy parquet floor and unpainted walls. (White paint isn’t paint.) Love the glowing-neon-script title cards. Anyway, yes, we get the intended lesson that boys are brush-’n’-flush and girls preen.

Much more “content” than yesterday, even if there wasn’t a music video. Quite the disparity.

Thursday 12

Apparently now it’s all about music videos. Except when Crystal Cousineau-Pâquette goes out on a date with Hervé. Brilliantly excessive performances by Nadyne and Mathieu Pichette. Whose pelt is better – Crystal’s leopard-skin or Hervé’s fox? (And it was shot, as ever, in the parking lot and alleyways behind Square du Canada or wherever Satan’s Pancartes of Signalisation and so many other segments were taped.)

“Ratmahatta” by Sepultura, who would not ordinarily be played on this show were a Claymated® music video not on offer. «Kung-fu minou» by Papillon (who?). “Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. What, it’s all animated this week?

If this week’s “reviews” seem abbreviated, they are.

Monday 16

We’re going all-PVR this week. Actually, can I get this thing to work in French? Yes, and when I highlight a recorded show, it reads Sauvegarder: All Derniers. Yup, that’s what she says. “My new localization technique is unstoppable.”

En tout cas, Nadyne does Pilates, just like Cayce Pollard in Pattern Recognition. Don’t you love the fact that the gear is called a Pilates reformer?

Ranch-o-Bingo: How are they gonna top last year?

Anyway, Renée comes on to talk about skates, but not with a lot of detail, though I liked the explanation of the new “recreational” skates. This is one of those times where a buyer’s guide makes sense. Head on down to Nathan Philips and take note of the kids (very often Chinese) with skates bent around their heels. I tried and tried to learn to skate when I was about 30; I even had professional training (a freebie from a fellow who would later go on to “commentate” for American TV). I wasn’t really very good. Every now and then I run across an obviously expert skater zooming by on the street (or just puttering around at the corner waiting for the light to change) and it’s literally awesome.

Félix’s fantastically authentic vulgar Quebecker accent in the “How’d they do that?” segment made my day. Hate the rugs, though. Anyway, I know the source material is readily available because we’re talking about actual Volt segments, but shouldn’t a “How’d they do that?” segment really deal with something in the outside world, perhaps? (Volt has always been self-referential in these segments. Who can forget «On le scan. On le scan&#187?) Don’t we need more Tito-esque segments, as with visiting a sommelière or a recycling plant? I loved those. Anyway, today it’s a recap of the segment with Fred as priest. I totally would never have guessed it wasn’t shot in a church. Good job, huh?

Lyba Spring, whose French has improved noticeably over the years she’s guest-starred on the show, talks about contraception, which I simply have no need to worry about, so I don’t.

Tuesday 17

I still like Fred’s asymmetrical raglan-sleeved GO FREE T-shirt. You have to be overtall and slim to get away with it, and he is and does.

Dizzee Rascal? Who?

Wilfred Le Bouthillier? Who?

Francis Chalifour, who looks shockingly clear-skinned and functions well on TV, runs us through the history of chocolate, something this veganist-straightedgerist gets shitfaced on regularly. (Ritter!) My complaint here is that it sounds like regurgitated Google searches. How do they make chocolate?

Wednesday 18

Fred met Prohom last summer in Montreal. They seem not to bite. Besides, any Frog group with bagpipes you know I’m gonna like. But not necessarily horns:

Vincent Beaulieu drops by, with the dramatic rectangular eyeglasses, to explain how to cut an album. Who would have known it was that easy? Wouldn’t this make an excellent ongoing series?

Thursday 19

Some kind of collaboration-videos show. «Snooze» by Yélo Molo, surprisingly unracist this time. “Holidæ In” by Chingy (who?), featuring the ugliest African-American alive. «Je ne sais pas» by Dumas again, just as dull and vanessaparadisesque as before. “I Believe I Can Fly” by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. (Who doesn’t?)

Oh, but the long wait is over: “Badda-Bingo” reruns, tonight featuring the worst-ever, hence best-ever, French accent on the show, by Renée as harlot. «Check, tu vay vwayer!»

Monday 23

Well, the PVR crashed yet again this week because the brilliant engineers at Scientific Atlanta, having learned nothing from Y2K, forgot to program their boxen for a leap day. Hence the first couple o’ Volts this week are offa tape. How retro.

Frankie gets on the show to talk about the proportion of advertising pages in various magazines. (Loved the inclusion of Transworld Skateboarding!) Frankie is, however, too young and green to understand the concept of ad/edit ratio, which he could Google, though that would be a tad late at this point. 40/60 is a generally-accepted ratio for consumer magazines. A better segment would have compared the test magazines against the norm. Yes, this is yet another of those cases where I know Volt’s subject-matter better than they do.

Anyway, Nadyne breezes into town with her little stewardess bag. While I’m waiting for this faux-B&W sketch to actually be worth shit, let me mention that I finally took a look at the credits for La revanche des nerdz and solved the mystery of where the hell Sylvain Lavigne is. He and Pichette were a package deal.

The conceit with Nadyne is she can’t stop filing her nails. (Emery-boarding them, actually.) Well, me, neither!

And then we rerun the Bif Naked segment for some reason.

Tuesday 24

I slept through Nadyne’s rudimentary service piece on polishing silver. The subsequent fausse pub looked old, then I thought it wasn’t, then I discovered it was! (Robbers burst into a house and hog-tie some girl, while, unbeknownst to them, the babushka in the kitchen is making mincemeat out of the burglars. Attend the tale!)

Bang-up episode so far.

There was then some kind of interview with some kind of punk band. They sound typically idealistic but atypically well-bred.

Wednesday 25

I don’t do the rerun shows, even if voted on by the kids.

Thursday 26

A special day – for music videos. What the hell is Fred doing in Stoner’s wig? This is sacrilege.

“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by the Darkness. I guess people have already forgotten Jellyfish. (First you’ve heard of them, right?) «Pour un oui ou pour un non» by Louise («Mars») Attaque. “Buddy Holly” by Weezer, long past its sell-by date (please, don’t try the fish). «Pas de panique» by Caiman Fu (who?). “Fallin’ Up” by Black-Eyed Peas, who are somewhat overrated. Weren’t they in the Times the other week? The sound values of the male and female vocalists are similar to those of French rap.

Fred as an Italian in Badda-Bingo! It so totally works. Keep the damned facial hair! (And the jewelry.)