More Of That Sweet, Sweet Canada-Bashing

I still have no idea when or if Fox will burn off the remaining King of the Hill episodes (the show has been canceled, but will end this season with a bunch of episodes unaired), but I’m kind of looking forward to the plot of this season’s finale:

KING OF THE HILL (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT) “Uh-Oh Canada” Season Finale

When Boomhauer swaps homes with a Canadian family for the summer, Hank and the guys have to deal with the less-than-agreeable visitors.

This kind of Canada joke is all in good fun (sometimes these jokes can be lame, like that Simpsons episode where they went to Toronto, but lame doesn’t equal offensive); but does it seem to you that there have been more Canada jokes on U.S. TV in the last decade or so than there used to be? I always got the impression that American television wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of Canada unless it had to, and when they did acknowledge Canada, the country was usually portrayed as, basically, England lite. Now jokes about Mounties, back bacon, tuques and so on are part of the regular TV arsenal. I don’t know what changed… maybe South Park, and particularly the South Park movie, opened the floodgates.

Of course, there’s Bob and Doug Mackenzie, who are the inspiration for most of the U.S. TV stereotypes of Canadians. But they were Canadians bashing themselves (even if they were partly doing it for the benefit of a U.S. audience) and they weren’t immediately followed by a lot of similar characters in U.S.-based shows. It took a while for the Bob & Doug stereotype to become, shall we say, naturalized.

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