Canadians Can Re-Tool Our Bad Shows, Too

Nothing much I feel driven to post about today. In TV, I mean — in world news you’ve got this guy who just won’t leave no matter how many people on Twitter tell him to. There’s also this John Doyle article on “The murky future of Canadian TV,” for reasons ranging from uncertainty about the CRTC to the departure of Susanne Boyce, the programming executive who helped turn CTV around.

Otherwise, I’ll go with a semi-nostalgic Canadian TV flashback. “Nostalgic” because I watched it when I was a child, and it may have been the first Canadian non-kids show I watched. “Semi” because I think I suspected even at the time that this was not a good show, and you know a show isn’t good when even little kids know it’s bad. It was also apparently an adaptation of a British sitcom, which makes it much less unique than the most legendary bad Canadian sitcom: The Trouble With Tracy, which recycled all the scripts from an old (good) radio comedy called “Vic and Sade.”

The way Canadian sitcoms used to be made was the method used in U.S. syndicated shows, and the method U.S. cable networks like CMT have recently taken up. Really fast, really cheap, on a soundstage with no audience (giving it the feel of a soap opera with a laugh track). This show was a CTV production that I believe was sold to U.S. syndication, and its selling point was that they got Don Adams to star in it; I watched it because I recognized Inspector Gadget’s voice. What I didn’t know at the time was that the version I saw was substantially re-tooled from the first version; there were cast changes and even Adams’ makeup and hair job changed.

So this is season 1, which I never saw. I do remember the very ’80s and very tuneless theme song, though.

And this is season 2, which I did see, though the only jokes I recall from it are bad ones. I do remember the inept repairman character, mostly because he was known only by his last name (“Viker”). He’d probably lose in a fight against Schneider and Kramer.

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