Let's talk about election night, the aftermath and TV. This chat will, of necessity, fall into several categories. Stick with me.
First, social-media election my bum.
If I understand correctly, the consensus now is that Michael Ignatieff was bullied out of Canadian politics by a TV commercial. Not by tweets or catty remarks on Facebook. But by a blunt TV commercial aired ceaselessly before and during the election.
Yep, an annoying, truth-distorting ad on television changed the course of Canadian history. As someone who has been writing about the perception of political leaders gained through TV for some time, I say this: Told you so.
Next: We're not going to go through this federal election night experience for another four years, so let's brood upon Monday night's mayhem. CBC Television went bizarro with its on-screen count of seats being won. After the slots for the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois, there was a grey area for "Other" on the screen, sometimes "OTH." When "Other" actually had a number attached to it, Pastor Mansbridge was obliged to explain that the "Other" might in fact be the Green Party, and Elizabeth May seemed to be winning a seat. Jiminy. They shut the Greens out of the televised election debates and the party becomes reduced to "Other." And Elizabeth May is an MP leading a party called "OTH."
Lloyd "Boy" Robertson, doing his final federal election night, we gather, went a tad wacky but witty. He said of Our Glorious Leader, Harper, "Nobody seems to like this guy, but they sure vote for him." CTV had the most lively pundit panel but the most creepy on-screen graphics of the party leaders. They were head-shot photos, but if you watched long enough, they seemed to move, blink and nod. If fact, I'm pretty sure Gilles Duceppe winked at me. Almost as peculiar, on CBC, was Amanda Lang making sure that Conrad Black's thoughts on the election were broadcast to a national audience surely waiting breathlessly to learn the great man's views. Pastor Mansbridge duly intoned, "Always interesting to hear from Conrad Black." Right. Tweet me on that, Pastor.
Finally, the future. The CBC is screwed. Ask anyone in the TV racket. In fact, as Canadian Press TV guy Bill Brioux remarked online on Wednesday morning: "FOR SALE: Large, well-maintained, 10-storey television studios/office building located right in the heart of Toronto's entertainment district. Gently used studios offer plenty of opportunities for multi-use possibilities: squash courts, bowling alleys, gun range."
Jian Ghomeshi will be doing his Q radio show from a factory-outlet mall where's there's a one-day-only special on black leather jackets. As It Happens will stop every four minutes so that you can learn how great Lay's potato chips are. Possibly, in a moment of desperation, Dragon's Den will have guest appearances by the Minister for Hardship, Jim Flaherty, so that he can say "no" to left-wing pinkos looking for money to start up businesses that promise to be eco-friendly, organic or involve spending less money on gas.
Joking aside, Conservative loathing for the CBC emerged with clarity during the election. And a diminution of the broadcaster is ideal fodder for quelling the complaints of the cranky end of the Conservative base. You can hear the fury. That Terry Milewski is toast.
To close, I predict - coming soon - TV attack ads aimed at Justin Trudeau. Somebody in the Conservative camp is looking for footage of Justin Trudeau blowing kisses as we speak. Betcha.
In Short (Bravo!, 10 p.m.) is a cornucopia of pithy Canadian dramas - an anthology of short films from various Canadian filmmakers and featuring major talent. Some are whimsical while others are profoundly gorgeous gems. The series is organized around the Seven Deadly Sins and tonight's grouping is focused on the themes Pride and Humility. It includes Bill Robertson's wonderful A Valentine Haircut, which stars Liane Balaban and Pat Kiely, with a soundtrack by Mary Margaret O'Hara. Also Connie Diletti's Homecoming, with Nicholas Campbell as a father with very misguided views on his son's stint in the army in Afghanistan.
Spouse vs. House (TLC, 10 p.m.) is a gimmicky new series - a couple gets $25,000 to renovate the house, but the wife has to be absent so the husband makes the design decisions alone. Hey, listen, people love this kind of thing. Expect The Nature of Things to morph into this kind of show, with David Suzuki making witty remarks about men being from Mars and women being from Venus and all.
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