Monday, June 8, 2009

Ode to Canadian Television

Ahhh the Great White North. Such a fantastic place – home to mountains, lakes, rivers, polar bears and beavers. Canada loves beavers. Also, it's a super important exporter. Canada ships out timber and gas and great beer and the best television that low budgets and heinous child actors can possible produce.

This post will be relevant only to Canadians and Americans with powerful satellite signals. Apologies for being completely Can-centric lately, but if Canadians don’t toot their own horn, who will? Nobody. That’s who.

Toot on Canadian friends, toot on.

Where was I? Oh yes. Canada produces scores of hilarious, so-bad-it’s-good television. Kids in my generation watched shows like Degrassi and Ready or Not, while fully aware what they were enjoying was schmaltzy, low-rent entertainment. We knew it and were in on the joke, damnit.
This ironic meta-viewing experience undoubtedly groomed us to be cooler and funnier and nicer than the kids in every other country. No hyperbole or opinion here, that's straight facts.
Toot toot.

Let’s talk about the programming aimed at kids and pre-teens. The hours I spent parked in front of the TV as a kid, wide-eyed and slack jawed made me the pop culture obsessed, computer-loving nerd I am today. And I have some shows to pay homage to….right now.

First: Degrassi Junior High
Also known as one of the best things to come out of Canada ever.

Any show that casts this guy as a love interest has got to be awesome. You can bank on that.

Second: Ready or Not
Also known as the show that taught me about periods before I had the sense to ask my mother.

I won’t even bother explaining this to you. If you know of the perils of Busy and just...get it.
Abbott & Costello. Lennon & McCartney. Lucy & Ricky. Amanda & Busy.

Personal anecdote time! I saw (gaped at) the actress who played Busy at a lesbian bar last year. Apparently she is like, the queen of the lesbian scene in Toronto. I’m glad she’s doing something because according to imdb, she’s acted in one role since Ready or Not. As a bank teller. OH, but I did see her at the Junos like, five years ago. Which is about five years after Ready or Not went off the air. She was really milking the whole Busy Ramone thing. Anyway, at this bar in Toronto she was playing the bongos in a middle of a circle of women, totally lighting it up. I was star struck.

My mom really loved that story because she was waiting for the episode when Busy came out on the show but it never happened. She was pissed and called out the Ready or Not writers for not giving Busy the freedom to be the woman she was so clearly meant to be. Amen to that.

Third: Breaker High
Remember when midriff was in?

Also known as the show with pre-smoking hot Ryan Gosling.
Late bloomer.

Because of Breaker High, every kid in Canada fantasized about attending high school on a boat. Especially a boat that travelled the world during its two season run (the whole thing was filmed in Burnaby, British Colombia).

In Breaker High, Canada brought out the 25 year-olds posing as 16 year-old beefcake. Peep this stud, who played the brooding son of the captain, Max.
He's not 16!

I want to watch this so badly right now. Will settle for clips on YouTube.

YTV was just the best back in the day. Reboot. The Hit List with Tarzan Dan! PJ Katie’s Farm!

I’m sphitzing with nostalgia.

Honourable Mention: You, Me & the Kids

Also known as the show no one should ever admit to watching.

Does ANYONE remember this show?!? It featured a plucky teenage redhead coming to terms with her parents' divorce and why boys didn’t like her because she was a ginger. My roommate Cath and I used to watch this on the couch in university and laugh and laugh and laugh. It was too good. I’ve spent the last twenty minutes trying to google photos for your perusal, but apparently this train wreck of a show doesn’t exist on the Internet. How can that be? Everything exists on the Internet. Like….if it’s not on the Internet, did it even happen? Is it even real??
I found this tiny photo of the plucky redhead, but this isn’t a screenshot from the show, it’s some crap movie called RV. My brain is going to explode….

I’m sorry, but there’s no way of recovering from that.

Canadian television – awesome in its badness.


  1. Kids of Degrassi street/Degrassi jr high/Degrassi high were the greatest shows to ever come out of canada

  2. You, Me and the Kids ftw.


Ramble on...