Canada's television shows - news and non-fiction programs excluded - are terrible compared to their American counterparts. And it's not only in one genre: we fail in every category imaginable. In response to American comedies like 'The Office' and '30 Rock', we come back with 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'. For their action dramas 'NCIS' and 'Prison Break', we come up with 'Flashpoint'. Animated shows like 'Family Guy' and 'South Park' are met with 'Bob & Doug' and 'Chilly Beach'. They created 'Saturday Night Live', we came up with 'The Royal Canadian Air Farce'. 'The Daily Show'? 'The Rick Mercer Report'. Seriously, we couldn't even get 'Sesame Street' right - we had to create a monster named 'Sesame Park'.
It's not that every Canadian show is completely awful, but in relative terms the best we can do is create shows that are equal to a reasonably bad American one. If you don't believe me, let's look at the main offenders. One of the most popular Canadian shows of the past decade was 'Corner Gas', a sitcom set in rural Alberta based on unfunny banter and Canadian stereotypes - kind of like those episodes of 'Malcolm in the Middle' where the oldest brother was living in Alaska. It ran for six seasons and averaged about one million viewers per episode.
Another popular show, 'Heartland', is like watching an episode of 'The O.C.' but with less characters, less jokes, less drama, and if everything they did had to do with farm animals. Again set in rural Alberta, 'Heartland' focuses on a teenage girl with a loosely explained ability to communicate well with horses. You might be thinking that only shows set in rural Canada aren't that funny or interesting, but that wouldn't be fair. Last year marked the end of several failed urban Canadian shows including 'Instant Star' and 'Robson Arms', which might make you sad if you ever heard of them. It's true: much of Canadian television is so bad that you forget it was ever on the air.
Okay, Corner Gas was actually set in rural Saskatchewan and SCTV does still make me laugh, but that's not really the point...the author, Kyle Carpenter writing for the McGill Tribune, doesn't stop there. And he concludes by saying: "So far, I've not been able to find one Canadian TV show that I am proud to say is from my country."
Just one young guy's opinion, sure...but I hear the same sentiment all the time from the 20 year-old's I teach each semester at the University. In fact, most struggle to name a Canadian TV series, much less one they like or are proud of. So again, you work in Canadian TV, and you go read the rest of the piece HERE, and then tell me...how does it feel?