Home Take pride in your public broadcaster

Take pride in your public broadcaster

by admin November 10, 2009

It’s easy to rag on CBC, but considering their limited resources and the fact that the network has to compete with the American media machine, overall they do a pretty good job of being Canada’s public broadcaster.
Canada is similar to the States and we recognize that fact. But that doesn’t mean that anytime the CBC releases more “American style” programming it is in homage to our friends south of the boarder. There is nothing wrong with taking good ideas and reshaping them to reflect this country.

The CBC is a cultural commodity, one of the few tools we have to preserve our Canadian individuality. Rather than criticizing the network for not living up to American standards, we should give it a chance.
According to the CBC and the CRTC’s broadcasting mandate, these shows are supposed “reflect Canadian creativity and talent, our bilingual nature, our multicultural diversity and the special place of aboriginal peoples in our society.”
Some shows have been accused of trying to be American, but they are in fact representative of an evolving Canadian sense of self. Lately the CBC has come out with a bunch of new shows, including Being Erica, Little Mosque on the Prairies, Battle of the Blades and Heartland.

Little Mosque has captured the complexities of life as a Muslim in Saskatchewan; bad hair day under the Hijab was hilarious. Some Canadians find the show’s humour corny, but the it has been well received abroad, in Israel especially.
Heartland is a cowboy family drama refreshingly set in the Alberta Rockies instead of Wyoming. I wouldn’t call it high quality entertainment, but it holds its own against similar series from the States.

But for every Heartland there’s a Being Erica, a comedy-drama about a young woman who travels through time. The show is an international success and the first season has been released through the BBC in 12 countries. The CBC is doing at least one thing right.
The reality is that there will some American shows that are simply better than their Canadian counterparts. There’s no competition for the slap bets on How I Met Your Mother or the character development on Mad Men. Canadian television simply cannot compete against the budgets of major U.S. productions and the level of big-name talent they attract.

That’s not to say people can’t be entertained watching Canadian television. Some have grown to love their local shows that much more because they’re set close to home; it’s endearing to be able to relate so easily to the characters. And you won’t have to cringe every time someone says “route’ like it’s spelled “rowt’. If CBC is to be successful, it has to continue to attract viewers to its homegrown programming.

As for reality television, if you’re watching a reality show you may as well watch one about Canada. It’s more interesting to see old NHL hockey legends dancing on ice in shiny blouses than obscure American celebrities just dancing. Battle of the Blades over Dancing with the Stars anyone?
The CBC’s lineup may only offer a couple fresh, new options alongside several Canadian versions of what’s already been done down South. But at least it’s Canadian, eh?

Leave a Comment