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More irritating Canadians of 2011 (TV-related)

List time. Nice-and-naughty time. That's easily done. Who is cool and who is not. Those lists are a breeze.

The hard part is determining the top most-irritating Canadians on TV. There's a cornucopia. Irritation springs eternal if you watch TV, and everybody does. And, of course, anyone of any note has to appear on TV to be, well, noted.

For the year 2011, an instant list springs to mind. Don Cherry, Kevin O'Leary. That woman in the gravy commercial which turns up every Christmas – the one who smirks because she got the gravy from a package at the store. Yeah, her. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, thanks to his doofus antics in trying to avoid talking to Mary Walsh of 22 Minutes. Our Glorious Leader with his five-question limit during the federal election campaign. OGL causing reporters standing behind a barricade a good distance away to shout questions at him. And refusing to answer a question about why he'd only allow five questions.

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There are eternal favourites – CTV Toronto weather guy Tom Brown, who inspires some readers to spew remarks you won't see printed in this family newspaper. Ben Mulroney has been irritating people for so long that many Canadians have just got used to it. Ezra Levant! All you have to do is turn on the TV and addle-headed cretinism abounds. It's paring down the list that's tricky. TV is a fascinating world. The likeable and the loathsome exist side by side.

There were lovely moments during 2011. But we are compelled to name the maddening people, the irritants. Go ahead and be benevolent at this time of the year. Yet you know you like this list. Herewith, a stab at the most irritating Canadians (TV-related) of 2011. There are nine. You can add the 10th yourselves.

One – Peter Kent

Television-related? Kent, the Conservative MP for Thornhill, is a member of the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. After decades in TV, reading the news at CBC and Global, you'd think the Environment Minister would have a grasp of optics. No so. He has assumed the air and look of a menacing lummox from The Sopranos – the slicked-back hair, the boxy suit and the truculent look. As Environment Minister he's morphed into Environment Monster.

Two – Krista Erickson

The Sun News Network host gets into an all-time Irritating Hall of Fame for her grotesquely hostile interview with Canadian dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis. Erickson was featured as the Sunshine Girl in the Sun company's newspaper chain the day Sun News launched. Make up your own mind about that. Mind you, Erickson's clownish attempt at mimicking dance movement – waving her arms and grimacing – was side-splittingly funny.

Three – Rex Murphy

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Harrumph, harrumph. One thundering denunciation after another, delivered with alliteration. Climate scientists are halfwits. Everyone is an eejit. Celebrities should shut up about everything except the movie or CD they're promoting, because they know nothing about nothing. Rexy, shudduppa yourself – enough with the alliteration and overuse of "balderdash."

Four – The Alarm Force Guy

All-news TV is awash in commercials aimed at the elderly, all of whom live in total fear of falling in the bath, walking up the stairs or answering the door. Of all the ads aimed at the timid elderly, those from Alarm Force are now the most irritating. Joel Matlin, president of Alarm Force, does a wizard job at imitating a robot. It was a cool trick the first time. Now it's over.

Five – Karl in the Capital One card commercial

You know the guy – he used to go on vacation alone and have to show his missus what was happening via his laptop. He knocks over drinks, he takes the laptop golfing. Then he ogles some woman in a bikini and the missus says, "I can still see you, Karl." Karl, my friend, stay at home.

Six – Bob McCown

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The sports-radio guy turns up on TV all the time, Viewers of Sportsnet can watch in wide-eyed wonder as McCown does his radio show live on TV! That's the show called Prime Time Sports w/ Bob McCown. Why is he on this list? Earlier this year, On International Women's Day, the guy goes on-air and says, "The sole motivation for a man to watch any women's sport is are they half-naked? Are they good-looking?" And he also said, "Other than that, I don't care if it's a world championship or your next-door neighbour playing somebody. Guys are only interested in women's sport if it's good-looking chicks."

Seven – Justin Bieber

Mere mention of his name conjures horror. How long, dear heavens, can this kid's career last?

Eight – All of the Dragons on Dragons' Den

Self-importance defined.

Nine – Brian Lilley

The Sun News Network smoothie has but one topic – the CBC.

I will be away for a week or so. Mr. Andrew Ryan will be your guide. Enjoy the holidays and be nice.

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About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More

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