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Comedy Central and BBC Canada – A Continent of Reruns

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 9:16 PM in ,
How many of you think that the Gomery Report is funny? How many of you can even remember the scandal that it investigated? You’d know if you watched This Hour Has 22 Minutes on Monday, January 17th. No, it wasn’t doing a goof on Canadian History; the show itself was Canadian history, a good six years old. Political humour isn’t funny unless it’s current, but Comedy Central Canada just keeps playing reruns of This Hour Has 22 Minutes because even though it’s old and stale, it’s Canadian.

Good comedy almost always has an element of surprise. After all, a joke isn’t funny if you know the punch line. A pie in the face isn’t funny if you can see that pie coming from a long way off. Similarly, if you’ve seen the same stand-up comics do the same routines over and over again on Just for Laughs, it’s just not funny anymore. How many times can you watch Shaun Majumder do the most embarrassing shtick that couldn’t get a laugh from a college kid who’s had a few beers? It wasn’t funny the first time and it gets increasingly pathetic with each watching. A comic, who I’ve already seen, has to be particularly funny to get a laugh out of me after I’ve watched one of his pathetically un-funny introductions or eulogies to each comic’s routine. Yet I watch in hope, hope that one day I’ll see something new that will make me laugh.

While I applaud the mission of the CRTC to maintain Canadian content so that Canadian artists can be employed and that the country’s media reflects Canadian culture, there ought to be a law against the number of times a show can be broadcasted because it’s Canadian and cheap.

Speaking of Canadian content, if I’m paying for BBC in Canada, why can’t I see British programming? It makes no sense. When I watch ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, I see American shows and not reruns of a bunch of Canadian home improvement shows just so the station can meet its Canadian content requirements. A little research answered this question. BBC Canada is owned both by a Toronto company, Alliance Atlantis (80%) and BBC Worldwide (20%), therefore the CRTC considers BBC Canada to be a Canadian network. (Please don’t try to read that sentence aloud – you may hurt your mouth.) As a Canadian company, they must show a certain quota of Canadian shows, and that’s why you get a lot of Debbie Travis and Holmes on Homes.

Much of cable TV, particularly during the day, is made up of reruns. I can accept this to a certain degree, but when primetime rolls around, I would like to get what I pay for if I have to pay for television. If I watch a network that advertises itself as a network of reruns – Déjà Vu, for example – I’m aware that I’m paying for old shows. When I pay for a specialty channel, I hope to watch new shows. As a fan of British television, it is extremely disappointing to pay for a channel called BBC and find that it’s a home and garden channel in disguise.


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