#115 – Channel Surfing, Part Five: Schitt’s Creek, Indeed

The English-language CBC is so desperate that it put out a show called Schitt’s Creek. The desperation for Canada-sempai to notice its own shitty television shows was always there, but the impetus grew after Rogers ripped out the company’s still-beating heart in the form of scoring the television hockeymans contract. With the public broadcaster up the titular creek, who better to lean on than Eugene Levy, the guy who played the clueless father in American Pie back when I still wasn’t allowed to see those sorts of films and has since acted in such titanic cinema as Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and a host of shitty American Pie spinoffs? His last acting award was a Razzie – in 2006. Who better to write a relatable television program for English Canadians than a guy even Canada forgot about for 10 years? And he brought his son along for extra income from the CBC comedic hilarity!

Now, this isn’t to say that Levy or Cathrine O’Hara (who have acted together before in such stinkers as For Your Consideration 10 years ago) are or aren’t good actors. I barely remember American Pie (I may have bypassed the aforementioned age restriction…sorry, Mum) and I am the last person to ask regarding being plugged into the media scene. But I do have the glorious power of research, and that shows a bad time ahead. The producer, Colin Brunton, was also involved with Little Mosque on the Prairie, because why not. The appropriately-named production company, Not a Real Company, has never done a television show before – perfect choice for a company in desperate need of a smash hit! So, old has-been Canadian actors + completely untested production house + the guy who produced the critically panned Little Mosque on the Prairie is Canada’s solution for its public broadcaster which was dangerously reliant on hockey as it was and is now without its cash cow.

And then there’s Daniel Levy. What, you thought the CBC would go without a case of credit-nepotism? The show itself scored mixed reviews (which was good enough for the CBC to renew it, apparently) and is absurd from the beginning – a rich family purchases a town as a joke and then discovers that small-town Ontario is filled with the cast from Trailer Park Boys, only they’ve cleaned up a bit for the public broadcaster. Ridiculous parody of Canadian wealth meets abusive and offensive (and, don’t forget, inaccurate) “small-town Canada” – hilarious!  One of the riotous synposes I read (like fuck if I’m watching more of this bumbling pantomiming attempt at humor) states such amazing set-ups as “Alexis thinks Ted is too kind to animals”, and “Alexis thinks Ted is too nice a person”. And who could forget that most reliable of canards, “David searches for a job”.Which may be why viewership fell by nearly 500,000 between the series premiere and the series finale.

I’m so glad the CBC desperately tries to rehab Canadian acting careers rather than such irrelevant tasks as actual journalism or useful programs. Who needs shows like Australian state broadcaster ABC’s The Checkout, an actually-funny program about consumer law in Oz and how it affects citizens of that country?

The CBC, being useful? Now that’s comedy.

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