25 Things to Do Instead of Watching Canada’s Got Talent

While who gets the title of “worst show of the year” could be closely battled out between Are You There, Chelsea? and Whitney, it’s only fair to add to that list the overly-hyped and underwhelming turd known as Canada’s Got Talent.

As a rip-off to America’s Got Talent, itself a rip-off of the British show of the same name, Rogers Communications dug deep into their heavily cash-lined pockets and tapped the talents of Martin Short as a judge and spent (presumably) millions more on adverting, sets and promotion so Citytv could get into the homegrown reality show market – and along the way, further inflate Dina Pugliese’s ego. (It would have probably been cheaper to film the so-called “talent search” inside SkyDome seeing as 1) Rogers already owns it, and 2) it’s the only building in Toronto that is big enough to fit Dina’s ego.)

Let’s kick the ballistics; Canada’s Got Talent blows. Of course you wouldn’t know that from watching any programs (or newscasts) on Citytv as they have been promoting the show and talking about it as if it was the Second Coming. And don’t get me wrong… Canada does in fact have talent. It’s just that none of it, with the exception of Mr. Short, are involved with this show.

One of my editors actually wanted me to watch the first two episodes and review it. I refused. It wasn’t as if there weren’t already 1,000 reasons not to watch. (It sucks, it’s crap, I’ve seen more ‘talent” in homeless people who pee against the wall of a subway stations, etc) but I had better things to do. In case you’re even entertaining the idea of watching, here is a short list of things that are better, more productive and more interesting than watching Canada’s Got Talent.

1) Shave your underarms
2) Help your dog groom himself
3) Write that letter to Penthouse you’ve been meaning to write
4) Sleep
5) Drink any leftover fluids found under your sink
6) Read to your goldfish
7) Pick your teeth
8) Compare zit-popping stories with friends
9) See just how many licks it does in fact take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop
10) Re-write Star Wars Episode I so that it doesn’t completely suck
11) Learn a new language
12) Date a serial killer
13) Find new and interesting ways to touch yourself
14) Count, organize and name the socks in your sock drawer
15) Re-enact the 1967 Stanley Cup finals (all six games) with your stuffed animals
16) Have a one-hour conversation with your friends, using only Simpsons quotes
17) Wash your car’s headlight using your tongue
18) Pee onto the electrified third rail of the subway tracks
19) Fill out expired and out-dated customer satisfaction surveys
20) See how many other Pink Floyd albums sync up to old movies
21) Read this
22) Go for a walk
23) Attempt to build your own time machine, realize it’s completely impossible, feel sorry for wasting so much of your time and then realize that you were still having a better time than you would have had if you had watched Canada’s Got Talent
24) Sharpen crayons with you teeth
25) Pray that Canada’s Got Talent goes the way of other American-inspired Canadian crap-fests like Canadian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, Canada.

Rest in Peace, Dr. Robin Scorpio

I was never really a huge soap opera fan, although when I did watch, I always seem drawn to General Hospital. And of all the characters on the show, I liked Robin Scorpio. But all that is over now as I discovered upon reviewing my PVRed shows from this week. (Yes, I felt like doing some catching up with the folks from Port Charles. Don’t judge me.) It turns out that Robin Scorpio is dead.

In grand soap opera fashion, Robin was blown up following a gas leak at the hospital.  She is survived by her husband Patrick, her mother Anna and her daughter Emma. She was also the only soap opera character to have been diagnosed and living with HIV.

In the real world, Kimberly McCullough decided to leave General Hospital to follow her life-long dream of being a director. Depending how that works out for her, as we all know in the soap operas, there’s always a chance that she could return in a dream, a flashback, as a ghost or even have found a way to survive the explosion. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that happened.

good dog is really good

When a friend recommended that I watch an episode of HBO Canada’s Good Dog, right away I thought “It’s a Canadian version of Curb Your Enthusiasm” — and in a way, I was right.  I’d seen the press releases when the show premiered a few months ago and I’d seen clips while flipping through the channels a couple of times.  But what I wasn’t expecting was finding out that the style of script writing, directing, editing and casting that made Curb a hit for so long, was able to transcend borders and works brilliantly with this show.

If you haven’t seen it (and judging by the reaction when I tell people about it, I’m guessing a lot of people haven’t) Good Dog follows the life of George Findlay, a character that series creator Ken Finkleman made famous in The Newsroom, as he stumbles along with his much younger girlfriend (Lauren Lee Smith), live-in nanny, slacker free-loading friend Doug (Jason Weinberg) and a growling, menacing dog who he has to pass on the stairs every day.

Naturally there are the expected face-palming embarrassing moments where George gets himself into a situation that you know is going to end badly and the somewhat cliche dialog as the characters mull things over, usually while drinking a beer, but what makes the show so great is Finkleman’s ability to create a self-absorbed, yet likeable character and put him in a city like Toronto where the viewer can not only become enthralled in the conversations, but then suddenly snap out of it and say “Hey! I know that place!” when they see a familiar restaurant or landmark in the background.  You end up feeling as if you know the people you are watching.

I normally don’t watch a lot of TV and honestly I’ve never watched a full season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I like the style of the show and I like how it works in a Canadian setting, although in some ways, Good Dog is very different. And the good news (seeing as I seem to be hooked now) is that HBO Canada and Movie Central have announced that production on Good Dog season two is getting underway this month, which should mean that George and his friends will return some time in the spring if all goes well.

If I was going to have a (slightly exaggerated) show about my life, where I get to play a version of myself, I would want it to be like this one.

time to kill the subway monkey

On my ever-growing list of things I hate, the monkey in the Subway Fresh Energy commercials ranks somewhere near the top. For some unexplained reason, Subway has been using the little creature for the past several years as a way of pushing the “healthy menu” options. But I can’t stand him and every time I see his beady little eyes at the start of an ad, I reach for the remote so fast, that I’m sure I’m setting a speed record of sorts.

I wish I had been in the room as part of a focus group when that commerical was first screened. People would still be sitting around listening to why I hate that monkey and how I fly into a fit of anger when I see him. And while I can’t pinpoint just one reason why I hate him so much, you can be sure that “annoying”, “ugly” and “worthy of having his head smashed in” might come up if I was asked.

Then there’s the obvious question that nobody can seem to answer: WHAT DOES A MONKEY HAVE TO TO WITH SUBWAY?  Last time I checked, monkeys throw their own crap at each other and people. Do you really want to send that kind of message when talking about “eating fresh”?

Without a word of a lie, I have stopped going to Subway because of these commercials.  The monkey is reason enough to make me want to go somewhere else or die of starvation.  That’s how annoying he is.

So please, Subway, from a girl who has enjoyed your subs for the better part of the last 20 years, it’s time to kill off the monkey.

liza fromer back on morning TV

More TV news for ya! I was thrilled when I learned (thanks to the folks at Global Television) that Liza Fromer will be back on morning TV as part of Global’s new Morning Show program.  She will be joined by co-host Dave Gerry and Kris Reyes also formerly of Citytv who will be covering morning news.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a new morning show debut here in Toronto.  The last one that made real waves was CP24 Breakfast which was lackluster to say the least during its first few months, but has since improved and become quite the show to watch — largely in part thanks to the shuffle that saw Steve Anthony become co-host.

It’s also been a while since we last saw Liza on the air — especially in the morning.  She left Citytv’s Breakfast Television five years ago when Dina took over and there were rumors flying up and down the halls (according to colleagues) that she wasn’t quite done with morning television just yet and would one day make her return.

Personally speaking, I felt that morning TV in Toronto was becoming stale again and it was time to shake things up.  Having a friendly face back on television is a welcome change. When I first moved to Toronto back in 2002, I used to watch Breakfast Television quite a bit, largely in part because of Liza who is down-to-earth and easy to relate to.

Naturally Global is promising The Morning Show will be different and “unprecedented” when it debuts.

citynews to launch news channel; ctv to launch ctv two

The summer season (filled with cast-offs, second-rate dramas and third-rate reality shows) hasn’t even begun, but major Canadian broadcasters announced yesterday the new fall line-up as well as some new networks that are coming down the pipe.

Rogers-owned Citytv announced that they will finally launch their CP24 clone called CityNews Channel that will be — as you may have guessed — exactly like CP24. There had been some rumblings about it launching a while ago, but that never got off the ground until now.

Of course, Rogers spins it differently than calling it a clone of the wildly popular CP24, but let’s be honest, after CTV and Rogers split up the once-mighty CHUM empire a few years ago, CTV (Now Bell Media) cleaned up when they acquired not only all the specialty channels like Much, Bravo and Space, they also netted CP24. If you didn’t know, CP24 is probably the most watched channel in the entire city of Toronto.  Don’t believe me? Go into any bar or restaurant that has a TV and tell me what they are showing. I can almost guarantee that at least one set somewhere in that bar is locked into CP24.

So now Rogers is banking on the fact that Toronto-folk will suddenly decide to make the switch over to CityNews Channel. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that old habits die hard – and finding a remote control in a bar is next to impossible. So I doubt that Rogers will get the numbers they are hoping for.

In case you’re planning to set your PVRs, CityNews Channel will simulcast the CityNews broadcasts, Breakfast Television and provide round-the-clock news coverage.

Bell Media, not to be outdone, is re-branding their A networks as CTV Two across the country. Not much will change and presumably most employees will keep their jobs, and the shows that the main networks didn’t want will still have a home.

I always like seeing new networks start up. It gives hard working people much needed jobs and broadens the landscape for TV viewers. I personally don’t watch a lot of television myself, but it’s still interesting to watch the ever-changing local and national media.

late night with jimmy fallon night #2

jimmy-fallonJust finished watching the second episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and I have to say I’m really impressed. (I couldn’t sleep and besides, I wanted to see how the second night would play out.)  Tonight’s show was leaps and bounds ahead of the first show.

Fallon seemed much more relaxed and in his element. Even his comedy bits (a short one poking fun of Facebook status updates) went over pretty well. And watching him chat with guests Tina Fey and Jon Bon Jovi, he looked right at home.

I’m glad to see things working out for Jimmy.  As I said in my take of the first show, he seems like a nice guy and he truly believes in the show he’s doing, so to be fair everyone should give him a chance.

And let’s not forget, it took how many years before America warmed up to Conan when he first started?  I’d say Jimmy already has the potentinal, he just needs to keep bringing his A-Game and make the show his own.

conan o’brien’s last show

conan-logoDespite still feeling a little under the weather thanks in part to one of the strangest colds I’ve ever had, I managed to stay awake and watched Conan O’Brien’s last run as host of Late Night.  Gotta say, it was pretty good.  Mostly what I expected it to be – the same silly humor that has made Conan a hit with viewers for the past 16 years and a few humble and touching moments at the end where he thanked everyone who helped him along the way.

I remember watching the first episode he did when he took over the show from David Letterman back in 1993.  I was sure he wasn’t going to last.  He was awkward and nerdy and didn’t really seem to fit in at all.  I remember thinking that even his then co-host Andy Richter would make for a better host.

But much to his credit, Conan made the show his own – as I’m sure he will do when he moves to Los Angeles in the summer and takes over the Tonight Show from Jay Leno.

As far as Jimmy Fallon taking over as new host of Late Night, I gotta say that I have my doubts — but then again, I felt the same way 16 years ago too.  And look where I was last night: sitting my ass down in front of the TV to watch the guy I thought would never last do his final show.