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March 18, 2014

Rose Simpson: Hipster Night in Canada

Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina. You can read her previous columns here.


"Victory" by Alain Villeneuve, from the OttawaStart Flickr Group

There was a funny meme going round on the CBC Community page yesterday.
"It could be worse," the post suggested over the symbol for Hockey Night in Canada. "We could have this guy."
The guy they were talking about was Ben Mulroney, our sad Canadian version of Ryan Seacrest,, the belittled son of disgraced Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who has become the host of everything from CTV's coverage of the Oscars to our country's failed attempt to launch a homegrown version of Canadian Idol.
I have never gotten what the appeal of Bennie was. He has nice teeth, I suppose, though his hair resembles that of Count Chocula and his smarmy nature harkens back to the days of "ya dance with the girl who brung ya."

It would have been disturbing to have Vlad the Impaler as the replacement for Ron and Don, the muppet pair who look down from the balcony each weekend on HNIC and reminisce about Bobby Orr. But George Stromboulopoulos?(heretofore referred to as Stombo, as I refuse to cut and paste his name again and again.
Look hipsters, before you threaten to burn my ear with ethical coffee, don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about Strombo personally. I like the guy. He's cool, though evidently not cool enough to take a pay cut and go to CNN where everybody confuses him for the short guy married to Ally Wentworth.
What I don't like is that Rogers, in its lazy wisdom, didn't even try to find someone who didn't already have a job. Why not have a casting call, like Masterchef Canada, and see if there is another living, breathing, hockey-loving sage out there who could take the reigns of a tired old institution and shake things up a little? HINC is a sure thing; people aren't going to tune out in droves if they don't see someone they've seen over and over and over again, like their stinky old grandpa (sorry Don!).
We know that Canadian television is an insular, incestuous place made up of people who can't get jobs in the States, but Rogers had a chance here to try something different instead of falling back on the old brand.
Sometimes, Canadians like a breakfast frittata instead of corn flakes.
It is true, Rogers didn't replace the Muppets in the Balcony with one of the members of The Hot Stove, the Brill Crème team that lays waste to the Canadian environment every evening with their massive amounts of guy product. There is enough lube on that hair to power a Harley Davidson across Canada.
But Strombo?
Really?
It's a sad day for Canadian television when the executives of Rogers simply dipped into another network's sad talent pool and picked the least offensive guy.
I guess they were afraid of creating another Don Cherry.
No chance with Strombo.
We're more likely to fall asleep.


-- Rose Simpson
See also: Ottawa Television Guide
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