As of today, the Writers Guild of America is on strike, and fans of television are starting to worry. Within weeks, some of the major American television networks will not have too many episodes of popular shows left. Fortunately, way up in the Great White North, there are literally tens of shows just aching for American airtime. Are they good? Not even slightly. But it’s still better than America’s Next Top Milf. Here’s a quick primer on Canadian television shows ready to be imported to actually be seen by more than 300 people.
All Aboot My Moose (60 minutes)
Genre: Family Drama
Synopsis: A lonely 11-year-old boy’s life is turned around when he finds an ailing moose near his Northern Ontario home. He brings it home and nurses it back to health. Much to the chagrin of his quirky family, he insists on keeping it. The show revolves around raising a moose, while dealing with growing up in the Canadian wilderness.
Two For Laughing (30 minutes)
Synopsis: Hockey has never been funnier. In Two For Laughing, brothers Corey and Hart play on their local hockey team, who have lost every game for the last four years. As they struggle with teamwork, working at the local arena, and trying to pick up girls in the sub-zero weather, this is one of the few Canadian sitcoms ever to cause hypothermia in the live audience.
The Lodge (30 minutes)
Synopsis: In a blatant ripoff of The Office, this show follows the workers at a ski lodge in a fake documentary style, looking at the mundane lives of the employees, and the situational humour surrounding them. If the pace of things in NBC’s version is too fast, you’ll love the dreary mundane Canuck adaptation.
The Jason Priestley Show (90 minutes)
Synopsis: In what critics once called “interesting, if you have nothing else to do,” this show blends all the best thing about reality television with an out-of-work former 90210 actor forced to take a job at a beer bottling plant. Left with pretty much nothing after the 1990s, former teen star Jason Priestley goes to work at the Molson Canadian plant. Heavily sponsored by the beer company, the show both hocks beer and lets you feel better about yourself knowing that no matter what, Priestley’s life sucks more than yours.
M.O.U.N.T.I.E.S. (30 minutes)
Genre: Childrens’ Cartoon
Synopsis: Standing for Mounted Ontario Undercover Nitroforce Techno-Cops In Environmentally-conscious Stetsons, this popular kids show is both ecologically friendly, and absolutely nonsensical. Super-Mounties from the future come to the present day to defeat evil polluting corporations from countries like East Korea and Lyzgenristan. The episodes portraying the United American States of South Canada as the villains will not be offered to American networks because of certain sensitive subject matters.
Mounties (60 minutes)
Synopsis: Just like COPS in the U.S., Mounties follows several of the RCMP as they track down criminals who loiter, utter rude phrases about social health care, or pollute beaver dams. They ride officially sanctioned horses, snowmobiles, or go by snowshoe, as long as justice is properly served.
Le roi des beignets (The King of Donuts) (30 minutes)
Genre: Sitcom (but in French, so even less funny)
Synopsis: Quebec’s most famous television show is also a moderate hit in English Canada, but mostly when it’s on mute. It looks at the daily life of a rural proprietor of a Tim Hortons shoppe, which is the country’s most popular coffee and donut chain. Luc Dmarquette is the self-proclaimed king of donuts, a man who will stop at nothing to make a sale. His trademark phrase “comment faites vous aimez votre cafe, bitch?” (how do you like your coffee, bitch?), has become the biggest saying in French Canada, and has spawned a whole line of t-shirts.
Corner Gas (30 minutes)
Synopsis: Following the exciting lives of a gas attendant and his friends in the middle of rural Saskatchewan. And there’s really not much else that can be said about it.
Kids of Kids in the Hall (60 minutes)
Genre: Sketch show
Synopsis: With an utter lack of genuine homegrown talent, the national comedy channel looked to one of Canada’s most famous exports, the Kids in the Hall, and recruited their offspring to star in this show. Most are either too young to adequately read their lines, or too untalented to actually be funny, but classic Kids in the Hall footage is randomly spliced in, and audiences are fully satisfied.
Don’t Worry, It’s Covered (60 minutes)
Genre: Medical drama
Synopsis: New doctors are assigned to the emergency ward of a Montreal hospital, and deal with the ins and outs of practicing medicine in a country where everyone is entitled to health services. Most of the show’s tension comes from the nursing staff who only speaks French, creating huge rifts with the English-speaking doctors.
Rush Hour (60 minutes)
Genre: Talk show
Synopsis: Canada’s favourite prog-rock trio Rush host Canada’s most popular talk show, Rush Hour, in which the band talk to a variety of guests, give elaborate prizes (mostly made of maple syrup), and do special charity work all over the country. They have been likened to the gawkier version of Oprah or Dr. Phil, with far less background in broadcasting.
And so, America television-watching public, you need not worry if this strike goes on for a while. Because Canadian television will save the day….or fill dead air time.